Bassai-Dai - Penetrate a fortress?
Above : Leonardo Da Vinci's Last SupperI think in the West we are more tied up with trivia, Sensei spends a lot of time explaining technique, demonstrating application to improve understanding, but his focus always seems to be spent on us doing kata not watching him demonstrating. You really only learn when you imitate and practice.
Anyway coming back to Simon's question, Bassai appears in a lot of different styles, just go to you tube and type in bassai or pasai and you will see how diverse they are from our IJKA style Bassai-Dai. Versions of Pasai include: Matsumura-passai and Oyadomari-passai. Bushi Matsumura may have created his kata from earlier kata from Yara and Sakugawa.
The penetrate the fortress translation comes from Nakayama's translator, this has to be thought of as one mans translation of one set of Kanji, Rob Redmond in his Kata book states that Bassai can be written with six different characters. All will have different translations.
So what does Bassai mean then? Well take your pick from:
Penetrates the fortress
To breach or break through the fortress
Extract from the fortress
Rescue from the fortress
Anyway Dia means large and Sho means small.
I think I'll stop writting now and just go and practise both the Big and Little versions, who cares what it means.
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