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Naihanchi Shodan

I always start and finish my katas formally. While the bow and the motion into second position is not part of the kata it should always be there. These motions signify courtesy and respect. These two traits will win any battle. Thus, they are included in this kata.



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Naihanchi

Before I break down my performance of this kata, I would like you to know that George Dillman gives a complete discription of this kata in his book "Advanced Pressure Point Fight of Ryukyu Kempo". Not only does he explain how to perform this kata, but he also shows practical fighting applications for each move. And, he didn't twist my wrist or knock me out to get this plug. I really think this is a must have text for anyone serious in martial art - especially if you are partial to the naihanchi katas.

Naihanchi

1. This seems like a good place to start a description of Naihanchi Shodan. After the initial bow of respect, move into second position by drawing both hands back then forward without crossing the arms. Notice the position of my body. My legs are in a very narrow horse stance and my arms are defining my space to my left, right, and front. I am sinking my weight and allowing the my chi to pool in my "defined space". If I had straight and/or rigid arms, I would not be able to define any space and I would not create an abundance of chi. This is a very strong position and one that may be moved from quickly. It allows for the cultivation of chi and exudes an aura of intent. If done well, such a stance is enough to fend of a would be attacker.

Naihanchi

2. In the next move, the open hands are brought together in an upward movement while the feet are brought together at the heels. Then, rotating on the palm, the hands move downward while the feet are brought together at the toes. Note, this posture is similar to the first in intent. Now, look at the cover of Dillman's book. I just performed a seemingly trivial move. Yet, I was probably identical to the move Dillman performed to acheive that wrist lock. The kata does not explicitly kick at this point but the third move hide one...

Naihanchi

3. Ok, there are three things you should have done to perform this move. First, the left foot is brought across the right. Imagine where Dillman's left leg would be if he decided to kick the attackers leg with his left foot instead of his right... Then, there is the drop. My entire body mass descends about six inches. Can your wrist support the weight of my entire body? Anyhow, the last thing is not the head turn to the right. You all saw that. So, I don't think it needs mentioning. However, did you see my left hand slide up my right hand about one inch? This is a very confusing move and I have developed my own implementation and reasoning. With the palm of the left hand, I am stretching the skin of the back of my right hand. The skin on the back of my hand has about one inch of give. Stretching it simulates the dermatones and affects the associated organ.

Naihanchi

4. This is what many people believe is the first applicable move in the kata. It is performed by driving to the right with the planted left leg into a solid horse stance while the right arm strikes and the left arm draws. The back body plays a key role in the proper execution of this move. Before I started doing yoga, I had difficulty using the back body correctly. If you look at my right shoulder, you may be able to notice that my shoulder blade doesn't drop properly. Now that I do Yoga, I can pull my shoulders down my back which augments the connection between my back body and the arm. Note that the side and front body also aid the connection to the arm but most people have difficulty understanding the role of the back body.

Naihanchi

5. Well, this move shouldn't need much explaining - or should it? Yes, it is a beautiful elbow smash but it isn't my arm that powered this smash. It is actually my waist. Look at my stance. It didn't collapse or turn or straighten. Now, look at my waist. It is very twisted. There are a lot of powerful muscles in the waist. If you can learn to throw your strikes with those muscle you'll create much more power than your biceps or triceps ever will. Oh, did I mention that my left fist is striking on top of my right bicep. Hummmm, could this be more than just an elbow smash?

Naihanchi

6. Move with intent from the last motion to this. Stack your hands. Drop your weight. And, turn to the left. Wow, this move is about as important as a steering wheel is to a car - And, about as lethal as a drunk driver... Let's check my form. Shoulders blades down - check. Right arm at side - check. No gap between right arm and body - check. Rock solid stance - check. Oh, among other things. This is exactly how one looks after putting an arm bar on someone...

Naihanchi

7. Here we have a downward strike with the left arm. To do this one well, you'll need to put your hip into it. If you don't know what I mean, play the video frame by frame and you will see that my hip does indeed power this strike! Not bad form either. My left arm is parallel with my left thigh. My right arm is back solid. And, my shoulders are even down.

