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Mikio Yahara: Unsu is my Life! Interview

There have been many very dynamic Shotokan karatekas. Today, we would like to introduce you to Mikio Yahara, chief instructor of the KWF. Like most karateka he has a signature kata. For Mikio Yahara it is unsu. In the below incredible interview he reveals his passion and the challenges of the kata.

Unsu: A reflection of Life

His incredible jumping power and his flexible body movements are leopard-like. Especially in kumite, he utilized his flexibility and became a very unpredictable fighter. Even by the age of 71 he is still quick and sharp as ever.

Like no other kata unsu trains dynamic movement. The deep stances, long techniques, quick changes of direction, and the signature unsu-jump require an extraordinary physic. Speed, balance, precision, and power must come together in order to master the kata. Its constantly changing pace gives it a unique rhythm. Pure hectic accompanies silence and meditative motions.

Therefore, Mikio Yahara concludes: “In a way, the kata is a reflection of life itself.”

Mikio Yahara: Killing with One Blow

Unsu also fits to Mikio Yaharas general attitude toward Shotokan karate. In a recent interview with Oleg Larionov he said:

I know karate as a martial art, but now karate seems like dancing. I would like to return to the original karate, to its sources. Budo karate, according to my opinion, is when I may finish my opponent definitively by one killing blow.

The strong and dynamic passages in unsu, therefore, prepares the karateka for the budo karate. Because in order to kill with a single blow the fighter must put all his commitment into the action. Only fully concentrated and ready to deliver the final technique unsu can be mastered.

The kata is therefore a perfect routine for the practice of ikken hissatsu as the kill with one blow is called in Japanese. Like no other principle it defines the Shotokan spirit and mind set.