Friday, January 26, 2007

Tekki Shodan

I'm struggling with one of the movements of Tekki Shodan ( Naihanchi). Movement number 9 exactly.

I've watched so many versions of this move that I'm even more confused than when I started. When I was first taught this kata, the movement was described to me as a downward back fist (Oroshi Uraken) to the target of the collarbone. If you look at this video that was made in the 70's by JKA, you can see that the specific movement that I'm talking about is landing just to the side of the chin, where the collarbone is. This is especially apparent in the second time that he does the same movement:


If you watch this world Champion doing the kata, you can see the placement of that move. He is definately doing it to the side of the neck, to the collarbone. ( By the way, I admire the skill of Sensei Luca Valdesi so much! I'm so grateful for his instructional kata videos on the internet. I sure do hope that they remain online for prosperity!)


I have seen the kata performed with that movement becoming an uppercut punch ( shita tsuki) instead of a downwards attack as how Sensei Luca showed.. but I know that this bunkai has not been taught in my dojo.

I have learned that the striking target of that movement is supposed to be the mouth/chin of our opponent. This means that the arm makes a far more pronounced angle when executing that movement. Here is a vintage video of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi ( the founder of Shotokan Karate) performing the Tekki Shodan kata. Notice that he targets the mouth on that move:


So? Where is the target for that move? Is it the mouth, or the collarbone? I know that I'm being pretty nitpicky on this, but I have learned through my brief experiences with Aikido, pressure points, and joint manipulation that a mere 1/4 inch, or centimeter of placement can change the result of a technique drastically. I have felt the painful difference that a few inches can make when striking. I ask myself these questions: Where would I want to train my body to strike when performing this kata? Which target would be most effective?

19 comments:

frotoe said...

When we do the kata and/or bunkai for Naihanchi Shodan in our school, the backfist lands at the bridge of the nose. I'm sure wherever a backfist lands it would be effective, but the bridge of the nose would cause stars to be seen by your opponent, softening them up just a bit. :)
Thats how we learn it in Shorin Ryu-Shidokan.

[Mat] said...

Hi again.

Please demistify for me. The move you're talking about is on time :
05:13 in sensei Luca Valdesi's video?

If so, I'll post my thoughts. If not, I'll await the correct time. If it is there, we have an application that I learned.

So... Later!

supergroup7 said...

Thank you for the information frotoe. Yes a backfist to the bridge of the nose would have quite an effect on the opponent. Therefore, if I was watching you perform your kata, your fist would be blocking my sight of your face??

supergroup7 said...

Yes Mat that's exactly the movement that I'm talking about ( 05:13 in Sensei Luca's video)

Please spill forth your understanding of that movement for me.. pretty please?

frotoe said...

well, I guess so- but only during the strike itself. The backfist kind of snaps out and up a bit to the bridge of the nose, then it pulls back to midline where you see it in the videos. I'm having a hard time trying to describe this. Our stance is a bit different also, we have a much narrower naihanchi (iron horse) stance. The stance I'm seeing in the videos is what we would call a deep horse stance, much lower and wider than our naihanchi stance. Styles are so similar and yet so different.
But anyway-back to the backfist, I hope you understood what I've tried to describe.

Colin Wee said...

There are numerous kata that introduce the basics of karate. In fact, the Heians are a great place to see basics - those strikes and blocks you'd use in an empty hand system.

Of course kata aside from the Heians may also select strikes and blocks and repeat them. My guess however, is not just to show another point of the body in which a strike could potentially be levelled at.

From what I understand Tekki Shodan was one of the more important forms that Matsumura and Itosu used in their Okinawan arsenal. It is so important Funakoshi was drilled in it solely for three years. It is also so important that it continued to be taught in Korean systems along with the one other Okinawa kata - basai. And these two are the two that I, as a Traditional TKD practitioner, still continue to practice as part of my black belt training.

So I suggest that the move does not represent a strike which will cause a person to see stars - this is insufficient for the Okinawans.

Hard stylists when striking require a huge momentum generated by lunging forward or by a powerful hip twist movement (think reverse punch). I don't see evidence of such a powerful move here.

I will be the first to admit that my interpretation of this move may not be the a conventionaly or traditional interpretation.

