EDITORIAL By John Cheetham.
The last time we had an interview with Yoshinobu Ohta sensei was in SKM Issue 59 May 1999. So, I thought it was about time we rectified that after 24 years. Ohta sensei first arrived in the UK 41 years ago. It’s interesting to learn how all that came about. As you will read he was chosen by the JKA to be Enoeda sensei’s assistant here in the UK not only for his undoubted technical prowess but equally importantly, for his personality and character.
I vividly remember training under Ohta sensei on a course in Manchester when he first came over here. His relaxed teaching style, smooth, effortless technique and amiable attitude seemed a million miles away from the overly tense, sometimes draconian teaching methods we were use to at that time! This is a very human story from a Sensei who’s quietly got on with his work in a totally professional way.
The Kata video from around 25 years ago with Ohta sensei together with the late Enoeda sensei is an absolute classic, which I often re-visit. Ohta sensei has such a marvellous technique in true JKA Shotokan fashion. I’ve wanted a second interview with Ohta sensei for quite a few years because to me, he epitomises true, hard earned technical ability with genuine modesty and a world-class pedigree.
Thanks to JKA England Deputy Head of Association, Dave Paulus for conducting this overdue interview exclusively for SKM.
This edition has some diverse articles, both technical, philosophical and historical. It’s great to see the totally different angles and concepts various karateka have to the same problems we all face in our training, not just physically but mentally also.
Massimo Braglia specifically focuses on Shotokan’s ‘Kata History’, with an in-depth study of the origins of what we (Shotokan) know as Kanku Dai and Kanku Sho. It’s well known that Kanku Dai was founder Gichin Funakoshi’s signature Kata.
Scott Watson’s article is technical in nature with a practical analysis of snap and thrust techniques. In this instance dealing primarily with kicking techniques.
Two articles, although quite different in context, both have the same fundamental Karate philosophy at heart. Some old knowledge and some new. Namely the articles by Albert Cheah and Martin Hurley.
Matthew Michaelson’s piece is a very basic, simple but useful training practice. However, to do it well is not so easy as it looks, especially at speed and with many variations etc. It’s not a power training tool but very important for accuracy. And here lies the end product we hopefully strive for. ‘A good, equal Balance between the two’.
Martin Smith’s excellent article centres on Kata as an Art-form, quite the opposite from what’s been in vogue the last few years! People are getting a bit weary of the endless so-called practical, street-self-defence variations of applications to our Kata. Nothing wrong with having your own interpretations and analysis of Classical Kata, but let’s be totally honest, no one alive today has a real clue as to what the original meanings/applications were. It’s all mostly guess work and not the DEFINITIVE answer and that’s a fact!
Good Health, Good training, Editor.