Chief Instructor Yahara Mikio Awarded 8th Dan after Kata, Jiyu Kumite and Technical Demonstrations
On June 25 at the Honbu Dojo Mikio Yahara submitted himself for examination before a Board of Examiners comprised of Assistant Chief Instructor Akihito Isaka, Members of the Supreme Masters Committee Sakae Ibusuki, Kiyohiro Kakihana and Yasuhiro Hozumi, and was duly awarded the rank of 8th Dan. It is unprecedented that the Chief Instructor of a major Karate organization and of the highest technical skills submit himself for examination along with other Karateka who were also being examined for lower dan ranks before the same panel. It was Chief Instructor Yahara's own wish that he be examined in order to demonstrate his unwillingness to compromise the KWF's philosophy of maintaining the highest standards. Before the Committee Yahara Sensei began by demonstrating two kata; first Bassai Dai, then Heian Shodan. The foundation of KWF Karate is Kihon and the ability to perform the most basic movements of Karate perfectly. Bassai Dai presented an opportunity to show Chief Instructor Yahara's power and energy while Heian Shodan gave him the opportunity demonstrate forms used in real combat in Kihon stances. Following this, Chief Instructor Yahara presented a Research Presentation. Usually for such a high-ranking instructor, this element generally consists of an explanation followed by Yakusoku Kumite with a partner. However, it is Yahara Sensei's belief that such a procedure has little value because his techniques and ability must be useful in real combat. Following this Yahara Sensei requested that he be able to fight freely in open combat (Kumite) in order to demonstrate his techniques and that the partner fight with his utmost strength and skill. The KWF wonders how many other senior instructors will request Jiyu Kumite as part of their 8th Dan Examination in front of their Kohai. Yahara Sensei and the KWF believe that Karate is a Martial Art, the art of Self Defense. If it can't be demonstrated in real fighting, there is no point in it. So Yahara Sensei's examination was conducted to demonstrate the basic values of Karate. Technical ability is built on the practice of Kata, and Kumite is built on Kihon, so that the trinity of Kihon, Kumite and Kata work together as one. Yahara Sensei's examination was to demonstrate these principles by demonstrating Karate that starts with Heian Shodan and finishes in actual combat (Kihon). Before the Kumite, Yahara Sensei demonstrated a technique, then put it into practice in Jiyu Kumite. Following Kumite (in which three of Kawasaki Sensei's ribs were fractured), Yahara Sensei was asked to demonstrate his kicking techniques as the second part of his presentation. This was how to deal with an opponent at very close quarters using kicking techniques. After dealing with his opponent's attack, Yahara Sensei kicked him in the face at point-blank range, then executed a takedown using Kani-Basami, followed by a heel attack. Yahara Sensei demonstrated the highest level of martial arts techniques showing how an accomplished Karateka can use his whole body instantaneously to respond, defend and attack in an instant, without stopping, in a single motion. We present a video record of the Examination.
Presentation Theme：Techniques for Maximization of Centrifugal Force by Hip Rotation
<> Yahara Chief Instructor's 8th-dan grading video640x480 pixel screen / 320x240 pixel screen
Statement by Norio Kawasaki (Instructor, Honbu Dojo, KWF)
I was suddenly asked by Yahara Sensei on the morning of the regular Dan grading if he could use me as his demonstration partner for a research presentation. I had not been informed about this in advance. When the examination for him began, Yahara Sensei announced "My research presentation will be through jiyu kumite." At the moment he stood in front of the Examination Committee and asked this, to be honest, I was stunned with surprise. This was the first time for me to do real kumite with Yaraha Sensei instead of lighter kumitetraining. After the initial bow, Yahara Sensei remained standing in shizentai. Because Yahara Sensei did not go into kamae, was initially unsure about attacking him, but then I decided to launch at him. In a split second I was aware of his uraken flying at me, and if it had hit me it would have crushed my face and knocked me to the ground in a single blow. However, because it was an examination, of course Yahara Sensei controlled the attack. It is important to understand that he could have really killed me if he had wantedto in a real fight with this. The fact is that he could have killed me three times. As it was, I had my ribs cracked.This research presentation from shizentai position involved simultaneous and instant sabaki and kime (defense and attack) while simultaneously knocking the opponent (me) down and was very realistic and effective in a fighting situation. I think that the presentation demonstrates just how different Yahara Sensei's philosophy of kumite is compared to sports or tournament karate.