When looking at this move, I felt that the move preceeding it was very important to me understanding what the strike was. This across the body punch plus side step is similar to many of the throws I do in my aiki training. The reason is that if you think of it as an arm grab, the punch-across the body makes the opponent 'fly' because his body is levered around his elbow (hwich rests on your hip). Eventually the knee raise could be an arm break or strike to the guy's face/shoulder and the backfist wrenches the fellow's arm out of its socket. You cannot fight with an arm dangling out of its socket. Unless you were drunk or caned or smashed or high.

If this movement is interpreted in this way, the hip twist is more than sufficient to cause an opponent to fly in one direction so that you can tear his arm out of the joint with a small rotation and tug. In this case, then my hand has to rotate upwards and opposite, but not so far upwards that I lose the power to wrench something out. So I reckon that the resulting level would be at jaw height - this allows the backfist to be supported by a tightened latissimus dorsi muscle. Any higher and you're using only your arm muscles.

Aside from Tekki shodan, I have a drill which allows me to perform this 'zenponage' variation I describe above when my drill partner is throwing repeated jabs at my face. The arms are trapped, brought to the hip and the opponent is flung about effortlessly.

Rgds,

Colin

[Mat] said...

:) no need to ask that way

We have seen applications for a very similar movement. This backfist is an opener of sorts. I tend to analyse everymove as an opener to something to put down someone. I'm anti-karate as I always think that one punch will not do it. That's the accountant speaking. Think safe.

So, indeed, M. Valdesi does an uppercut type punch. Which, when you think of it, is much closer to kungfu type circular movement. More efficient than the karate straight line too ( as in block, stop movement, strike - Decelerating is a loss of momentum and wasted energy ) So in that sense, I'm much more with that circular movement than anything else. It'd allow for a much smoother transition too.

That being said, this motion I see here is similar and different to the NiSeiShi chito-ryu kata bunkai. In the bunkai - the official one - we see a block and then, a double hit to counter attack. The double hit is done in multiple ways and depending to what the response is, you have choices. The first we learn is a follow through of the block.
It's karate like except we hit the collar bone so, it's - High block, expand the block, move in and hit the collar bone with both fists.
I have a problem with this, hitting the collar bone, although hurtfull, is only a opening move in my mind. A follow-through is needed. Hitting there would unbalance the opponent, leaving him open, but also very kick prone - if you're falling back, your legs tend to go up. Whatever gets done would have to be done in-close.


The other things I've seen / know about.

An uppercut.
I like that one, it flows very fast. In a circular movement, as M. Valdesi shows.

Throw while grabbing the hand.
Grabbing a punch is much easier said then done.
but after the block, following the punch to the midsection, there could be a throw/joint-lock. I can easily picture sitting on the opponent's arm while he's face down.

as for face or collarbone.
both are effective, it is what follows those hits that will differ. The head punch will produce a recoil type effet. Where only the head will go back. (as in whiplash) That's why I'd move in fast and try a throw with the knee. as in, block, punch head, drop down, grab heel and push on knee with arm. Garanteed takedown.

The collarbone hit will produce a whole body move back. In that case, I wouldn't go to the legs. as a kick would be much likelier to happen is there is too much distance to cover by the receiver. The face would be my target of choice. A probable follow through - I'd try to grab the back of the head(or the ears) and knee him. Groin, or stomach or if I'm lucky, head.

But I don't like that avenue. I'd prefer the uppercut.
1- it's faster
2- I prefer the effect it gives
3- I'd even hit the throat instead of the face. on the apple.

Consider where the right arm is. midsection. Grab the nuts, grab the blocked arm?

Lots of avenues.
The hard choice for me, is to devellop these things instinctively. I'm not there now. My head knows more.

But slowly, as time goes by, I find I have more fun with my knees, open hands strike and grabs.

As for official bunkais, do you have to learn those for your nidan? Are they open to interpretation?

Me, because of low-rank, surely, I'm stuck with official ones. But surely because I'm not supposed to know much more where I am. It's the normal progression scheme.

That's it for now. Did I answer the question? Hope so...

Be well!

[Mat] said...

Fotgot to say again :

In your school, you say :
"I have learned that the striking target of that movement is supposed to be the mouth/chin of our opponent. This means that the arm makes a far more pronounced angle when executing that movement."

