A Kata is fighting, self-defence, precision and dynamic force all in one. It represents a fascinating multitude of logical, sequential techniques, with which the Karateka can demonstrate what he can do regarding his body control, powers of persuasion, perfection and fighting spirit. The repertoire of Shotokan Karate contains 26 Kata in all. The Master Kata described in this book belong to the advanced part of the repertoire and carry on from the 17 basic and advanced Kata introduced in Volume 1. This completes the list of all the Shotokan Karate Kata. There are 9 Kata with Bunkai in this book: Sochin, Meikyo, Chinte, Kanku-Sho, Wankan, Ji'in, Jitte, Gankaku, Unsu There are approximately 600 photos and detailed descriptions, which allow a deeper understanding of the Kata and their application. Armed with this information, it will be easy now for the Karateka to be able to improve himself in his routine training, grading tests and competition.
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Meyer & Meyer Sport
Shotokan Karate Kata Vol.2
Oxford: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd., 2003
All rights reserved, especially the right to copy and distribute, including the translation rights. No part of this work may be reproduced—including by photocopy, microfilm or any other means—processed, stored electronically, copied or distributed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.
© 2003 by Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.
2nd Edition 2007
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The History of Shotokan Karate
The Master Kata
Recurring Techniques in the Kata
Yoko-Geri, Uraken, Empi
Photo & Illustration Credits
Every reader of this book should already know something about basic Shotokan Kata. They form part of the basics that should be mastered before you start with a study of the Kata contained here. In my book “Shotokan Karate – Kata Volume 1”, you’ll find the basic Kata for the Shotokan style together with numerous tips and examples of their application.
“Shotokan Karate – Kata Volume 2” builds on Volume 1 and aims at readers, who are familiar with the basic Kata as well as the principle basics of the techniques. In other words aiming at Karateka, who have already spent many hours training. This book brings the whole spectrum of the 26 Shotokan Kata to completion.
Therefore, an extensive explanation of the basic terminology and techniques in Karate, the historic traditions of Shotokan Karate and the training methods can all be dispensed with. Interested, advanced Karateka will find these in my book “Shotokan Karate – Kihon, Kumite, Kata” (Oxford, 2002) and “Shotokan Karate – Kata Volume 1” (Oxford, 2003).
At this juncture I would like to include a short summary of the most important points that should be noted when training and practising the Kata forms.
Why do we practise the Kata? What are Kata? What was behind this book? Kata, the laid down, traditional form of techniques used against more than one attackers, are the essential elements of Karate. All today’s elements of Karate stem from the Kata. In order to master them, it demands a preparedness to practice endlessly and a requirement to delve intensively into the details of each of them.
For those prepared to undertake this task, it is guaranteed that they will gain a tremendous experience, which transcends well over the simple execution of each of the techniques. It is not a question of a few hours or several weeks of training. One should not kid oneself with the illusion that a Kata can be mastered in a short time. Those seeking a quick success should turn their interest to another discipline. Many years are needed in order to master the demanding repertoire of movements and the numerous possibilities of using them.
The fascination of the Kata opens the way for everyone, who has sufficient patience, to endlessly practice their techniques and sequences and continually improve their execution. This book should contribute to support these aims and assist the Karateka to perfect his prowess in the Kata, whether it is in order to pass grading tests or be used in routine training, or, just simply a work-up of Karate-Do for competition. In respect of this, the book can help in at least one way. It can be used to complement the training in the Dojo or club, but cannot replace it. Correct breathing, tensioning the muscles and relaxing them, the interchange between rapid and slow movements, timing and many other aspects can only be learned by years of training.
I suggest Kata is not just exhausting training. Its richness springs not only from the numerous techniques, which are seldom or not at all practised in Kumite or basic training. There are techniques for close combat, grips or sequences to start throws, defence against armed aggressors, attacks against sensitive body spots, which would not be possible without danger in training with a partner – the palette of techniques contained in the Kata is almost inexhaustible. The contribution made by the Kata towards the perfection of the Karateka’s ability should not be underestimated. Effort taken in mastering them not only makes a marked contribution to perfecting ones abilities in self-defence, it also moves you one step further down the road towards Karate-Do. It is also a fact that you will never completely master a Kata. You are always on the way to doing this.
