TACHIKATA — Akio Minakami O Sensei

For Karate movements, whenever we execute punches, kicks, blocks, strikes or even simply moving forward or backwards, if we know how the body operates as a fulcrum and which pivot point (or in some cases multiple points) to use, we can execute each technique with optimal trajectory, utilizing maximum speed and power.  For instance, in moving from one zenkutsu dachi (forward stance) to another zenkutsu dachi, beginners must create a fulcrum with the front leg usually placing the pivot point at the front knee with the body weight transferring to the front hip.  Once their weight is transferred they will push the opposite side of the hip forward in order to take a step.  This then becomes a conventional step forward.  A more advance way of moving forward utilizing proper WAZA (skill), would be to create an additional pivot point internal to your body and lift the opposite hip making that side “weightless” in the process.  This will allow you to move forward with a quicker movement as your weight is not transferred from one side of the body to the other.  Using this internal pivot point and lifting the opposite side of the body internally allows a more natural body movement that minimizes the use of physical strength giving rise to a smoother and faster step.  This is more difficult to perform and takes practice to execute smoothly.

There is a pervasive misconstrued belief about “traditional karate”. Some practitioners (students AND teachers) learn a technique and then somehow create a very ridged idea in their mind that “this is the traditional way of performing this technique”. They will hold on to that idea very tightly. Even when they see the technique performed with more skill right in front of them, their eyes are blind because their mind is so stiff. Ordinary people will practice some basics and once performed adequately will believe that the movement is complete and no further development is needed. But masters or SHOKUNIN (artisans) are always looking for a better way of performing a technique, even after they “master the move”.  We (MONONOHU), martial artists, are always looking for the pinnacle.  But there is no pinnacle as there will always be a way to subtly improve any technique.

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