Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

January 13th, 2014

From Kyoshi Matt Kaplan Shihan, Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Dojo

(State College, PA)

Technical Spec Sheets

The 25 Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu USA Technical Spec Sheets that Hanshi and Kyoshi Mackay developed some years ago are a gold mine of valuable information that clarifies some of the techniques in “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do” by Master Shoshin Nagamine. I recommend scanning the Spec Sheets on a regular basis, copying the ones that you find most helpful for your karate training, and reviewing these sheets before or after your 10-kata-a-day training sessions.

Here are some of my personal favorites, and some notes as to why I find them so valuable:

Spec. number: 10

Technique: Augmented side punch (Morote-zuki)

Kata: N1, Kusanku

[Good reminder to keep the supporting (or augmenting) arm close to the body, with elbow slightly down to protect ribs.]

Spec. number: 11

Technique: Spear-hand thrust (Nukite-zuki)

Kata: P1, P3, Gojushiho, Kusanku

[For some reason, I still bend the middle finger on these strikes and need to re-learn the correct techniques, i.e., with fingers extended (although not stiff, so that the strike can be absorbed without breaking the fingers), and with tight and bent thumb.]

Spec. number: 12

Technique: Hammer-fist strike (Kentsui-uchi)

Kata: P2, N3

[Good reminder to focus on the collar bone (as opposed to the nose) as appropriate target.]

Spec. number: 16

Technique: Palm-heel smash (Shotei-ate)

Kata: Rohai, Wanshu, Passai, Kusanku

[Helpful reminder to practice upper and lower palm-heel smash techniques with a 140 degree bend to the elbow.]

Spec. number: 20

Technique: Dropping downward block (Otoshi-uke)

Kata: P5, Passai

[Good reminder to angle the complementary arm (slightly) upwards; underlying idea is to use the elbow of that arm to protect ribs.]

Spec. number: 21

Technique: Lower knife-hand block (Gedan shuto-uke) and Lower sideward knife-hand slashing block (Gedan shuto yoko-barai-uke)

Kata: P2, Rohai

[Draws attention to some subtleties with regard to the positioning of the augmenting hand; it matters whether the block is straight ahead or to the side.]

Spec. number: 22

Technique: Lower cross block (Gedan kosa-uke)

Kata: P4, P5, Chinto

[Draws attention to some subtleties with regard to wind-up and positioning of hands that bear further study and practice.]

Spec. number: 25

Technique: Dropping downward block (Otoshi-uke)

Kata: P5, Passai

[Good reminder to adopt a slightly upward angling of the supporting arm to ensure protection of the solar plexus.]

In sum, these Spec Sheets are an invaluable resource. They are easily accessible online here in multiple (pdf and Word) formats. I hope you find them as valuable as I have.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,

Kyoshi Matt Kaplan

Shihan, Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Dojo (State College, PA)