BASSAI SHO - To Penetrate the Fortress
The second of the two katas in this series Bassai Sho follows a similar embusen (line of attack) as Bassai Dai, but it is shorter in length. This kata introduces several new techniques such as a ni-jodan-shita-zuki (double inverted upper level punch), chudan-tsukami-uke (middle level grasping block), and gedan-tsukami-uke (lower level grasping block). Once a student has familiarized themselves thoroughly with Bassai Dai they can begin to learn Bassai Sho which they will find portrays a more outward feeling calmness, while still maintaining great inner strength. This is quite the opposite from Bassai Dai which is noted for its visible display of outward power. Within this kata the student will discover a whole new set of challenges while at the same time still performing some of the more familiar techniques found in Bassai Dai.
This kata contains 27 movements and should take the student approximately 60 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is irequired in order to advanc ein rank from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
There are two kiai points in Bassai Sho. The first one occurs on the gedan-sokuto-kekomi (lower level sword foot thrust kick) which occurs on the last movement at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack). The second one occurs on the last ni-yoko-chudan-zuki (middle level side double punch).
o return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your right foot in place and withdraw your left foot so as to stand up once again facing forward in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). Finish with your hands in the Yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata. You must now formally end the kata. You do this by bringing your left foot half way in towards your right foot and your right foot half way in towards your left foot so that you are now standing with your feet together. At the same time as you bring your feet together also bring your hands to your sides so you are again standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance). Now rei (bow). After bowing, step out with your left foot and then your right foot and once again stand in hachiji-dachi (natural stance) while at the same time bringing your hands from your sides and hold them in a ready position in front of you with your fists closed.