Advanced Shotokan Karate Kata
By John van Weenen
John van Weenen
196 pages, Illustrated, 8 ¼ x 11 5/8"
$37.50 paper original
Literally translated 'Bassai' means 'to storm a castle', thus implying strong spirit, forcefulness and an underlying will to succeed. The repeated changing of the blocking arms represents the feeling of shifting from a disadvantageous position to an advantageous one. Continuous attacks with techniques like 'Yama Zuki' suggests a will to penetrate the opponent's defences. There are two 'Bassai' - 'Dai' and 'Sho'. Being the more elementary of the two, Bassai Dai is generally taught before Bassai Sho. Jion Jion is probably the most traditional Kata practiced today in the Shotokan system. It retains its original name and the character, for it has appeared often in Chinese literature since ancient times. Although speculation, it was almost certainly conceived by someone associated with the Jion Temple in China.
A theory strengthened a great deal by the distinctive salutation at the beginning and end of this Kata. According to ancient Chinese writings, the Monks of the Jion Temple greeted and made themselves known to each other by wrapping the left hand around the right fist. We know they were taught 'Kempo', and were well able to protect themselves without the use of weapons, and the salutation would imply, if pressed, they could retaliate, but due to their religious doctrine, would 'rather not'. A comparison is readily drawn with the Samurai and his 'sheathed sword'. Jion utilizes many basic stances, blocks and punches and is truly representative of the Shotokan style. Jitte The name Jitte, or Jutte, as it is sometimes referred to, implies that once this Kata has been mastered, one is as effective as ten men. Its somewhat heavy movements indicate that it belongs to the Shorei School and many of its techniques are strong and bold. In the Shotokan style, Jitte is an intermediate Kata having twenty-six movements and is mainly practiced as a defense against the Bo (staff). The absence of kicks points to its origin, for it was as essential part of training at the Tomari School of 'Te' in the seventeenth century. Chinte Documented evidence is scant, but the one thing we can be reasonably certain of is that Chinte has come down to us from Chinese Kempo.
Renamed Shoin by Funakoshi but not generally adhered to today; Chinte was retained by some Masters of Okinawa-Te for its wide circular movements. These movements are excellent for exercising the shoulders and when practised by women, give increased power, due to the centrifugal effect generated by the arms pivoting at the shoulders. Chinte's hand techniques are artistic and the almost total absence of kicking is significant. Tekki Shodan Tekki Shodan is basically a 'training' Kata and makes generous use of 'Kiba Dachi', which should be strong and stable at all times. The hips should remain well set when performing the 'Returning Wave' kick known as 'Nami Ashi' or 'Nami Gaeshi'. Previously known as 'Naihanchi' this Kata was renamed 'Tekki' by Funakoshi, and has three forms - Shodan, Nidan and Sandan. This Kata is more difficult than it looks and requires mastery of tension and relaxation. Tekki Nidan and Tekki Sandan Tekki Nidan and Sandan are basically 'Training' Kata and make generous use of 'Kiba Dachi' (straddle leg stance), which should be strong and stable at all times. They were created by Master Itosu from Shuri-Te being modelled on Tekki Shodan. Thought by some to have originated in China, the horizontal line in which the techniques are performed suggests fighting in a boat or an alleyway - perhaps even with one's back against the wall. The name Naihanchi was changed by Funakoshi.
Eliminating directional problems has been overcome by 'The Compass System', and this book should prove beneficial to student and instructor alike. It also contains ' Shoto Niju Kun' (Shoto's 20 Precepts), The Ten Elements of Kata, as taught by Kanazawa Sensei and a selection of profound, relevant quotations. This volume concludes with one of Sensei van Weenen's favourite Japanese stories, that of the young boy desperately wanting to become the finest swordsman in the land!
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