Goju‐Ryu Karate – LaSalle/Vollmer

My sons, husband and I have been attending the Saturday Karate classes at the Vollmer centre for the last few years. This is part of the GKK Canada (Goju‐Ryu Karate‐Do KyoKai) organization under Sensei Pirrone. We enjoy this class very much. It’s a great opportunity to focus on physical fitness and discipline for the whole family. We very much appreciate that the Sensei allows parents of children in the class to participate as well!

There’s a lot to learn here and it’s difficult to find any official information about what we should know like the katas we learn in class. The katas we learn seem to be slightly different than I’ve found in YouTube searches. So I’ve compiled some info here. It’s much easier to practise at home if you know what you’re supposed to practise.

Notes: This is compiled from my best attempt at understanding. I’m sure I have many mistakes here, please comment if you’ve found better videos or if you have corrections!

General Information

Organization Website: http://www.gojucanada.com

The 5 Pillars of Class:

  • Discipline
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Courtesy
  • Protection

Count to 10 in Japanese: ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, jyuu. (Try to know these forward and backward.)

Karate Stances: https://www.thekaratelifestyle.com/list-of-karate-stances/

Karate Gi (Uniform): Care and tie of the gi and belt + etiquette.

Know your karate lineage:

  • Myagi
  • Tada
  • Yamakura
  • Pirrone
  • You & I!

Kata (Form)

I want to reiterate that I haven’t really found great videos for the katas so far. Usually they are using a different block than the high upper block we’ve been learning with. Or there is an additional final ‘leg’ of the kata. Or the video is blurry. Combine the video resources with the moves list to help you.

I highly recommend watching these with the video playback speed slowed down to help you follow along. We cast them to our TV and practise along in the family room.

# 1 – Kihon Jodan Uke Kata

(Kihon = Basic(s), Jodan = High/Upper, Uke = block)

During most of this kata your feet will be stepping in the sanchin-dachi stance. You can perform this kata with different types of blocks or strikes instead of the high upper block we use most of the time.

Videos of this kata always have an extra leg to them that our dojo doesn’t do. This makes it into a complete capital “I” shape when seen from above. I’m not sure why the difference. Just go with it.

Videos

his video is clear and goes through it a second time with hula hoops so you can really see the pattern you’re making on the floor. There is an extra leg at the end that we don’t do in our dojo. Uses a lower block instead of an upper block.
Similar to the first this video uses a lower block instead and has an extra leg at the end that we don’t do in class. But it’s performed at half speed which is nice.

Steps

  • Face front wall. Bow.
    • Say the name of the Kata. Arms open stance.
  • Quarter turn left. (Face left wall.)
    • Left arm block.
    • Punch right.
  • 180° turn to right. (Face right wall.)
    • Right arm block.
    • Punch left.
  • Quarter turn left. (Face front wall.)
    • Left arm block.
    • 3 punches: Right, Left, Right (“Kya!”)
  • Counterclockwise ¾ turn to the left. (Face right wall.)
    • (Sweep right leg in front of left, pivot on left leg counter-clockwise, end with left leg in front of right.)
    • Left arm block.
    • Punch right.
  • 180° turn to the right. (Face left wall.)
    • Right arm block.
    • Punch left.
  • Quarter turn left. (Face back wall.)
    • Left arm block.
    • 3 punches: Right, Left, Right (“Kya!”)
  • Counterclockwise ¾ turn to the left. (Face left wall).
    • (Sweep right leg in front of left, pivot on left leg counter-clockwise, end with left leg in front of right.)
    • Left arm block.
    • Punch right.
  • 180 ° turn to the right. (Face right wall.)
    • Right arm block.
    • Punch left.
  • Quarter turn left. (Face front wall.)
    • Fists to armpits.
    • Open and cross palms at chest (left hand below right).
    • Arms to sides. Bow.

Tips

  • The wall you start off facing is the “front wall”.
  • Turns always lead with your blocking arm.
  • Your path will trace a capital “I” pattern from where you begin.
  • There is an additional leg of the “I” at the end in other examples of this Kata. This is not included in the form used by the LaSalle Goju-Ryu Karate club.

