By Jenifer Tull-Gauger Renshi

A fellow karateka recently reminded us that when it comes to technique (and other things in life!) everything springs from the basics.  Our dojo, East Valley Martial Arts – Kenshin Kan (part of the United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance) has implemented Basic Exercises 1 thru 10 in full.

Basic Exercises 1 thru 10 were designed by Taika Oyata.  They build a framework for learning katas and life protection skills.  They also create a foundation for doing kata with skill, including the katas after black belt.

The Basic Exercises are numbered because they are sequential.  They build upon each other and should be learned in order.  Allan Amor Kaicho has said about the Exercises that it is our responsibility to preserve these shining lights, from Oyata, on our martial arts path.

Here is an overview of the 10 Basic Exercises, their basic descriptions, their target skills and the rank at which they are taught at our dojo:

1: (11 sets of 10 in naihanchi stance, then 2 sets of 10 in fighting stance) Structuring/Foundation w/ Basic Hand Moves. White belt thru 8th kyu.

2: (Half: cat stance, half: seisan stance, 4 single blocks, 4 high blocks, 4 double blocks, 4 reverse punches) Footwork Covering 180° with Hands. 7th kyu.

3: (3 repetitions of single, double, single, double, face, triple, triple, etc. in naihanchi stance) Combinations with Hands. 6th kyu.

4: (Ready stance, hands: guard; down; up; around; guard [fists]) Circular Hand Motion. 5th kyu.

5: (Hands move like 4, includes footwork, hands open and relaxed) Circular Hand Motion with Footwork. 4th kyu.

6: (Ready stance, right hand up, down, strike, strike, push, back, switch hands,) Wrist Movements/Alternative Strikes. 3rd kyu.

7: (Hands move like 6, includes footwork, first going forward, then backward) Wrist Movements/Alternative Strikes with Footwork. 2nd kyu.

8: (Footwork like first half of number 2; hands: single; double; face; repeat) 360° Combination with Footwork. 1st kyu.

9: (Makidachi stance, hands open, block, right hand around, switch, right hand pull, left hand push, set-up and repeat other side) Getting to the Backside of the Arm. Shodan.

10: (Ready stance, turn, top hand open, feet together, switch open hand, kick, switch hands, block, repeat on other side) Opening & Closing of the Hand. Shodan.

This list shows the target skills, and can serve as a study guide once you have learned any Basic Exercises.  These moves will help you grasp basic motions, making it easier to learn your kata.  Keiko, keiko, keikokoru! (Practice, practice & practice some more!)