exploringkarate

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.

Archive for Hirokazu Kanazawa

Inspiration comes from many places (2)…1960s Tokyo

A speculative search on eBay for books about Karate threw up Moving Zen by CW Nicol. It looked like a really interesting book so I ordered it and it arrived late last week. At 151 pages it looked like something I could read quite quickly so I made a start on Friday and have eagerly ploughing my way through it since. Nicol decided to head to Tokyo after taking part in an artic expedition keen to continue his studies in Judo and start studying Karate. Ultimately he decides to focus on Karate and his book is a fascinating account of his studies.

It’s great to get a glimpse of what studying Karate in the 1960s was like and the people involved. I had a real feeling of excitement when Nicol comes across great martial artists like Donn Draeger, Keinosuke Enoeda, and Hirokazu Kanazawa who I’d heard about previously.

As a Karateka it’s reassuring to follow Nicol’s account of his studies and see a similar journey as he initially focuses on his striking techniques but then as his understanding of Karate grows he understands more the value of kata.

Once I’ve finished reading it through first time around I plan to read it through again chapter by chapter and consider more deeply Nicol’s journey and his realisations about Karate but it leaves me with an even greater sense of the heritage of the art that I’m studying.

From which sources has your inspiration come recently?

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Inspiration comes from many places…Azerbaijan!

I work on a computer at work so for a long time it just wasn’t a big priority to have a computer at home. But since getting online properly at home last year I’ve enjoyed having the internet available to me to find useful resources about Karate.

I’ve really enjoyed looking through the wealth of videos on YouTube from all styles of martial arts but particularly those about karate. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos that really inspire us to work that extra bit harder as we aspire to emulate the skills we see.

I found a video of kumite between Keinosuke Enoeda vs Hirokazu Kanazawa and it really seemed to show the full range of techniques available in karate being executed in a way I hadn’t really seen before. Sure I’ve practised the techniques in class or read about them in books but to see them being used so fluidly was a real lightbulb moment.

A couple of weeks ago a karateka I met and was fortunate to train with at a seminar called Pete Watson shared a link to one of his kumite bouts and again I found it really energising to see that fluidity of following the feints with the ura mawashi geri. Now if I can get even partway to executing that kick with the control and precision Pete does I’ll be very happy but seeing it done well makes me want to work harder.

Finally a few days ago Pete also shared a link to a video of Rafael Aghayev, a karateka from Azerbaijan, which I thought was fantastic. The speed of his attacks are just breathtaking and what I take away to want to incorporate more are the fluidity of his punching attacks and his use of takedowns and grappling and taking control of the bout in general. In a similar way to the Enoeda vs Kanazawa footage it’s inspiring to see the whole range of karate techniques being used.

At the moment I’m referencing Funakoshi’s Karate-do Kyohan in working on a combination to demonstrate as part of my next grading and it includes some great sections on grappling. It just seems to fit really well that I can see those techniques being used so effectively whether it be decades ago or now in the present, and be it by karateka from Japan, Azerbaijan or closer to home down the motorway from good old Liverpool.