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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Jishu (Freedom/Autonomy/Independency).

The TSW Jishu Project

With this being the anniversary edition of THE SHOTOKAN WAY, we felt it somewhat fitting to launch a new and interesting project that will hopefully provide some fascinating and educational insights into the concept of change, tradition and the evolution of the art.

Kata is central to karate, though people have different opinions as to its significance and role in the art. Some people even get caught up on what kata should be as a generic rule of thumb. Running TSW, if nothing else, has given me opportunity to interview, talk to, and train under some of the world’s finest martial artists, and something that has become explicitly clear is that everyone is unique. Everyone has their own beliefs, and everyone believes their approach to be the best way. I have learned to understand and accept this.

In my more naïve days I would say “No it should be this way”, but now I say “Who cares?” If someone wants to practice sport karate, and use kata as a tool to win medals and gain titles, who gives a toss? As long as they are happy, who cares? If someone wants to dedicate hours per day for the next 5 years studying one kata, if that’s what interests them, who cares? Yes I have my own opinion, and direction of study, by that is a direction of study personal to me. If people disagree, who cares?

For all the things I am, one thing I do not consider myself is a purist. Whilst I believe in traditional principles, I also appreciate and understand the necessity of evolution. I will give you an example by presenting a quote from my new interview with Paul Herbert 5th Dan (Coming soon):

Since our kata were created, the modern enemy has changed and consequently I feel the application and thought process behind each kata needs to evolve with the times. These are certainly not the days of noble duals, rather of deception and multiple attackers.”  Paul Herbert 2010 (Interview coming soon to TSW)

The point Paul is making so excellently is that modern society contains a different enemy. Therefore, the practices of martial artists needs to adapt to this. It is therefore understandable why kata for some people has evolved slightly to adhere to such changes.

Another significant factor is that everyone in the entire world has a different insight on things. Everyone sees things and interprets things differently, and has their own experiences and ideas. Therefore, it is natural that these factors should influence the kata they practice.

Essentially, I believe there are a countless number of factors that influence the way people practice karate and their kata, and this is what this project hopes to determine.


The TSW Jishu Kata Project


THE “JISHU” Project Outline

The TSW team are going to design a BRAND NEW KATA, based on the information and feedback from members. You will tell us what you want included, and debate will emerge from this. Then based on this info, we are going to put together a new kata.

1. A video, will be presented of this BRAND NEW KATA designed by the TSW team and its followers.
2. A written and pictorial break down will be provided, providing key details about this new kata.
3. Bunkai will be included for ALL sequences. ( To be discussed)

1. Members will be encouraged to study, and learn this new kata, so much so that it is as much a part of their repertoire as the standard shotokan kata.
2. Then members who wish to participate will film their kata and have it presented on TSW, and write a little about the experience and their findings.

1. To see how this BRAND NEW KATA changes from person to person.
2. To see how personal interpretation, and personal karate background taints and influences their execution of the kata.
3. To provide explanation as to why such changes they make are relevant

The Shotokan kata we practice today…how many versions of interpretation do we have? How many interpretations has it gone through before getting to us? How far away are any of us from their original concepts? Hopefully, this interactive project will help reveal some very interesting findings on this.


Forum – ongoing discussion (please get involved)

-          To take part in the discussion and development of the kata please see the link to the thread on the forum: http://www.theshotokanway.com/tswforum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1965

-          To email, and discuss with me, please contact me on mail@theshotokanway.com


Hopefully, this has the potential to become a fascinating and interesting project, but will only do so if you guys get involved. Please help us make this a ground breaking project!!!! 

Shaun Banfield  

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