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muratmat's picture
What's the meaning of "saka-te"?

In particular I'm referring to Funakoshi's Karate-do Kyohan, when he's talking about nage-waza (throwing techniques):

"karate not only consists of striking, kicking, and thrusting techniques but also throwing and saka-te (inverted-hand, under-hand, back-hand) techniques".

Funakoshi uses 逆手 for saka-te / gyaku-te. So what's the real meaning of saka-te in that phrase context? Exit and counters?

Many thanks in advance!

Wastelander's picture

Gyaku-te is a phrase I have heard used in reference to tuidi-waza, so primarily locking methods.

Marc's picture

Have a look at the translation for 逆手 in the online dictionary.

Especiall the second meaning: unexpected twist; turning the tables (on an opponent)

That's in line with what Noah said: "Primarily locking methods" but it could also be anything that uses the attackers energy against them (e.g. pulling on a punching arm, not a lock but exploiting the attacker's (over-)commitment).  

muratmat's picture

Noah, Marc, thank you very much!

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Late to the party here, but I’ve seen that most commonly taken to mean joint locks. That makes sense in the context of the wider piece. The Harumi Suzuki-Johnston translation leaves it as “saka-te”, but the Tsutomu Ohshima translation (published by Kodansha, and probably the most widely distributed version) has it has “pressure against joints”:

“In Karate, hitting thrusting and kicking are not the only methods; throwing techniques and pressure against joints are also included”.

As Marc points out, it could refer to an unexpected turning of the tables, but in the context of the section I feel it likely that the “unexpected twist” is referring to twisting the joints in an unnatural and painful way i.e. “pressure against joints” or joint-locks.

All the best,


muratmat's picture

Thanks Iain.