Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kakushite - the Hidden Hand

A continuation on the theme of kata applications is found in an old issue of Black Belt magazine.
Fumio Demura discusses and illustrates Kakushite - the Shito Ryu Hidden Hand.

This is consistent with Shiroma Shimpan's use of Kata techniques. Likely a practice descended from Itosu training too.











5 comments:

Charles James said...

Hi, Sensei: I have a slightly different take on kakushi-te, i.e.


Kakureta-te [隠れた手]

The characters/ideograms mean "hidden hand." The first character means, "conceal; hide; cover," the last character means, "hand." The other characters are elements or compounds that help express the other two characters to mean hidden hands.

Kakushi-te [隠し手]

The first two characters/ideograms mean "hidden; secret; concealed." The first character means, "conceal; hide; cover," the last character means, "hand." The first two characters when added to the last mean "hidden hand."

Notice that both English terms and the differing characters mean the same, "hidden hand." Kakushi-te is used in martial arts to denote a type of bunkai in a kata practiced in a variety of styles, Okinawan karate. How it is explained is that kakushi-te is an element within kata that cannot be readily seen by the eye but is considered hidden from observation. Some believe is is a hidden technique but in reality it is an explanation, of the times of older Okinawa, for the variations within a bunkai of kata, the original or base/fundamental/classical bunkai of kata.

Some believe this was intended by the old masters of karate, i.e. that they held the philosophy that one must "show but not tell." This is a misunderstanding of the culture and belief system that is the essence of every Okinawan, not just the karate masters of old. It is a philosophy they were exposed to by the Japanese occupiers starting when they invaded in the 1600's.

In those cultural belief systems it was not a matter of hidden or don't tell over showing. It was a part of the Japanese system called "shikata." Everything done in those cultures from the feudal era and inherited later by Okinawans under occupation was held closely to specific patterns depending on a variety of factors where in martial arts bu-jutsu/bu-do governed. Shikata meant that every detail of society was governed by specific kata or patterns. Everyone who was a specific discipline was governed by specified kata of that discipline.

The show but do not tell model was created to explain this complex system by non-Asians. We didn't understand shikata and thus assumed that we would be shown but not told how and why things were as they were. In reality, Asians (emphasis on Japan and Okinawa) could immediately recognize a kata of a discipline by observation. In addition, asking questions was considered outside of a system of harmonious societal beliefs ergo the shikata provided specific patterns that everyone was assumed able to see or observe. When you connect shikata of the culture to various disciplines it becomes easier for the people of that culture to observe and then meld with that group by simple observation. Since shikata for a specific discipline was the same everywhere you, as a person of that culture, would find it easier to detect a means of performing that discipline simply by seeing it in action precluding any need for asking questions.

This is a simplistic response to this term and the whole sum of all parts to the culture and belief system that drives many of the Asian disciplines with emphasis on martial arts. Find the shikata and associate it to the understanding of the ancients culture and belief systems and you have a key to open the door to understanding fully the what, when, where, how and most important "why" of what we inherited in our martial arts/systems.

Victor Smith said...

Thank you Charles, this is certainly something to consider.
I was just reporting Demura Sensei's article, information not to promote the term.

Charles James said...

The terms themselves are simply a segue into the topic as the article promotes to any writer. The meat is the paragraphs that follow "Notice that both English terms..."

Apologies if I am giving the impression that the article by Demura is wrong. I meant it to be another viewpoint according to research in cultural terms, etc.

Regards and Best,

Charles J.

Charles James said...

The terms themselves are simply a segue into the topic as the article promotes to any writer. The meat is the paragraphs that follow "Notice that both English terms..."

Apologies if I am giving the impression that the article by Demura is wrong. I meant it to be another viewpoint according to research in cultural terms, etc.

Regards and Best,

Charles J.

Unknown said...

The last training we have with Fujita Sensei one discussion over the term and the useuse of Kakushite uchi in Uechi-Ryu.
Fujita Sensei tell us that the term Kakushite means hidden hand, but in Uechi-Ryu is different because Kaku means Crane,and the correct naming, in his thoughts, is Kakushu.
For that, one thing is Kakushite, Kakushite uchi, Kakushite zuki (as the zuki in Wanshu of Shorin Ryu Matsubayashi), and other different thing is Kakushu or the Crane hand. Regrets