In a recent class we were discussing various Shotokan techniques, and it came around to what the ‘signature’ technique of Shotokan may be. Some of course, say the Oi Tsuki, others say the Gyaku Tsuki, and others have different opinions again.
From the Senpai who was teaching us some shifting and attacking techniques, though, we heard a very interesting take on what the ultimate waza in Shotokan is. After training for thirty years, he was confident in suggesting that the most important part of our technique is the power we generate from the core: our hip rotation on a reverse punch, the driving forward momentum on a lunge punch, or the hip vibration on a back fist, as examples.
His point was that power generation, from the floor, then through the hips and core, is where we turn a punch into a projectile of damaging energy. When a Shotokan student can bring timing, posture, hip movement, and drive from the floor together in an instant, the result is more than impressive.
The Senpai in question is a very unassuming man, gentle in his ways, and yet when he assumes a fighting stance he becomes a warrior, and when he moves he does so with a command of the Art. When asked the secret to making sure your techniques come from the core to create maximum power, his answer was simple… Repetition.
Study it, analyze it, understand it, and do it in perpetuity. Adeptness in Shotokan can be somewhat of a mirage, but know this… the benefit is in the striving, and every punch is progress.