Bassai-Sho
(To Pentrate a Fortress -- #1)

There are a number of Bassai kata in existence. This particular version of Bassai-Sho was taught by Grandmaster Albert C. Church as part of his Kamishin Ryu Karate Do system. It is an interesting traditional Okinawan Karate kata that helps to teach flow and speed. Grandmaster Church used this as a beginner kata, although it is in fact more difficult than most beginner kata because there is no symmetry in the kata. It is, however, very fun to perform because it allows you to demonstrate speed and flow.



Bassai-Sho

  1. This form begins facing North. Right Fist-to-Left Knifehand Bow from Musubi Tachi. Move left foot to Yoi Tachi.
  2. Leap north into a left-foot-behind-right Cross-Legged Stance while executing a Reinforced Punch to North with Keyii.

  3. Move 1/2 turn counterclockwise into a south-facing Right Cat Leg Stance and execute a tension Twin Inner Forearm Inner Block.
  4. Move left leg into a Left 3rd Fighting Stance facing north and execute another tension Twin Inner Forearm Inner Block. Finish with both hands in a pull-back position by your sides.
  5. Step forward with right foot into Right 3rd Fighting Stance and execute a Right Same Side Middle Thrust and immediately retract the right hand to a pull-back position by your right side. Both hands should be in this pull-back position when finished.
  6. Step forward with left foot into Right 3rd Fighting Stance and execute a Left Same Side Middle Thrust and immediately retract the left hand to a pull-back position by your right side. Both hands should be in this pull-back position when finished.
  7. Step forward with right foot into Right 3rd Fighting Stance and execute a Right Same Side Middle Thrust and immediately retract the right hand to a pull-back position by your right side. Both hands should be in this pull-back position when finished.

  8. Step back with right foot into a south-facing Right Cat Leg Stance and execute a simultaneous Left Inner Knifehand Inner Block (ending with palm up and horizontal) and Right Outer Knifehand Down Block (ending with palm down and horizontal). These blocks are circular in nature, each block moving through 1/2 of a circle during their execution.
  9. Step back with left foot into a south-facing Left Cat Leg Stance and execute a simultaneous Right Inner Knifehand Inner Block (ending with palm up and horizontal) and Left Outer Knifehand Down Block (ending with palm down and horizontal). These blocks are circular in nature, each block moving through 1/2 of a circle during their execution.
  10. Step back with right foot into a south-facing Right Cat Leg Stance and execute a simultaneous Left Inner Knifehand Inner Block (ending with palm up and horizontal) and Right Outer Knifehand Down Block (ending with palm down and horizontal). These blocks are circular in nature, each block moving through 1/2 of a circle during their execution.

  11. Pull left foot back into a Left 3rd Fighting Stance while moving both hands out, up, and palms-to-chest in a circular motion.
  12. Execute three short jumps to south, each time executing twin Outer Knifehand Inner Strikes to front. Note: While this was explained to me as three pushes, I have a low level of confidence in this explanation. The strikes may well be twin Outer Knifehand Inner Blocks instead. I simply don't know.

  13. Look to left (east) and rotate counterclockwise 1/2 turn on left foot into a north-facing Sumo Stance. While rotating, execute a Right Front Sweep to west with your right leg and also execute a Right Bottom Fist Middle Strike to east.
  14. Look to left (west) and rotate counterclockwise 1/2 turn on left foot into a south-facing Sumo Stance. While rotating, execute a Right Bottom Fist Middle Strike to west. Unlike the previous step, there is no sweep this time.
  15. Keeping eyes to west, rotate clockwise 1/2 turn on left foot into a north-facing Sumo Stance and execute a Left Down Block. Immediately execute an inner block with the back side of a Spear Hand. The hand ends in what looks like a Middle Spear Hand Strike to west.
  16. Using your open left palm as a target, execute a Right Crescent Outer Kick followed by a Right Bottom Fist Inner Strike to west, finishing in a south-facing Sumo Stance.
  17. Look over your left shoulder to east and step to east into a Right Front Stance with a Right Upper Same Side Thrust.
  18. Rotate 1/2 turn counterclockwise on your right foot into a west facing Right Cat Leg Stance. Execute a Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block + Right Reverse Side Middle Thrust + Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block. When punching, the blocking knifehand is pulled back with the knife edge to the punching shoulder.
  19. Move your right foot forward (west) into a Left Cat Leg Stance. Execute a Right Knifehand Middle Inner Block + Left Reverse Side Middle Thrust + Right Knifehand Middle Inner Block. When punching, the blocking knifehand is pulled back with the knife edge to the punching shoulder.
  20. Move your left foot forward (west) into a Right Cat Leg Stance. Execute a Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block + Right Reverse Side Middle Thrust + Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block. When punching, the blocking knifehand is pulled back with the knife edge to the punching shoulder.

  21. Pivoting on your right foot, rotate 1/4 turn counterclockwise into a south-facing Right Cat Leg Stance with a Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block.
  22. Execute a Right Leg Front Kick and then replace the right foot in its original position.
  23. Stepping back with your left foot into a south-facing Left Cat Leg Stance, execute a Right Knifehand Middle Inner Block.

  24. In a flowing motion from the previous step, execute a Right Knifefoot Instep Stomp to south and Keyii. As you stomp, spin on your right foot 1/2 turn counterclockwise into a north facing Right Cat Leg Stance with a Left Knifehand Middle Inner Block.
  25. Step forward with right foot into a north-facing Yoi Tachi. Move left foot to right into Musubi Tachi and perform a Right Fist-to-Left Knifehand Bow.