Monday, May 19, 2014

Starting at the Beginning

When I first started studying Isshinryu in Salisbury, Md. The first movements I learned were from the Upper Body Chart, and the first movement was RFF Right Punch (Right Foot Forward Right Punch).
Straight logic would tell us that the first study may be the most important study. 

Frankly for a very long time I interpreted this movement (as well as 2, 3 and 4) as a pre-emptive strike into an attacker before they could hit you.  I still consider this a good logical answer. 
Still more can be found with this movement.

Consider what I see in the new Mario McKenna’s translation of the Nakasone’s ‘Karate-Do Taiken’.  (Note 1)   Shiroma Shimpan’s description of the first strike follows.

How the counter-strike works is interesting.  No matter how hard or how fast the attacker drives at you, their strike must pass through a circle (with about an 8” diameter) about their elbow length from their shoulder.  Where they have to drive through that point to get to you with your focus, you can start after their attack and only have to strike to though that circle focus before them (a much shorter distance) to effect the deflection, allowing you to then strike them.

Middle strike, upper strike, uppercut, grab or push, the attacking limb makes no difference it must pass through the point you’re striking through Your arm going through that point effects a deflection, either up or down, in or out.

The other year John Kerker demonstrated how Sherman Harrill had been using that point for soft blocks not to set off a attackers counter to your response. In this case Shiroma Shimpan is showing a strike that in effect uses the same point.

(1) Mario McKenna’s translation of the Nakasone’s ‘Karate-Do Taiken’.)  Taken from the section ‘Karate-do Kata and their meaning’ by Shiroma Shimpan. Shiroma Shimpan was a student of Itosu (creator of the Pinan kata) and that lineage of karate became the basis of Funakoshi Ginchin’s Shotokan as well as Mabuni Kenwa’s Shito-ryu.

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