Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai: February 28, 2010

The Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai held its most recent meeting on Sunday, 28 February, 2010. As always, it was an enjoyable opportunity to learn about and share traditional karate with each other. The session followed our usual pattern of three rounds of kata study. The first round was a demonstration of kata, followed by another round of demonstration, but with a question and answer session after each kata. The third round consisted of each instructor explaining an application from the kata they performed and then a few minutes for everyone to practice the technique.

This time we studied four kata: Anan, Gojushiho, Saifa, and Kanegawa no Timbei.

Starting us all off, Sean Roberts Sensei performed Anan. This kata most likely came into Shito Ryu from Ryuei Ryu and Roberts Sensei emphasized the more circular movements within the kata and some of the crane-style strikes and blocks.

Following this, the Gojushiho kata was performed by Charles Goodin Sensei, Angel Lemus Sensei and his wife Judy, and Hisae Ishii-Chang Sensei. Gojushiho was explained as being more of a Naha-style kata in derivation and not technically a “core” Shuri-te kata, although many Shorin schools do perform this kata since Sokon Matsumura taught his version of it. It was this version that was performed by each of the instructors mentioned above. The Naha/Chinese roots can not only be seen from the actual movements themselves, but also the name itself, as “Gojushiho” means “fifty-four”. Nakata Sensei explained that his instructor, Chibana Chosin Sensei, stated that all “number” kata were Naha kata of Chinese origin. The Shotokan Gojushiho Sho appears to be a variant of the Itosu Gojushiho, while their Gojushiho Dai is the more prevalent Matsumura Gojushiho. One of the easiest ways to distinguish the Itosu version from the Gojushiho version is that one of the earlier sequences contains two punches, a kick, and then another punch. If the foot steps back after the kick, it is the Matsumura version. If it steps forward, it is the Itosu version.

Next, Alan Lee Sensei and his student Kyle Nakasone Sensei performed the kata Saifa, followed by Herb Ishida Sensei, who was representing Bobby Lowe Sensei. While not a “number” kata, this kata does have Chinese origins, having been brought back by Kanryo Higaonna. The kata included a lot of grabbing, ripping, and tearing, the name itself meaning “smash and tear”.

Lastly, Pat Nakata Sensei performed Kanegawa no Timbei, being joined by Alan Yokota, Roy Rivera, Steve Chun, and myself. He explained that this weapons kata came more from the farmer/peasant class and that the classical items used were the large Chinese straw hats (timbei) or pot covers as a sort of shield coupled with a small stick called a hira, which was essentially a potato digger. If there is metal and/or blades involved, the weapon is called a rochin. Due to these weapons’ relatively flimsy natures compared to a sharp katana, the kata focuses more on deception, timing, and masking of the weapon while moving and striking in order to defeat the opponent.

During the application round, everyone partnered up to practice techniques present in the kata just performed. Unfortunately, Roberts Sensei had to leave early to teach a class. Lee Sensei, Lemus Sensei, and Ishida Sensei each explained techniques based around escapes from a grab, while Nakata Sensei explained some of the concepts involved in elbow strikes. These included the use of the opposite hand to pull an opponent inwards rather than overextending and the difference between a forearm smash versus hitting with the elbow.

After the conclusion of the session, there was some discussion about footwork and how it affects moving with body weight and power generation. Like always, it was very refreshing to see individuals from different styles meeting together in the spirit of openness and learning in order to help everyone grow as practitioners of karate.

In attendance:

Herb Ishida Sensei (representing Bobby Lowe Sensei, Kyokushin Karate)

Pat Nakata Sensei (Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate Association Hawaii, Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai Hawaii) with Alan Yokota, Roy Rivera, Steve Chun, and John Oberle

Alan Lee Sensei (Hawaii Senbukan Goju Ryu) with Kyle Nakasone Sensei

G. Hiase Ishi-Chang (Island Ki Shotokan Karate) with Dr. Leo Maher

Charles Goodin Sensei (Hikari Dojo, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Kishaba Juku)

Angel Lemus Sensei (Ninchokan Dojo, Zentokukuai of Hawaii, Sukunaihayashi Shorin Ryu) with Judy Lemus

Sean Roberts Sensei (Minakami Karate Dojo, Minakami-ha Shito-Ryu)

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