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First, the word ‘henka’ is constituted of two kanji. The first one ‘hen’ (変) can be read ‘kawaru’ or ‘kaeru’ and means ‘change’, ‘turn’, ‘ alter’, ‘vary’, ‘strange’, ‘peculiar’, ‘odd’, ‘unusual’, or ‘eccentric’, and it is used for many situations and actions, not only in the koryû’s world. The second kanji, ‘ka’ (化) can be read ‘bakasu’, ‘bakesu’, or ‘kawaru’ and means ‘bewitch’, or ‘enchant’. When you add the two kanji’s meanings together, of course in a general point of view, it means ‘variation’ or ‘transformation’, but it’s much deeper than that, as is always the case with koryû’s science and knowledge. It’s also important to underline the fact that the meaning of the ‘henka’ should be transposed to its historical context and not use the first definition found in the regular dictionary. The studies and research performed on various records, such as ‘densho’, ‘denki’, ‘shuki’, ‘shiki, about koryû and their founders show that it’s always during a moment, a crucial instance in combat, where the question is about living or dying. Something happened and the founder or master, who was in a very bad position, performed an unexpected technique which surprised his enemy. It’s not about a special form, though. It’s about how to adapt and transform a technique, that is not working on an enemy, into something more accurate and deep that arises suddenly from nowhere. Sometimes the master can remember what he did and try to work on it. The main problem is when the disciple, who learns the ‘henka’, creates a form from that or a ‘kata’, and thinks, ‘This is the real form!’ – DR. KACEM ZOUGHARI

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