Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

April 6th, 2014

From Sensei Neff, Yon Dan Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo/Ueshiro Karate Club of Brooklyn


Bunkai Continuation


Let’s continue to look at Bunkai again this week. Sensei Tamir got me thinking about our kata and how many of them end with “defensive moves.” There are two great descriptions of Master Ueshiro’s Fukyugata Sandan in the 50th Anniversary Journal. (Pages 33-41) Master Ueshiro’s kata basically ends with a chest block stepping backwards. Is that a killing move or perhaps a symbolic move representing the end of the fight and then presenting our fist, our empty hand?


Four out of the five Pinan kata composed by Master Anko Itosu end the “fight” with blocks, defensive moves. There are multiple ways to interpret these endings. Let’s look at Pinan Nidan. There are four consecutive Gedan shuto-uke (Lower knife hand blocks) performed from Neko-ashi-dachi (Cat stance.) We must ask ourselves what are we doing here. Are we merely blocking four attacks? Most likely not as Sensei Tamir stated, this is a fight and a fight is vicious! Perhaps we are breaking the leg/s or arm/s of our attacker/s. Or did the fight end with the last punch and we are just scanning the deck and throwing out blocks just in case as in the searching moves of kata Passai.


I don’t have the answer to these questions. We must all search for our own answers. Perhaps the answer changes depending on the day and the real or imaginary attacker we are working with or fighting. I believe we need to explore these questions and come up with more than one interpretation that could work for us.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu-


Sensei Neff, Yon Dan

- Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo

- Ueshiro Karate Club of Brooklyn