Naihanchi – The way we do it

#Kata #Naihanchi

The Naihanchi Kata

The Naihanchi Kata is a very old Kata, which can be found in many different styles and variations. The special thing about this Kata is the movement in a straight line (sideways). This has led many Karateka incorrectly to believe that the Kata is for fighting with the back against a wall.
In Japan this Kata is known as Tekki, (Horse riding/stance; Iron Horse), a name change made by Funakoshi upon introduction of the Kata on mainland Japan.

It is said, that the Naihanchi was the first Kata taught to the student before the creation and use of the Pinan Kata.

Itosu, the teacher of Funakoshi, is reported to have learned the Kata from Sokon Matsumura (1796-1893), who learned it from a Chinese man living in Tomari.

The sideways movement can be used to outbalance your opponent; it is also used for takedown technique. The Naihanchi Kata is for effective close range fighting against an opponent in front of you.

Our Naihanchi Kata can be seen here.

Do you have an opinion about the Naihanchi Kata?

Log in and state your opinion below!

Pinan (Heian) Kata – The way we do it

#Heian #Pinan  #Kata

The Pinan/Heian (平安) Kata

Itosu Anko created the Pinan Kata for use in the Okinawan Elementary School around 1900.
The creation of the Pinan Kata was to make the introduction to Karate easier for children and beginners. It also made it easier to learn the more advanced Kata later on.
The name Pinan was an obvious choice, since Itosu was an expert on the Chinese classics, and as such, he would certainly be proud of the Chinese roots in his martial arts.
According to Funakoshi, the Okinawans thought about Chinese things to be fashionable. However, the attitude of the Japanese was different at that time Karate where introduced to mainland Japan. Gichin Funakoshi therefore changed the name to Heian, to make the Kata more edible for mainland Japan.
Nowadays, it does not matter if you call them Heian or Pinan. However, Heian will somehow be associated with the mainland Japan, and Pinan with Okinawa.

Heian can translate into

  • Peace and tranquility
  • Peaceful mind

Nevertheless, there is nothing tranquil or peaceful about the Heian/Pinan Kata. The techniques are used to hit, kick and punch our opponent. Some techniques can be used to dislocate the neck, joint locks etc.

Pinan can translate into

  • Safe from harm
  • Stay safe
  • Be protected from danger

This name probably says more about the meaning. The name “Pinan”, chosen by Itosu, is related to their purpose and combative function.

Our five basic Pinan/Heian Kata can be seen here.

Do you have an opinion about the Pinan/Heian Kata?

Log in and state your opinion below!

Kihon Kata – The way we do it

#Taikyoku #Gekisai #Kihon #Kata

The Taikyoku Kata

Gichin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka “Gigo” Funakoshi, are said to be the creator of the Taikyoku Katas around 1940. Some claims that Shigeru Egami and Hironishi Genshin also where involved in the creation.

Taikyoku can translate into

  • Great culmination
  • Great education
  • First Cause or First Course
  • Basic Ultimate
  • Taiji; in the Chinese language

Personally, I prefer to use the word “Universal” for the translation of Taikyoku.

So far, I have seen six different Taikyoku Kata, but Gichin Funakoshi mentions only three of them in the book Karate-do Kyohan. These are Taikyoku Shodan, Nidan and Sandan. Even others claim that there where ten Katas from the beginning!

Why create new simple Katas?

Itosu have already done the job by creating the Heian/Pinan Katas for introduction in the Okinawan School around 1900. Those Katas where already simplified.

Therefore, the big question is!

Are the Taikyoku Katas necessary?

My opinion, yes, the basic idea with the Kata is useful, if the basic meaning was to have Kata with variable techniques! Kind of Kihon Kata, or even more simplified Kata for Children.

My way of using the Kata may be different from others. First of all, I use the Kata to teach the pattern to beginners, that makes it easier to learn the Heian/Pinan Kata later on. I also use Taikyoku to teach new students the basic techniques, e.g. Age-uke, Ushi-uke, Gedan-uke, Mae-geri … The basic Kata is also good for practicing combinations of techniques. This, in my opinion, is the way the Taikyoku Kata should be used. The Taikyoku are experimental Katas! You can change the techniques just as you wish.

Of course, it is always a good idea to have basic Taikyoku Kata with predetermined techniques.

Other Kihon Kata used by Shorin-Ryu Denmark are Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni.

Our five basic Taikyoku Kata and Gekisai Kata can be seen here.

Do you have an opinion about the Taikyoku Kata? Let me hear it!