Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic training course 8/9th November 2008

 

Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic was one the closest assistants to the late Taiji Kase Sensei and is based in Athens. He is also President of Shotokan Karate-Do Academy of Serbia. A full biography can be found on his homepage http://www.vebodo.com/index.htm. Two three hour courses, and a one hour lecture were given by Sensei Vebo in November 2008.

 

Kase-Ha style focus on strong rooted stance with positive connection with the floor. The body focus by tensioning all the muscles at a single instance.

 

Breathing technique

In order to understand the correct method by which to breathe when applying karate techniques a simple kata was practised. Breathing technique comes from the diaphragm so that as one breathes in the belly inflates and contracts on breathing out. Whilst breathing out all of the bodies muscles tense so that the body becomes a single solid mass rooted to the floor.

 

Zanshin kata

The kata was practised in three different stances: yoi dachi, han zenkutso dachi and fudo dachi

Start with yoi dache.

Breathing in, prepare for kakewaki (wedge block), breathing out as the move is completed

Breathing in, bring right hand back to hikite

Breathe out, gyaku zuki

Repeat kakewaki and punch with the other hand

 

Breathing in, prepare for kakewaki. Breathe out complete move with open hands.

Breathe in and bring both hands to hikite position.

Breathe out, both open hands move out as if punching, however, there is no tension in the hands.

Repeat the last two moves twice.

 

Breathe in, maewashi uke (round house block) to prepare position (when practised in han zenkutso dachi or fudo dachi this is done whilst moving backwards). Breathe out, as hands push forward, heiko shotei zuki (open palm strike with both hands upper and lower).

Repeat (stepping back) maewashi uke, heiko shotei zuki.

When performing this kata in han zenkutso dachi or fudo dachi it is important to breathe in before moving and to tension all muscles when breathing out.

 

Practising stance, moving and blocks

Starting from han zenkutso dachi

1. Sugi ashi backwards into fudo dachi with age uke, gyaku zuki. Breathe in as front foot meets with rear foot and breathe out into stance.

2. Yori ashi: front foot steps out with left foot 45deg to outside, turning(clockwise) 45deg to face opponent; kizami zuki.

3. Oi ashi, rear foot(right)step through 45deg inside turning(anticlockwise) 45deg to face opponent; kizami zuki, gyaku zuki.

4. As 1, suri ashi back into fudo dachi, mae geri.

5 As 2, step 45deg outside(left) mawashi geri, step back 45deg; kizami zuki.

6. As 3, step 45deg inside(right) yoko geri kikomi, step back 45deg(anticlockwise); kizmai zuki, gyaku zuki.

 

Stance and movement 1 is repeated using different blocks, age, tate, otoshi, soto, uchi. All followed by gyaku zuki.

 

Partner work

A: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender: age uke, gyaku zuki

B: Repeat attacker blocks the defender’s gyaku zuki with otoshi uke

C: As part B after attacker blocks gyaku zuki he steps backwards to create a space between his opponent.

 

E: Attacker oi zuki chudan. Defender: soto uke, gyaku zuki

F: As part E, defender move 45deg off line to the outside of the attack.

G: As part F, defender step through kosa dachi(cross legged stance) into zenkutsu(or fudo) dachi ura ken

 

H: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender: open hand ura uke (open handed block that come out in a straight line form the body with a small outward motion towards the end) to the shoulder.

I: Block as part H plus defender prepares, with right hand, open handed shuto uchi during block and strikes to the collar bone.

J: As part I dropping weight as shuto uchi makes contact with collar bone.

K: As part J, defender’s blocking hand takes attacker’s wrist and steps back 45deg (anticlockwise) whilst dropping their weight to take the attacker to the ground.

 

L: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender nagashi uke

M: As part L defender traps attacker’s arm with left forearm behind the attacker’s elbow and the right forearm against the attacker’s wrist.

N: As part M defender turns clockwise into the block and drops their weight to take attacker to the ground. Note this move is achieved entirely with body movement: there should be no strength in the arms.

 

Lecture

A one hour lecture was presented Sensei Vebo in which he described the transfer of power, used in karate techniques, from a bio-mechanical point of view. In a simplistic sketch of the body, figure 1, Sensei described the body as consisting of 206 bones, connected by 10-12 major joints. The body can be thought of as a scaffold, connected a a few major joints, that is held in place by the application of muscles tension. When the heels push against the floor that push is transmitted through the body, provided that the limbs are locked to the body by the application of muscles to the joints.

 

Figure 1:Sketch of the skeleton showing the major joints (shown as circles)

Figure 1:Sketch of the skeleton showing the major joints (shown as circles)

 

 

 

 

Figure 2: With correct posture a stance can be used to transmit power to the point of contact

Figure 2: With correct posture a stance can be used to transmit power to the point of contact

 

 

To make a good technique the bones and joints must be aligned, by the muscles, in the correct stance, figure 2. By pushing the heels against floor power from the leg muscles is transmitted through the legs into the hara. Simultaneous tensioning of the bodies other major muscles groups focuses the power to a single point, e.g., the fist. In addition to oi zuki, this was demonstrated by subtle realignment of age uke. By aligning the bones and joints in the arm and shoulder to the body the ability of the blocking arm to bear weight dramatically change, and therefore increase the effectiveness of the block.

 

Breathing exercises

Sensei Vebo detailed some breathe exercises in order to improve control of the hara.

1: Breathe in for 5s , hold breath for 5s, then breathe out for 5s. Try to increase the breathing out period to 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s….

2: Hara conditioning, tension and release the hara rapidly, say every second, with regular timing for at least 30 repetitions. Try to increase the number of repetitions.

3: In yoi dachi blocking and striking techniques were practised in combination with breathing. The exercise started performing age uke whilst breathing in (no tension), followed by otoshi uke breathing out, breathing in tate uke , breathing out soto uke. And so on for gidan bari , uchi uke, kizami zuki, ura ken. On the breathing out stage the whole body is tensed so that there is a strong connection of the blocking arm to the rest of the body. The exercise was repeated with breathing out for age uke, breathing in for otoshi uke……..

 

 

Combining breathing and movement

Taking the scheme 3 from the breathing exercises above the basic blocks and strikes were combined with sugi ashi. The exercise was performed in fudo dachi with full foot movement, i.e. feet came together rather than halfway. From yoi dachi, breathe in and then, whilst breathing out, step forward into fudo dachi age uke. Next sugi ashi backwards, breathing in as the feet come together and breathing out into fudo dachi otoshi uke. Complete the other techniques in the same manner: breathing in as the feet come together, breathe out into technique. Moving forward tate uke, back soto, forward gidan bari, back uchi uke, forward kizami zuki. Step 45deg inside ura ken (same hand) turn 45deg (anticlockwise) gidan bari. Move to right into kosa dachi (breathe in), breathe out into fudo dachi ura ken. Turn 90deg anticlockwise gidan bari.

 

Kata

Basai dai was practised with emphasis on using the heel’s reaction against the floor to initiate movement. Points to note were for choko zuki uchi uke(moves 8-13) only to block side foot twists 45deg, not both feet, so that the power in the block is focused forward rather than out sideways. Also, when moving into kokutso dachi the rear foot twist on the heel. Basai dai was also practised in which the traditional timing of the kata- fast, slow movements, pauses, etc., were replaced by a more flowing, faster, regularly spaced timing in order to better reflect jiyu kumite.

 

The first 6 moves of Jihon were practised with emphasis on the use of the reacting hand, particularly for age uke. The kata was also performed in ura, go and ura go forms.

 

Steve Reynolds