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Osae -- Block(age)

After my post on Osae -- Pressing, I found an interesting webpage about the term osae as used in the Japanese game of go. See: http://senseis.xmp.net/?Osae. On that page, it is stated that "The Japanese term osae means to block the opponent."

I do not play go, but I do play chess (very badly). I know enough about chess to know that positioning you pawns is very important. If your pawns are aligned well, they protect each other and can prevent your opponent from advancing. Your opponent may be able to take one of your pawns, but he might have to lose a more valuable piece to do so. A pawn cannot advance if there is an opposing pawn right in front of it. That piece will block it. It is literally a blockage (something in the way).

If you have a gap in your pawns, it will be more easy for your opponent to attack you, particularly if the gap is in the center of the board.

From my perspective while performing kata, osae is a pressing feeling and keeping my arm or other body part extended as I advance toward the attacker. That is my perspective and feeling. But the result is to block or prevent (as in go and chess).

If I osae properly, it is more difficult for the attacker to advance. He might be able to hit or block my outstretched arm, but as he does so I might gain an advantage. I might be able to hit him or use his movement as an opportunity to enter. He might try to block my outstretched arm, but when he does so I might be able to punch him in the face or kick him in the groin -- a fair trade if you ask me. In chess I think they call that a gambit.

On the other hand, if I do not osae, I will be creating an opening that will make it easier for the attacker to hit me. There will be nothing to block or impede his advance.

Sometimes in chess, a single pawn can swing the advantage one way or the other. In a similar way, an osae, although not a seemingly important technique, can make a difference in self-defense.

Osae feels like a press and results in a block (or blockage).


Charles C. Goodin