Sabaki Talk Styles - Ashihara Karate

Ashihara Karate is what we call our Ryu or style, named after Kancho Hideyuki Ashihara, a man who has
devoted himself to the pursuit of the most rational, logical karate techniques. The quintessence of
Ashihara Karate lies in its innate rationality. It embraces a method which is probably the most
scientifically logical. As such, Ashihara Karate is the most vital and practical in real-fight situations.

Ashihara Karate can be described as moving in circles. The symbol of Ashihara Karate illustrates the
principles of the most efficient movements of the human body. The human body has a natural inclination
to move in circles and in three dimensions, this transposes to the movement of a sphere.
Circular movements mean that, rather than meeting an opponent head-on, you move around him, staying
at his side or back, deflecting attacks and making yourself a difficult target.

Learning the techniques and forms of this "risk free" karate is pure pleasure. Punch without being
punched! Fell your opponent without going down yourself! In striving to achieve the maximum
performance of the human body, the chances of being injured are reduced and the probability of victory
correspondingly increases. This is the philosophy of Ashihara Fighting Karate.

According to Narker, the main concept behind Ashihara Karate is "Karate without Tears." Narker took
pains to point out that his karate does not believe in combatting force with force. Instead it believes in
capitalising on the opponents strength. "The aim is to punch without being punched", said Narker
smashing his fist against an imaginary opponent after side-stepping the blow. "Never meet an opponent
head-on. Always move around him and attack from the side or back where he is the most vulnerable.
This way you will avoid injury to yourself."

In some styles of karate, confrontation with an opponent is a relatively rare occurrence. Not so in the
Ashihara Karate schools directed by Hoosain Narker. Indeed, it would seem that the heart of this system
is built around the idea of facing at least the simulated hostility of another student.

In explaining how his system differed, he stressed the importance of lateral movement, teaching the
student to handle himself at three different ranges, the use of the knees and elbows, use of the legs to
block kicks and the importance of punching through the intended target.

Ashihara Karate has been influenced by Aikido evasive techniques and this has lead to the development of
Ashihara's Sabaki principles. Narker stated "That in this style of karate you never come straight in. You
angle, get in a position where you can do harm but he cannot". Some styles do some Tai Sabaki, but with
Ashihara total emphasis is placed on it as everything revolves around it. Most combinations, etc. are done
by the stepping out or absorbing principles. So important is the concept of angling that the Ashihara logo
illustrates it.

The Ashihara reverse punch is another difference to traditional Japanese Karate. With Ashihara stylists,
the rear heel is lifted off the floor, for one thing, and the punching shoulder is allowed to rotate towards
the target. When you are hitting, you want to punch through the target to penetrate.

You do not, for instance, see a lot of back fists or ridge hands , and certainly no showy blocks. Instead
you have the relatively high, short stances of the professional kickboxer - along with the kickboxer's
fondness for elbow and knee strikes. Whilst the Ashihara punches show a clear boxing influence, the style
itself prefers a hooking elbow smash to the standard boxing hook.

At close range, the Ashihara style inevitably proceeds towards a take down. And whilst there are a variety
of trips and sweeps employed for getting the man down, once he is down he is finished off with punches
and stomps. At a medium range, the adept makes use of shorter kicks and longer punches. At long range,
the emphasis shifts to roundhouse kicks and evasive and gap closing counters. Anyone wanting more
information on Ashihara Karate please visit

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Updated by Hoosain Narker