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Karate, Way of the Empty Hand 2:4

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Karate is considered by most of the world to be a Japanese art. In fact, the main influence on its development was the Chinese martial arts. There are many schools of karate. Master Higaonna practises Gōjū-ryū, the hard and soft style. This has adapted the deep breathing techniques of the soft Chinese martial arts, like Tai Chi. Gōjū-ryū has a special kata based on them called Sanchin. Here it is practised by Master Miyagi. He has instructed Master Higaonna for 25 years. The handing down of knowledge from one master to another has been crucial to the continuity and development of karate. Higaonna spends many hours in discussion with the senior masters. Most of what they know is not written down. But Higaonna believes that if the old traditions are to continue, then everything known must now be recorded. The discussions are often about tiny details, comparing the ways that long dead masters taught and practised. Kina-sensei is 72 years old. He wears a red belt, which is given only to untested beginners, and to the most senior masters, signifying that the master has traveled the full circle of a life of karate. They use the language of Okinawa for these conversations. They say it's impossible to discuss karate properly in Japanese, since only Okinawan has the words for the details and the more profound concepts. Their conversation is continually returned to the subject of kata, and how to perform each one. The hard and soft style of Gōjū-ryū has 13 katas. The most advanced of these is called Suparenpei. It is not taught to students until they have trained for at least 10 years. It consists of abrupt bursts of action contrasted with soft slow controlled movements. Mastery of this kata is considered to be mastery of karate itself. It consists of 112 separate sequences of moves. To perform it correctly requires total physical control. At the same time, the mind must be both alert and yet in a state of meditation. There is a powerful sense of striving in such a performance. Where other fighting arts relax into a fluid, easy style, karate keeps the tension and effort. It is said that at this level of performance, the master is not fighting any imaginary opponents, but is confronting only himself. The purpose of karate is to gain mastery over self. Karate is a defensive martial art which uses no weapons. Someone who has mastered all the aspects of this art is called a "Bushi" in Okinawa. On mainland Japan a "Bushi" means a samurai but in Okinawa it's different. In Okinawa it's someone who has really trained in karate. Someone who has discovered the correct way of life and achieved a placid state of mind. In most places in the world, the teaching of children is considered suitable for the lower grades of black belt. However, in Okinawa, such is the concentration of expertise, that children are often taught by masters. Once formed, this relationship continues for life. Low stance with right block. Look to the right. Repeat. Repeat to the left. There are two main paths in karate. The traditional way is that of self-defence, leading after years of practice to self-discipline. This is the path taught by the traditionalist, including Higaonna. The other path is taking karate away from this ideal into the world of sport, where training leads to sporting contests. Lift your thigh up, then kick. Master Higaonna returned to Okinawa because he felt that the sporting way was taking over. For him, karate can never be a sport. It is not possible to pull a punch or kick, and still perform it properly. In pure karate, a blow must always be practised with full power. - Stop. That's all. - Thank you. Thank you for all your work. In the senior class, the students' ages range from 20 up to 50. Some are black belts of 4th and 5th Dan. Gradings are awarded after detailed and demanding examinations. Keep your wrists relaxed until you strike. Don't do it with tension. Use the hand like a whip. Jump up and down rhythmically and then jump up high. Don't just do it once, do it again. They practise sequences of prepared sparring, which are designed to prepare the students for real fighting and the control of agression. Though his classes in Okinawa are small, Master Higaonna has students throughout the world. He is the head of an international Gōjū-ryū organisation. And he travels regularly to give classes in Europe, South Africa, and India. At the end of the class, the most senior students practise an extraordinary exercise in sustained tension, Sanchinkata. They strip to the waist so that the master can detect any faults of posture or breathing. When breathing, all the muscles and joints in the body should be tightened. Usually in yoga, the body is relaxed, but the difficulty of Sanchin lies in the fact that the breathing and the movements are performed with the abdomen tightened. In Sanchin, the posture is the most important thing. Without correct posture, it is impossible to breathe correctly. In Sanchinkata, the student is trained both mentally and physically to feel unshakable, whatever the attack on him. To stand like a rock in a stormy sea. With feet set slightly apart, and knees turned in, the groin is protected,

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 93
Posted by: halfleaf on Apr 23, 2010

Karate, Way of the Empty Hand 2:4

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