Finding and Defining the Karate Throw!
When this writer first learned Karate, there weren’t any throwing techniques. There was just kick and punch, and so much of it that there wasn’t much interest in how to throw somebody.
Heck, if you wanted to throw, you took Judo, right?
But, as time played out, and arts were learned, the subject of Karate throws kept popping up again and again.
Interestingly, there were throws in Karate before that art became a mass produced method of making money for US teachers.
I’m not trying to diss anybody here, but the US teachers were all saying ‘My art is the only Martial Art!’ And they were concerned with pushing their tournament fighting, which had no room for throws.
But Gichin Funakoshi was once taking lessons with Jigaro Kano, and suddenly Gichin did a throw that Kano didn’t really know. And when Kano was surprised, Funakoshi passed it off with, ‘Oh, Karate has a few throws.’
A few throws, indeed! Karate is LOADED with takedowns and locks and all manner of manipulative grappling techniques!
Finding Karate Throws in the Kata
My favorite example is the move at the end of Pinan Three. You poke over the shoulder and elbow, and slide to the side. Absolutely perfect grab art, if, instead of poking the eyes, you grab an encircling arm and throw on the slide.
Anyway, we could get into a lo-o-ong discussion about the placement of throws in almost every single move of every single kata, but I will leave that up to the reader to explore on his own, and merely say: ‘the throws are there, you just have to learn how to look.’
I will say that the throws in Karate tend to be all over the place. Karate wasn’t organized logically, and the things are placed in haphazard arrangement. That may make your job of finding them harder, but it will also make it more interesting.
I will also say that, in the end, while this writer loves throws and locks, there is greater efficiency in one punching an opponent. I know that some people may disagree with this, but I recommend practicing the punch until it works, and exploring the throws and locks so that you don’t get trapped or fooled by them, and so that you may have options. An option, for instance, in the event that it’s only your drunk cousin…don’t punch him! Just do one of your Karate Throws, over the shoulder and into the trash can…he he!