Letter from a KWF member The KWF has received a letter from an overseas member, Melhem Haddad, regarding Yahara-Sensei's recent grading.
The member who sent the letter is a veteran and battle-hardended soldier who has been wounded several times in combat and tortured. The KWF stresses that it did not solicit this email or any other opinions from members. The letter, received by e-mail last week, reads as follows:
I have watched Yahara sensei's presentation for his 8th Dan with great pride realizing that all the way I have followed the true path of Karate.In this short presentation Yahara sensei presented what Karate is all about, and before I start commenting on what I saw, I would like to mention a few facts.I met Kawasaki Sempai in 1991 in Japan at the summer camp run by Yahara Sensei. Kawazaki Sempai was 4th dan then and I was a humble Shodan. It happened during this grueling camp to work face to face with Kawazaki Sempai on Kumite techniques like Sen No Sen or Go No Sen, and I can assure you that even though Kawazaki Sempai was going easy I was nor able to see or block his Tsuki. So when Kawazaki Sempai goes as we saw full speed in free kumite, I can imagine the Truth in Yahara sensei's counter attack. I say Truth because this is what Yahara's Karate is all about, because in a fight for life and death only the Truth remains, and trust me I've been there.
Why Bassaidai and Heian Shodan:I believe Sensei chose Heian Shodan, because along with Wankan they represent the begining and end of Karate. This is from the philosophical aspect. But Sensei goes far beyond that. Sensei many times presented the Ura side of Heian Shodan. In the Ura part of this amazing Kata, are hidden the most simple and devastating techniques of Karate which are the essence of Sensei's True Karate. Only those who studied deeply this Kata with Sensei, can understand his Karate and what this means, thanks for this Sensei.As for Bassaidai, I beleive Sensei chose it for the True Fighting Spirit of this Kata. It is the only Kata that hits the enemy's fortress with magnificient techniques to destroy him literally with no faints. The power of it, is by declaring before the attack that the fortress is going to be destroyed any second, but still surprise the enemy with the straight forward attack, the true spirit of Karate.What was more amazing was the way those Katas are performed by Sensei, for the first time I see a kata being performed not for presentation or points, but for Kumite. Every blow is delivered to destroy the enemy ( not opponent), the way the rear leg adds power and trust is amazing, this was not a demostration but an accumulation of real life combat packed in Katas.
Shizentai:Everyone expected to see or was dreaming to see Yahara Sensei's real Kamae, finaly he will reveal it! But I am sure when they saw him standing there they were shocked, and I can hear them saying 'this is not Jiyu Kumite but Ippon'. Yes, again and again Sensei surprises by showing the real life andTrue Kamae. In fact it is so simple, we use it time and time again in all our trainings but it was just there, the little simple Ura Kamae.Application of Sensei's techniques are now part of the history of Karate, so no need to speak of them, like all those Budo giants, Sensei's techniques are marked by real sweat, blood, courage, and Truth. Sensei is the last of the Samourai.
I understand that Karatekas all over the world were expecting an Unsu or a Kankusho, amazing Katas, and famous because of Sensei, but the message came different, and Truth most of the time comes as a revelation, unexpected, and by surprise.
Yahara Sensei never stopped surprising us, and never will.A final word: 'Sensei, good technique, good technique!.'
空手之道世界連盟 KARATENOMICHI WORLD FEDERATION首席師範 Chief Instructor 矢原美紀夫 MIKIO YAHARAShirokanedai 5-4-7-B1F, Minato-ku,Tokyo 108-0071 JAPAN Tel: +81-(0)3-5789-3925 Fax :+81-(0)3-5789-3926 E-mail: email@example.comCopyright 2006 KWF All rights reserved.