Bassai translates as “destroy the wall” or “storm the fortress”. Accordingly, the kata should also be performed powerfully. It is said to have been created by Matsumura Sōkon and can be traced back to the Okinawan Tōde-Katas. It is believed that it was taught in its original form by Chinese masters as early as the late 13th century and came to Okinawa as a result of trade relations. Today it is no longer possible to determine how far today’s Bassai Dai still corresponds to its ancient origin.
Bassai Dai belongs to the group of Shorin kata, whose training focus, in addition to the techniques to be executed, is to train the karateka’s speed. The main characteristic of the kata is that the individual techniques are performed very quickly and powerfully. It contains many defensive block and leverage techniques and comparatively few leg techniques. With about 40 individual techniques, Bassai Dai is one of the longer katas. Therefore, it is one of the katas that are very often performed both in Dōjō and in kata competitions.
“In karate, hitting, thrusting, and kicking are not the only methods, throwing techniques and pressure against joints are included … all these techniques should be studied referring to basic kata”
Sensei Guy Brodeur, a highly accomplished martial artist with a 7th Dan ranking in Traditional Shotokan Karate. He boasts an impressive background, having been a four-time National Champion in various traditional styles and winning the SKI’s World Championship in Team Kata in 1985.
Despite his success in competition and his strong foundation in Traditional Shotokan Karate, Guy felt a need for further development in his martial arts journey. In 1998, he encountered Sensei Steve Ubl, which significantly altered his perspective and approach to karate. This encounter redirected his path while maintaining his dedication to Traditional Shotokan Karate.
The narrative highlights the transformative power of training with a different sensei and how a single experience can revolutionize one’s martial arts journey. It also emphasizes the importance of solo training. We are happy to give you a brief insight into his skills and ideas here.
Demonstration: Concepts within Kata Bunkai
Demonstartion: Delivering body mass through technique
Traditional karate is one of the most efficient self-defense systems. The basis of karate is formed by simple basic techniques that are internalized automatically and are quickly retrievable under extreme psychological pressure. Women have a realistic chance with Traditional Karate even against physically superior opponents.
However, Traditional Karate is much more than self-defense:
“Karate is a holistic training for body and mind. It incorporates a higher philosophy, hundreds of years of tradition, a code of honor, and many health, energy, and even spiritual aspects of a traditional martial art.”