What are basic principles?

The "basic principles" are the techniques for generating power in hard-style karate.
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What are basic principles?

Postby HanshiClayton » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:57 pm

This message introduces the forums devoted to Shotokan’s (hardstyle karate’s) basic principles, know as shintai sousa in Japanese.

The basic principles are the skills we learn in order to forge the body into a weapon. When we teach basic principles we are sword-makers, not sword-fighters.

The transmission of basic principles is largely an oral tradition among karate technicians. It is time to log the information for several reasons:

1. To capture it before it is lost.

2. To compare notes to see if we are all teaching the same thing, or perhaps just overlapping subsets of a greater whole.

3. To standardize labels and language, to help organize and access the information.

4. To share techniques of instruction and of testing or evaluating a student’s grasp of the principles.

5. And obviously to improve our own mastery of the subject.

This is terribly important to the karate world at large because the basic principles are the difference between knowing karate and pretending to know karate.

We want to teach real karate, not pretend. The difference is here, in the microskills.

As of fall 2006 I have reorganized the information in these forums to organize it for teaching. I have organized the information into two super-principles. The first contains the skills that generate power. The second describes the skills for delivering the power cleanly and on target. For lack of a better term, I have called this “impact.” I think all of the principles serve one of these two goals. A couple of them arguably serve both goals. The actual skills do not respect our attempts to classify them neatly into two groups.

See the topic that outlines the basic principles, and from there the specific topics in the forum.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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