I was recently sent a copy of ‘Power & Performance - Master Class Series – Volume 1: Basic Techniques’ by Paul Perry. I had heard a little about the release of this series, and was very intrigued to see what it included.
Paul Perry, 8th dan is the founder and chief instructor of the Jin Sei Kai style of karate and author of ‘Injury Free Karate’. A student of Master Hirokazu Kanazawa for over 25 years, Paul Perry now uses his expertise on the mechanics of body movement to help refine his karate both to make it healthier for the body and to generate more power. In a scientific experiment, his punch was measured as having the force of a 9mm bullet.
I was very intrigued to find out exactly what the content of the DVD included and I was not disappointed. This DVD is full of information pertaining to good biomechanics and gives tonnes of food for thought.
One of the earlier elements of this DVD includes a video of Paul Perry, who is also an avid Tai Chi practitioner, practicing a Tai Chi Kata. Perry’s interest in Tai Chi, I would guess, is a highly influenced by his teacher Kanazawa who we all know advocates the deep study of Tai Chi to support and balance the study of karate. I loved Perry’s execution of this kata. I found its liquid and extremely graceful movements to be completely hypnotic and resembled water flowing beautifully in a steady stream. My only criticism here was that it wasn’t really fully discussed on the DVD as I would have liked to have had an insight into the more subtle and less obvious movements of the kata and possibly seen its application.
This was followed by a group introduction and a question and answer session from his students and assistants on the DVD. It became very obvious here that the purpose of the DVD was to anatomically analyse the basic movements of Shotokan to better refine them to make them healthier for the body and to generate more power. He has brought his experiences, working with Olympic athletes to better their performance, to his karate approach. One interesting point he makes is that ‘the only constant in the Universe is change’ – which he stressed people must embrace in order to not just stay in the same place with their karate, but to move beyond it and be able to adapt with the natural affects of age. He also expressed the significance of releasing energy in everyday life. He highlighted for example that people with stressful lives tend to have built up tensions, which naturally make the muscles tighter. Furthermore, if you have a tight muscle, it moves the body into a different position as you walk, sit or anything else you do. Therefore the body adapts to that tight muscle which will of course affect the harmony of the body.
The techniques that Volume 1 of this series looks at are:
Using his assistants, Perry demonstrates each of these techniques, whilst analysing them to convey the best way that the techniques can be executed in order to use the muscles, and their relationships with one another in groups and pairs, to better execute the technique. To assist these explanations, he uses a variety of angles, easy to follow descriptions but very importantly, an anatomical video diagram that shows the skeletal and muscle system, highlighting the direction of energy and the muscles being used. This I thought was an outstanding resource that elevated the DVD to no end.
He also looks at some of the common errors that occur with the techniques, why these errors are bad and how they should be corrected.
None of the techniques are lightly touched on. None are skimmed over. Each are given a good depth of explanation and he provides so much that can be learned from techniques that we all know so well.
My only criticism of the DVD as a whole is that when using his assistants they are not always prepared as to where they should stand or position their body. This means that there’s a bit of wasted time here and there where Perry has to reposition his assistants to get the shot he wants, and this could have been organised prior to the ‘rec’ button being pushed. It could however be argued that this simply just makes the DVD all the more real and more like the viewer is a part of the DVD. This is just a nit picky point however!
I really think this DVD series will become a very important collection that, if embraced by the karate community, can better educate students and their approach to training. In recent years, there’s been a big drive to further analyse the karate techniques to better execute them, but this series I feel will take that analysis to another level.
I cannot wait to watch and review Volume 2!!!