Kiyomasa Maeda, Sensei places a lot of emphasis on the practice of basics. He has a very specific focus on “koshi o ireru” which translates as “putting in the hip.” This is very similar to how karate was taught prior to World War 2 in that new karate students in the initial stages of their martial art journey were firstly taught the basic blocks, punches, kicks and other movements or techniques that were the foundation of their style, and these basics were perfected through repetition. In the Shogen-Ryu system new students are taught the basic’s first, and then they are taught kata. If a karate-ka (karate student) becomes skilled in the basic techniques they will develop skilled kata and karate.
In the early and intermediate stages of training, students rely mostly on external (muscle) power when executing techniques. As a student’s level of understanding increases through diligent training, and with appropriate guidance from a knowledgeable informed teacher, a karate student should be able to successfully transition from using external power to utilising internal power to execute karate techniques. Internal power is generated in the hara or abdomen. The whole body remains relaxed while executing a technique, then tenses very briefly just at the point of contact. This causes a destructive, de-habilitating and often spiralling shockwave of a strike to the opponent. This is often referred to by Okinawan karate people as “ikken hissatsu” meaning “one strike, one kill.”
At the start of every class in both the Maeda dojo in Okinawa and in the Makoto Shogen-Ryu Karate Dojo in Ireland each student practices a set of kihons as follows:
- Migi nekoashi dachi and hidari nekoashi dachi with ma-ai.
- Nekoashi dachi with chudan shuto uke.
- Nekoashi dachi with gedan shuto uke.
- Shizentai dachi with jodan uke.
- Shizentai dachi with chudan uke.
- Zenkutsu dachi with gedan uke.
- Shizentai dachi with chudan zuki.
- Shizentai dachi with jun zuki.
- Jigotai dachi with oi zuki.