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Bassai Dai: Cross the fortress or the art of surpassing


Bassai DaiBassai Dai is often translated as "Cross the fortress"

There are two Bassai, the big, Bassai Dai and the little one, Bassai Sho created more recently by Master Itosu.

Bassai Dai is older and we do not know the origins well. In Okinawa, he was taught in Tomari and Shuri but apparently was not part of the Nahate teaching.

Bassai Dai is a Kata that I particularly like. Indeed, I like the power it gives off and the feeling of surpassing that one feels by practicing it.

Etymologically Bassai expresses the idea of ​​surpassing oneself or storming or even extracting (Ba) and also the idea of ​​fortress (you know), butcher, block, close ... hence its most common translation:

"Bassai Dai: Cross the Fortress"

If "to cross the fortress" makes us immediately think of the assault of the enemy in order to return to his territory, to surpass it and to overcome with force and determination, one can also see the opposite situation where the enemy would be all around (encirclement) and that one must escape this perilous situation by surpassing itself.

In fact everything will depend on your state of mind during the Kata. Either you have the state of mind of an attacker who is going to seek the breach in the defense of the enemy in order to enter his fortress, or you have the feeling of being in a situation of great distress, assaulted on all sides by several adversaries or a formidable opponent and you must give all you have to get yourself out of this situation with strength and tenacity.

Bassai Dai - the art of outdoing yourself

In both cases, what you must feel is this idea of ​​strength and tenacity. You do not let go, you go to the end of the fight with the determined spirit of the winner.

At the beginning of the Kata we really have this feeling of encirclement or overflow that forces us to enter the opponent and then make very sharp rotations to 180 ° as if we were assaulted from all sides or to stay alert of everything that goes on around you. We must quickly take over and take possession of the central square and then be able to hit hard.Bassai Dai-Kiai

The work of the hara is extremely present in Bassai Dai as if one made a fight really with his guts. Personally I like this feeling of being prisoner, facing an opponent twice as strong as me or facing several opponents and succeed in freeing me from my chains, my fears. I like this idea of ​​surpassing myself (maybe it's my triathlete side who wants that!) Throughout the Kata.

Bassai Dai - Technical Description

We will now move on to the technical description of Bassai Dai:

