January 6th 2013
Sensei Bob Dobrow
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, and all Deshi.
My thought of the week on this first week of the New Year is on the FIRST MOVE of kata.
The first move of every kata is a BLOCK. This is consistent with the basic philosophy of karate.
From the most basic gedan uke (lower block) used in the first move of Fukyugata Ichi to advanced blocking techniques like hangetsu-barai-uke (half-moon foot block) in Rohai and Passai, Master Nagamine discusses 32 different ukekata (blocking techniques) in The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. To paraphrase Hanshi, there is much there to research!
Master Nagamine states, The ultimate goal of all martial arts is to defeat the enemy without fighting back. This notion is intimately connected with the essence of karate-do, and is expressed as the philosophy of karate in the proverb, karate ni sente nashi (there is no first attack in karate, or karate begins only with the defensive form.) There are always some persons around who do violence to good citizens; the blocking techniques have been developed to meet such violence.
If the first blocking move of kata is done with full commitment, with kiai, it can END the fight. If we practice the first move of our kata as if it is the LAST move of the fight it will have a tremendous effect, setting the tone and temper of the entire kata. Even when practicing half-speed-and-power, when the first move is done with intention, focus and full engagement, it elevates our entire kata. And when practicing basic techniques across the deck, Hanshi has often said that the most important move is the first move. It sets the tone for everything to come.
Domo arigato gozaimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and all Deshi.