Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Heian & Junro
We use five Heian and Junro kata side-by-side to acquire and achieve superior foundational techniques, and physical understanding of bujutsu (martial arts) karate. The difference between these two series’ of kata is best illustrated by the most common basic karatedo manoeuvres such as gedan-barai (‘lower level sweep’) which not coincidentally is the first technique of both Heian-shodan and Junro-shodan.
Comparison of 'movement one' in Heian-Shodan & Junro-Shodan: Without excessive detail, in Heian-shodan, the gedan-barai is performed by compressing the legs and simultaneously the arms via the two arm chambering action (with compression of the right hip leftward). It is then completed by the shift into zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) with a precisely coordinated gyaku-kaiten (reverse rotation) into hanmi (the `half-facing position’). The hiki-te or pull-back hand plays an important part in not only self-defence application, but also to scaffold how to master optimal body action to maximise snap. Alternatively in Junro-shodan the movement is more natural as it is a single arm gedan-barai as if reactively defending in kumite. In this case the hiki-te functions as merely a method of application and physical awareness as opposed to being used to ‘help’ with the body action. Power is instead derived from natural energy by (a) dropping the weight naturally down into kiba-dachi; and (b) use of a whipping action, in particular, shoulder and elbow snap.
Using these ten kata (Heian 1-5 & Junro 1-5) together to develop high-class foundational techniques cannot be achieved if they are all executed in the same manner. Their strength is found in their differences, and these differences are found within their correct dynamics, and application. Now sadly, most people, even those in Tokyo, are simply practicing ten Heian kata and calling five of them `Junro’. I promised to Asai Sensei before he passed away that I would continue practicing and teaching karate his way, and that starts with the IJKA versions of the five Junro kata.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2011).