1st July 2019

Week commencing 01.07.19

As there had been some senior belt gradings, it was clearly time for Sensei to focus on Basai Dai as those who have just graded brown or thereabouts will begin to become very familiar with this kata. There is a lot of info online about this kata and to summarise, it is generally considered to be the first of the black belt katas and is often used in black belt gradings. Amongst some of the stuff I trawled through I found a passage which was quite informative and appropriate for what we did in last night’s session. It is from someone who is blogging their ‘journey to black belt’ - “The Basai kata is characterised by the idea of changing a disadvantage into an advantage by the switching of strikes to blocks and blocks to strikes. It uses a lot of hip rotation to generate power and its execution requires a lot of spirit, with fast moves and proper attention given to an appropriate balance between speed and power.”  Furthermore, it is commonly agreed that the translation is to ‘storm a fortress’ however some interpreters are heard to say that the meaning might actually ‘extracting and obstacle or blockage’ which i’m sure you’ll agree is slightly less poetic. Either way, the points about switching from block to strike and strike to block, hip rotation and change of pace all chimed perfectly with the excellent bunkai that Sensei offered for us to practise, including the drill in which the attacker kicks mai geri and the defender slips to the left, scoops the leg with the right arm, then twists the hips while ‘stirring the pot’ with the left arm to simply topple the attacker before finishing them off on the ground, Ole!!

Other bunkai included double uche uke with quick front kick and soto uke arm break. Snappy!

We are always learning, this is true and I enjoyed noticing something about this kata for the first time last night. After the first movement forward, back and forward again, one finds oneself in zenkutsa dachi with right leg forward and left arm in soto uke. This seems unusual and is an example of the blocking and striking contrast or inter changeability, and the hip rotation mentioned earlier. Are there any other unusual elements of kata anyone would like to point out I wonder? (no points for mentioning that mawashi geri doesn't show up in any katas, we've already talked about that I think!). Oss!.

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