I've been a keen karate student for 16 years, Shukokai and Shotokan, but there still seems to be no shortage of things to learn and explore. I'm hoping this blog will allow me to share my experiences and hear other martial artists thoughts.

Shiotsuki Kata

Shiotsuki Kata (1-6)

Meaning of name: Shio (Opportunity) tsuki (Thrust or punch)

Creator: Unknown

Background: Information about the background of the Shiotsuki kata is limited. The Shiotsuki group of katas appear to perform a similar role to Shotokan’s Kihon Kata (also known as Taikyoku Shodan) in being an introductory kata for beginner students. Shiotsuki Number 1 shares the same three moves used in Kihon kata, front stance (zenkutsu-dachi), lower level deflecting block (gedan barai/gedan uke) and stepping punch (chudan oi-zuke).

Yoshitaka Funakoshi developed the kata which were named Taikyoku by his father Gichin (Wikipedia).

In Karate-do Kyohan Gichin Funakoshi has several things to say about the Taikyoku kata:

  • ‘Because of its simplicity, the kata is easily learned by beginners. Nevertheless, as its name implies, this form is of the most profound character and one to which, upon mastery of the art of karate, an expert will return to select it as the ultimate training kata.’
  • ‘If the twenty movements are to be executed correctly and smoothly, one must practise until these block-attack combinations can be performed in a single continuous motion of breathing and body movement. Through such practise, one will come to understand the three cardinal points of karate, i.e. the light and heavy application of strength, expansion and contraction of the body, and fast and slow techniques.’
  • ‘By always practicing the kata seriously and visualising realistically the opponents around oneself, one will gain insight into the concept that all the movements that shift the body in different directions are equivalent in a higher sense to a single transcendant movement involving the mind, weapon, and body as a unit.’
  • ‘Related to this, one will come to understand the statement, “There is no sente (first attack) in karate,” the state of absolute passiveness. It is because of these properties that the name Taikyoku has been assigned to these forms.’

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