what is ohyo kumite?
Ohyo Kumite is a series practised in Wado Ryu Karate by many Dojo all over the world.
Originally, this series is created by Suzuki sensei. It's made to bridge the gap between the static formal techniques and free fighting.
That's why often you find the mistranslation: "Semi-Free Fighting".
Here's the Kanji of Ohyo 応用 and their meaning (we'll get into the technical stuff in a sec.)
- 応 = Apply
- 用 = Use
Together 応用 translates into application or practical use. You can see how "Semi-Free Fighting" would serve as a translation.
With the "bridge the gap" in mind, let's move on to how it's practised...
Over the years many Dojo adopted the series, but senior instructors also used the template to add their own ideas.
And that begs the question....
Did they "change" Ohyo Kumite?
Yes and no. They changed Mr. Suzuki's Ohyo Kumite...
If you understand the series on a deeper level you realise it's a concept and template. And from there it's easy to see how experienced instructors can use it to practise the techniques they favor. And make it suit their way of thinking.
Take this part from #4 for example:
Ishikawa sensei taught me to grab behind the neck (not the Karategi) to allow for better control. It's also an application of Ratai Dori (naked techniques).
Credit to Mr. Suzuki for laying the groundwork of such an exceptional series. And at the same time it's key to realise what he did was HIS Ohyo.
For example, have you seen Kono sensei in action? You can see his Ohyo are based on Suzuki's but clearly he "changed" them to suit his Karate.
So where am I going with this?
EVERY type of Kumite has a SPECIFIC purpose which requires an approach focusing specifically on just that.
And that's the big paradox-like problem of Ohyo Kumite:
IT'S NOT A FORM.
Learning it as a form is only the first stage... but that's where most people get stuck.
In simple terms:
- Form (passive — you're able to execute the techniques in a row with speed and power).
- Freely (active — you're able to move freely, adapt, react, flowing in the movement with minor surface adjustments).
- Freedom (Henka Waza — this ranges from minor to major surface adjustments, all the way up to when you can't recognise the original).
the number 1 thing holding you back from doing ohyo kumite properly
With that being said... 😅
Now you have a better understanding of the necessary mindset, let's move on to the technical stuff (that you probably came for). Enjoy the presentation of 8 Ohyo Kumite, where you'll notice some Ishikawa Sensei flavor 👊 .
Ohyo Kumite 1
the journey to henka waza
henka waza 1
Images are from my book "Wado No Michi".
Make sure to sweep as low as possible, close to the ankle.
And use the right angle, else it won't work if your opponent has weight on his foot and doesn't assist you.
Cover the hand with minimum tension.
Naturally you may lose some pressure when you punch. Still try to keep the left arm in place properly WITHOUT pushing excessively.
Ohyo Kumite 2
Ohyo Kumite 4
Ohyo Kumite 5
Ohyo Kumite 6
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Ohyo Kumite 7
#9 uses taisabaki and koshi sabaki
and finally #10 featuring suikomi uke