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Global Changes

In my dojo, we will vary techniques and methods of movements from time to time. I will give a very basic example. Most Karate students step, and then punch. In Fukyugata Ichi, for example, there are several instances where the student is supposed to step forward and punch.

A beginner will be taught to step and then punch. Next, he will be taught to step and punch at the same time (the step and punch are completed at the same time). Later, he will be taught to punch and then step.

The above is very basic. There are actually many other ways to move.

My point is that as we learn and experiment with various methods of movement, my students will be expected to apply these variations to all the kata that they know. My seniors, for example, will apply the changes to all 18 kata in our system (19 if you include Tensho).

The kata are a template for learning. Each technique is distinct and will not change. However, the way to do each movement will change and evolve as the student advances.

Applying changes to literally hundreds of movements in the 18 kata we practice is a challenging intellectual exercise. Remarkably, many of my students, especially the younger ones, appear to be able to apply such global changes instantly (once they understand the principle involved in the changes).

As Chosin Chibana said: "Through Karate training one cultivates the mind."


Charles C. Goodin