.: What is Karate
Adult advanced training methods.
At Shi Zen Do the system we employ is based on traditional Wado Ryu Karate, as founded by Hironori Ohtsuka, which has at its core traditional Japanese Jujitsu and Karate. We also make use of the Chinese systems and integrate these methods of training to enhance our empty hand art, giving us a unique approach to the Martial Arts.
What is Wado Ryu Karate? Wa-Do translates as "Way of peace and harmony" and Ryu as “school”. Wado is a soft style of Martial Art, training the body to move and respond with blending techniques rather than direct opposition to attacks. It puts greater emphasis on the basic body movements of traditional budo arts such as Aikido, Kendo and Judo, and so incorporates the characteristics of avoiding, escaping, entering and pushing.
The Wado Ryu badge, depicting the dove of peace and the fist, encompasses the idea of this system. The dove symbolizes all that is associated with peace and harmony. The fist indicates that to keep this balance a strong grasp is needed; to find inner peace and a strong spirit you first need to train the physical part of the self first. A strong fist is of no use if the Karateka has no control over their emotional and spiritual state of being. It is vital that a balance can be reached between these two. The circular shape of the badge reinforces that this is a soft style, and reflects that the movements in Wado tend to be more circular than other Karate styles. It also reminds us that training is an everlasting cycle of improvement.
At the heart of the Wado Ryu Karate system are the Katas, which are pre-arranged forms. The physical aims of Kata training are to strengthen bone, muscle and ligament and to maximize the efficiency of one's biomechanics. This helps develop fast reflexes and movements, increasing the ability to respond quickly through all of the body's natural range of movements. The four Katas (pre-arranged forms) are the four jewels in the crown of the Wado Ryu system and are as follows: Naihanchi, Kushanku, Seishan, Chinto.
The Chinese systems (Wing Chun – Tai Chi Chuan) use “sticky hands” training methods to cultivate sensitivity and receptivity for use in close quarter fighting. Shizendo Karate training methods also employ this idea in the form of Kakie, sometimes known as Tegumi. Tegumi – Kakie are prearranged hand drills worked in pairs, training the students to develop the necessary skills of touch reflex. It is from here that the secrets of the Karate Katas are unlocked with the key of Tegumi – Kakie. This leads into Karate’s close range freestyle sparring. The basic four arm techniques (the so called “blocks”) found in all Karate styles are the upper, lower, inner and outer uke (uke means “to receive”) movements; these four techniques make up the hand drills in the system. Every Karate Kata bunkai (application) can be fed through at this important range: punches, kicks, locks, throws, takedowns, etc. This is the true Kata range. This is where the Karateka uses the techniques learnt in Kata and fed through to the hand drills, developing their application for self-defence. Learning the hand drills is the most important step a Karateka will take towards understanding the principles and concepts of the system.
Karate is the art of controlling, or defending one’s self from an opponent through the use of manipulation of the joints (Kensetsu) and grappling (Tuite). Tegumi combined with Tuite and Kensetsu offers an inexhaustible variety of possible reactions to any given attack, taken from the principles and concepts learnt from the four jewels in the crown (the four katas of Wado Ryu). The application to Kata offers only an idea of its usage; what's more important are the principles and concepts behind the idea.
Tegumi – Kakie training over time will develop the student to a level of “on the spot” application, where the student can flow from one idea (response) to another whilst controlling his opponent.
Tegumi – Kakie training promotes in the student the ability to flow. The flow is the most important point of training because without the flow there cannot be changes. Changes are the ability to react and respond to an almost inexhaustible variety of methods of attack directed at the Karateka. Therefore flow (change) is the art and without flow there is no art.
Tegumi ---------- Flowing hands
Tuite ------------- Grasping hands
Kensetsu -------- Joint locking hands
Shi Zen Do means “Natural relaxed” or “Natures Way”, an encompassing term in which a person remains naturally relaxed but alert. This is reflected both physically and mentally thus developing a strong spirit. All movements are subject to the laws of nature. The word "Do", when used as a suffix to a particular style of Japanese Martial Arts, is indicative of more than just a means of combat. “Do” indicates a discipline and philosophy with moral and spiritual connotations, the ultimate aim being enlightenment through personal development.
To be able to use the Shi Zen Do method a student has to conquer the tension in the self unlocking the flow from within.
The flow is the Art