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Kata With Dull Knives

Two of the important principles that Shinzato Sensei has been emphasizing is: (1) osae (pressing) between movements; (2) and connecting movements so that there are no gaps or slack. We worked on this when I visited him in Okinawa last month (it is hard to believe that it is already May).

In my dojo last night, we worked on these concepts. To help the students visualize osae and "connectivity", I had the students hold a pair of practice knives while performing kata. For most of the practice, they performed Fukyugata Ichi, but any kata could be done in this manner.

Let's be very clear here -- my students used dull practice knives that were made of plastic or aluminum. They did not use sharp knives. I would not recommend that sharp knives be used in kata practice. Practice knives are specially made to be safe.

With a practice knife in each hand, it was very easy to see when a student did not osae -- the point of the knife would drop. It was also easy to see when the connection was lost between movements -- again, the point would drop or even rise.

When osae and connectivity were properly maintained, the tips of the knives pointed firmly toward the imaginary attacker.

You could also practice osae holding a bokken in each hand, but it is harder to perform kata with such bulky objects. Using practice knives are much easier.

You might want to try this -- again, with dull practice knives, not real ones.


Charles C. Goodin