Karate in…Neutral?

I’ve blogged before about Sensei Lee’s adage of ‘head back, weapons close’ as he referred to keeping your head back and out of danger while in a fight, and keeping your hands toward your opponent to conduct the fight and maintain control.

Last night he took this a little further: “Stay in neutral!”

What? There’s neutral in Karate?

Sensei Lee explained that having your hands out in front, directed at the opponent, in neutral position, is critical for one primary reason: it’s where you have the most options. Jab, block, deflect, turn, reverse punch, open hand strike, grab or jam. Similar, of course to neutral in a vehicle, you have option to go back or forward.

Nishiyama Shotokan Jeff Hutchings KarateWhile maintaining the connection between the body and the arms -your core tense to allow fast delivery of an attack – or to respond to one form your opponent, in neutral you’re prepared.

Also, having your weapons out means there is little room for your opponent to get inside on you. With your arms up and forward, you’re protecting your center line.

Here is a great picture of Nishiyama Sensei circa 1999 with both hands out, taking the action space from his opponent.

So, yes, there is neutral in karate…prepared with your engine running.