Naihanchi

8. I was once told by another martial artist that it isn't possible to create much power when striking across the body. Well, from the looks (and sound) of my video I'd say that the power I created is usable. So, what is the secret? Watch the video frame by frame and you'll see some serious hip vibration. That's the key. Oh yeah, the drawing arm helps too by facilitating proper muscle connection throughout the back body.

Naihanchi

9. If Naihanchi Shodan was a golf course then this move would have a handicap of one. It is clearly the most difficult move to execute ideally. In fact, I am still trying to get the timing down hammered down. I used two frames to show this move because no one frame was adequate. In the first frame, I am initiating the striking action. Note how my hips are turn 90 ° . When I finish, my hips are straight forward. That is how I manage to put my body into the strike. Now if only my left foot came around to the other side of my right foot...

Naihanchi

10. This next move is the double strike that you see a lot of in katas. It starts after you sneak that extra little downward strike in with your left arm. Then, just wiggle your hips, hollow out your body, strike low with the right arm and outward strike mid-level with the left arm. Note that I perform this motion much bigger than necessary. Its just part of my style and I think it visually looks as good as my applications for it...

Naihanchi

11. See where the left hand is? Well, this is where you throw one of those famous Bruce Lee punches. Do not wind up for this punch. It is launched from this position so that the right hand can sneak up under the left arm before it returns. The secret is in the hips. Learning to explode like this is critical to good martial arts. If you were to draw your hand back before punching, you are retreating when you should be advancing and a good fighter would simple follow your motion in with a punch to the head! This strike took me about one tenth of a second to throw. It takes me about two tenth of a second to wind up!

Naihanchi

12. This is the returning wave kick. Notice how my body posture stays the same except for the turn of my head and the kick with the left leg. This is visually exactly as it appears. My weight isn't over my right leg. In fact, if my left foot doesn't return to floor soon enough my @$$ will! Despite what I just said, speed isn't the trick to executing this kick. It secret occurs before my foot leaves the ground. That is, while both feet are on the ground, I my thighs together with such great force that when I release the left foot my center of gravity momentarily shifts to the right - enough for me to sneak a kick in!

Naihanchi

13. Well, the arms are in an unusual strike position but who wants to risk getting punched by withdrawing? So, twist at the waist and strike. Don't forget to turn the fist during this strike. You should end up with your left arm about 45 ° from vertical (not like mine). Your wrist should be bent so that your fist looks like the head of a snake ready to strike (not like mine). Your hips should be forward (not like mine) and your waist, twisted (not like mine). Wow! I didn't realize how much I broke form with this move. This is quite embarrassing. Please adjust your memory to see me doing this move properly.

Naihanchi

14. Well, here that returning wave kick again only this time it the other leg that is kicking. This move is executed just like the last returning wave kick and similarly, the only deviation of your posture is that of your leg kick. That means everything but your right foot must hold its position.

Naihanchi

15. In the last you created a lot of potential energy by bringing your foot up to your knee. So, lets use that energy that wants us to return that foot and strike with it. So, while you return your foot to the ground, twist your body to the right (A little more than I did) and turn your fist up. This is an incredibly powerful move. Oh yeah, try not to put that little backwards lean (not noticable in this image) into your strike...

Naihanchi

16. Another hand stack...

Naihanchi

17. Then strike with both arms to the left. Notice that my form here is quite excellent. My left arm has good extension and the right arm show why its called a flowing water punch. That is, if a drop of water were placed on my right shoulder, it could conceivable flow all the way down my arm and off my knuckles. Anyhow, my shoulders are down and my hips are straight - you get the picture...

Naihanchi

18. Then the moves just repeats themselves from move 4. This time all the moves are mirrored, of course. But, you should be able to figure the rest out. Just study the video and the description and soon you'll star with Jackie Chan in Shanghai Morning!

Copyright © 2005, Robert Walsh, All Rights reserved.