View Full Version : Bassai Sho

12th November 2011, 13:29
I haven't been checking e-budo for awhile, but I've been missing the insight the board members have always been willing to give.

In that spirit I'm asking that you share your insights, opinions and accumulated wisdom on the kata Bassai Sho. I learned the kata several years ago, but have never really practiced it. This year I'm taking it on as my winter project. I'm a Shotokan person, so my performance will be based on that model, however I love kata analysis and I welcome all comments especially those that make me think outside my style's box.


16th November 2011, 14:00

As for your inquiry, I am not sure what exactly is your question. Maybe it is easier to give an answer after you posted a clear question.

To start with, you are stating you practise “that” Shōtōkan model; however, there is not “that” one Shōtōkan version of Bassai shō. For example, there is perhaps the best known pattern taught by the JKA-Shōtōkan groups, which is compared to Bassai shō versions of other, maybe “minor” Shōtōkan groups an abridged version of Bassai shō. Furthermore the way of execution, timeframe for a single performance, rhythm, goal of performance etc. do – sometimes more, sometimes less – vary according to the individual Shōtōkan groups which have a version of Bassai shō on their curriculum…


Henning Wittwer

16th November 2011, 14:20
Let me clarify. I perform the standard JKA model Bassai-sho, which I know is different than the SKIF Bassai-sho and probably different than many other variations, too. Since I'll be spending a few months looking at the form, I'd like to hear about different interpretations, bunkai etc. So, here's my list of questions and if anyone wants to share their insights I'd be delighted to read them:

How many versions of Bassai does your style practice? If more than one, why? Do they each hold a different lesson?

What bunkai/oyo do you practice with this kata?

How does Shotokan's Bassai-sho differ from Shito-ryo, Shorin-ryu, etc.?

I'd also welcome any links to videos or pictures showing performances of the kata or bunkai.

16th November 2011, 15:12
Here are my answers to my questions:

I don't belong to a mainline KA group although from what I can tell my Shotokan is pretty close to the JKA/ISKF model of the 1970s. So, we perform two Bassai kata, Bassai-dai and Bassai-sho. It is my belief that the two versions teach variations on a theme - how to close with an opponent, stifle his attack and quickly ground or disarm him.

In terms of bunkai/oyo, for one example, in Bassai-sho I practice the two manji uke as responses to a shoot or bearhug. In the first one (left side) my lower arm (left gedan barai) sweeps the attacker's right arm down and my upper arm (right jodan uke) sweeps the attacker's left arm up and away leaving him open to any counter I want to throw in. Shifting into kokutsu dachi pulls my center of gravity away from his tackle.