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diadicic
diadicic's picture
Kata angle question

Hello all,

This thought has probably been brought up before,  but I like to discuss this with people and hear their views,  for me personally this seems to Aid in my learning process.

Here is a question that I've been pondering for a while. Oddly enough this has not been brought up in my circle. Why do kata’s turn to the left or right instead of just facing forward and turning your body to the left or right to demonstrate the angle in use?   For example in Pinan Shodan, instead of turning and facing to the left to execute your first move, why not pull your right foot back and execute the posture to the front, then changing feet putting your left back and bringing your right foot forward to execute the right side and so on?  

 My thought is that the kata has no way of knowing how you're going to get into a left or right stance just that you should go to the left or right depending on how you have to execute the movement.  The other thing I feel is important are the transitions between movements because some of those transitions show how to get around an opponent and possibly indicate throws trips and use of power etc..  At least this is what I have attained so far. The more I question, the more research I do, the more I seem to learn. Let me know how you think about it.

Dom

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Rules of Kaisai - "do not be deceived by the enbusen". The angles and turning are not without meaning, but the overall shape of the enbusen is not a combative thing,

Chris R
Chris R's picture

I'd add that (using your pinan shodan example), stepping your right foot back and turning is not quite the same movement as stepping directly sideways. The kata shows the movement as it should be applied, which is applying force and moving to either side (or as close as is possible in application), not stepping back and then turning.

The embusen also shows us how to move around in relation to the other person into different transitions. Not just by showing you the angle by turning, but by showing you the actual physical steps to get there.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi Dom,

diadicic wrote:
Why do kata’s turn to the left or right instead of just facing forward and turning your body to the left or right to demonstrate the angle in use?

Because that would not show the angle. There are many techniques where we rotate our body in order to get mass into the method. If the kata did everything on a straight line, it would be impossible to know what was tactical (positioning relative to the enemy) and what was technical (rotating into the technique). The clear use of angles to donate positioning relative to the enemy makes things clear; so that is why the kata are structured that way.

It’s well established in the literature (Mabuni, Motobu, Toguchi, etc) and I personally believe it to be one of the most powerful keys to being able to understand what the kata is showing.

diadicic wrote:
My thought is that the kata has no way of knowing how you're going to get into a left or right stance just that you should go to the left or right depending on how you have to execute the movement.

Exactly. Combat has innumerable variables. The kata does not show how to get to the given angle, because it’s can’t possibly know ahead of time i.e. the relative movement of the combatants, the surrounding environment, what has happened in the preceding moment, etc. So, the kata shows the angel to be at (linked with the preceding sequence of the kata; which may be unrelated) but not the specific motion required to get to that angle, because the kata can’t possibly know what that would be.

I hope that helps.

All the best,

Iain

betherslarry
betherslarry's picture

Greetings Chris!!

I have been studying Heian Shodan for the past 52 years.  I have been searching for bunkai for the past 40 plus years and have discovered something of a code to the kata.  The step left in Heian Shodan tells you that the attack is coming from your opponent's right side.  This allows you to also address the attack from the front.  The step indicates you should "get off the X" by stepping to the 11:00 o'clock position (your opponent is always at your 12:00 o'clock) to avoid the attack.  The stack position can be used to deflect the attack and at the same time punch to the tip of the 11th rib (Liver 13 for the TCM crowd).  This will cause the opponent to bend over slightly and the punch is delivered as at strike to the carotid sinus and a "neck ring throw".  Check it out and lemme know what you think.  The downward "block" can be used as a hammer fist strike to L 13.

Larry G. Bethers

Professor, 8th Dan

Chow Hoon Goshin Jjitsu