#2 – Tsuki-no Kata

(tsuki = punch/strike)

Videos

Unfortunately most of the videos for this kata are extremely blurry or include a kick which we don’t do. Low resolution videos are difficult to slow down because they get choppy, but this first one is pretty good!

This video is very clear (yay!), but my kids are debating whether it’s the same.
This video is great for the camera angle but it’s very blurry.
Another blurry video but this one is in a group. The moves are performed when called out which is nice for getting the pattern/beat. Warning: video is LOUD!

Steps

Transcribing the steps for this kata is a work in progress. This one was much more complex and the pattern is not as simple. Also, figuring out what hands are doing in the blurry video or when the back is turned is quite challenging. The differences between high stance and low stance I’m still not sure about. I transcribed this kata based on the beats called out in the 3rd video.

  • Face front wall. Bow.
    • Say the name of the Kata. Arms open stance.
  • Low stance (Face front wall)
    • Right leg slight step back, wide legs
    • Left hand downward block, right hand to armpit (fist)
    • Punch (middle) with right fist
  • Low stance (Face front wall)
    • Right leg step forward
    • Punch (middle) left
  • High stance (Face front wall)
    • Left leg step forward
    • Punch (middle) right
  • High stance (Face front wall)
    • Right leg step forward
    • Punch (middle) left
  • Low stance (Face front-left corner)
    • Left leg step forward 45° to the front-left
    • Punch (middle) right toward front-left corner
  • Low stance (Sweep along front wall left-right)
    • Right leg step out to front-right corner
    • Swing extended right arm horizontally to front-right corner
    • Punch (middle) left to front-right corner
    • Punch (middle) right to front wall
  • High stance 180° turn (Face back wall)
    • Bend right elbow so fist faces up (to block in front of your face). Left fist under right elbow
    • Right leg crosses in front of left turn 180°, end with left leg forward
    • Left inside block, right hand to armpit
    • Punch (middle) right
  • High stance (Face back wall)
    • Right leg step forward
    • Right hand inside block
    • Punch (middle) left
    • Punch (middle) right
  • Low stance (Face back wall)
    • Left foot big step forward
    • Left (high) punch
  • Low stance (Face back wall) 180° turn
    • Right foot step forward
    • Right (high) punch
    • Keep right hand extended high, sweep arm around 180° (face front wall)
    • Left leg is now forward
    • Left (high) punch (facing front wall), right fist to armpit
  • Low stance (Look at right wall)
    • Right leg comes forward then step out to right wall
    • Right punch to right wall (body faces front, head faces right wall)
  • Low stance (Look at right wall)
    • Left leg step in front of and past right leg to right wall performing a 180° turn (clockwise)
    • Left punch to right wall (body now faces back wall, head faces right wall)
    • Look at left wall
    • Right hand strike to left wall, palm open down, left fist to armpit
  • Low stance (Look at left wall)
    • Left leg step to left wall 180° turn (body now faces front wall, head to left wall)
    • Left hand strike to left wall (palm open down), right hand to armpit open palm up.
  • High Stance (Face front wall)
    • Left foot step back
    • Hands in defensive fists (left fist down, right fist up)
    • Breathe out
  • High Stance (Face front wall)
    • Right hand punch up
    • Left hand punch low
    • Right hand punch middle (“Kya!”)
  • Close (Face front wall)
    • Right foot step back beside left
    • Scoop hands to chest, open and cross palms at chest (left hand behind right).
    • Arms to sides. Bow.

Tips

  • The wall you start off facing is the “front wall”.

#3 – Third Kata

I don’t know anything about this one yet, not even what it’s called. TBD.

Wrap Up

Discipline and practise are key pillars of karate. This is hard to do in today’s busy world where we hardly have time to breathe. When you have kids it’s even harder. Watching how fast my kids pick this up and memorize things is honestly awe inspiring. Admittedly it’s been a tougher process for us adults. A little bit of practise is better than none. Some practise is better than a little. Do the best you can and find acceptance in yourself. Be courteous to yourself too! Hopefully this post is helpful for others, especially the other families with us in class.

If you have corrections or additions to this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or post a comment below!