When this writer first learned Karate, there weren’t any Karate throwing techniques. There was just kick and punch, and so much of it that there wasn’t much interest in how to throw somebody.
Heck, if you wanted to throw, you took Judo, right?
He could punch…and he could throw!
But, as time played out, and arts were learned, the subject of Karate throwing techniques kept popping up again and again.
Interestingly, there were throws in Karate before that art became a mass produced method of making money for US teachers.
I’m not trying to diss anybody here, but the US teachers were all saying ‘My art is the only Martial Art!’ And they were concerned with pushing their tournament fighting, which had no room for throws.
But Gichin Funakoshi was once taking lessons with Jigaro Kano, and suddenly Gichin did a throw that Kano didn’t really know. And when Kano was surprised, Funakoshi passed it off with, ‘Oh, there are a few karate throwing techniques.’
A few throws, indeed! Karate is LOADED with takedowns and locks and all manner of manipulative grappling techniques!
Finding Karate Throwing Techniques in Kata
My favorite example of a karate throwing technique is the move at the end of Pinan Three. You poke over the shoulder and elbow, and slide to the side. Absolutely perfect grab art, if, instead of poking the eyes, you grab an encircling arm and throw on the slide.
Anyway, we could get into a lo-o-ong discussion about the placement of throws in almost every single move of every single kata, but I will leave that up to the reader to explore on his own, and merely say: ‘the throws are there, you just have to learn how to look.’
I will say that the throws in Karate tend to be all over the place. Karate wasn’t organized logically, and the things are placed in haphazard arrangement. That may make your job of finding them harder, but it will also make it more interesting.
I will also say that, in the end, while this writer loves throws and locks, there is greater efficiency in one punching an opponent. I know that some people may disagree with this, but I recommend practicing the punch until it works, and exploring the throws and locks so that you don’t get trapped or fooled by them, and so that you may have options. An option, for instance, in the event that it’s only your drunk cousin…don’t punch him! Just do one of your Karate Throws, over the shoulder and into the trash can…he he!
Speaking of Karate Throws… It used to be people learned Karate so they could one punch a sucker. Put him to sleep for a week. Then, people couldn’t do it, and by the time the nineties rolled around they were ready for Mixed Martial Arts. Ready to throw and lock, ground and pound, smash and trash, and all that.
Best Karate Throw
Now, first, you can one punch somebody if you do it right. It has to do with depth of punch, time of actual contact (impact) and delivering an idea.
But, this is not about that one punch idea, this is about throws, and a lot of people gave up their karate training because there weren’t any throws in it.
My, my. Ain’t we silly.
Gichin Funakoshi got together with Jigaro Kano. Gichin was asking about throws, Jigaro taught him some. Then Gichin did a throw that he had not been taught by Jigaro. Jigaro was surprised and asked him about it, and Gichin replied… ‘Oh, we have throws in Karate.’
We have throws in Karate, what an interesting statement. Yet the whole world thinks we don’t! Yet the founder of modern day Karate says we do. So why don’t we see many throws in Karate?
One reason is because it is easier to teach punches to huge classes.
Another reason might be the Japanese had throws, so why teach them what they already had?
Another reason might be the Okinawans didn’t want to teach their samurai busting techniques, to the culture that created the samurai.
Heck, there could be a lot of reasons. My personal favorite reason the Okinawans didn’t teach a lot of throwing techniques in Karate (they did teach some), is that the specific physics of Karate don’t favor the particular mechanics of the body when doing throws.
The reason I say that is I learned a few throws, but they relied on violent karate style motion, and we didn’t have any ‘judo techniques’ style of motion.
Anyway, consider all that as you wish, let’s talk about throws.
In Pinan Three. The spear hand technique, you can translate that into an arm wrapping technique, and take a guy down easy squeezy.
Or, in Pinan Three, when you are doing the foot raise elbow and backfist on the way back down the center of the form, you can slide into an opponent, insert yourself under his arm, and effectively ‘split’ him. Bottom half goes one way, top half goes the other. And, voila…a throw.
Or, Pinan Three, at the end, when you do the horse stance, punch over the shoulder. Perfect for a grab from behind, you grab his arm, sideways movement with an arm throw.
Karate Throws at the end of each technique…Check out Matrix Kung Fu if you want all the throws.
Now, that’s just three off the top, the truth is, I could easily find a dozen throws in that form alone.
However, I don’t bother. I was interested, I looked, I saw, but I found that it was much better to matrix the body, isolate specific lines of energy, and therefore to isolate the throws and present them as a matrix.
I don’t teach big massive arts, I don’t teach Karate with all the techniques of all the other arts, I teach karate as a specific and ordered set of principles, as a science and not an art, and then I teach throws as a specific and ordered art in Matrix Kung Fu (Monkey boxing).
To try to teach all the arts through one particular art’s viewpoint is how we got in the mess in the first place. Somebody learns a concept, say it is the clinging energy of Mantis Kung Fu, then they try to include every single concept they have ever learned under the mantle of preying mantis Kung Fu, and suddenly they are trying to teach the elephant style of Mantis.
And it doesn’t make sense!
All the concepts don’t fit together if you try to teach them from a single viewpoint!
But, if you teach each martial art from the unique viewpoint of that art, then the arts become small and bite sized.
The problem, of course, is that people have never really isolated the specific concepts of their arts. Karate is ‘hard,’they say. But that’s not the unique concept of Karate! That is a generality, it points to art, and not to science!
‘Tai Chi Kung Fu is soft,’ they say. But all kung fu is not soft, and so there is misunderstanding, concepts are mushed together, and people are left to dig their way through the mess.
Do you understand?
For an art to be considered as a science it must be made logical, pried apart form other arts, aligned within itself, kept separate form other influences.
Then, when it is understood, it can be put together with the other arts, which is to say, other arts can be taught in similar fashion, and put together and made into a whole.
Studied as a mush, it takes decades to lifetimes to master the martial arts. Taken as small, bite sized, and logical matrixes of information, the whole art can be absorbed quickly and smoothly. Mastered in a couple of years.
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