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Finlay's picture
I just don't get....

What movements in the forms do you either just not get or do you think are very misunderstood in the mainstream

Oerjan Nilsen
Oerjan Nilsen's picture

In the mainstream I'd say: chambers, double blocks or just blocks in General, turns in forms, hand on hip, stances etc are all pretty misunderstood and misapplied. There are a few KTA forms sequences that I personally don't get, but I haven't given up yet:-) I'm talking about the double side kicks in the opening of Koryo, the turning jumping targeted crescent kick in Chonkwon and the jumping side kicks in Illyo. Except for those few sequences I can think of practical applications for just about any of the KTA poomsae (Taegeuk and Judanja Poomsae).

Anf's picture

In bassai there's a bit where you kind of twisted awkwardly, in some highly impractical position, supposedly delivering a back fist to the face of our imaginary foe.

I don't believe it for one second. I don't think the imaginary foe is there. I think he's behind us instead, and contrary to the whole 'storming the fortress' claim, I always feel like in bassai, out imaginary foe has us on the defensive. It always feels to me like it's an attempt to buy time, delaying our ultimate defeat. When I do bassai, I can never convince myself that I'm advancing. I get the impression of being surrounded, and utter chaos, and trying to delay defeat perhaps just long enough for allies to arrive. None of that is bad. I just don't get (yet) how others see control in it, or how funakoshi saw anything in it that warrants the description of storming a fortress. Unless it means that the practitioner is the fortress and is attempting to resist being stormed.

I do take some comfort from that fact that I regularly see new things in all the forms, so perhaps in time it will all become clear.

Oerjan Nilsen
Oerjan Nilsen's picture

As far as I know "Storming the fortress" as a name for Bassai is highly debatable. Originally the name of the form was written using sound language and only later was it written with characters that provided meaning. I'm sure some of the Karate instructors/students can write a lot more on that point than me though :-)

Finlay's picture

Yes in the past iain did some great research on the name 'pinan' and what is generally accepted as meaning "peaceful mind"

I believe his research gave the meaning "safe from harm" maybe there are alternative meanings for other kata names

Here is the podcast incase you haven't heard it....... https://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/content/meaning-pinan

PASmith's picture

I think the main thing misunderstood is the basic stepping/obverse punch. It's in most patterns, in set sparring, line work etc. And yet I think isn't utilised or understood at all well.

It wasn't until seeing Iain's stuff and they way he utitlises the oi zuki, that it made sense.

Using the reaction hand to grip, landing part way through the movement rather than at the end, using body weight and occupying space as you move (rather than still being 3 foot away), etc. It goes from being an odd affectation that no one really uses as shown or attacks with in the street/reality to something potentially overwhleming even if the punch doesn't fully do the job. I even find something philosophical about it, about accessing a predatory. combative mindset and literally trying to blast through someone (again as opposed to trying it from 5 foot away and landing it at the very end of travel, if at all).

One thing I'm trying to reconcile is the "posture move" and san makkis in Toi Gye. I know the posture move is applied as a throw entry by Iain in karate kata but the following W-shape blocks (6 of them!) mean you let got of the head and arm control so obtained. Maybe I just need to divorce the posture move from the W-shape blocks?