Striking in Karate
One of the earliest commentaries on the role of striking in karate can be found in the writing of Mabuni Kenwa in 1938. Joe Swift wrote about this at http://museum.hikari.us/
Search Articles for those of Charles Joseph Swift.
Wisdom from the Past: Tidbits on Kata - Applications from Pre-War Karate Books
Part One by Joe Swift
From the Karatedo Nyumon (1938) by Mabuni Kenwa
And finally, let us take a look at the final section of the book, on throws and joint locks in karate, found on page 209.
“The karate that has been introduced to Tokyo is actually a single part of a large whole. The fact that those who have learned karate in Tokyo think I consists of hand strikes and kicks, and that throws and joint locks are only a part of jujutsu or judo can only be attributed to their lack of awareness on this art. While it can be said that this in an unavoidable situation because only a small part of karate was introduced, this is very regrettable from the point of view of the popularization of karate. Those people who are truly thinking of the future of karate should not keep a closed mind and limit themselves to learning only an empty shell, but should strive to study the complete art.
The Gojuryu kata contain many interesting throws and joint techniques that were not introduced to Tokyo, and the practitioners of that system should never neglect the study of these throws…
The kata of Gojuryu contain a plethora of study materials, so it is suggested that the karate practitioner cultivate a progressive temperament based upon a “strong and free Japanese spirit”.
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As you see this topic is nothing new but as Mabuni Kenwa suggests and as Mutsu Mizuho showed in 1933’s “Karate Kempo” there is considerable more range in karate kata application than just striking.
As I teach we try and explore as full a range of our kata technique potential as possible. Classical Isshinryu training, itself, explored a range of counters for grabs, locks and even the mount position in its technique studies.
On the other hand I still feel striking as I see it being discussed is very misunderstood. Perhaps that is because only a small part of striking potential is most often studied.
I only accept any technique should be studied to the point that you can stop any attack with it, no matter whether striking, kicking, grappling or whatever.
A full study of karate striking well consists of:
1. Striking directions (rising, descending, outward, inward, forward)
2. Striking tools (fist (turning or vertical), fingers, foreknuckles, thumb, single knuckle strikes, little knuckle strikes, forearm strikes, elbow strikes, shoulder strikes, hip strikes, knee strikes, foot strikes, stepping strikes)
3. Striking targets (combined with the appropriate striking tool) of torso, head and neck, back, legs (inner thigh, outer thigh, shin, instep, calf, knee, hip joint), arms, hands.
4. Tool conditioning (makiwara, bags, etc.)
5. Vital point striking (done with appropriate conditioning) the primary vital point being anywhere in the opponents body
6. Multiple striking (with a single limb, or multiple limbs)
A fighter trained for tournament or full contact only touches a small piece of this training and each in different ways.
How far anyone explores these options depends on the nature of their program of study, and or the time they can put into their training long term. But the full range of striking is often greater than most are looking at.
Even if one is just focusing on striking the goal should be to break down anything offered. Striking the limbs are a primary target, likewise the head, eyes, throat and so forth.
IMO there are no incomplete techniques systems, but their may be incomplete methods of training.