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Excellent Post on Naihanchi Shodan

Sensei Bill Lucas of the Tallahassee Karate Club recently posted an article about the Naihanchi Shodan kata entitled The Kata We Practice - Naihanchi Shodan. He describes how and when Naihanchi Shodan is practiced in his dojo.

He mentions that in his dojo, new students with no prior Karate experience learn Fukyugata Ichi first. If new students have prior experience they learn Naihanchi Shodan first. In our dojo, all students learn Naihanchi Shodan first. We teach all three Naihanchi kata before introducing the two Fukyugata kata. I believe that many Kishaba Juku schools skip or omit Naihanchi Sandan.

I believe that the Naihanchi kata teach koshi while Fukyugata Ichi can be used to teach the hanmi (slanted) body alignment.

I agree with Lucas Sensei that "There are so many obvious self defense techniques in Naihanchi that a practitioner could train in this kata exclusively for their entire karate life and never get bored."

I once asked Shinzato Sensei what three kata he would practice if he could only practice three. His first choice was Naihanchi Shodan.

At the end of Lucas Sensei's post, there is a link to a video of Shinzato Sensei performing Naihanchi Shodan. I'm sure that Shinzato Sensei is uncomfortable with that video (excerpted from the Uchina Kibun television show done a few years ago). However, I feel that any video of Shinzato Sensei is still very instructional and inspiring.

Most of us would be extremely happy to be able to move the way that Shinzato Sensei did 20 years ago!

I would also like you to view another post in Lucas Sensei's blog. See: Thinking of Okinawa: In the Dojo. There is a great photo of Shinzato Sensei at his dojo in his home in Yonabaru, Okinawa. He is standing with Sensei Paris Janos (on the right). Please click on the photo to enlarge it and look at Shinzato Sensei's expression (and Janos Sensei's too).

That's how people look when they truly enjoy practicing and teaching Karate!


Charles C. Goodin