Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (January 4th, 2009)

From Sensei Sal Saclione, Roku Dan

Northern VA Ueshiro Karate
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Understanding the Pinan Katas

This is a great time of year for reflection and setting goals for the new year ahead. It’s a time to start fresh and take lessons learned from the past, leverage past successes, and begin anew with the purpose of moving forward. Many of us make New Year's resolutions and I'm in that group.

My Karate resolution as alwasy is to punch faster, squat lower and strike with more power, but more specifically this year I wish to gain a greater understanding of the Pinan kata. I feel that by getting a better level of insight and refining each move of the five kata, I can improve my execution of Kusanku which has many Pinan components embedded throughout.

The transition from basic techniques to powerfully executed fluid and flowing techniques and stances is one of the many training tools Anko Itosu provided us with via the five Pinan kata. The Pinan katas bring back fond memories of my teenage training years, just as Master Itosu intended, and Pinan Yondan remains one of my favorite morning exercises. One of my favorite sequences from the Pinans is actually from Pinan Shodan, Immediately following the four neko ashi dachi, move #13 starts the double offering of a crushing chudan uke followed by the rapid fire arsenal of a spear-like mae geri and explosive chudan tsuki, all originating from the kosa dachi, a great stance to develop balance and leg strength.

Practice this sequence across the deck for a powerful workout making sure you work the block, kick, and punch with each arm/leg. As with all of our training, don’t rush the techniques and make use of your triggers for each move (step first then block/punch/kick). Start the exercise, as in P-1, by executing the block as you gain foundation in the kosa dachi (trigger=step/block). Note: When performing this sequence in P-1 maintain your height in the transition as you move from move #12 (neko ashi dachi) to kosa dachi as these stances are executed at the same height. Once the crushing block has done its job, launch your front snap kick with a whip-like crack—enjoy the thrust you are able to attain from the lift achieved through the supporting leg, pause ever so slightly to show balance and then with the placement of the kicking foot upon the deck (trigger=step/kick) immediately deliver the crushing blow of your chest punch.

Best wishes to all for healthy and prosperous year ahead. Remember, you don’t have to wait until the Jan 1st each year to work on corrections or make resolutions…this should be a daily practice. Make every day a new year with a fresh start and work on continuous improvement in all aspects of life. With that said, it is a fun tradition to share resolutions, if you have a Karate resolution you’d like to share please post. We can all benefit from the collective thoughts and inspiration of the Deshi of Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Do.

Domo Arigato,

Sensei Sal

Roku Dan

Northern VA Ueshiro Karate