FightingArts Home Connect to the FightingArts Forums! Explore the FightingArts Knowledge Base in the Reading Room Shop the FightingArts Estore
Free Newsletter
Estore Martial Arts Products
Forums

Martial Arts: Defining Martial Concepts

There is No First Strike in Karate

By Victor Smith

Mutsu Mizuho

Mutsu's "Karate (Toudi) Karate" published in Japan in August 1933 by Tokyo Imperial University Karate Research Society. It was one of the first books on karate ever published.

Karate Ni Sente Nashi is a very famous Okinawan saying, “There is no first strike in Karate”. It is considered by many as a central philosophical principle of karate, a topic much discussed in karate books, articles and in discussion groups.

On this topic I think I’ve hit on something interesting in the 1933 book “Karate Kenpo” by Mutsu Mizuho.

The last half of this incredible book describes Kumite or the use of karate technique. Mutsu organized the technique studies by type, not kata, and I’ve just realized he started with a practical method of using Karate Ni Sente Nashi. (Please refer to footnote 1).

My analysis is solely based on visual inspection of the drawings, with the help of Joe-san Swift’s brief explanations. It might not be what Mutsu intended but I think it has great value.

Mutsu had been a student of Funakoshi Ginchin and Karate Ni Sente Nashi must have been an important concept of Funakoshi Sensei. What I’m now realizing was the order Mutsu described how to use Karate technique is a practical method of training based on the concept.

Joe Swift’s article (noted below) describes the first section of the Kumite as reactive defense, and the second section of the Kumite as preemptive striking(building on the reactive defense). In both cases the attacker moves first maintaining the principle of Karate No Sente Nashi. (Not that I suggest this is the only or best course of action in an attack, instead it is a method of training that can be used to hold to the principle if that is the choice.)

Here are the technique practices described by Mutsu.
Reactive Defense, or the art of not being there when attacked using 5 training principles.

1. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head and then follows with a right front kick

a. Defender steps back with the right foot, away from the punch.

b. Defender steps back with the left foot, away from the kick.

2. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head and then follows with a right front kick

a. Defender leans slightly back moving the head just beyond the punch.

b. Defender skips slightly back moving the body just beyond the kick.

3. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head

a. Defender steps forward with the left, slipping inside the strike and striking upward into the attacker’s chest with a reverse punch.

4. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head

a. Defender steps forward with the left, slipping inside the strike and striking to the solar plexus with a left lead punch

5. Attacker steps with the right and throws a left reverse punch to the head

a. Defender steps right foot forward slipping the attackers punch to the outside

b. (Alternate) Defender steps left foot forward slipping the attackers punch to the outside.


Preemptive Striking building upon the principles of Reactive Defense or the art of Counter Strikingagainst the attack.

1. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head

a. Step back with your right foot and lean your head away from the strike

b. (Alternate) Step in with your left foot and strike their head with your left hand

2. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Step in with your left, and slightly rotate your body counter-clockwise and slip inside of their punch

b. (Alternate) Step in with your left and slightly rotate your body clockwise and slip inside of their punch and strike their solar plexus with a short left lead punch

c. (Alternate) Step in with your left, and slightly rotate your body counter-clockwise and slip inside of their punch and strike their solar plexus with a right reverse punch

d. (Alternate) Step in with your left and strike their head with a right reverse punch

e. (Alternate- drawing not shown) Step in with your left, and slightly rotate your body clockwise and slip inside of their punch and strike their solar plexus with a right uppercut

3. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Lunge forward with the left foot and left lunge punch their solar plexus

b. Lunge forward with the left foot and right reverse punch their solar plexus

IMO the difference between techniques 2 and 3 is that the 3rd section is done without slipping

Rotation of the body and though the attacker begins their strike the lunge gets the defender there first.

4. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Step forward with the right foot slipping inside of the punch and beginning a right lead punch to the solar plexus

b. (Alternate) Step forward with the right foot slipping inside of the punch and throw a right roundhouse punch under and around the striking arm to hit their head

c. (Alternate) Step forward with the right foot slipping inside of the punch and throw a right uppercut to their solar plexus

5. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside

b. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left uppercut into their armpit

c. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left uppercut into their face on the inside of their strike

d. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left lunge punch into their face on the inside of their strike

6. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Lunge forward with your left as you drop your right knee to drop your center and left lead punch to their solar plexus

b. (Alternate) Lunge forward with your left and throw your right punch to their head sliding the punch on top of their striking arm

c. (Alternate- drawing not shown) Lunge forward with your left as you drop your right knee to drop your center and right reverse punch their solar plexus

7. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Lunge forward with your left as you drop your right knee to drop your center slipping inside their strike

b. (Alternate) Step forward with your left foot and strike their head with your left hand

8. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Lunge forward with your left, rotate your upper body clockwise and slip their strike

b. (Alternate) Lunge forward with your left, rotate your upper body clockwise and strike their solar plexus with a left uppercut

9. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Step back with your right and lean your upper body away from their strike

b. (Alternate) Step back with your right and strike their head with a left lead punch

c. (Alternate) Step back with your right and strike their solar plexus with a left reverse punch

10. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Step forward with the left foot slipping outside of their strike

b. (Alternate) Slide the right foot over and rotate counter-clockwise, outside of their strike, and throw a right hook punch to the rear of their head

c. (Alternate) Slide the right foot over and rotate counter-clockwise, outside of their strike, and throw a right reverse punch to their back (likely a kidney punch)

11. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Slide the right foot clockwise and rotate your body to slip outside their strike

b. (Alternate) slide your right foot back and strike to their head with a reverse punch

12. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Step forward with you left foot so your head slips outside their strike and execute a left reverse punch to their solar plexus (under their striking arm)

b. (Alternate) Step forward with you left foot so your head slips outside their strike and execute a right reverse punch to their head

c. (Alternate) Step forward with you left foot so your head slips outside their strike and execute a left uppercut to their jaw (under their striking arm)


The reason I feel these technique studies are an example of Karate Ni Sente Nashi is that the first example in each series represents evasion without further response, the option of just evading the attack. Karate was not developed and taught on Okinawa because of a day to day possibility of threatening adversaries, Okinawa was a rather quiet place. There are situations where one is attacked, say at a party where the opponent is worse for wear that do not require destroying the attacker. The moral use of karate is to always be able to respond appropriately.


It behooves us to incorporate those skills, evasion with no response, into our training to give each student the option of doing more than just breaking that attack. Logically I believe this is what Okinawa intended with Karate Ni Sente Nashi.

I hope this introduction study to Mutsu Mizuho’s “Karate Kempo” builds your own appetite for the day this is available in English. I’ve only described the beginning of a technique usage study of great depth and variety. Much more existed than just strike and kick in his 1933 analysis of karate usage.

If anything Mutsu’s efforts show how the logical analysis of karate technique potential may help develop the highest understanding of our arts.

This study is not just related to Mutsu’s Itosu-Funakoshi lineage. It describes the potential of all Okinawan Karate-ka, even with their technique differences. Goju Ryu, Isshin Ryu, Shorin Ryu, Tou’on Ryu, Uechi-Ryu and more all can draw study from his efforts.

I find a special affinity as an Isshinryu stylist because this study directly shows applications to the first four techniques studied by every Isshin ryu karate-ka.
Acknowledgement: The friendship and sharing of Charles Joe-san Swift has been instrumental in my developing the appreciation of Mutsu’s “Karate Kempo”. Thanks Joe-san!

Footnote:
The article “Mutsu Mizuho’s ‘Karate Kenpo’ by Charles Joseph Swift at http://museum.hikari.us/


Rate This Article

Select your Rating


Your Comments:

(Please add your name or initials)

Your email address:
(Required)

(Check here if you would like to
receive our newsletter)


About The Author:

Victor Smith is a respected teacher of Isshinryu karate (6th degree black belt) and tai chi chuan with over three decades of training in Japanese, Korean and Chinese martial arts. His training also includes aikido, kobudo, tae kwon do, tang so do moo duk kwan, goju ryu, uechi ryu, sutrisno shotokan, tjimande, goshin jutsu, shorin ryu honda katsu, sil lum (northern Shaolin), tai tong long (northern mantis), pai lum (white dragon), and ying jow pai (eagle claw). Over the last few years he has begun writing on, researching and documenting his studies and experiences including research into the Okinawan Bubishi.  He is the founder of several martial arts websites and is Associate Editor of FightingArts.com. Professionally he is a business analyst, but also enjoys writing ficton for the Destroyer Universe. Smith's most recent venture is his "Isshin - Concentration the Art," a blog on his Ongoing thoughts on my martial studies and interests that can be found at: http://isshin-concentration.blogspot.com


To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Karate Ni Sente Nashi, karate philosophy, karate principals, karate sayings


Read more articles by Victor Smith

Return to Defining Martial Concepts

Return to the Main Reading Room

 

 

Advertising InformationFeedback
Home Forums Reading Room Estore About Us

Copyright 2000-2012 FightingArts.com a division of eCommunities LLC.
All rights reserved. Use of this website is governed by the Terms of Use .

Privacy Statement



Action Ads
1.5 Million Plus Page Views
Monthly
Only $89
Details

Ryukyu Art
Artifacts from the Ryukyu Kingdom missing since WWII. Visit www.ShisaLion.Org to view pictures

Best Stun Guns
Self Defense Products-stun guns, pepper spray, tasers and more

Surveillance 4U
Complete surveillance systems for covert operations or secure installation security

Asylum Images
Book presents photo tour of the Trans-Allegany Lunatic Asylum. A must if you're going to take a ghost tour!

 



Unbreakable Unbrella