Training Regimen

Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do training consists of the following:

Kihon Waza - basic techniques of our style.
Kata - empty hand and weapons forms.
Tanshiki Kumite - single step Attack, Defense, and Counter-Attack practice.
Fukushiki Kumite - multiple step Attack, Defense, and Counter-Attack practice.
Shiai - full contact fighting practice.
Buki-ho - traditional weapons practice.

Kihon Waza includes the basic techniques which provide the foundation for Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate Do. Kihon Waza are practiced regularly by students of all ranks, and are considered the cornerstone of training.

Kihon Waza includes:

Tachi kata - stances.

Tai sabaki - body movement.

Mawari kata - turning form.

Kokyu - breathing.

Te waza - hand techniques.

Ashi waza - foot techniques.

Uke kata - blocking techniques.

Kata are sequences of karate techniques developed as a method of training when alone, and as a vehicle for preserving and teaching the essence of a particular style of martial art. Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate Do focuses on a relatively small number of kata developed or modified by Shinan Kori Hisataka and his son Shihan Masayuki Hisataka.

Naihanchin no kata sho - Introductory kata which is an abbreviated version of Naihanchin no kata described below.

Happiken no kata - Introduced to the student at the beginning levels, the name of this kata means 'to fight like a monkey in eight direction'.

Nijushiho no kata - Okinawan kata which means 'twenty four movements', and stresses circular body movement and combinations of techniques.

Naihanchin no kata dai - The complete form of Naihanchin kata. The name refers to 'sideways fighting' and stresses the idea of fighting in close quarters.

Sanchin no kata - Ancient Okinawan kata modified by Shinan Hisataka which loosely means 'three foundations', and stresses the development of basic techniques such as breathing, stances, and technique.

Sankakutobi no kata - Refers to a 'secret' technique in Okinawan karate, the sankakutobi (triangular leap), which is frequently encountered in Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do.

Chinto no kata - Traditional Okinawan kata modified by Shinan Kori Hisataka which means fighting to the East, and was a favorite kata of Master Chotoku Kyan.

Kusanku no kata - Advanced kata named after the Chinese dignitary who introduced it to Okinawa in the 18th Century; characterized by many kicks, including kicking combinations and jumping kicks.

Kudaka Sai kata - Kata from the Kudaka (Hisataka) family emphasizing circular body movement and strong, swinging techniques using both sai against staff, spear, or sword attacks.

Shishiryu Bo kata - Shishiryu (lion or king style) bo kata teaches circular body movement with strong striking and sweeping techniques.

Tanshiki Kumite describes the practice of single-attack, single-defense and counter-attack with two opponents. Tori attacks with a pre-determined technique, and Uke defends and counter-attacks using any combination of escape, block, hand, foot or throwing technique.

Tanshiki Kumite is practiced with all of the hand and foot techniques available, as well as weapons techniques at a more advanced level. It allows students to practice techniques with the help of an opponent to develop judgement of proper distance, target and timing.

As in all techniques of Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do, both opponents practice Tsuranuki, or going through the target, such that each attack or counter-attack goes slightly beyond the target to foster the judgement of proper distance and maximum power. (Unlike most styles which practice Sundome, or focused techniques). Of course the counter-attack is aimed at the side of the actual target, or the opponent may decide in advance to duck from the counter-attack to prevent injury.

At more advanced levels, this type of kumite is practiced using Morote, or double techniques; or a single technique can be escaped followed by a series of counter-attacks.

Fukushiki Kumite refers to a number of pre-arranged fighting forms regularly practiced in Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do. The number and complexity of movements increase with more advanced kumite. Practice begins slowly and deliberately, striving for proper technique. Once the basic movements are learned, the students focus on proper distance, target and timing. Eventually full speed and force are applied, allowing students to simulate a full contact contest with minimal risk of injury.

The most regularly practiced kumite in Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do are:

Shoden series - three introductory kumite for new students.

Renshuu series - two practice kumite stressing kihon waza and tai sabaki.

Itsutsu no waza - kumite based on the five elements: water, fire, earth, wind and air.

Nijushiho no waza - applies techniques from Nijushiho no kata.

Sankakutobi shodan - three kumite stressing sankakutobi movement.

Sankakutobi nidan - three kumite stressing shortrange fighting and sankakutobi movement.

Sankakutobi sandan - five brief defensive kumite practiced with empty hand, knife or sai.

Randori series - three kumite stressing aggressive attacks and rapid escaping techniques.

Naihanchin no waza - stresses sideways fighting techniques as in Naihanchin no kata.

Naihanchin ni - three person kumite in which uke defends against two attackers.

Shiai means contest, and refers to the practice of free-fighting in Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do. Shiai is practiced using full contact, and both opponents wear protective armor, or bogu, to protect the target areas of the torso. Strikes must be made to the bogu, and only strikes which are delivered with force and balance are counted as successful. An ippon may be scored if the technique is judged powerful enough to have disabled the opponent in a real-life situation. (In this case the match may be ended immediately). The specific rules governing each match may vary and are determined in advance by the head judge.

Shiai allows each contestant to experience the thrill, apprehension, pain, and uncertainty of a full contact fight, utilizing the bogu to prevent serious injury. The student is able to see which techniques are effective and which are not. Each participant learns to face the fear of conflict; and develops their stamina, skill and courage. Good sportsmanship, respect, and camaraderie among the contestants is strongly emphasized. In addition, the most highly respected award is that given to the contestant who demonstrates, by a concensus of the judges, Budo Seishin, the best spirit, regardless of their success or loss in the match.

Buki-ho (Traditional Weapons).

The primary traditional weapons used in Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do are the Bo and Sai. Traditional weapons originated with the use of farm tools and other items commonly available to the working class in Okinawa for self defense purposes against the sword and spear. Okinawan farmers were not allowed to bear weapons, and were, by nature, a peaceful people. They survived aggression by using their bodies and tools as weapons.

Shinan Kori Hisataka was initially trained in his family's style of kobudo (weapons training). When his father died prematurely, Kanagushiku Ufuchiku was asked to continue his kobudo training. Shinan Histaka later refined his style of kobudo by incorporating elements of Okinawan kobudo techniques with elements of Chinese martial arts he learned while studying Shorinji and Hakkyoku kempo in China. Shorinjiryu Watanabe-Ha Karate-Do teaches the Shishiryu style of bo-jutsu and the Kudakaryu style of sai-jutsu. Shishiryu means 'lion-style', and seems to refer to the great strength and large, flowing movements inherent in Shishiryu bo practice. Kudakaryu refers to the Hisataka family style of kobudo.

The major methods of kobudo practice include Shishiryu bo kata and Kudakaryu sai kata; and the practice of bo-sai kumite and bo-bo kumite which are similar to the empty hand fukushiki kumite. 20121120 :)