  1. Musubi Dachi, Rei (hello), announces kata. (all without haste) (3s)
  2. Hachiji Dachi Yoi (3s)
  3. Bring the right foot against the left in Heisoku Dachi (One variant is to move directly from Musubi Dachi to Heisoku Dachi by simply squeezing the toes against each other) while placing the right fist in the left hand. The arms are stretched forward and down (45 ° to the ground).
  4. Advance the right leg while pushing hard on the left leg. You leap forward and end with Morote Uchi Uke right (watch out, left hand stays open) in position Kosa Dachi. (You must have a sense of speed and power, as if you had decided to make a breakthrough in the opposing guard.) At the beginning of the movement, you can also lift the right knee in front of or slightly to the left, this is a variant. (1s)
  5. Back off your left leg then very quickly, rotate to the left of 180 ° on the right foot (on the heel!) and do chudan Uchi Uke left in Zenkutsu Dachi. The rotation must be very lively and naturally involve the left arm to make Uchi Uke. Pull your right arm well Ikité and the right hip to the back when locking the technique (position Hanmi)
  6. Immediately chase on the spot by chudan Gyaku Uchi Uke right pulling well this time Ikite left with the hip in Gyaku Hanmi position.
  7. Rotate 180 ° to the right and come and do chudan gyaku Soto Uke left arm. As for the 5 time, the rotation is very lively and involves the left arm to strengthen the Soto Uke. The left hip is strongly advanced (Gyaku Hanmi)
  8. Chained by Chudan Uchi uke right arm by swiveling the hips to the left (Position Hanmi, of 3 / 4)
  9. Bring your right foot towards you while swiveling to the right. At the same time you sweep a attack gedan coming from your right (at about 45 °) with your right arm (closed fist, palm up) in Gedan Sukui Uke. You have to bend your knees and come and sweep this low attack.
  10. Then you recover by continuing the movement to the left. Your right arm continues its movement until it comes to arm with your face on the right side, then advance abruptly the right foot (with 90 ° on the right compared to the departure of the technique (beginning time 9) to come to make chudan Soto Uke right in ZenKutsu Dachi. - The left arm remains in Ikité but you can also stretch it in front of you when you arm the Soto Uke, it's a variant
  11. Immediately chase on the spot by Chudan Gyaku Uchi Uke left pulling right Ikite right with hip in Gyaku Hanmi position (1s)
  12. Gently rotate to the left on the right heel while bringing your left foot back to position yourself in position Hachiji Dachi with fists in positions Koshi-Kamae to the right (right fist in Ikite, left fist placed vertically)
  13. Always slowly, do chudan Tate-Shuto left arm in front of you.
  14. On site, chudan Choku Zuki right pulling the left arm well in Ikité. Be careful, you must stay in front of you and do not turn to the left as we see very often.
  15. Rotate to the left and make it in front of you chudan Uchi Uke right in Zenkutsu Dashi. Feet only rotate with very little movement. The position ZenKutsu Dachi is therefore quite short, but very stable (Keep strong pressure on the adductors). You can rotate on the heels, or on the next tiptoe if you want to shift your center of gravity or keep it in the axis. (I will explain this on the video, you will understand better)
  16. Straighten up front Hachiji Dachi and do chudan Choku Zuki left pulling well the right arm in Ikité. Be careful, as for the 14 time, you must hit from the front and not turn to the right as we see too often.
  17. It's the opposite of the 15 time, you turn to the right and do it in front of you chudan Uchi Uke left arm Zenkutsu Dashi (Always quite short, but stable) (1s)
  18. Rotate on the tip of the left foot and bring the heel back under your center of gravity, then bring the right leg back towards you and advance the right foot forward (Attention, do not do 2 phases with your right foot, it must have a fluid movement in an arc) and do chudan Shuto Uke right in Kokutsu Dachi
  19. Avancez Ayumi Ashi and do chudan Shuto Uke left in Kokustu Dachi
  20. Avancez Ayumi Ashi and do chudan Shuto Uke right in Kokustu Dachi
  21. Immediately you step back Iki Ashi and do chudan Shuto Uke left always in Kokutsu Dachi
  22. You do Tsukami Uke en Zenkutsu Dashi by pivoting on the back foot and slightly spreading the front foot to the left. Tsukami Uke and a defense with seizure. You raise your right hand in front of you (slightly to the left) fingers stretched forward and palm upwards while you put your left hand on the right wrist, fingers forward, palm down and without stopping, lower your right hand down and to the right all turning the wrist until you have your palm down. The left hand remained in contact on the right wrist during the entire movement. For summary, the right hand describes both an arc from left to right and a pronation of the wrist (Palm up initially, then down at the end). This movement is performed slowly and represents a wrench after a seizure or seizure of Tori's arm after a blockage.Bassai-Dai-Gedan-Yoko-Geri (2)
  23. Without changing the position of the hands you raise very high the right knee by swiveling on the left then you do Gedan Sokuto (stops outside of the foot) Yoko Geri Kekomi pulling your fists towards you, phalanx down (You really have to have this idea to pull something to you). You can also pull your arms in Ikite in a classic way to the hips, it is a modern variant (but who personally does not seem logical considering the position of the body compared to Tori) - Kiai
  24. You bring your knee back while continuing your rotation and arming your arms for Shuto Uchi following. You end up at 180 ° in relation to the movement. You put your right foot behind while doing Chudan Shuto Uchi left en Kokutsu Dachi
  25. Avancez Ayumi Ashi and do Chudan Shuto Uke right in Kokustu Dachi
  26. Slowly, you move your right foot back to position Heisoku Dachi. Always slowly (but not too much, it is often too exaggerated!) you make a double Jodan Age Uke. This Morote Jodan Age Uke is done slowly but in one time. There is no downtime in the middle of the movement. (1s)
  27. You advance your right foot while spreading your arms to arm and you hit two simultaneously Tetsui-Uchi on the flanks of Tori: Tetsui Hasami Uchi Chudan en ZenKutsu Dachi.
  28. You immediately chained on a slipped step, Yori Ashi by striking Maite Tsuki Chudan of the right fist in ZenKutsu Dachi.
  29. You turn the body to the left and back by swiveling on the right foot. The left foot shifts in rotation. You extend your left arm and in rotation to 180 ° you do Shuto Gedan Barai left and raise the right arm, open hand in preparation at the forehead, elbow to the back. This time is an intermediate passage directly related to the next time.
  30. You continue your rotation by swiveling your hips to hit Gedan Gyaku Shuto Uchi right in ZenKutsu Dachi left. At the same time, the left hand protects the face by Jodan Nagashi Uke. (29 and 30 times are the same as Heian Godan's 24 and 25 times)
