December 9th 2012
Sensei Larry Link
BACK TO THE BASICS
As we advance in rank, it can be exciting to add new moves and new kata to our repertoire. Indeed one of the fantastic things about Shorin Ryu Karate is that it is truly a lifetime marathon, with enough depth and breadth to last many, many lifetimes. For example, this week marks my 19th anniversary of study and yet, I only know 17 of the 19 kata in our system. Still so much to look forward to!
However, we cannot allow ourselves to become enamored with our latest moves at the cost of forgetting the basics. Instead, we need to work two, or three, or TEN times as hard on the basics for every new move we learn. For every time we perform our most recent kata, we must repeat Fukyugata Ichi two, or three, or TEN times to keep those basic moves sharp, strong and fresh in our mind and body. This is true for at least two important reasons (and probably more): 1) the basics form the foundation for everything else we do, and without a strong foundation, the entire structure will fail. 2) In a life or death situation, we are much more likely to be "saved" by a basic move like a simple upper block, or chest punch, than we are by Gedan shotei-ate (lower palm heel smash). The basic moves must be ingrained deeply if we are to react quickly with Mushin (no mind).
During the Black Belt workout last weekend, Hanshi repeatedly emphasized the basics. There was no talk of fancy flying kicks or complex pressure point techniques. Instead, it was all about keeping the heels down, the fingers and fists tight, and the eyes up. Step first with simple, natural movement. Back to the basics....
Arigato Gozaimasu Hanshi!