It is the Journey between the moves that matter

In our training in the Shorin-ryu Shorinkan system we all learn the same 15 kata that Sensei Shugoro Nakazato has taught his students since he opened his dojo.

Most students will spend their nights in the dojo memorizing the moves of a kata, focusing on the block, the punch or the kick. But there is an important aspect that many have neglected and that is the journey between the start and the finish of each move.  Every move has a pre-move, Sensei Noel Smith discribes as getting your hands in the right position, putting your hands in the most optimal place, so that you can deliver your "BODY, WEIGHT, POWER" in a specific instance.  It doesn't matter if it is a strike, or block, your hands have to be in the correct preparatory position, which mean they have to be patient as Sensei David Colaizi says. 

In todays modern way of looking at kata, it is all about being fast.  Most dojos are being taught by marketing companies that Kata is only for competition and has no benefit in self defense.  They argue that the faster you are the better people [judges] will preceive you to be.  However, to a trained Karateka, speed is simply a mask to cover up the lack of knowledge.  

Kata teaches us many things about how we move and why we move.  When we are blocking, Punching or kicking our goal is to deliver our "BODY WEIGHT POWER" in that instance, but to do so we must allow our feet to plant.  At a recent visit to a dojo, the Sensei said allow your feet to search out the correct position and then execute the next move.  But, while the foot is searching, the hands don't sit idle, they should be moving to their "explosive point" as Sensei Noel Smith calls it, or the preperatory position  & just as the foot sets the hands can continue their journey powered by the body to deliver the weight which is the power.

In so many Dojos I have visited these core concepts have been forgoten, only the shell of the kata is being taught.  The subtle nuances that demonstrate control, show power and develops quickness are no longer taught. In their place the students depend on muscle strength to become fast. 

It is this lack of knowledge that is missing in most dojos.  In the early days of Shorinkan, Sensei Nakazato taught not just the shell of the kata but the subtle nuances, but just as the light of a candle becomes less intense as you move away from it, so does the knowledge.  If you are only learning or teaching Kata moves the error lays not in your but in those who have preceded you.  As a Karateka, you must seek out this knowledge.  In the words of Sensei Smith, if you are just going through the kata moves you might as well be dancing.

Sensie Noel Smith has dedicated his life to the study of Okinawan Shorin-ryu as he learned it from Shugoro Nakazato Sensei who taught him the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the moves of the Katas.

I encourage you to visit Sensei Noel Smith, he truly enjoys sharing his knowledge with other Karateka.

We meet every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 6:30pm for class at 5465 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach , Va. 23464.  We are located behind the Green Spa on Virginia Beach Blvd.

757-499-4474  or email us at