THE ESSENCE OF the SHOTOKAI

THE ESSENCE OF the SHOTOKAI  by Yves  AYACHE 

Karate-Bushido No 225 June 1995





Karaté-Bushido: " is not the unique attack a utopia? "

Yves Ayache: in Karate Do Shotokai we have never spoken that of a single attack nor to have a practice that a single attack. This results comes from a bad understanding of the sentence of Shigeru Egami: " a fist, a life ". What if means only that we put all our concentration and our energy in every attack which we wear as if of this attack depended our life. In the Karate Doh Shotokai we can practise one or several so necessary attacks but with a nuance: in every attack it is necessary to concentrate the maximum of energy in a single point, what returns herof this more effective fact. Let us take the example of an archer, it pulls a single arrow at the same time and he has to reach his target with the maximum of precision and strength has every shooting .

For the Karate Do  Shotokai this notion of the attack is the same. He  would occur to this archer to say himself " the first arrow, I am not going to pull  her  jusqu' in the end, on the other hand with t
he second I shall reach my purpose and so I shall have made a feint with the first one". Would it s
eem to you logical? Then why what is valid for an arrow would not be valid for an attack? 


K.B.: You teach to the beginners the sensation of Irimi. can you explain to us?

Y.A.: The role of the defense is directly connected to the anticipation or " lrimi ". This notion has a big importance in the practice of the Karate Doh Shotokai and it from the beginning of its study. In the practice of the Karate Doh Shotokai we learn to be in accordance with his partner, that is to live at the same time that he. We do not try to counter the attack, it is impossible to block all the attacks. Even if we harden arms in a wild way, we shall always fall on a partner who will have fists harder than his. We can verify what I say by watching certain followers hardening excessively shins, hands and all the parts of the body: we find them at the end of a few years pain-ridden and incapable to use this hardening, certainly very useful to break tiles or boards. But the Karate doh created by Master Funakoshi would be of use only to it? I do not believe it and I send back them to the reading of the teacher's text book Funakoshi which is now translated into French and thus within the reach of all. With the new way of practising and of conceiving the attack in Shotokai it is impossible to block a blow, it is rather a question of changing its direction and of stopping it without feeling the slightest resistance. And the work is much more difficult. 
To anticipate the attack it is to feel the moment when the partner decided to launch his attack; it is at this very moment that we have to act by a defense or an attack, or both at the same time.
The anticipation allows to anticipate it this moment. For me this sixth sense is simply the combination of all other senses which we possess. It is necessary to understand well his partner, its movements, its travels. At a higher level we manage to seize its spirit and the moment when his decision will be taken. In Karate Doh Shotokai it is important to understand well all the notions of time of distance and of breath, for it it is necessary to have a practice. This notion of anticipation takes place at the level of the sensation, what has nothing to do with the physical strength, that's why Master Funakoshi said that the Karate Doh Shotokai could be practised by all.

K.B.: What is the role of the dodge? 

Y.A.: I am going to give you an example. Recently, during an internship, a karateka 3éme dan been used to the competition wanted to show me its techniques of chain. From his first attack, I evaded and I found myself in his back: he could make nothing more, and I countered him at the same time. This notion of dodge in the time strengthens the idea of unique attack.

K.B.: Why do you practise the low work? 

Y.A.: The low positions and the low travels, as calls back it Master Shigeru Egami to whom we owe all the evolution of the Karate Doh Shotokai; date approximately 1935 there has more than half a century. For some who thought that this working form was more recent I bring them a point of history. The experience proved that it was easier to jump up or to attack by leaving of a low position. The low position also allows to understand well the travel of the body for the beginners, furthermore they allow a bigger stability of the body. There is an explanation bound to the fear in front of the danger; the body tends to rise and its center of gravity also. The fact of working low allows to check this reaction, you notice that wild animals when they are going to attack their positions become lower they are ready to jump up. The prehistoric man, or the man who lived in symbiosis with the nature, knew how to defend itself, had developed his instincts. He knew how to face the danger and fight. The modern man, with the evolution of his lifestyle, has to learn again everything, find behavior of natural defense to face any situation of fight. It is a return in source. The alone theory is insufficient and the learning has to pass by the body.

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