A further aspect should not go unmentioned – the aesthetics. It is not only the work and effort that accompanies the training, it is also simply fun to practice the Kata or to watch a demonstration of Kata. To the observer, the Kata have the effect of a particular kind of fascination, more than perhaps in the other sides of Karate.
The aesthetics of an excellently performed Kata in training or in a competition cannot simply be ignored. If a Kata has been performed perfectly, it is quite noticeable how much energy is expressed in this form of fighting against several imaginary opponents. The tension, speed, precision, dynamics, power and explosiveness of the techniques – a good Kata demonstration brings the whole variation of Karate to the fore.
The special characteristics of a particular style are reflected in the Kata. In Shotokan Karate there is a large spectrum of different Kata. The focus of the Kata in our style lies mainly more on the dynamic, rapid and explosive movements. Nevertheless, the 26 Kata in Shotokan are divided into two categories: those, which tend to be more rapid and explosive in the Shorin tradition, and those, which concentrate on the breathing and power side of the Shorei tradition. The Shorin group includes the Heian Katas, Empi, Bassai-Dai, Kanku-Dai, Nijushiho and the Gojushiho Kata. They also concentrate on the breathing techniques and consist of rather slower sequences, but the basic tempo is rapid and dynamic. Those, which concentrate more on power are in the Shorei group e.g., Jion and Hangetsu as well as Sochin and Jitte.
This book contains the advanced Master Kata Sochin, Meikyo, Chinte, Kanku-Sho, Wankan, Ji’in, Gankaku and Unsu. The Kata Unsu, Kanku-Sho and Sochin belong to the most favourite of all the competition Kata.
In addition, this book includes a description of the most important of the stances and also details of some typical movements that are repetitive.
May I wish all readers, who want to come to terms more intensively with the fascinating Master Kata in Shotokan Karate, lots of fun in reading the lessons here and good luck with Karate-Do.
The History of Shotokan Karate
The origins of Karate lie in Okinawa. Far away from the Japanese mainland is the island, whose inhabitants, centuries ago, developed fighting techniques, which they used to defend themselves from invaders and armed aggressors. Through healthy trade connections and with it cultural exchanges with other Asian neighbouring countries, a heterogeneous martial art emerged out of the already existing local weapon and fighting techniques. The economic centres of Shuri, Naha and Tomari were where this development was focussed.
In 1372, in the vicinity of Naha, several Chinese families settled and they brought martial arts and the religion of Buddhism with them. It is said that they had an influence on Te throughout the area of Naha. It is held that the local popular Naha-Te (later called Shorei-Ryu – ‘Ryu’ means ‘school’) was inspired from the traditions of Chuan-Fa – Chinese boxing. It consists of dynamic movements and lays value on breathing and the technique for the production of rapid and explosive power. The interest in Chinese culture amongst the Okinawans was large, and as a result the philosophy and the fighting techniques of Chinese boxing (also called Kempo) spread into several regions of Okinawa. Other centres for Te were Tomari and Shuri (the styles developed here were later also called Shorin-Ryu). A Chinese influence could also be found in the techniques with emphasis on breathing control and round defensive movements. Tomari-Te contains both these elements.
Because the inhabitants of Okinawa lived mainly as farmers, fishermen or traders, the specific characteristics of the old style can be related to the different traditions of their professions. The farming community preferred a style with a low stance posture so that they could defend themselves with the arms and the legs from low positions. Another powerful style with numerous arm movements can be traced to fishing traditions.
The farmers and the fishermen were also inventive in using their work implements as weapons. Kobudo, the use of a Bo, the Tonfa, Nunchaku, Kama and other items as implements being adapted as weapons comes from this epoch. Today’s Kata still contain, in part, (defensive) movements against such weapons.
The Japanese occupied Okinawa in 1609 and subjugated the inhabitants. This led to a ban on Te under the Satsuma dynasty at the time of Iesha SHIMAZU, which as a result could only be practised in secrecy. Nevertheless, there were several masters, who taught their art further directly to their students. The fighting techniques were intertwined as a sort of code into the Kata. Training was also done using the Makiwara, where techniques could be executed with full contact. The necessity, in daily life, to be able to put down an armed aggressor using a decisive technique – even to kill him – came out in the whole system of training. This concentrated and focussed on vital points of the body and this played an important role.
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