Yokeru – Koto

For the past few days, during Zoom training, we have been looking at Happo Sabaki/Tai Sabaki; i.e. the 8 directions of attack and defence.

We are now moving forward, from ‘simple Sabaki’ to the more ‘complex Sabaki’. This will bring terminology that you may not be as familiar with.

It is quite important, within karate, to understand these Japanese terms, and describe them, not just be able to do the practical move or application. Why? Because Karate is a traditional Okinawan/Japanese Art, and the language used in Traditional Karate-Do can be spoken in any dojo, in any country, anywhere in the world, even though you don’t speak French, Italian, Welsh, Urdu, Swahili, etc.

Today, I am looking at the simple terminology for ‘Yokeru – Koto’! Yokeru is the Japanese verb meaning ‘to evade’; and in Japanese language we can turn the verb into a noun by adding ‘Koto’ indicating ‘things’. Thus, Yokeru – Koto = Evasion.

In essence, we move our body (Tai Sabaki) in such a way that we avoid the opponent’s technique (attack). Simple enough, as a concept, more difficult in execution. We must put it in our minds and focus on developing these.

We will also hear the terminology ‘Naname’. Simply put, ‘Naname’ means ‘Diagonal’

We need to understand that with simple attacks the opponent’s strike or body will be normally moving in the line or direction of their attack! By evading, not necessarily blocking, they (the Teki), are for a moment in time placed in disadvantage (Kyo), as they can not quickly recover enough to change their attack. For this to work, we must allow the attack and wait until the last possible moment before we move, otherwise we show them our intent – creating our own moment in Kyo that they can exploit.

This is of course a Go-No-Sen concept.

If we apply Yokeru-Koto arduously and consistently in our practice, we find options; 1) there may be no need to block, 2) their attack is too strong so we must still block then add the counter, 3) we could be blocking and countering at the same time as we employ the ‘evasion’, and 4) the end game – a De-Ai with a strong attack or simultaneous block/attack.

For the purpose of this text, all the attacks are Migi Oizuki or Migi Maegeri from the Semete.

Now don your ‘Dogi’ and practice ‘Hidari Mae Naname’ as simple ‘Sabaki’, from Shizentai; then we with some concentration and arduous practise, move to another phase – ‘Hidari Naname Ni Yokeru Koto’ and ‘Migi Naname Ni Yokeru Koto’ from ‘Hidari Jiyu No Kamae’.

Enjoy! OSS!

The Relationship between Bushido and Karatedo.

Nakaya Takao Sensei gave me permission to use some of his writing, solely for the purpose of education for our Gima-Ha organisation. I therefore, with his permission, reproduce the following excerpt from KARATEDO – History and Philosophy.

I thank him sincerely.

“Now, I chose four Okinawan Karatedoka who went to the mainland of Japan, and taught Karatedo there. I try to understand the relationship between Bushido and Karatedo simply through these four Karatedoka’s footprints. The following four Okinawan Karatedoka graduated from Shihangakko (page 24): Juhatsu Kyoda (1887-1968), Kanken Toyama (1888-1966), Makoto Gima (1896-1989), and Hiroyasu Tamae (1906-1985). Funakoshi is not included because his group became very large with college Karatedo clubs, so he could not teach his way correctly to all his students as in a private school. Shihangakko was the highest level school in Okinawa at that time, so these Karatedoka should have learned Bushido. They did not try to create a big organisation, but they left wonderful students. I contacted students of all four Karatedoka. They were so nice and friendly. When their teachers learned Karatedo, it was not in the setting of democracy and freedom. but it seems these four teachers taught their students democracy and freedom with excellent ethics, and did not use their students for unworthy things. Of course, they were schoolteachers, but I believe that they learned Karatedo correctly as Budo, and I think that Okinawan Karatedoka might not have the experience of real Bushido in their history. Bushido taught us many excellent ethics, but Bushido make a demand of the follower to sacrifice for their over-lord’s private reasons. Bushido was concerned with always being prepared for war. Okinawan Karatedoka had more of an opportunity to discover oneself in society and to learn self-defence of of one’s own personal territory. In this connection I may add that Bushido was learned by Bushi’s family only in Japan, but Karatedo was learned by everybody Okinawa. Even famers or fisherman could learn it.”