Waikiki Surfers Comes to the Dojo

From left to right: Jimmie Sornito Sensei, Herman Setijono Shihan, Alika Garces, Akio Minakami Shihan and Ikaika Garces.

From left to right: Jimmie Sornito Sensei, Herman Setijono Shihan, Alika Garces, Akio Minakami Shihan and Ikaika Garces.

Do you know how to surf?  One of the first skills that everyone has to learn is how to stand on the surfboard.  This is especially difficult when the waves causes the surf board to move in a rough and jerky motion. With the waves causing the surfboard to move in an uncontrolled manner you learn that just being able to stand on the surf board is not enough as the wave will eventually throw you off the board and into the water. You must discover how to be connected to the surfboard. You must learn how to grab the board with your feet to feel the motion of the wave.  You have to learn which part of your feet to emphasize depending on the way the waves are causing the surfboard to move under your feet.  It isn’t about how to use your hips or moving your upper body or arms in time with the wave since those things don’t matter if you are constantly knocked of the board by the wave.  Counter motions with the hips and upper body comes later once you learn how to connect with the board with your feet and feel the motion and rhythm of the waves. This is the same as in Karate.  Before you can execute a technique properly you must first learn how to stand properly with your feet connected to the ground.  Just because you are standing and you feel balanced doesn’t mean you are using your stance properly and able to transition your power and speed from your lower body to the upper body. Just like a beginning surfer learning to stand on the surfboard, the beginning karate practitioner needs to learn how to connect their feet to the ground and “stand” so that they can generate a proper technique that connects the lower body to the upper body.  Just standing in place with a “proper” looking stance doesn’t mean you are standing correctly.

 -Akio Minakami