More Combinations


If you were to ask ‘what is the single most important point behind the combination?’ I would have to say ‘simultaneity’. Ashihara karate is characterised by being multi-action-always doing more than one thing at a time. For example, at the very moment you counter your opponents kick, you are already delivering one of your own kicks or punches.
It might be easier for you to appreciate this by imagining a three-dimensional sphere, The natural circular movement of the hands, the blocking movement, the arcing movement of the legs during kicks, and the continuous, circular, weaving motion of the feet-all these come together to form a sphere. Within that sphere your movements are totally free and open to any variation. In a real fight, this translates as ‘attack and defence in one motion’.
Here I would like to explain some of the crucial points in mastering the attack-defence combination.

Your hands are antennae. As I explained in an earlier edtion, the moment your opponents blow makes contact with your hand, you have the ‘go’ sign to attack. In other words, if your opponent can reach you, you can reach him. Moreover, since he has initiated the attack, he is clearly moving closer to you. If you are so close you can touch, then your target is within attacking distance. So when you get that close, attack! When you progress toa more advanced level, you will have to be able to sense even the movements of the air as he launches his offensive

The hands can work in various ways to lead the opponent. For instance, imagine a situation where you are facing your opponent head-on, at a standstill. (This should not happen in a real fight. You must always be in motion, because in a fight the one who stands still is the loser.) All right, you are squared off, in a fifty-fifty position, What o do now?
With your foremost hand (left in the orthodox stance)you just grab him on the nearest arm (probably his left).This means his posture is not now as good as it could be. Of course, you are not in an ideal stance, but at least you are leading, not being led, and in that there is a big difference. To be precise, if we award 10 points for perfect stance, then the leader gets 9 points, and the other 8,5 or maybe 8. If you add to this small difference the pluses gained by good footwork and flexible body movements, It comes out to be a sizable advantage.

Think of feinting as another way to throw the opponent off balance. Here is an extreme example. Try flapping your hands in front of your face, and walking at the same time. It’s hard to walk straight, right? Imagine what would happen if those hands were not your own, but the opponent’s! You might get poked in the eyes; at the least you would instinctively close your eyes and shrink away. In that instant you are wide open.
In a fight you cannot, of course, afford to stand around flapping your hands in front of the opponents face. However, there are plenty of other things you can do. For one thing, after dodging his kick you could jump in and use the hand you had been guarding your face with to poke at his. (If he is within reach and unguarded, make that a punch to the face.) This is all you need to do to bother your opponent a great deal.
Suppose during such close in-fighting(facing each other square on)you want o deliver a low kick to his left leg. All you have to do is shove his left shoulder.
No-one can pay full attention to more than one point of the body at any one time. So while he’s open, give him a good hard kick. The rest is up to you.
Even a tap can draw his attention and open him to attack to an unprotected part. Knowing this enables you to bear even opponents much bigger than yourself. It is therefore doubly important for you to acquire speed that outmatches any opponent’s, and be able to read movements ahead of time. Feinting is fine, but if you spend too much time at it, you are likely to take a punch yourself.

The movement of the leg in kicking serves equally well to block. As I have mentioned any number of times before, any block(parry) should also be considered as a potential attack.
Another crucial role which the legs have is to move the body-that is, footwork. During a kick, the movement of the leg in withdrawing and touching down can double for a step in, out, or to the side. By merely altering the place you set the kicking foot down it becomes the pivot leg for the next kick. This process may be continued with limit less variations

***The same goes for punches, which also may be combined in innumerable attack patterns

First of all, don’t strain. You might compare karate to eating with a knife and fork. We apply a different amount of force to cut up potato or vegetable to that which we’d use to cut up a chunk of meat. Yet we don’t consciously worry about adjusting our strength: it is something the body has mastered naturally.
It’s the same with karate training. Through repeated daily practice, we naturally acquire smooth actions, the correct way to carry the body, and the techniques. If we can do something as delicate as to learn to eat with knife and fork, then we can surely learn karate. The human body can be both as flexible as rubber, and as hard as steel.


  1. Form: Correct form for kicks, punches. Master rhythm and timing. Use blocks and footwork accurately.
  2. High speed: Flow of movement, carriage of body, timing of attack and defence. Move and count more quickly. Develop judgement.
  3. High power: Increase endurance and power. (Concentrate on legs and arms, muscle tone, striking force.) Develop self-confidence.
  4. High technique: Imagination and innovation. Pursue flexibility, adaptability, and rationality. Polish techniques. Overall self-improvement.

**Toughening body muscles through training is advantageous because it reduces susceptibility to injury and it frees you to concentrate an guarding the face. Of course, you cannot leave the body entirely undefended, but it should be obvious that it is easier to concentrate on the face than dividing your attention between two vulnerable spots.

When practising in pairs, go slowly at first, then you will be able to see which movements are feasible and which are not. This will also help you to grasp timing and the finer points of technique. You may speed up gradually later.

The same goes for solitary practice using a punching bag. When stepping in for a kick, you will be better able to imagine the contact point if you move slowly.

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