THE FORM AND THE STYLE
Written by Master Genshin Hironishi
From Shotokai Spain’s Bulletins
I am afraid I have entertained the reader too much with this long prologue. But I feel it is necessary so you might better understand why Mr. Egami took the first step towards a new horizon that years later would derive in his own style of karate.
The Kyokai funeral boycott hit us all very hard and left deep scars; Egami was more affected than anyone else, I even had the following conversation with him:
“Listen Hironishi, can you explain to me why the Kyokai has acted this way?”
” I don’t know! How can I explain it to you, if I myself can’t even believe it?
This hard experience was the first step toward a new horizon that would distinguish “Egami Karate”. He received the impact with all his body and his soul responded in a brilliant manner.
In the mid-War years our conversations always centered on the kata and their movements. Egami’s line of thought could be summarized in the following way: “Kata must be done with movements that are full of vital energy, not merely movements”.
His revolutionary ideas were still in a embryonary stage and would need a few years to take their form in the Kata, Taikyoku, Chinokata and Tennokata. When he was able to control these movements, he was able to practice the Taikyoku with complete freedom directing his body perfectly, this ended inevitably in a revolution of the traditional kata.
His original point of view crashed head on with the principles Kyokai obstinately adhered to, this association’s point of view was that Kata were “sacred”, untouchable and should not be modified. You had to respect them exactly as they were and practice them always the same way.
This was the same inflexibility that had resulted in the Kyokai’s boycott of Master Funakoshi’s funeral… After recovering from that tough experience, this is how Egami interpreted the Kyokai’s attitude, I am not sure if he was right or not with respect to this opinion and that doesn’t really matter, what is sure is the fact that he forgot completely about the Kyokai and began developing his ideas freely; he dedicated himself to teach his method to his students.
In Buddhism it is said that the soul wants to express itself with form and that the form requires soul. The ideal would be this way, but in reality the form many times forgets about the soul and tries to maintain itself alone. The temples (form) forget about Buddha (soul) and only show their beauty and structural size.
Form and soul are as meat and bone, but they must not clasp themselves to a given form. Said in another way, they must not transform form into something divine. The soul, if it constantly evolves, will never cease to search for a new form with which it may better express itself. You have to break the actual form and take a new one. This is the reason Kyokai’s position was completely incomprehensible.
I can now remember his bright eyes, those of a truly excited person, typical of those that are dedicated to a noble cause. Also his favorite comment: “My whole life is purely training”. You were always surrounded by students, but you were never lost in vanity, you would always say your tsuki (blows) were taught to you by Okuyama (a junior student) and you repeatedly mentioned this comment so as to, unconsciously, avoid any divinization. That is how you have always been, free of any vanity…
His karate excelled, by far, the level of traditional karate by its quality and its concepts. The technical level emphasizes MAAI, where nobody has been able to attain his perfection. His impeccable maai permitted him, if confronted by an opponent, to defeat him before the combat itself started. This mental superiority characterizes his Karate and is a testimony of his immense value.