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Double Weightedness

In kata, it is important to avoid having your weight equally distributed on your feet (sometimes called "double weightedness") at the moment that you throw a technique. After the technique is thrown, there are times when the weight will be equally distributed.

The third movement of Fukyugata Ni is an example of this (stepping back into jigotai dachi with a left gedan barai). When the block is thrown, your weight is almost 100% on your left foot. Your weight becomes equally distributed only after the block is thrown (actually on the recoil). This position is held for only a split second before proceeding to the next movement. Actually, there are no fixed positions. The use of rigid stances is only a teaching device for beginners. At the advanced stage, movements flow naturally and seemlessly from one to the other -- the ending of one movement often provides the fuel (bounce) for the next.

Have you ever seen a Kung Fu movie where the actors walk on the tops of poles buried in the ground? In some ways, kata is like this. Most of the time, your weight will be on one foot, say the right. You will have to carefully place your left foot on a pole before you can transfer your weight to it. With the weight on the left foot, you can then move the right foot.

When your weight is equally distributed, you literally cannot move. You will have to shift your weight to one or the other foot before you can step. This delay is critical and creates a "dead body."

Think back to the poles. If you are standing with your weight equally distributed on two poles, how will you step? I guess you could hop or fall down, but these usually will not do. You will have to shift your weight to one foot to free the other. In that time, you will get hit.

Knowing where you weight is at all times is essential.

Many times, your weight will shift back and forth between your feet for a single technique. Sometimes a movement is more effective when you throw it into a returning wave. You might have seen this at the beach. A wave comes in and runs up the beach. As it returns, it runs into the next wave coming toward the beach. When they meet, there is a crash and the waves join momentarily to create a taller one.

Karate movements can be done in the same way if you shift your weight back and forth between your feet and time the movements of your koshi (hips, etc.). Like crashing waves, the movement exhibits much more power than would be expected from a single wave.

Kata involves juggling your weight in a precisely timed, exquisitely choreographed dance.

By the way, please do not try doing kata on poles. It could be very dangerous. I only used that as an example.

Be aware of and usually avoid double weightedness. If your opponent has double weightedness, it may be an opportunity for an attack.


Charles C. Goodin