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Guest Post: Kime, Kikomi, Kimochi

This Guest Post is by my friend and mentor Sensei Pat Nakata. Nakata Sensei is the head of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association in Hawaii. He was a student of Chosin (Choshin) Chibana in Kobayashi-Ryu Shorin-Ryu, and also studied Ryukyu Kobudo under Sensei Fumio Nagaishi. When he was a young man, he studied Wado-Ryu Karate under Sensei Walter Nishioka.

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One of Nakata Sensei’s students wrote:

I've noticed over the last two months that I have no more kimochi for the kime in the punch. I used to be able to feel the kime, but now I feel nothing. Is this normal? I still feel hara because it is something I still must exaggerate. I hit makiwara almost daily, but I'm starting to get worried about whether or not I'm regressing. Thank you for your time and patience.

Nakata Sensei replied:

... I really appreciate your question. First of all kime and kimochi are completely different. Kime (focus) is the timing of the transmission of force [speed X mass or 1/2 MV2(squared) generated by movements of the body (torque, momentum, etc.)] by locking all the muscles and ligaments of the whole body (body, arms, legs, fingers, toes, etc.). Kime is instantaneous which is impact. Our kime is more kikomi which is kime plus penetration. Kikomi is the locking of the whole body as penetration occurs. Kime is instanteneous. Kikomi is a flowing transmission of force.

Kimochi is feeling or having spirit. So, if you have kimochi on your kime or kikomi, you are probably muscling. When we are doing kata, we may have some kimochi of kime or kikomi. When you are hitting (hand pads, makiwara, or heavy bag) there should be no kimochi.

Your lack of kimochi on kime is not a sign of regressing but a stage of refinement where you have power (penetration) with no feeling (kimochi) because there is no effort. This occurs when your timing is right. Now work on your hara.

Pat Nakata