"THE WARRIOR WAY"
Senshi Do Karate Kata
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SMALL DIFFERENCES IN THE TECHNIQUES SHOWN ON THE VIDEOS COMPARED TO
WHAT YOU WILL BE TAUGHT IN THE CLASS. VIDEOS ARE
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The word kata means
"shape" or "form". The kanji for kata is composed of the
meaning "Cut" and
meaning "Earth" or "Soil".
Literally translated, kata means "shape which
cuts the ground".
A kata is a sequence of blocks, kicks and
punches from one or more stances, involving movement forward,
backward and to the sides. The number of movements and their
sequence are very specific. The balance between offensive and
defensive techniques, the stances used and the direction and
flow of movement all serve to give each kata its distinctive
Through the practice of kata, the traditional
techniques used for fighting are learned. Balance, coordination,
breathing and concentration are also developed. Done properly,
kata are an excellent physical exercise and a very effective
form of total mind and body conditioning. Kata embodies the idea
of ren ma, or "always polishing" - with diligent
practice, the moves of the kata become further refined and
perfected. The attention to detail that is necessary to perfect
a kata cultivates self-discipline.
Through concentration, dedication and
practice, a higher level of learning may be achieved, where the
kata is so ingrained in the subconscious mind that no conscious
attention is needed. This is what the Zen masters call mushin,
or "no mind." The conscious, rational thought practice is not
used at all - what was once memorized is now spontaneous.
One should think of karate as a language -
the kihon (basics) can be thought of as letters of the
alphabet, the kata (forms) will be the equivalent of
words and sentences, and the kumite (fighting) will be
analogous to conversations. It is better to master just one kata
than to only half-leam many.
There are three fundamental principles of
Waza no Kankyu.
The Tempo (slow/fast) of the Techniques. The tempo of kata
varies - some techniques are performed quickly, while others are
done more slowly.
Chikara no Kyojaku.
The Force (strong/weak) of the Power. The power of a technique
derives from the proper balance between strength and relaxation.
Iki no Chosei.
The Control (regulation) of Breathing.
The practice of traditional kata is also a
way for the karateka to pay respect to the origins and
history of Senshi Do Karate and the martial arts in
Senshi Do kata
can be categorized as "Northern Kata" or "Southern
Kata," based upon their origin and development.
The Northern Kata
are similar to those found in Shotokan Karate, since they were
developed from Mas Oyama's training under Gichen Funakoshi.
Master Funakoshi in turn derived these kata from northern
Chinese kempo and Shorin Ryu, the Okinawan karate style based on
Chinese Shaolin (i.e. "Shorin"} kempo. These kata utilize long,
powerful stances and strong blocks and strikes. The Northern
Sono Ichi, Ni and San
Pinan Sono Ichi, Ni, San, Yon and
Tsuki no Kata
The Southern Kata were developed
from Mas Oyama's study of the Okinawan karate
style of Gojo Ryu under So Net Chu, which in
turn were derived from southern Chinese kempo. The
movements in these kata are more circular and
flamboyant than those in the Northern Kata. The
Southern Kata include:
Sanchin no Kata
Gekisai Dai and Sho
San seru Meanings
literally translated as "grand ultimate" and in Chinese, the
kanji characters are pronounced Tai Chi. The word
Taikyoku can also mean overview or the whole point - seeing
the whole rather than focusing on the individual parts, and
keeping an open mind or beginner's mind. The beginner's mind is
what is strived for during training and in life. The beginner's
mind does not hold prejudice and does not cling to a narrow
view. The beginner's mind is open to endless possibilities.
Pinan is the
Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for peace
and relaxation (pronounced Heian in Japanese). Though the
physical moves of the kata involve techniques used for fighting,
the purpose of kata is to develop a calm, peaceful mind and
harmony between the mind and body.
literally means "three battles" or "three conflicts". It is the
principle kata in certain Okinawan styles, such as Goju Ryu and
Uechi Ryu, and it is likely one of the oldest kata. Certain
legends attribute the creation of Sanchin to Bodhidharma in the
early sixth century. Sanchin kata seeks to develop three
elements at the same time:
The mind, body and the techniques,
The internal organs, circulation and the
nervous system, and
The three ki, located in:
the top of the head (tento), - the
diaphragm (hara), and - the lower abdomen (tan den).
Sanchin is an isometric kata where each move
is performed in a state of complete tension, accompanied by
powerful, deep breathing (ibuki) that originates in the
lower abdomen (tan den). The practice of Sanchin not only
leads to the strengthening of the body, but to the development
of the inner power (ki) and the coordination of mind and
conquer and occupy. The name is derived from the characters
Geki, meaning attack or conquer, and Sai, meaning fortress or
stronghold (literally translated as "closed", "shut" or
"covered"). The word Gekisai can also mean demolish, destroy or
pulverize. The katas teach strength through fluidity of motion,
mobility and the utilization of various techniques. Flexibility
of attack and response will always be superior to rigid and
derived from the characters Yan, meaning safe, and Su,
meaning three. The name is attributed to that of a Chinese
military attache to Okinawa in the 19th Century. The
word yansu also means
to keep pure, striving to maintain the purity
of principles and ideals rather than compromising for
Tensho is a basic illustration of the
definition of Karate, derived from Chinese kempo, as a technique
of circles based on points. Tensho should be a prime object of
practice because, as a psychological and theoretical support
behind karate training and as a central element in basic karate
formal exercises, it has permeated the techniques, the blocks
and the thrusts, and is intimately connected with the very life
A man who has practiced Tensho kata a number
of thousands of times and has a firm grasp of its theory can not
only take any attack, but can also rum the advantage in any
attack, and will always be able to defend himself perfectly.
Sushiho means 54
steps. Sushiho is derived from the words Useshi, the
Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for 54 (pronounced Go
Ju Shi in Japanese), and Ho, meaning walk or step.
Other karate styles call this advanced kata Gojushiho.
Garyu means reclining dragon. In
Japanese philosophy, a great man who remains in obscurity is called
a Garyu. A dragon is all-powerfull, but a reclining dragon chooses
not to display his power until it is needed. Likewise, a true
karateka does not brag about or show off his abilities. He never
forgets the true virtue of humility.
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