  31. You slowly bring your left leg back towards you to position yourself Heisoku Dachi while doing Manji Uke (Gedan Barai left + Jodan Uchi Uke right). You find yourself at the end of Heian Godan's 27
  32. You will now do the sequence of 15, 16, 17 and 18 times.Heian Godan : You turn to 180 ° by the left on the left foot and you go down in Kiba Dachi and do Gedan Bars law. The knee gets up high at the beginning of the rotation and you do fumikomi just when taking the position.
  33. Your gaze goes to the left, your right arm stretches to the left and the left comes to the level of the right size (it is the phase of preparation of the blockage) then you do slowly (in 2 s) Chudan Haishu Uke left.
  34. Without moving your left hand you do chudan Mikazuki Geri right in your outstretched hand.
  35. Then you pivot the hips sharply to 90 ° to the left to hit chudan Mae Empi Uchi right in your left hand. Be careful, it's not the shoulders that hit. The force must literally get you out of the belly. Your shoulders stay well locked down with a strong contraction under your armpits. Beware it is Mae Empi (Forward) and not Mawashi Empi (Circular); in my explanation on the video, I'm talking about rotation but I want to talk about the rotation of the body after the Mikazuki Geri, but the elbow him to a rectilinear trajectory forward, with striking with the tip of the elbow, the right fist brought back against the chest.Bassai Dai-Gedan-Barai
  36. On the spot unfold the right arm by doing directly Gedan Bars in front of you. You do not manage it Gedan Bars, the arm pivots around the elbow directly from the position of the Empi down to the Gedan barai. At the same time, the left arm does not change position, only the hand closes, the fist is found against the right bicep.
  37. You reverse your arms and make Gedan Bars left (still without arming) while the right fist goes up against the left bicep.
  38. Invert again and redo the 36 time: Gedan Bars right (still without arming) while the left fist goes up against the right bicep.
    (Even if you do not get the 36, 37 and 38 times, the techniques have to come from the belly and not just the arms. The work of Hara and breathing is important.)
  39. Shoot your fists at the left hip in Koshi Kamae while turning his head to the right
  40. You immediately go to the right by Yama Zuki right in ZenKutsu Dachi. The fists are on the same vertical line. The right fist at the level chudan and the left at the level Jodan. Do not detach the arms from the body, you must feel a great inner strength. It is the body that strikes and not the arms.
  41. Bring your right foot gently to the left and place yourself in position Heisoku Dachi, the fists at the right hip in Koshi Kamae. The look remains from the front.
  42. Raise your left knee in front and descend ZenKustu Dachi left striking fumikomi of the left foot and doing Bassai Da - Yama-ZukiYama Zuki left. The knee naturally rises in front to arm the Fumikomi. It's not a dodge. (Personally, I tend to make a circular movement with the foot (Mikazuki Geri) before posing in Fumikomi. I thought it was a variation, but from my recent research, it's a mistake.)
  43. Heisoku Dachi et koshi kamae on the left hip (Inverse time 41)
  44. Raise your right knee, then fumikomi et Yama Zuki right in ZenKutsu Dachi (Inverse time 42). You are in the same position as at the end of the 40 time
  45. Rotate 270 ° to the left to position yourself in position ZenKustu Dachi left and do Gedan Sukui Uke on your right side. From the starting position (Yama Zuki) you pivot on the right foot to the left, leaving the left leg behind you (so it describes a circular arc of 90 °), from the start you extend your right arm to arm. You continue rotating the bust and hips while doing Suikui Uke's right arm. The hips pivot sharply to the left as the arm passes in front of you; it's very important to synchronize the movement of the hips with the rest of the technique.
  46. You extend your left arm to the left to arm, then Gedan Suikui Uke left arm in the same place as the previous time while pivoting on the feet to go into Zenkutsu Dachi law. Your gaze remained in front and you stayed on the same axis. You just have to swivel on your feet to reverse the Zenkustu Dachi.
  47. You bring your left foot back to the right, your gaze turned to 45 ° to the right, then you take your support on the left foot and move your right foot to make Chudan Shuto Uke right in Kokutsu Dachi.
  48. Turn the 90 ° head this time to the left, while turning the body to the right of 45 ° without changing the position of the arms. So you kept the attitude of Shuto Uke in Kokutsu Dachi, but with the head and the look turned in the opposite direction.
  49. In the direction of your gaze, you move in Tsugi Ashi and do Chudan Shuto Uke left in Kokutsu Dachi. You find yourself at 45 ° to the left in relation to the central axis of the departure. - Kiai (3s)
  50. Bring the left foot against the right and take the position Heisoku Dachi time 3, the right fist in the left hand.
  51. Return Hachiji Dachi by spreading the right foot (3s) (Be careful if at the beginning of the Kata you have gone directly from Musubi Dachi to Heisoku Dachi without going through Hachiji Dachi, you will have to go directly from Heisoku Dachi to Musubi Dachi and not to go through the Hachiji Dachi position)
  52. Return Musubi Dachi (Bring each foot in half one after the other, half right, then half left.)
  53. Reï (Hello) (3s)

That's you know everything about Bassai Daiyou just have to go to practice.

If you are ready for a real fight, if you are ready to surpass yourself and do not let go to the end of the Kata, I invite you to find me on the video of Bassai Dai.

I let you put on a Kimono and you warm up thanks to the ABC of warm-ups and I'll find you right now on the video.

>>> Download the video

That's it, I sincerely hope you enjoyed this course in video from Bassai Dai and that you will learn through this Kata to surpass you in karate as in your life every day.

In the meantime, leave me a comment below and share this article with your friends. Thank you

See you soon,

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  1. Trackback: Karate - Bassai Dai - Cross the fortress or the art of outdoing itself [] | | - Tutorials for Dummies

  2. in bassai dai, before the Fumikomi or fumigeri, the two hands do not touch ... It is in Kanku sho and bassai sho that the left hand comes over the right forearm ...

  3. Hello Bruno
    Bassai Dai: it was my favorite kata. I presented it for my 2ème Dan.
    At the start of the moribund uchi uké, Mr Kasé had taught us to raise the knee very high to make fumikomi and the 2 feet had to arrive powerfully almost at the same time one close to the other while doing morocco uchi uké. Super kata.SUS

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