The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi – No. 19

‘Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body and slowness and speed of techniques’

Movements must have strength and power to train the body to move, but

must not be rigid.  Your techniques should flow and power should only be apparent at the point of impact, in your kime.  Stretching and contracting your muscles is necessary to fully perform any technique in karate.  As one group of muscles is contracting, the opposing group is stretching in order to provide maximum speed and power.  For example, during a shuto-uke, you tighten the muscles in your chest during the chamber and your back muscles stretch and as you move, the back muscles then contract and the chest expands.  Moves are done in different rhythms to train your muscles and to teach correct breathing in kata.  Perform moves slowly to perfect them and then try them more quickly.

Each of these combinations applies to kata as well as combat. Harnessing maximum strength from the body by employing and withdrawing power, extending and contracting the body, and executing techniques quickly or slowly while inhaling and exhaling correctly, are all critical elements of karate. If not practiced and understood, they can mean the difference between winning or losing against an opponent.

By Karly West

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