Saturday, October 09, 2010

Both Taikyoku and Heian

What do you learn in Taikyoku that you don't learn in Heian?
Nothing really. You could toss Taikyoku out the window if you wanted to - a lot of instructors do. I prefer to practice both Taikyoku and Heian.
So we're back to the question - why do Taikyoku if you are going to be doing Heian?
I consider Taikyoku a very general-purpose exercise. The arm motions are just PNF patterns (PT-speak for universally-applicable general motions) and the lower body work is just teaching how to lunge, transfer weight from leg-to-leg, turn, and recover.
So, why can't we just work on that stuff in Heian? We can, but I prefer to separate out the true fundamentals, so we can concentrate on that stuff in Taikyoku, then start working on how to turn those general-purpose fundamentals into techniques and applications in other exercises. This way you get to concentrate on the fundamentals in their own context and you get to concentrate on the techniques and oyo and bunkai in other exercises.
In any case, I am one of those (perhaps rare) karate guys who see value in both Taikyoku and Heian.
As an aside, why do you suppose Funakoshi named this nearly trivial kata Taikyoku, which means something along the lines of "Universal" kata?
[photo courtesy of Marius Zierold]

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