Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (February 2nd, 2009)

From Mary McKitrick, Nidan

Northampton Ueshiro Karate

Massachusetts
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Know Your Targets

We all begin and continue karate training for a multitude of reasons – to get strong and fit, to enhance our spiritual development, or even for self defense, but karate is ultimately a martial art and we must know how to use it or risk serious harm to ourselves or others. Hanshi wrote (Green Book p. 94) of a Brooklyn shopkeeper who obtained a gun for self defense but did not learn to use it expertly. The possession of the gun gave him the courage to put himself in harm’s way, yet he died because the other guy was a better marksman. As karateka we have the responsibility to learn to use our art expertly, to know our targets and practice aiming for them. Many of us (especially women) are completely unaccustomed to the idea of hurting someone and need to prepare ourselves for it mentally. Knowing our targets will be our only chance in a fight.

Begin with your favorite kata and consult a map of the pressure points on the human body (see the Red Book, pp. 39-40). It is ideal if the dojo has a poster showing these points. Think about each striking move in the kata and consult the map. Think about each block and know which area of the body you are protecting. Practice the kata while visualizing and aiming directly for those points. Try the same thing in bunkai with partners (remembering, of course, to save the actual blows for your enemies and never hit your training partners). Eventually you will come to know all the pressure points well. Your understanding of kata will deepen and your accuracy in performing striking moves will improve, as will your accuracy in blocking the strikes aimed at your pressure points. You have many responsibilities as a karateka; this is possibly the most serious of them all.

Arigato Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, Sempai and Deshi!

Mary McKitrick, Nidan

Northampton Ueshiro Karate

Massachusetts