I got lost in transition talk in my previous comment.

The pronounced angle becomes an uppercut. But again, depending on distance, that uppercut can become a blow.

Ask your Sensei what's his view on it. It might turn out to be a pretty interesting discussion.

I might pull up a white belt tonight to test both options. It'll be interesting. And hey, if I have to teach, it might as well be fun.

LOL

be well.

supergroup7 said...

Yes Frotoe, I understand what you are describing.. Thank you for helping me to see what you see.

I think that I should try to find the Kyokushin Naihanchi kata in youtube, and post it just to see how different it is from the Shotokan Tekki Shodan kata.

supergroup7 said...

Colin.. taking your suggestion in mind..

I can see your point that there isn't much hip rotation allowed in this kata, in fact, I've noticed that the most that I can do is hip vibration. The deep Kiba dachi seems to lock the hips into place.

I have always suspected that Tekki Shodan was not based on blocking/ striking motions, but on other things because of that fact.

If I'm doing a throw to the side there, then I can see that my fist would end up jaw height.. Would I be seeing the arm positioned more towards the side of my body ( like in a block position ) than covering the center line?

I bet you that the secrets of Tekki Shodan would unlock themselves to me if I had more experience in grappling, and throwing.

supergroup7 said...

You know what Mat? I totally agree with you that although the Japanese culture emphasized "One punch, one kill", I believe that the Okinawans had the philosophy of " Distract, and conquer, but always have a back up plan."

I have always had issues with this set of movements from Tekki Shodan because of the stance that I'm in as I do them. It's hard for me to picture myself standing in side stance ( Kiba dachi) and defending myself from being attacked from the front. I KNOW that I would switch my legs to a more stable position.. anything other than side stance. I would not want to stay rooted in side stance and offer all of my midline targets to my opponent. Yet.. Tekki Shodan, Nidan, and Sandan all contain the same series of movements done in that position. Obviously these movements were very important to know...

Thank you for all of the suggestions Mat.. they have made the gears in my brain work overtime.

I have not been told that I have to know these bunkai for my future Nidan test. I am struggling with this information because I am interested in understanding my kata better.

Free time is rare in my Shotokan dojo so it is difficult to experiment, or explore different things. I'll attempt to steal some time one day to look at this move in Tekki Shodan in more detail.

Thanks for all of your contributions to growth in karate.

[Mat] said...

Colin,

Woah! what a great explanation!

I had pictured an arm grab, but it sure wasn't as precise a thing as you mentionned. More of a hunch.

Talk about thinking outside of the box. I'll have to try that!

If I got it right, there would have to be a O'irimi movement in order to grab the elbow and pull it to the waist?

Colin Wee said...

I can see your point that there isn't much hip rotation allowed in this kata, in fact, I've noticed that the most that I can do is hip vibration. The deep Kiba dachi seems to lock the hips into place.

Hip vibration is alright for the dojo but it is not sufficient to develop true striking power. The hip MUST be allowed to drive the strike with a good rotational pulse.

Dr Clayton suggests that Tekki Shodan is the part of the Okinawan training where they are protecting their principal - like a bodyguarding method where all of the bodyguards pounce on their client. Tekki Shodan according to him was for you to put yourself in front of the principal, get both of yourselves up against the wall and inch either left or right to an exit.

I further guess that there is one more person in front of you OR another enemy combatant held in front of you in order to protect yourself from the rest of the enemies.

I have always suspected that Tekki Shodan was not based on blocking/ striking motions, but on other things because of that fact.

I think that it does contain blocking and striking motions ... but these are modified given the circumstances mentioned above. So if you have a team mate in front of you, your role might be to block strikes coming in from the diagonal or the side.

If I'm doing a throw to the side there, then I can see that my fist would end up jaw height.. Would I be seeing the arm positioned more towards the side of my body ( like in a block position ) than covering the center line?

If you were doing the technique I described (to tear the rotator cuff of the shoulder) then centreline. If you had to muscle it, trying the throw the body with the arm, then your block is going to be at the external edge of your body. But this doesn't create more power for this move.

I bet you that the secrets of Tekki Shodan would unlock themselves to me if I had more experience in grappling, and throwing.

And I bet you'll just be sitting around for hours on end trying to crack all these riddles ... getting frustrated that there is so much to think about!

