Karate No Wasted Moves

No Wasted Moves by Paul Dupre
This article is in response to a request from my friend Matt Henderson.
Matt had written an excellent article that I quickly responded to and wrote back about how I felt it was spot on !
Matt was overly generous and said I should write more. So Matt this one is for you !
No Wasted Moves, what do I mean by that title ? Well I mean every Kata that I have learned from the old sources (Katas that were not greatly modified in the 20th Century or from 1940’s on) has no wasted moves. Each move has a purpose, even if it is not immediately obvious. In most cases for Shotokan Kata, often what is seen as a preparatory move, is actually part of a self-defence sequence. Many such moves have jujitsu type sequences or Chin-Na type execution. Breaking down a Kata, move by move and in slow-motion with a partner will often reveal the purpose of many moves.
So never take for granted that the move preceding a block or attack is only a preparation for the final move.
Those with experience and/or having had many seminars with different Instructors/Teachers, knows that there can be several interpretations of a Karate sequence in those same katas. This is not wrong! Obviously some katas may have had an original interpretation of a move by the creator/author, however this was in a specific situation. Nothing says that a different situation cannot need a different application of the same sequence. I wrote in reply to Matt’s article, that I often think of it in terms of language skills. The greater my vocabulary (Number of words I am familiar with and use), the more I can express myself. The more languages I speak the greater the range of my responses.
I often found in the past that Kata were taught strictly as an exact duplicate or copy of XXX Instructors execution, with no deeper meaning attached to it. In other words just do the Kata exactly as you were shown period.
I have found that by exploring Bunkai and various applications of moves from the Kata, it gives a beginner confidence in what he is learning can help him/her defend themselves in almost any situation, and gives a deeper motivation in practicing and perfecting the Kata. No wasted moves also means to me, not just blindly repeating a Kata, but understanding how it can be applied.
Thanks for the motivation Matt my friend !
P.S. I refer anyone interested in this subject matter to consider getting books or contacting the following : – Patrick McCarthy,  Koryu Uchinadi, Bruce Clayton and his book on Shotokans Secret, H. Kogel and his books, and Evan Pantazi. See my previous posts excellent deals on DVD’s from Warrener Entertainment by Patrick McCarthy !

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