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PeterH's picture
Breathing in Hangetsu

In my martial arts school, we learn a stance called Hangetsu stance for use in a bo kata we learn from Isshin-ryu. I became interested in the kata Hangetsu, which we don't learn at my school, because of this stance being featured heavily in the kata. The stance has always felt awkward to me, so I was wondering if the kata could explain its usefulness (I am still confused about it, but that's not the point of this post). While watching this video explaining the movements of Hangetsu, I noticed the instructor really emphasizing the breathing throughout the kata. Particularly at the timestamp 3:20. The breathing is very precise throughout the entire kata, but that spot has a sort of double breath, which I found especially odd. Does anyone know of a practical purpose for the emphasized breathing?

AllyWhytock's picture

Hello Peter,

My solo practice is based on Kanazawa Sensei's 1970s version. The emphasis in breathing is either the "spit" concept in which you exert a maximum force (most likely backed by the slow nature of the move) or following such an exertion you are relaxing the respiratory system as a recovery technique.

In Funkoshi's Karate Do Kyohan (Tr. Harumi Suzuki-Johnston) he doesn't mention breathing but he does describe the kata as a Sho-Rei and focuses on muscle and bone building. 

I've linked a drill that we use to encapsulate what I think are the key themes: 


I've linked a drill that covers the last few sequences:


Here I'm using the crescent movement to assist put pressure on a knee and assist a throw. 

I've linked a short sequence in which the stance is used to frame a vertical armbar on a grounded opponent: 


Note the foot also behind the head, adding pressing. 

I hope this assists.

Kindest Regards,