Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kyokushin Karate Hard or Soft?

This is Kancho Shokei Matsui performing the Sushiho kata of Kyokushin.

You can see the blend of hard/soft movements within the kata in his performance.

Kyokushin is Kyokushin.. It is hard to describe, it's not Shotokan, it's not Goju, it's Kyokushin.

I have noticed that the kata belt requirements as you rise up in belts seem to focus on building up one's ability to perform the Kanku kata.

We start with basic kata such as:

Kihon Sono Ichi, Ni, San
Shiho Tsuki Ichi, Ni, San
Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni, San
Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni, San Ura
Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni, San Tate
Pinan Sono Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go
Sokugi Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni, San, Yon
Juji Kata 45 degree, 90 degree

All of these kata help build up skills, turns, balance, body control, strength, and ability so that we can handle the more demanding kata:

Sanchin No Kata
Yanstu Kata
Tsuki No kata
Gekisai Dai, Gekisai Sho

But I can see all of them pointing towards learning the Kanku Kata. Each of the above kata contain parts, and pieces of the Kanku Kata. One of the main symbols of Kyokushin Karate is the Kanku sign:

That symbol derives from the opening move of the Kanku Kata seen below:

It does not appear that a Kyokushin Karate student becomes introduced to the softer kata of Sushiho, Seisan, etc until higher up in belt rank. The concepts contained in these kata are taught always, but the actual learning, and performance of these kata seems to be held until a student has achieved some experience under their belts.
( This is only my impression of what might be happening. Oh by the way, I was wrong when I told you how many kata that I've learned, I know 34 Kyokushin kata.)

It is true that to know one kata well is far better than to know 100 of them badly. However, I believe that the list of kata above are stepping stones towards learning one kata ( Kanku) very, very, very well. If I can learn the lessons that each of these other kata show me on their own, I can incorporate them into my efforts to learn the Main kata when I face it's challenges.


Lizzie said...

Ok. I watched a lot of video of Kyokushin kata. All the basic kata just contain basics and are really hard. I can sort of see why to contain all of the basics in a kata, but it's just as easy to practice them without a kata too, like the different types of kicks.

I think that it's really funny that you say that Gekisai and Sanchin are demanding kata. In Goju-Ryu, Gekisai Dai Ichi and Ni are really basic kata. Sanchin is pretty basic too. However, it takes forever to master it because one has to tense all the muscles in the body while doing it.

I watched your versions of the Gekisai kata. Ya, your version made them hard. I also watched Sushiho and Kanku. I like those kata because the do have some soft elements in them, but not as much as Goju-Ryu. They are still pretty hard compared with the black belt Goju-Ryu kata. I've also noticed that your kata likes to have lots high kicks. I'm so glad all of the Goju-Ryu kata has kicks at the waist or lower except one.

I'm pretty sure when one get's their black belt in IOGKF, one will only know six kata. I really like Goju-Ryu kata because one can make it flow with their hand movements. I'm thinking about how one can apply kata in real life situations. Bunkai is OK, however but my training partner never really resisted. Sometimes, the higher belts did explore different possibilities that could happen.

I've been thinking what art or style is better than another. Right now, I see Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu more practical than karate. However, it's different for everyone because I'm way more comfortable on the ground than on my feet. Probably, other people will be more comfortable standing. However, it's very good for both parties to train on each side of the spectrum.

BJJ doesn't train people how to strike properly. Karate doesn't teach people what to do if they end up on the ground. Even MMA doesn't teach people how to punch things with their bare knuckles without hurting themselves.

supergroup7 said...

Lizzie, you can assess things as you wish, and chose what style you feel is better than the other.

What I have learned, and believe, is that it isn't the style, it is the Artist. Aikido, Karate, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Tai chi etc. etc. all have wonderful lessons to teach, and one would need 1,000 lifetimes to capture them all properly. I respect all Arts, and the effort it takes to learn them.

If you like BJJ, and consider it fruitful to you, then I wish you strength, perseverance, and success.

Note to visitors to my weblog: I do not want my weblog to become a place where people argue as to which Martial style is better, or if TMA/Kata is useless, and any other of these types of arguments. The various Martial Arts forums are filled with this kind of conversation if you would like to go and discuss this. I do allow individual opinions on my weblog whether I may agree with them or not, but I will not allow arguing. Do not be surprised if your comment is not posted if it is in argument for another person's posting.

Matt "Ikigai" said...

I've always been a proponent of learning both soft and hard techniques as they are natural accents to one another.

supergroup7 said...

Thanks for your comment, Matt "Igigai".

I agree.. it's great to be able to understand, and implement both hard and soft concepts. It does take alot of training to be able to ingest them both.

Mathieu said...

wow, this is one long kata.

The training roots of kyokushin are well showed in this kata.

The soft elements complement the hard. Kyokushin is kyokushin. Karate is karate.


supergroup7 said...

It is quite long compared to most of the Kata that I have experienced, Mathieu, but I've seen some Kung Fu patterns that have even more moves to them.