This week I worked on Hookiyu Dai Ichi, and decided to re-imagine a basic kata. It’s the first kata taught in the Sho Rei Shobu Kan curriculum, and if your martial arts career has been anything like mine you have regularly heard “You’re never too good or too advanced to ignore the early katas”, or something along those lines. The biggest catch to that, is that I was never taught or told to reinterpret those early or basic kata when I revisited them.
What happens to Hookiyu Dai Ichi if you treat the chest punches as a grab and a pull to break balance? Hikite as always is grabbing a belt or waistband and pulling in, the ‘punching’ hand grabbing a shirt or bicep, and pushing away from you.
The opening sequence becomes much more advanced, than what I was originally taught of a simple head block, chest punch, and down block combo. Now it’s turning, blocking, grabbing breaking the opponent’s balance and a gaedan barai for the take down.
You don’t need to repeat kata over and over endlessly to practice basic techniques, that’s part of the reason that kihon training exists, but re-imagining your basic kata, breathes new life into your training. Funakoshi Sensei Said, “As times change, so must your martial arts”. To me that’s an ‘old master’ saying that kata should be re-imagined from time to time to make sure your training is still relevant.