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Fukyugata Ichi -- Progress

I am now 50 and have practiced Karate for about 35 years or so. Please keep this in mind when you read below.

I feel that I am beginning to be able to do Fukyugata Ichi a little bit "OK".

Some people like to perform "high" kata to show their skills. But I think that it is more revealing to watch someone perform Naihanchi Shodan or Fukyugata Ichi. Particularly in Fukyugata Ichi, there is no room to hide poor techniques. Either you can do it, or you cannot. You can't cover it up or blur it.

The first movement of Fukyugata Ichi is incredibly difficult to do well. I have only seen one person in my life deliver that first downward block explosively with no extra movement. From the starting point -- POW! I still cannot do that.

The turns from the front to the back, and from the back to the front, are also very challenging. Almost everyone I have ever seen is too late -- the downward blocks come too late after the turns.

Fukyugata Ichi is an easy kata to learn but an incredibly difficult kata to perform well. Have you ever seen a black belt perform the kata in a tournament? Maybe so, but generally it is something only a beginner would do.

I do not participate in tournaments, but even in demonstrations higher ranking black belts will typically perform kata such as Passai, Chinto, or Kusanku.

I cannot stress enough how advanced and difficult basic kata such as Naihanchi Shodan and Fukyugata Ichi are. And with respect to Fukyugata Ichi, if you can do the very first movement well, you can certainly do the entire kata well. One movement -- Karate.

Please keep in mind that I said that I feel I can now do Fukyugata Ichi a little bit "OK" -- not well. Perhaps in another 35 years I will work my way up to that! I'll let you know when I am 85.


Charles C. Goodin