An in-depth presentation of the theory and practice of Shindo-ryu Karate by one of Japan's most accomplished karate masters. The author explores the deep meaning of five Shindo-ryu kata and the wisdom and experience they represent. Discussions of one's psychological state, the essential role of breathing, and the concept of "zero power" in martial arts are presented. Step-by-step photo sequences with complete explanations depict the execution of the kata, variations and applied techniques. Aikidoka will find much of value for traditional Okinawan karate shares many of the same underlying principles as aikido.
Excerpts from Kata: The Essence of Bujutsu Karate
On goal of Traditional Karate:
The ultimate goal of traditional Okinawan karate is to win against an opponent without fighting and its essence lies in a spirit of harmony and unification. The true meaning of practice is to strive to develop harmonious techniques and the underlying spirit necessary to apply them. ... The traditional kata are martial in nature. These martial kata encapsulate a sense of life-and-death encounters and the techniques that correspond to this dimension are hidden inside them. Techniques to protect yourself without fighting to defeat an opponent, that is, the true spirit and techniques of "victory without fighting" which is the ultimate goal of karate, are contained in these kata. They represent a karate of harmony and unification, not of conflict. On "zero power" ... It is necessary not to let your opponent feel a clashing power when making contact with him. This what is called "zero power." ... It also refers to the energy or power that controls your opponent by keeping him in the same "zero" or neutralized condition. These two combine to create zero power. On "kokyu": Kokyu is the action of breathing in and breathing out and there is nothing more natural than this since we breathe from the moment we are born without being taught by anyone... Kokyu is largely related to the state of the body and mind... Kokyu is considered the most important secret principle of martial arts. It is not an exaggeration to say that the mastery of kokyu is ultimately the mastery of martial arts. Martial arts kokyu is different from our daily breathing. In the martial arts world, there are various teachings advocating the unification of mind and body as well as the unification of body and movements... The essence of these concepts lies in kokyu... Practice based on kokyu always makes you be aware of the whole. Such an awareness is the result of a unified body developed through kokyu. About the author Kenji Ushiro: Born January 15, 1949 in Kobayashi City, Miyazaki Prefecture. In 1967, entered Miyazaki University and became member of the Karate Club. After graduation, moved to Osaka and there had an opportunity to have a closer relationship with Nikichi Zaha, Soke of the Shindokai, a traditional form of Okinawan karate. Began to have doubts about the competitive karate he had practiced up until then and started training directly under Nikichi Zaha Sensei. Since then, has devoted himself to the study of Zaha Karate. 7th dan and Kyoshi of Iaido, All-Japan Kendo Federation. 7th dan Kyoshi of Shindo-ryu Karatedo.