In order to better understand karate, a student would have to invest more than a lifetime in its practice, training and teachings. As a student grows in the martial arts, doors open. Ways of seeing things that were once basic, become advanced. Moving through the intermediate levels, a karate-ka developes a sense of where he/she is going. Already, the karate-ka should understand many techniques, katas, exercises, kumites (free style, form, three-step, close-in and focus stance sparring), reigisaho (manners/dojo etiquette), vast amount of terminology, culture, history, philosophies, meditations and tournament competition.
In Trias Karate, we like to say that upon achieving the rank of Shodan (1st degree black), a student is now just beginning his/her journey. The intricacies of yudansha studies takes all that we have learned thus far and unwinds and re-ravels it, stimulating the karate-ka's mind to question, ponder and explore the "why's" and "how's" of the art. Think of it as a 'larger than life' form of meditation.
Below are the practices, exercises, kata and kumite of our karate:
26 One Step Sparring Techniques (Ippon Kumite Kata). A preset form representing the response to
an aggressor's attack. Consist of a beginning block followed by a series of rapid-fire technique to include strikes, kicks,
breaks, chokes, sweeps and throws, finishing always with a low sweeping block to readied position (indicating a preparedness for any
renewed attack). These one-step forms are executed with an emphasis on power without sacrificing proper form. The student
first learns the proper techniques of each Ippon in solo practice. Then, when comfortable with the series of an 'Ippon',
the student works them with another student being the tori (attacker). Once learned, a student will perform both left and right
sides in alternation in two directions as well as in four and eight directions. As a student advances in his/her performance of these
26 Ippon Kumite Kata, he/she then performs them in 3 levels of blocking. Level one blocking of opponent's punch is at the wrist.
Level two blocking of opponents punch is contacted at slightly before the elbow. And level three blocking is delivered
to the attackers mid-part of the upper arm.
10 Continuous Motion Techniques (Taezu Naru Waza). Liken to that of the Ippons
outlined above, but with emphasis on fluidity. Again, as a series of techniques the start and end with a block, they are executed
with good form and fluid power. Practiced against an opponent and utilized on both sides of the body in two, four and eight
directions. Still, as a means of advancement in performance, the three levels of blocking are practiced.
30 Advancing Step
Sparring Techniques (Kihon Kumite Waza). Devised to train a defender to use angles and 'pass-through' defense strategies.
Most blocks are initiated against the opponents attack in a forward manner, to the left or right. As a training exercise, Kihons
are used to ready an opponent for defensive strategies as one would see in jiyu-kumite (free sparring) or self-defense in
general. Emphasis is place on speed, power and fluidity of motion without sacrificing distinct form. The performer learns
body turning, shifting and changing of direction. The same application as with Ippons and Taezus, two, four and eight directions,
against an opponent and three levels of blocking are used.
Taikyoko exercises. Serving as an introductory to kata, Taikyoko
are translated to mean First Basic Steps. A student is taught to start in ready formal stance, prepare the mind and body, and
begin a series of repetitious technique performed in movement of stance to stance. The exercise 'kata' is in the shape of an
"H" or "I" pattern with a return to the beginning. This exercise readies a student for the more involved and irregular patterned
kata to come.
Kata, known simply as 'form', is a package series of technique (often having 40 or more steps) that is handed down
through the years from our early masters. Each kata has a 'theme' and 'interpretation'. Not only does the kata have an
interpretation, but each individual and group of moves have interpretations. This is know as bunkai. Katas teach a student
techniques in motion done with power, speed, focus, balance, fluidity and expressiveness. Some movements require tension in
slow motion with (or without) audible breath. The katas are grouped accordingly to degree of difficulty and what each teaches.
Some Katas focus on balance and quick directional changes, some focus on dynamic body tension and internal power and some kata involve
long movements with straight or circular technique. Often, a student will find a kata he or she prefers most and works well.
All kata are expected to be practiced to no end, where perfecting the movements and techniques will take many years if not a lifetime.
exercise (Jiju Undo) is an expression of self in movement. A student takes from what he or she has learned from one-steps,
kata, techniques, animal forms, direction changing technique (kogekis and kado ido) and creates a continuous motion form. The
allows a student to express their 'content' of karate on an open floor.
