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Karate, Way of the Empty Hand 4:4

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But the way of clenching the fists is exactly the same as karate. There are some movements like this. Is there any meaning in them? - No, the stance is not special. - But this type of fist is used isn't it? Yes. It is called "chicken's head" in karate. It is the same. In karate, the width of the stance is very important. Many of these dance movements are obviously related to karate. These blocking techniques, for example. Look at the foot movements during the pivot. It's just like in Sanchin kata isn't it? The sole of the foot never leaves the floor. It is the same in karate. Look at that posture. Look how he lowers his hips, his way of walking. - Yes, it is just like in karate. - Yes, it is nearly exactly the same. At the point when he steps forward, he must be completely relaxed and momentarily concentrate his energy there. In 1393, the Chinese government sent a colony of artisans to Okinawa to teach the people the arts of writing, shipbuilding, lacquerwork, and pottery. The Okinawans already had crude pottery before the 14th century, but the Chinese potters added new skills and techniques. These the Okinawans in their turn developed and changed. They became famous for their pottery, and many well-known potters went to Okinawa before 1940 to learn from them, although the pre-war Japanese government tried to discourage this. They wanted a unified Japan, but they had trouble forcing the islanders to conform. The Okinawans cremated their dead and placed their ashes inside huge earthenware jars. Custom dictated that the ashes of one's ancestors be placed in a new jar every few decades, which means there is a constant demand for them. This potter works for three months making several hundred funeral pots. Then they are all put into the kiln together. Just as the Chinese guided the Okinawans in pottery, so they did in karate. Over the past four centuries or more, Okinawan fighting masters have been visiting the Chinese mainland and studying martial arts there. Many of karate's katas were brought to Okinawa in this way. But after they arrived in Okinawa, they were modified and developed to become part of the local fighting system. This was always the principle of their lives: to learn from everyone, but to transform what they learnt to suit their own strong characters. This Chinese lion gets an Okinawan face. Make the top a bit smaller. Fighters traditionally use clay jars for strengthening their fingers and hands. The height is just right. A bit smaller. Every week, a small group of the most senior students gather to do body strengthening exercises and practise the most advanced karate skills. They use a mixture of local and foreign training aids. This loop of solid iron is an Hawaiian training invention. It weighs about sixty pounds. The people of Okinawa have always been stocky, with short, powerful legs, the physique of seafaring people. Karate matches their bodies, giving them a strength much greater than seems possible for their size. In karate, you must never make the first move. You mustn't start fights - that is a precept. That's why all the kata start from a defensive move. If anybody attacks, you must control the attacker and defend yourself. Karate is used for defence, not for hurting others. Karate believes in peace so we don't attack. Although katas are usually practised alone, ocasionally, Higaonna-sensei goes through one of the katas using opponents to demonstrate exactly how each movement is applied. This is very dangerous, requiring practice and extremely careful timing. For this exercise, sensei uses his two most trusted students, Uehara-san and Kamimura-san. Though they are taught that karate is a defensive art, when the fighting starts, there is no lack of brutal techniques. Many of the hand and elbow blows which sensei is using are lethal. They strike into nerve centres and other vital points. The kick with the left leg is a feint, designed to pull the opponent down and onto the powerful right leg to kick. For the devotees of karate then, fighting is not something to be fooled with or played at. It should never happen. They train themselves relentlessly to learn the self-control which prevents fighting breaking out. Their tradition has grown up amid centuries of foreigners invading their small island. Its central philosophy teaches calmness and preparedness in the face of adversity. If Higaonna-sensei has his way, this philosophy of control and self-mastery will be taught alongside the techniques to practitioners of karate all over the world.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 164
Posted by: halfleaf on Apr 25, 2010

Karate, Way of the Empty Hand 4:4

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