By William H. Duessel, Hanshi
When I trained with Master Tatsuo Shimabuku during 1964, he stated that more time should be spent on the basics, a little less time on the kata, and the least time on kumite. I think that new students should have a good understanding of the basics (stances, blocks, strikes, kicks, etc.) before they are started on a kata. This is especially true for the weapons (bo and sai). Most people teach the two empty-hand charts before the student begins the kata. They do not do the same thing with the weapons. Some dojos spend a short time teaching basic techniques with the weapons and then immediately start the student on a complicated weapons kata. I think more time should be spent on the weapon basics before we start the kata. Also, some of the combinations can be taught in advance of the kata. All techniques should be performed with form and speed. Form and Speed equal Power! To obtain speed, you must be relaxed.
Master Shimabuku also stated that although we can be taught a kata in a short time, it takes years of training to really learn the kata. He told me that it would take 20 years of hard training to perfect Sanchin Kata. I would advise all students to not be in a hurry. Isshinryu Karate is a life-time art. If you train hard, especially on your basics, it will make the rest of your training a lot easier. Good basics will improve your kata and your kumite.