Shime-shibori (closing and spiralling tension) is
used to guide the energy from the ground up into your
striking limbs. In performing this, the big toe is
key, "biting the ground" as the ki meridian
in the middle of the ball of your foot drinks up energy.
At the same time, shime and shibori are also used to
guide your striking limb and stop your body from over-rotating
and losing all the energy/power.
Illustration by Sakamoto-Sensei showing how shime,
shibori and neri work together to produce power.
One thing that most Chito-Ryu-based karateka
forget is that the shime-shibori contraction is done
very quickly; it's held only for a millisecond. Again,
supposed to have a natural feeling. If you find your
joints are hurting, you are probably contracting too
Tanden and Relaxation
I have tanden and relaxation in the same category
because you can’t have one without the other.
If your breath is not concentrated in your tanden (your
lower abdomen), then your
weight cannot stay down. And your breath can’t
descend to your tanden if you are not relaxed.
By relaxing and breathing from your tanden, you can
root to the ground, creating the foundation
for power. If you lose your root, then you will become
unstable and easy to defeat. A strong root also allows
you to use your whole body as a single, linked unit,
with power vibrating up from the ground, guided by
your hips though your limbs and then back into the
While the body is relaxed, you should retain
a surface tension, or tame, in the tanden, where your
breath and energy is focused. The proper manipulation
or kneading of this surface tension (called neri) –
working the muscles of the area in conjunction the
right mental focus – leads to hakkei, or explosion