Kime Dachi Kumite (focus stance sparring) was, in
a time before open sparring, the only practice of 'kumite'. Involving one stance chosen to stand before an opponent where technique
are executed 'at will' against one another. Each of the two students are expected to strike or kick, block and counter with
the intent to score a point or cause the other opponent to loose balance in his or her stance. Control of technique with proper
form and execution is a must. A win is declared as one reaches a set score of 5 or 8 points.
Kata Kumite (form sparring) is
used as a means to train students to use form in their technique, stances and movement. While moving at full speed, the
two students will continue their barrage of techniques for a set time period. The time period is established according to the
rank of the students involved. Six minutes of full speed Kata Kumite is expected of black belts.
Jiyu Kumite (free sparring) and
Sessen Kumite (close-in sparring) are what we recognized today as being the competition variety of point fighting. Free sparring
is just what it is, a student being allowed to use any technique allowable to any target allowable for by which to score a point.
Generally, in mudansha ranks (under black belt), a competitor needs to score 3 points for a win within a time period of 2 minutes.
With two judges in opposite corners and one referee controlling the action, any seeing of a 'point earning' technique executed
with proper requirements to a permissible target areas stops the 'fight' on call of 'ippon'! If majority agrees, the scoring
contestant is awarded the point. The requirements for a proper technique is as follows: a kick or strike executed with
proper power, speed, focus, extension, recoil, balance, and with the ability to follow-up if need be. Contact is forbidden
to the head and contact to the body is expected to be light and non-injurious. Yudansha (black belt) competitors will have four
judges and one referee, time period of three minutes or first scoring to five points, contact is expected to be medium to body targets
and restraint for no contact to the head / face. Again, proper techniques only for scoring points. Close-in sparring is
used more often as an 'in dojo' training where space is limited and the student is pressed to fight a more heightened sense of protection
as well as clean, proper technique. Other forms of sessen kumite are seiza (kneeling) kumite and suwaru (sitting) kumite.
Students learn to fight from the restricted positions of kneeling or sitting.
Kata taught and practiced in our system:
Shuri-ryu core kata
Wansu (Strong Arm Form or Dumping Form).
Anaku (Pivoting Form or A Swallow on The Beach).
Sanchin (Original Pupil Breath Form or Three Conflicts Form).
San-mitsu (extension form of Sanchin) alternating open and closed hand technique performed in Sochin-dachi.
San-sei (extension form of Sanchin) alternating open and closed hand technique at greater extension, performed in Hangetsu-dachi.
Naihanchi-sho (Iron Horse Form or Missing Enemy Form).
Naihanchi-ni (Iron Horse Form or Missing Enemy Form), As a second part to the first.
Naihanchi-san (Iron Horse Form or Missing Enemy Form), As a third part to the two previous.
O'Naihanchi (Greater Iron Horse Form or Greater Missing Enemy Form), In it's entirety.
Tsue-sho no kon (First Bo Form or Way of the Bo Form).
Empi-sho (First Elbow Form or Flying Swallow Form).
Bassai-dai (Breaking Through The Giant Enemies Circle Form or Breaking Through The Fortress Form).
KanKu-sho (Flowing Lagoon or Sky Form).
Gopei-sho (Advanced Tearing Peacock Form).
NanDan-sho (Smooth Water Form, 24 Steps Form or Difficult Victory Form).
DanEnn-sho (Cutting or Clawing Through Fire Form or Tsume Form).
Tensho (Thousand Hands Form or Heaven Breath Form), literally meaning 'motion of hands'.
Tendai (movements are that of Tensho, with extension in technique and modification to the kata ending)
Tenchi (movements are that of Tensho with greater extension and modification to the kata ending)
Te Katana (Gimku-Chu-Knife Sai Form), performed with or without the sai.
Omoto No Ten
Taikyoko exercise extensions 4 through 10
Taikyoko Goju 1, A and B
Taikyoko Goju 2, A and B
Taikyoko Goju 3, A-B-and-C.
Neko Buto 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5