Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

February 10th 2013

From Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Administrator,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

As a "hard" style, Shorin-Ryu karate uses straight techniques.

Offensive techniques are straight, like a bullet or arrow. Even our roundhouse kicks and sidekicks are delivered straight, with an adjustment only at the end, to angle the striking surface of the foot. Defensive techniques are delivered straight; “From ‘point A’ to ‘point B’”. Stepping is straight also, rather than the exaggerated, 90? step forward of Shotokan or the circular step of Goju-ryu.

Straight techniques are faster. (“The quickest route between two points is a straight line.”) They have no wasted motion. And one’s body mass is behind each technique, instead of having the arm do all the work, far from the midline of the body. Therefore, each technique inherently delivers maximum force.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, such as the upward elbow strike in F2; the circular, opening fist in P2; and the three circular back fists in P3; etc.

Finally, you can use this principle to correct your own technique while watching your kata in the mirror or on videotape (especially in slow motion), by looking for examples where your technique is not straight. For instance, when the camera is in front of your body, if your fist drops from the pocket before going forward in the punch – that deviates from straight. Or, likewise, if the fist goes wide from the body (“chicken wing”) before punching forward. In blocking techniques, while watching from the side of the body, look to see if the blocking fist travels forward, to arc around an incorrectly, slow-returning, forward arm coming back into its chambered position. That would show that the blocking arm is making a long, circular path, rather than a short, straight one, because the returning arm is too slow.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Administrator,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

New York, NY • USA
kyoshibaker@aol.com