Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Kata we Practice: Naihanchi

Naihanchi, Naihanchin, Naifanchin, Tekki...

Whatever you call this kata there is no denying its awesomeness in the world of karate. If you could only learn one kata, this is the one to learn. This kata is so full of opportunities to learn and fine tune your koshi that other kata pale in comparison.

There are numerous stories of how the okinawan karateka of old practiced this kata for several years before moving on to others. In our Kishaba Juku (study group), we practice this as our first kata.

It's harder to learn to make power in Naihanchi because you don't have the opportunity to turn your hips like other kata, and your hips always end up facing toward the front. Because of the lack of hip rotation, it's more important to learn to generate power by other means. Learning to tuck, compress, and connect are critical.

Naihanchi kata is just full of grappling technique opportunities. It's fun to just explore the movements with a partner (or 3) and see where grappling ideas appear.

I have practiced Naihanchi in the sand, in a pool, on a log, in the dark, in a 3x3' area, backwards, with weapons, fast, slow, with tension, etc.
Naihanchi is just amazing!

Learn it if you haven't already!