This is a research study of a wide variety of readily available online video examples of Yakusoku Kumite I-VII. When learning, studying, practicing and perfecting such material under the supervision of a qualified local instructor, be sure to perform the moves the way your instructor teaches. It is sometimes also useful to review examples of how others may perform the same material. This may help beginners learn the basic movements by having a video reference of common movements. It may also help more advanced practitioners dive deeper beneath the surface. Analyzing variations in movements, timing and emphasis can often lead to a more complete understanding of the material’s underlying essence.
Yakusoku Kumite is a set of seven prearranged fighting drills. They were created by O-Sensei Shoshin Nagamine, the founder of Matsubayashi Ryu – a form of Shorin Ryu Okinawan Karate. He developed the Yakusoku Kumite with the teachings of his sensei Choki Motobu in mind. He based them on seven principles:
- Simultaneous attack and defense
- Simultaneously use both hands
- Simultaneously use both hands and feet
- Naturally shift off-line to attack from the side
- Intently defeat the opponent in critical situations
- Reflexively kick when grabbed or grabbing
- Reflexively attack after suppressing and grabbing
The following excerpt from O-Sensei Shoshin Nagamine’s book The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do provides insight into how Yakusoku Kumite I-VII should be practiced.
Prearranged kumite must be practiced as a life-or-death match, but never with the intention of harming the fellow practitioner. In kumite you must commit yourself totally, and from this commitment arises the realization that your blow could easily kill your opponent, that the karateman holds life and death in his hands. But you must never engage in prearranged kumite with the intent to kill. The realization that you hold life and death in your hands should lead you to the reaffirmation of life — your own and your opponent’s.–The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do, O-Sensei Shoshin Nagamine
Demonstrating Yakusoku Kumite with MJ
This was a father/son demonstration of Yakusoku Kumite I-VII as part of Sempai MJ’s Joshu Hachiban promotion in 2015. We’re looking forward to shooting a more current better video soon, so we can make a few corrections! [We shot a new Yakusoku Kumite video breakdown and performed a photo-for-photo comparison to the photos in the book.]
Shoshin Nagamine & Takayoshi Nagamine
Despite the low resolution and poor lighting in these videos, it is fascinating watching O-Sensei Shoshin Nagamine in the 1960s and his son Soke Takyoshi Nagamine in 2010 performing Yaksoku Kumite, generations apart.
Shorin-ryu Karate & Kobudo Association
The Yakusoku Kumite of Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu – DVD Sampler
This DVD sampler includes quick clips of most of the moves for quick reference. While I haven’t seen the full DVD it certainly looks helpful. The DVD covers not only the history and traditional version of the kumite, Sensei Jerry Figgiani, 8th dan, explains and demonstrates applications and variations that can be applied to realistic self defense situations. His DVD’s look interesting, check them out!
Additional Samples of Yakusoku Kumite
As seen on the left, Sensei Jim Sindt has a widely distributed set of videos that cover the 18 Matusbayashi Shorin Ryu kata as well as the 7 Yakusoku Kumite fighting drills. His speed and fluidity is very inspiring! On the right is Owen Masters in Sensei Zenko Heshiki‘s dojo in the 1970s. Owen demonstrates the traditional Yakusoku Kumite set along with some interesting variations.
Ms. Lara Chamberlain – Santa Cruz Martial Arts Cultural Center & Zen Dojo
Ms. Lara Chamberlain discusses key points for Yakusoku Kumite #1-7 as two of her senior level students demonstrate. Ms. Chamberlain started practicing Matsubayashi-ryu karate in 1985. She was a dedicated student of Shoshin Nagamine, Takayoshi Nagamine, and Yasuharu Makishi. All of her videos are an effort to share all of the teachings she has received over the years. In 2019, she founded Tiida-ryū (Tenyō-ryū). Check it out at sczenkarate.org.
Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Karate Vol. 3 DVD
Here’s a preview of the Yakusoku Kumite section of Takayoshi Nagamine’s excellent Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Karate DVD series. This three volume set covers all the kata and Yakusoku Kumite as well as lots of historical information. It’s a must have DVD set for any Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu practitioner.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino