Rachel Haughenberry’s also wrote about this practice!
I think 50 to 60 brown belts attended Brown Belt practice with Ohshima Sensei Sunday, April 7, 2002 at Shotokan Ohshima Dojo in Santa Barbara , mostly from CA.
Bassai: The use of two arms is much more powerful than one, as in the Movement 1. Mr. Ohshima demonstrated this and also used the example in tennis of a two handed backhand hit being more powerful.
- Movements 16 and 17 (the last two shuto-uke) are done together very quickly relative to Movements 14 and 15 (the four sword hand blocks before the first kiai).
- From Movement 18 (the hand grab) to Movement 19 (the fumikomi and hands pulling in), the meaning of the hands pulling in movement is to release the opponent’s hand, grab his gi, and keep him from getting away as you crush his thigh. This helps me because there is no explanation in Karate-do Kyohan of the meaning for the pulling in movement.
- In Movements 33 through 37, the three high and low strikes are punches. Don’t make them something else.
- Movement 41 (the next to the last Movement) can be grabbing the opponent and throwing opponent to the right.
- Gyaku-zuki: keep your shoulders rounded through the movement and at the end.
Mr. Ohshima spoke about where maximum power comes from in the same way as my instructors have taught me (relaxation, focus at the point of contact, breathing). While Mr. Ohshima was demonstrating proper breathing technique, I began to imitate his breaths. At one point he was speaking in one long exhalation. I ran out of breath before him, and I was not even speaking.
He said that karate is not about beating each other up. It is about building strength of character, mental power, finding your full potential.
After sambon-gumite, Mr. Ohshima said if you have red marks on your stomach from glancing blows, that’s okay–you did not get hit straight on.
Mr. Ohshima reminded us that we cannot test for Sandan without doing 5000 Bassai. He said that when Dusty DuPree was ready to test for Sandan, Mr. Ohshima asked him how many Bassai he had done. Dusty answered 4500. Dusty did not test that year. Mr. Ohshima said that you may be able to trick him or your instructor, but you cannot trick yourself. He finished with a few more comments of the importance of
After practice, Mr. Ohshima invited his students to have tea in his house.
He continued to speak philosophically. He said there are three tragedies in life: parents losing their children, a spouse losing his/her spouse in middle age, and a child growing up with a lot of money at his/her disposal.
He continued that heaven is being a leader with followers who learn, and gain happiness being around their leader.
Throughout, Mr. Ohshima was in good spirits and joked frequently.
Of course there was a great deal more to the practice than described here.
Mr. Ohshima made many points of reinforcement to that which I’ve learned from my instructors. In each of the dojos where I have practiced, I notice the precise level of consistency in instruction. I think this is a testament of the level of discipline and loyalty we have within SKA.
“The Way: Who will pass it on straight and well?” From my junior eyes, my seniors are. Thank you.
— Ross Kelson, sankyu, Kansas City Shotokan