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You must seize the moment ...
Its a matter of positive thinking

Shihan Hideo Ochi
Hachidan (8th Degree Blackbelt, JKA)

Talks to Sensei Edna Lima
Godan (5th Degree Blackbelt, ISKF/JKA-WF)

Kumite (sparring) is not just making your techniques. It is setting up possibilities and responding to opportunities. It is not simply go-no-sen or deai (countering) ... it is the strategy of setting up your own techniques, then responding with a new strategy. A strategy you intended from the beginning.

And you can change maai (tactical distance) to create advantageous positions. Closer is easier to make power and is a disadvantage to the big person. This creates a very positive situation and the psychology makes actual techniques possible. You just have to train harder to get that positive feeling.


You need to build a strong foundation. Its like a building, a larger foundation with a greater area is stronger, and it won't crack. With a big foundation you can really push your limits.

Use explosive movements that cover large distances. Movement is essential. Movement compensates for distances ... and flexibility is the key to karate movement. It compensates for distance and creates speed of movement. A small person should be able to do a full split ... and have enough strength to recover with stability and power ... this allows you to defend and attack from a great distance and get inside a larger person.

Of course, you practice all the techniques. Repetition is the key. The more you do the better it gets. One hundred is better than 20. Three hundred is better than one hundred. The more you do the more the body remembers. And practice creates an atmosphere, an environment for the techniques. After you can't practice any more physically you can still do kata in your mind.


When you practice kumite you have a real opponent. When you practice kata (forms) you have an imaginary opponent. In either situation you must practice control with total concentration ... target, distance, power ... then you can practice precise, exact techniques. Even if your kicking in the air you must have an exact target. You still have to respect your opponent.

Close your eyes and execute kihon (basic) techniques ... kiai (spirit yell) exactly, with feeling, in the rhythm of the technique. Practice total concentration. Practice kata with your eyes closed to learn about balance and concentration. Learn to concentrate through the last moment of a technique.

The most important thing is recalling the memory of techniques. Never doubt ... try many methods ... and always concentrate.


My tokui-waza (favorite techniques) are gyaku-zuki and mawashi-geri (round kick). The mawashi-geri comes out like a mae-geri (front kick), about half-way, and then turns over as a mawashi-geri. Its one continuous technique. This is not to draw out the opponent. Don't stop and re-aim but have one continuous attacking motion. One single movement, not two techniques together. Don't stop. Go directly to the target.

Or you can let the opponent come in and then counter-attack with gyaku-zuki. It depends on how you make kamae (fighting) stance. Kamae stance sets up the opponent. Either invites certain techniques or allows their possibility. And react to that. Then use a defense for situations you expect. If you guard high and a low kick comes in you can raise your leg for a defense and then continue your own attack. If you let your hands drop, your guard is low and a kick comes high you can drop back into a low stance and immediately spring back forward with your attack.


Katas are more than technique. They have very precise rhythms. Even when visualizing kata you should imagine making impact and relaxing. Think about even when your imagining the movements. Its just like music. It has rhythm and peak moments.

Kata and kumite are the same. The techniques are the same either way. But if you practice either one too much you create imbalance. If you only do kata you can get good but you'll never have the feeling of kumite. And it will show up in you kata. And its just as true the other way. In competition it doesn't matter if you win or lose, you should do both. You have to think that kata helps kumite and kumite helps kata.

Shihan Ochi's Competition Record

Since 1957 the All-Japan Championships have tested the very best in the JKA. Over the years Sensei Ochi, has achieved the premier tournament record:


1st Kumite

1st Kata

Grand Champion


1st Kumite

2nd Kata

Grand Champion


2nd Kumite

1st Kata

Grand Champion


1st Kata

Karate will continue the rest of your life. Shiai (competition) is just for a small portion of your training life. You can't ignore shiai, its important to truly learn karate, but its just one aspect. You don't have to win to get valuable experience, and even in the dojo you learn about kumite, but in shiai even one mistake is dangerous.

You always have to respect the other person. That is the foundation of karate. If you don't think about the other person you are not really practicing karate. You might as well do something else. If you do think about the other person, all the time, you can live your life smoothly. Without the other person you could just as well learn karate from a book. ~

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