Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai: October 31, 2010

The Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai held its most recent training session on 31 October, 2010. Sensei Alan Lee / Hawaii Senbukan hosted this session at the Kotohira Jinsha.

A familiar format was observed, with every school demonstrating a kata in the first round, followed by the same kata demonstrated in another round with a chance for everyone to ask questions, and closing with each school sharing an application from their kata to be practiced with a partner.

Five of the schools did their version of Pinan Shodan, with variations in the kata name as well, reflecting the various lineages of the styles. Our OSKA group under Pat Nakata Sensei started off with the Chibana Shorin-ryu Pinan Shodan, followed by Charles Goodin Sensei performing the Kishaba Juku version of Pinan Shodan. This was then followed by Herbert Ishida Sensei performing the Kyokushin Pinan Sono Ni, succeeded by Sean Roberts Sensei doing the Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu Heian Nidan and Hisae Ishii-Chang Sensei with the Kenneth Funakoshi Shotokan Heian Nidan.

It was explained that Ankoh Itosu Sensei created the Pinan Shodan kata for the Okinawan school system in the early 1900s as a simplified version of Kusanku, which would be easier for the schoolchildren to learn both in terms of kata length and the literal duration of the physical education classes. While there was initially meant to be only one Pinan kata, Itosu Sensei created four more in successive years to give returning students more kata to practice. Funakoshi Sensei renamed the Pinan Kata to Heian, a change which carried over into schools which had ties to Shotokan. In addition, because Pinan/Heian Shodan was viewed as more complex than the Nidan kata, Funakoshi Sensei switched the teaching order, which is why the Heian Nidan kata is equivalent to the Pinan Shodan kata. Interestingly enough, Kyokushin calls this set of kata Pinan rather than Heian, although they still retain the switched order of kata, which is why Ishida Sensei performed the Pinan Sono Ni kata.

Because the remaining two schools do not perform the Pinan/Heian kata, Alan Lee Sensei’s group did the Gekisai San kata and Angel Lemus Sensei and his wife Judy did Wanchin. Lee Sensei informed us Gekisai San was created by Izumikawa Sensei to increase the variety of kata for younger practitioners, especially for use in tournaments. It includes techniques from Gekisai Ichi and Ni in addition to other sequences. Lemus Sensei stated the Wanchin kata was created by Zenryo Shimabukuro to commemorate the opening of his dojo in 1962. The name was derived from a combination of Wansu and Chinto, which formed the basis of the kata.

During the application portion of our training, it was interesting to note how the distance from the opponent at which a technique would be executed would differ from school to school, even if the movements were similar. This affected the meaning of not only that technique, but the subsequent one as well. For example, in our school, a shuto uke (knife hand block) that strikes the opponent’s upper punching arm requires close distance, thus stepping forward, crowding the opponent, and executing another shuto uke would be more akin to striking the opponent and/or knocking him out of the way. On the other hand, some schools use a shuto uke that strikes at an opponent’s punching arm at the wrist, thus requiring greater separation between you and your opponent. Therefore stepping forward with a shuto uke would be aimed further up the opponent’s other (or same) arm as he punches again and be a means of closing distance.

I am grateful to continually witness the earnest sharing of karate of many schools by instructors who truly consider each other friends. The focus on training is what makes these sessions embody what is meant by “the study of karate”.

In attendance:

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

Pat Nakata Sensei (OSKA [Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate Association]), Alan Yokota (Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai Hawaii), Roy Rivera, Steve Chun, John Oberle, and Grant Kawasaki.

Alan Lee Sensei (Hawaii Senbukan Dojo, Goju Ryu) with Garrett Miyagawa and Corey Shimabukuro.

G. Hiase Ishii-Chang (Island Ki, Kenneth Funakoshi Shotokan Karate)

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

Angel Lemus Sensei (Ninchokan Dojo, Zentokukai) with Judy Lemus

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

Observing were Rodney Shimabukuro Sensei, Carl Kinoshita, and Clyde Kinoshita