It seems that with the advent of athleticism in Karate competition, that some of the tenets of achieving ‘finishing blow’ power within karate-do waza has diminished. Whilst we do not necessarily need the ‘Ichigeki Hittou’ mentality in today’s world, we need to ensure that our karate, when tested, is capable of that and the ‘Todome’ that Shoto foundations were built upon.

Many forget that a technique starts with ‘Mental Power’ or ‘Will’. Our mental state is of paramount importance, not just a ‘mental toughness’ but one of ‘gentle calmness’ and ‘stable emotions’ (A la Musashi in Gorin No Sho). This relies heavily on calmness, clear decision making, and proper/appropriate reactions to the situation. ‘Mizu no Kokoro’ and ‘Tsuki no Kokoro’ really become dominant here. We must also charge our bodies with ‘Ki’ to develop the energy for physical movement, acceleration, and the ability to dominate an aggressive protagonist.

The ‘Internal Force’ and the ‘Physical Control’ are augmented by ‘External Forces’. We rely on these ‘External Forces’ (often static) to create the necessary energy for body movement. ‘Physical Power” is a bio-mechanical product. We use the ‘External Force’ to increase ‘energy’. We shift our centre of gravity using that ‘External Force’, i.e. ‘Reaction Force’ created by using one’s own body power such as twisting or pressing – applying pressure onto/into a stationary object such as the floor or wall.

Our ‘muscles’ contract and relax, our ‘muscles’ and ‘skeletal structure’ expand and contract in unison using the elasticity. These ‘body dynamics’ often use minute movement that create chain reactions. We apply principles such as vibration, rotation, shifting, rising, dropping, and pendular actions, working in harmony and efficiency.

All the parts of the chain must achieve maximum ‘speed’ or ‘potential’ before the next movement or ‘chain link’ begins. The movement, at the correct moment, becomes a continuous transmission from the floor, through the leg, hip, shoulder, elbow/knee and finally to wrist/foot. The pendulum becomes important in the kicking process. Our end game? – Body Shock!

This all sounds so simple. Yet we see many take more than 20 years to achieve the ability to control the internal and external muscles, the ‘O – Waza’; and the ‘Ko-Waza’ etc.

Karate really is a lifelong process of progression.

I will type more, perhaps in greater depth, when my thinking cap is really on.

If you are interested please watch this space.

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