Colin

Colin Wee said...

I'm anti-karate as I always think that one punch will not do it. That's the accountant speaking.

I think you're not anti-karate. This should be how the Okinawans would have thought too. Except that they would see it differently - for instance, they might say how do I get it to the point where ikken hisatsu can occur? This allows us to look at the form and say how are these things setting the user to strike once and kill/maim his opponent. If not, then the strike is worthless.

In modern terminology, if the strike results in a nosebleed, it is insufficient. For instance, the opening of Basai (another backfist), to me is less of the backfist landing on the guy's nose as it is a footstomp as you leap forward onto his foot. When you hear bones breaking, that's karate.


Throw while grabbing the hand.
Grabbing a punch is much easier said then done.


It's practiced because not all of their enemies would throw really quick punches. Sometimes their hands would be extended for a long time holding onto a weapon (like a gun), or extended to intiially grab onto one of those short little okinawans. :-)

Colin

[Mat] said...

Hi Colin,

"This allows us to look at the form and say how are these things setting the user to strike once and kill/maim his opponent. If not, then the strike is worthless."

You have no idea how this has opened my eyes. I had read somewhere something like that from someone researching karate katas from lots of styles in order to(now that I understand) remove useless movements and try to figure out what was the initial kata before it got distorded while being passed down. I now understand that. Big thanks.

"When you hear bones breaking, that's karate."
As much as it shouldn't, that made me smile. You know there's an article I wrote on kuzushi that got rejected because I spoke of breaking bones while striking. It was said to be too harsh, I had to work around that fact with "softer" words such as : hard punch or stuff like that. Sheesh...

"It's practiced because not all of their enemies would throw really quick punches."
Got it. I figured that a grabbing hand would be the attack of choice against such an attempt.. I'm not so sure I'd try it against a punch. But I'm merely stating my preference. :-D

Did I ever mention how much I enjoy speaking withexperienced martial artists?
If not, then I'm taking this opportunity to.

Colin Wee said...

If I got it right, there would have to be a O'irimi movement in order to grab the elbow and pull it to the waist?

The first parts of Tekki set it up so that the grabbing of the hand is easy. No need for you to catch a speeding hand in mid air. But yeah, you pull it toward your hip and walk with it! :-)

Colin

Colin Wee said...

I had read somewhere something like that from someone researching karate katas from lots of styles in order to(now that I understand) remove useless movements

I think it's not really about 'useless' movements that excites you ... it is that what I have said corresponds to what you understand regarding the objective of your martial arts. Once you figure out the objectives, then you need to look at strategy, then the tactics. These should all relate.

It was said to be too harsh, I had to work around that fact with "softer" words such as : hard punch or stuff like that. Sheesh...

Thus continues the idea that martial artists prance around like ballerinas. It is due to this that I have little interest in subscribing to martial art magazines.

Did I ever mention how much I enjoy speaking withexperienced martial artists?
If not, then I'm taking this opportunity to.


I also enjoy speaking with MA enthusiasts (and that's a compliment back to you Mat). It gets tiresome debating if Bruce Lee was the best, or what is the most powerful kick. :-)

Colin

[Mat] said...

"It gets tiresome debating if Bruce Lee was the best, or what is the most powerful kick. :-)
"

Call me crazy, but I often think this comes from insecurity.

Haaaaaaa... I miss my first aikibudo teacher. He's a bit far for me to take classes with him, but he had a way of making it all come together. I tried a local one, but it wasn't the same...

Mir, you already have your hands full, don't you think? Shotokan and kyokushin. Grappling on top of that? Whew!

Ha, who knows? I might be good. I think things can be translated to other arts, but each one has specific things.

A friend of mine said that once you get it, you understand that in linear movements, there are round one and inversly(spelling?) too.

Be well.

Will said...

Isn't the internet grand? Where else could you dig up JKA, tournament and Funakoshi video of my favorite advanced kata - Chulgi, aka Naihanchi Shodan and Tekki Shodan.

Here are some interesting variations:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Y_Lpf985c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk91kI_76jU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nQLgxvgRDU

I was too embarrassed by the quality of the only Chul-Gi video I could find to include it in the list... Maybe I can dig one up and digitize it...

Will