View Full Version : Taika Oyata's kata videos reviewed

Dale Knepp
3rd August 2001, 14:38
Recently two reviews of Taika Oyata's series of kata videos have been written by persons that are not his students nor are affiliated with him in any way. The reviews have mostly been very positive with a few mentions of caveat emptor to future buyers. Tapes may be purchased through http://www.ryushu.com/sales.html

This person from England has given me permission to post the following review:

Naihanchi Shodan, Nidan.

Firstly let me get the negatives out the way first.
If you live outside of the states, you can expect a long delivery time for the tapes, from ordering to delivery it took roughly eight weeks for them to arrive on my doorstep. The tapes are short around 29 minutes for the Shodan tape and 25 minutes for the Nidan tape. The tapes that I received were recorded in long play, something that I wouldn't expect after spending 40 U.K pounds for. According to the video you have to buy the whole 12 tape set, before your eligible to purchase the Tuite and Kyusho Jitsu tape and Master Oyata's method of combining Kata movements to form "self protection techniques.

Run through of the tapes.
Both on Naihanchi Shodan and Nidan Tapes, you get a brief history of the northern part of Okinawa; mainly a description of Nakajin castle and surrounding district and it's a nice touch. Then Oyata performs the basic Naihanchi Kata's from three angles, front view, then the left angle, finally the right angle. He then performs basic hand movement in slow motion from a front view. Oyata then performs basic footwork in slow motion from the front view. Voice over explains that the side to side motion represents hooks or kicks to the legs whilst protecting your own lower region. Master Oyata then performs Naihanchi at advanced timing, done at intermediate speed, once again performed at front, left and right angles.

I've got to say straight off, at first viewing, I was disappointed with how much Bunkai content that the tapes contained. About five techniques for the Shodan tape, and about three or four for the Nidan tape. But what techniques though, this is about the best stuff I've seen so far, and what impresses is the fact that Oyata performs against full speed attacks. As an example from the Shodan tape, Oyata blocks/ parries a punch using the pressing block from Naihanchi whilst performing an inside sweep to the opponents front leg. The opponent falls straight down on his face whilst Oyata does an inverted punch probably to the face. From the angle of the punch and fist, I've a sneaky suspicion that this would be aimed at the super orbital notch. Second example. Oyata actual uses the returning wave kick as an actual kick deflection and leg trap, whilst performing the pressing block/inverted fist technique again. We've all heard of the returning wave kick is supposed to be used as a block from a kick to the groin, well this is the first time I've seen anyone pulling this technique off. From the Nidan tape you've Oyata using the Hiza Ate/Empi combo as a take down, Oyata punches first, opponent grabs Oyata's wrist, Oyata grabs opponent wrist as he performs the Hiza Ate, which is used to add momentum to the elbow strike, which is aimed at the opponents trapped arm, opponent goes straight to the ground. What impressed me was the fact that Oyata manages to combine footwork, blocking, punching and off balancing the opponent, all in one motion and against real attacks. You don't get, as in some Bunkai tapes I've seen, Well fights, generally start from someone grabbing you, pointing a finger at you, waving a fist in your face etc. Wait a sec whilst I get a lock on you, yep it's on, then I strike point a. prod point b. Then I slug you on the jaw, then your lights go out" Scenario.

Will you be able to learn basic Naihanchi from this tape; yes I think you could. Would you be able to learn advanced timing from these tapes; not without an instructor I think. And this is the trouble, Oyata performs the techniques full speed and you don't get to see the finer points going on, even in slow motion on the video it was difficult trying to figure what was happening. I would have liked to see the techniques also done at a much slower pace especially with regards to the tuite combos. You need to view the tapes time and again to pick up little points that you miss first time round, like the use of the 3/4 punch and inverted fist (I swear it's aimed at the super orbital notch) also on the 3/4 punch I'm pretty positive that Oyata was using Ippon Ken as well. There's so much more that I could comment about, but times pressing. Basically if you want an in-depth look and martial feel for how Karate was performed before it went to Japan, then get these tapes. The length of the tapes and Bunkai content might disappoint at first, but this is some of the best stuff I've ever seen. No combat sports here, just purely Karate Jitsu.