Climbing the Other Mountains

Shotokan's Secret presents a complete theory of the heian katas. There are the forums where the research was conducted.
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Climbing the Other Mountains

Postby HanshiClayton » Thu May 21, 2009 2:04 pm

You might say that this revelation was the backbone of Shotokan's Secret, Expanded Edition.

Other Mountain Rule is: "You cannot see the mountain that you are climbing. You have to climb a different mountain in order to look back and see your own mountain."

Kata interpretation requires hard study and years of preparation. It involves substantial expense and significant pain. You can’t just “figure out” the meaning of a kata by waving your hands and saying, “This must be a block.” You have to go outside the karate dojo and study other martial arts. You must learn the combat techniques elsewhere, and then recognize them in karate kata. This is the path that produces powerful insights.

For instance, the discussion of heian (pinan) kata in the adjacent fora is based on thousands of hours of research in which I explored and tried out every technique of several military combatives systems (such as krav maga), plus hundreds of techniques from aikido, aikijutsu, hakkoryu jujutsu, budoshin jujutsu, and multiple branches of kobudo, judo, and kendo. I didn’t just thumb through the books. I was face-down on the mat with every technique, trying to get a feel for the body dynamics. On the Chinese side, I borrowed from arts such as wing chun and uechi ryu. I’ve also had a thorough look at karate applications as proposed by multiple Okinawan and Japanese systems. This search has been my obsession for over fifteen years.

When you have used a te kagami (“hand mirror”) wrist lock a few hundred times, you recognize it like an old friend when you see the same gestures in a kata. (Empi kata, step 14 where you “look into your palm.”) No amount of punching, blocking, and kicking can produce that insight. It requires experience outside of karate.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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