Mar 22

Learning Wansu: Adding to Shuto

During this week’s advanced class, we added to the shuto. More specifically, we augmented it.

The augmented shuto, which looks very similar to shintai domei in the Pinnacle of Okinawan Karate, is found in numerous kata throughout Shuri-ryu. It can be used in a variety of ways.

For this article, though, we’ll restrict its use to the traditional block as described in Wansu kata.

Properly executed, the augmented shuto can be broken down into three steps.

1. Fingers touch at the hips

The tips of your middle fingers should be touching. All fingers are straight. Palms are facing straight down. Your hands should be at your belt level.

By bringing both of your arms over to your side, you start to coil the energy you’ll need to get the optimal benefit out of the shuto.

Advanced students should begin to think about the types of applications that can be performed using this motion.

2. Hands and forearms protect the head and body

From the belt level, the hands come up to protect the face as the arms come together to form a shield. Again, your body is still turned to the side, ready to perform a great shuto.

Again, advanced students should be thinking about how this move could be applied in self-defense.

3. Hands come to final position

The forward hand should be out in front. Keep the elbow pointed down and close the body while blocking with the blade of the hand.

The rear hand should be near your solar plexus.

Imagine holding a pane of glass in your hands.

Other Notes from Last Night’s Class

I decided to split last night’s classes into two 45-minute sessions. We were still hitting our 90 minutes, but decided that 30 minutes was just too short to teach the basic class, and 60 minutes was feeling long for the advanced class. We found that “just right” medium last night, I think.

In the basic class, students learned middle block, vertical punch and side kick, as well as what body parts they would target for each.

Next week, I plan to cover the three most basic principles in self-defense.

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Adam Bockler

Sensei Adam Bockler is a 2nd-degree black belt in karate and the owner of Metamora Martial Arts. He's been in the martial arts since 2003, and has received instruction in tai chi chuan, Hsing-i chuan, judo, tae kwon do and XMA. Sensei Bockler was inducted into the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Karate Black Belt of the Year. He is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning.

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