Monday, January 19, 2009

Bassai Dai (Briefly)

Bassai Dai has been a Big Thing in my Karate life for the past few years when it was chosen for me as my black belt kata- I personally would have preferred Jion and now I want to learn Empi (have you ever seen an elephant fly?) but Bassai Dai now seems to be hardwired into my Karate DNA.
Which is a good thing, as YS likes to teach it a lot! Last week in order to help the gakusei who were taking their Shodan tests, we focused on fine points that YS says he noticed people don't seem to understand.
The first thing I want to say here that this Bassai Dai is the KWF Bassai Dai. YS intensely dislikes any unnecessary or ornate movements. The basic rule of thumb seems to be, whenever you think there is a complex explanation for a move, YS comes out with something simple. Then you are guaranteed to get a long explanation about something you assumed had no meaning.
Here are the points YS went through:

Move 18. Tsukami Uke: Open-hand inside block: (a) do not just turn your heels into front stance; your movement is swift to begin and dynamic and your left leg will automatically go left to make space for your block. The conventional explanation about turning on your heels is totally insufficient. Your whole weigh balance is moving from Kokutsu-dachi to Zenkutsu-dachi and you move linearly so your hips never rise; (b) remember as your right arm block draws backward to LOCK in the 45 degree position. This "lock" is important, otherwise you are just posing.

Move 19. Side thrust kick to the north at knee height: (a) remember never forget your basic maegeri training and hip thrust to make sure that you are bale to smash your right knee up through the triangle made between your arms. Never raise your hips. Your knee should actually if you can touch your chest. When you thrust kick you should have the power of ripping your opponent up; (b) remember hikite on your kick just before you swivel round into shuto in the opposite direction- this point is so often missed.

Move 23: Hasami Uchi: Sometimes this move is interpreted as a block- well it can be, but it should actually be thought of as a powerful twin blow to the ribs; YS thinks that stinting on this move is a fundamental mistake. So make sure when you move both fists out and round that you visualize giving a powerful rib-cracking blow to your opponent. And the next thing to remember is that you should be a powerful Fudo-dachi...why? Because...

Move 24: Your oi-zuki is off huge explosive extention off the rear leg: actually, this move, under pressure, is a real test to see if you really understand basic shinshuku; a lot of "copy-karate" has this move with the front leg coming forward. Actually the front leg is redundant until it forms a solid base for go-tai-ichi (all five points together) for kime.

Move 25b: The rear Heian Godan block after nukite is a work of art. Remember in the nukite you have perfect shomen koshi, and this move should have been huge and fast; now as you draw the hand back, it should done in an elegant arc because

Move 26: as elegant as it was the next gedan and fumikomi must be done smashingly fast. When you twist round, you must not have any extraneous movement on the right hand, which must smash down along a linear diagonal vector. Also, you should not have a defensive blocking feel about this gedan, you should be smashing down into your attacker and moving into them- this is a vicious, fast, aggressive move that, in turn, is deeply contrasted by

Move 27: the slow, purposeful and graceful extension of the arm to the open palm for the crescent kick, which should be performed just at the point when the palm is open and the move of the arm finished.

Points dealing with Yamazuki:

(a) Chambering for yamazuki requires setting koshi in extreme hanmi

(b) Remember that you must keep hips paralell and in extreme hanmi; having your leading hip significantly lower than your rear hip means your jodan yamazuki kime will leave you unbalanced while neglecting hanmi leaves more of a target

(c) KWF does NOT stop- it's tempting, but the energy is going into the fists, not the feet, so you should be thrusting your whole body and hips into the twin punches, not the stop. Think about it- a stomp means your energy and power is going there. NO STOMP, NO STAMP- go into your opponent. If seen it time and time and time again; by the time the person next to me has stomped, I have punched. Yeah, even me. It's faster, more efficient and more effective to slide. Don't believe me, try it out.

(d) Your head should be tucked in and looking up at your opponent- your yamazuki punches are jodand and chudan, not jodan and gedan and

(e) Remember, as in point (b) your back should be just off vertical, not leaning too far forward. If you are leaning forward more than a little, you are unbalanced. Mind you, that's probably better than being mad ;-)

Points dealing with Scooping Blocks

(a) Great scooping blocks look magnificent. Piddling scooping blocks make you look small. Remember you are scooping away a maegeri; start from the vertical and go and scoop away the kick before the revolution

(b) Move ends in gedan, not chudan and mesen is straight ahead.

Finishing Off: don't forget to take your time in preparing for the final shuto; it makes the final cut a real strong treat.

If I have time, I'll go through the first half of the YS Bassai Dai at a later time.

Yoroshiku ;-)


1 comment:

Heman said...

Hi !

I've just been doing Karate for about months, (I'm an Orange 2 now).Over the last 5 months I've learnt Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan , Heian Yondan , Heian Godan and Tekke Shodan. and I learnt Bassai Dai today. Is this normal ?