Saturday, 18 January 2014

When is a Punch not a Punch..?

Me at 50 years old on a magazine photo shoot in Melbourne, Australia
(copyright: Blitz  Publications)
At the Kyudokan dojo in Tsuboya, Okinawa, Higa Minoru sensei spends at least the first hour of each class teaching little else but punching; and when you come to think about it, the punch is modern karate's most basic weapon, but I'm not so sure it was always that way.

Karate = empty hand...so where did the closed fist come from....and why is this particular technique used so much in modern karate? Nine years ago, when this photo was taken, being asked to hit the bag by the photographer presented me with a bit of a problem. I knew the kind of shot he was looking for when he was setting up the high-speed camera, and it wasn't any of my usual strikes...he wanted to see me kick and punch (the easy bits about karate).

Although many years ago, Okinawan karateka like Higaonna Kanryo sensei, changed the open hands into closed fists in kata like sanchin, I think sport karate has elevated the punch to its present status, and for many it is, if not the only tool in the toolbox, then certainly the biggest and most often used. So, when is a punch not a punch?

When it's rendered ineffective because the rest of your karate is too poor to support it!