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dhogsette's picture
Kata-Based Sparring: Fukyugata Ich Drill 3

Here is another kata-based sparring drill from Fukyugata Ich. We are working using the high blocks in the kata as defense against lapel grab and strikes to the head from a clinch situation. We have a lot of fun with this one. Man, it really tires you out. We are having a blast, and students are really seeing how the kata comes to life in these live training drills. Enjoy!



Mark B
Mark B's picture

Hi David 

A really nice clip. I love that "scruffy" training,  definitely the way to go. 

This is a most common habitual act of physical violence you demonstrate here. 

My preference is to deliver impact onto the opponents grabbing arm rather than pinning asI prefer to involve both hands in my response,  but that's just my thing.

This clip from Aragaki Seisan demonstrates it better than words.  Is not a live exercise obviously but it is a training drill rather than Bunkai , it teaches disruption on first contact, the old style footwork of karate which is to slide out and then back into the opponent,  the same forearm strike you demonstrated,  Muchimidi , a further posture disruption and finally a palm heel strike .

I hope you don't mind me putting this clip on your thread, and I hope you find some of my key principles to my approach of interest.



Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Another great one Dave! Live practise of bunkai is vitally important and yet it confuses many: a hang over from 3K karate which sees kata and kumite (and kihon) as separate disciplines. The past masters were very clear on the link between kata and kumite, but it’s been lost:

“Kumite is an actual fight using many basic styles of kata to grapple with the opponent.” – Choki Motobu

“Sparring does not exist apart from the kata but for the practise of the kata.” – Gichin Funakoshi

“Through sparring practice the practical meaning of kata becomes apparent.” – Chojin Miyagi

And so on.

In the clip you’ve given a simple example of kata used in a live drill (kata-based-sparring) that I’m sure many will find interesting and useful. Thank you!

A little bit of background on the “Fukyugata” for those who don’t practise them. Essentially, they are “Pinan equivalents” in that they are designed to be summation of the karate that went before. They are very new kata (made in the 1940s) and were created by Shoshin Nagamine (Matsubayashi-ryu) and Chojun Miyagi (Goju-ryu) at the request of Gen Hayakawa (governor of the Okinawa Prefecture) via the Karate-Do Special Committee.

The idea was to create standardised kata that would cut across all the various streams of karate, that were suitable for novices, and would provide a common grounding in the basics of karate. The Pinans had been in existence for some time, but they were considered to be a summation of “Shuri-te” line alone (quite rightly) and hence were lacking the “Naha-te” side of things.

Shoshin Nagamine made the first kata (Fukyugata Ich) and Chojun Miyagi made the second kata (Fukyugata Ni). Matsubayashi-ryu still practise them both. Fukyugata Ni remains part of Goju-Ryu but under the revised name of Gekisai Dai Ichi (normally the first kata taught in Goju-Ryu). Chojun Miyagi later went on to teach a second version of the same kata, which is largely the same, but with the addition of the circular hand motions common to other Goju kata. This revised version of Fukyugata Ni / Gekisai Dai Ichi is called Gekisai Dai Ni (normally the second kata taught in Goju).

You will notice how “Kata” (gata) is part of the name (Fukyu-kata). You don’t see that with other kata i.e. “Pinangata” or “Naihanchigata” and the reason for that (in the English speaking west) is the unfortunate phonic similarity with a vulgar insult (Fuk-yu). Others get around this by deliberately mispronouncing the name of the kata as “Fuyu” or something similar. I’ve also heard of people calling the kata “The F-Series” and so on. However, the adding of “gata” is the most common solution as it softens the similarity and makes it far less obvious. You do still see the kata referred to as “Fukyu Ich” and “Fukyu Ni” though.

The name “Fukyu” (普及) translates as something like “universal”, “popular” or “widely spread”. So the name of the kata matches the intention behind their creation. The revised name of “Gekisai Dai" (撃砕大) translates as “Pulverise-Big” or “Attack and Destroy-Big” which would seem to be more reflective of the intent of the applications; as opposed to the former name which reflected the “political intent” of the kata.

Irrespective of core style, the two kata are useful to all karateka for the overview they were intended to capture. For “Shuri-Te” types like myself, Fukyugata Ni (Gekisai Dai Ichi) and it’s close variant Gekisai Dai Ni can be a great way to add a little “Naha-te” into the mix. Short, simple and easy to adopt into regular practise (just as they were created to be).

So irrespective of lineage, I think the Fukyugata are defiantly worth a look. And Dave has done a great job of providing an overview of bunkai and drills for these kata in the videos he has shared with us.

All the best,


dhogsette's picture

Thank you, Mark, for your comments and the video. I remember this video from another post, and I like the technique a lot. I'm trying to sequence applications with my beginners, and it seems to be going well. The first few KB sparring drills deal with potential attackers at a distance, before they get their hands on you, and we work on de-escalation (I need to do more of that with my students...) and pre-emptive striking if the de-escalation fails. Then, I get them to work on attacks starting at a distance in which the person is trying to grab the lapel to strike or he is trying to grab hold and clinch up in order to stop the defender from striking. Then, we work drills from the clinch in which the person has successfully gotten hold--they may be just tying up your arms, trying to head-butt, trying to strike, whatever. Still working out thte kinks, but I think we are on the right track. 

Thanks again!



dhogsette's picture


Thanks so much for the amazing response and the history. Good to know the Goju side of it, as I had only been told the Matsubayashi side (brief mention made to Chojun Miyagi, of course!). Interestingly, I've never heard the F U! concern within Mastsubayashi circles, but some of my non-karate friends would immediately make that joke whenever I said "fukyugata" or wrote it in a FB post (oh, yeah!? Well Fukyu too!...LOL was the common joke...sigh). 

In Matsubayashi, we find that beginners take to the first two Fukyugatas very easily, as there are no cat stances or double shuto ukes to worry about as with the pinans (and my understanding is that was one of Nagamine's concerns when he first created the kata, to create something that school children and beginners would pick up easily). You may be aware that there is a Fukyugata San, created in around 1960 by Ansei Ueshiro, who was one of the first Okinawans sent to America to teach Matsubayashi. Shoshin Nagamine had a falling out with him, and never accepted Fukyugata San as part of the curriculum. So, you'll see some Matsubayashi folks who train F3 and many others who don't. I only recently learned F3. It has several "block" and striking combinations in a single stance (like low-block reverse punch in front stance; or low block, high block (with same hand), and reverse punch. Parts of it is very similar to the version of Ananku that we do in Matsubayashi (and so now I sometimes get a brain freeze toward the end of Ananku...LOL).

Thank you again for the great response!