The Storied History of Yakusoku Kumite I-VII

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Shoshin Nagamine and Jokei Gushi perform
Yakusoku VI for Mifune Kyuzo in Tokyo, 1955.

Here is a great Yakusoku Kumite article that I came across during my online research that discusses the creation and history of Yakusoku Kumite by Shoshin Nagamine at least twenty years before the publication of his book. The Article is by Sensei Andreas Quast at his awesome

Sensei Quast translates the Yakusoku Kumite portions from the original Japanese version of Shoshin Nagamine’s book The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do. Apparently the Japanese version had a bit more detailed descriptions and background about the history of Yakusoku Kumite than the English version of the book.


Short Excerpts from the Article Translation

Sticking to kata only cannot be called true karate. As I have always said, kata and kumite are like heaven and earth, like the sun and moon, like the front and the back side of things, which are perceived as dualities when in fact they are inseparable. And therefore kata and kumite must be studied complementary to each other. That is, the various techniques interwoven into the kata must not only be practiced theoretically against a ‘virtual enemy in the air’, but specifically as an applied practice against an actual live human being. By way of trial and error, a personal combative experience is accumulated and finally brings about reflexive techniques of offense and defense at will. This is the final goal of karate as a bujutsu.

Translated by Sensei Andreas Quast from Shoshin Nagamine’s The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do

Here is an excerpt description of Yakusoku Kumite V. Note that it looks like the English version of the book has a slight mistake in this description. The English version has the defender take a zenkutsu-dachi, but Andreas translates the Japanese version as specifying a naname-zenkutsu-dachi. Though he says to “Seize his arm with your left” but the photos show you grab with the right hand while kicking.

The opponent delivers a right thrust from a left forward-bend stance (zenkutsu). Evade into a slanted forward-bend stance (naname-zenkutsu-dachi 斜前屈立ち) and stop the blow with your right forearm. The opponent immediately follows with a right kick. Transform into a crossed-leg stance (kōsa-dachi) and nimbly sweep it off. You and your opponent both perform one rotation until you face each other again. The opponent at full risk comes forward with a right middle-level thrust into a right forward-bend stance. Seize his arm with your left, and as the decisive technique deliver a kick to the vital point (‘lighting,’ tenkō 電光) at his abdomen in front of the kidneys. This is an application of preceding paragraph 6.

Translated by Sensei Andreas Quast from Shoshin Nagamine’s The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do
Choki Motobu - My Art and Skill of Karate

Check out Sensei Andreas Quast’s full article for much more, and be sure to bookmark his blog which contains decades worth of valuable information!

Shoshin Nagamine created the Yakusoku Kumite sets based on the teachings of his Sensei, Choki Motobu. Sensei Andreas Quast has also translated, along with three generations of the Motobu family, one of Choki Motobu’s original Japanese books about his karate style Motobu-ryu: My Art and Skill of Karate.

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Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank You Very Much!)
-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

This drill is based on Yakusoku Kumite as described in The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do.
Shoshin Nagamine's book The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do Matsubayashi Ryu

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