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FISHER SHOTOKAN KARATE

KATA VIDEOS

By Charles Rhodes, P. Eng., Ph.D. and Sensei Malcolm Fisher

The following external links to videos show Malcolm Fisher and/or some of his JKA training partners. Notice the leg loading, foot position, hip position and speed in each case.

TEKKI NIDAN:
Carefully study this Tekki Nidan kata as performed by Sensei Asai. Notice that Asai does not maintain a rigid kiba-dachi stance. The axis of his feet shift via rotations on the balls of his feet to permit greater power. These rotations exceed 45 degrees during some of the step-over movements.

Sensei Malcolm Fisher has indicated that this kata is the best that he has seen anyone from the JKA do. Notice that Asai instinctively points the big toe of his loaded leg more towards the target than any one else from the JKA. You will also notice that on the 2nd move he empties his loaded leg, but he does so on the double arm block instead of the strike, so the only energy provided for the strike comes from gravity. His technique is sharper and has more energy than other JKA instructors only because he has unloaded the loaded leg which shifts his CM further away from the loaded leg than any other JKA instructor, thereby creating more kinetic energy from gravity.

If you watch Sensei K. Enoeda do the same kata Tekki Nidan, you will see that he utilizes mainly his upper body and does not unload the loaded leg at any time during the 2nd technique. Hence his overall efficiency is much less than Asai's.

Asai was a smaller man and of necessity was more efficient in the use of his body to produce energy. Sensei Fisher believes that Asai was twice all Japan Kata champion.

Persons performing Tekki Nidan in accordance with JKA gospel lift their leg in order to increase the gravitational effect because they feel the inherent weakness of the technique and attempt to add to the energy pool by lifting the leg. The leg lift has no other use the way the JKA teaches this kata. It is not appropriate as a foot reaction to a sweep or as a kyusho technique. The lifting of the leg negates the possibility of completing this movement within a half second and therefore cannot be used to maximize energy development in the half second time scale.

Note that Asai does not maximize his deliverable energy because he does not unload his loaded leg coincident with his arm strike and because at the striking instant he is in a kibi-dachi stance rather than in a zenkutsu-dachi stance. In order to maximize energy delivery it is necessary to shift from a kibi-dachi stance (50% left leg, 50% right leg) to a zenkutsu-dachi stance (70% front leg, 30% rear leg) with no leg lift while unloading the rear leg coincident with the arm strike. A further benefit of this stance modification is that the kata performer's finished front leg and front foot positions are more loaded and hence are in better position to initiate the energy loading phase of the next kata movement.

The problem in conceptualizing the application of this kata is one of distance. This problem is compounded by stylization of the kata that has distorted or eliminated crucial movements. After the 1st movement in tekki nidan the defender's right shoulder should dip forward after the defender's arms have been used to trap the attacker's arms around the defender's torso, to enable the defender to throw the attacker that is behind the defender. There cannot be a crossover step because, in reality it would be impossible to do while the defender is in a serious bear hug from behind. Try it and you will see for yourself.

The defender's shift from a natural stance to a horse stance (kiba-dachi) shifts the attackers CM to the right and the right leg of the defenders horse stance (kiba-dachi) prevents the attacker from widening his stance, thus putting the attacker off balance. It is at this point, while the attacker is off balance and unable to let go because the defender has grasped his arms and held them in place, that the defender lowers his CM and dips his right shoulder, throwing the attacker over his right shoulder. The JKA assumption is that a cross over step can be made while in a bear hug, when in fact this cannot be done. And so, this kata movement must change. Not to change the order of techniques, but rather, to make the movements conform the realities of kumite, which is what kata really is.

The very next movement in tekki nidan is a perfect example. You are escaping the bear hug in a way that is more realistic than the way taught by the JKA and everyone else for that matter. By throwing the attacker into the path the defender normally travels, as taught by the JKA, the direction of the next movement must be reversed. Stepping into a kick from one of the JKA greats who is focused on penetrating your defense is not something which could be done successfully, especially when the body of the thrown attacker is likely in your way.

No, instead of moving into an attacker's full step kick with a full step block, the defender should absorb the attack by moving away from the attackers kick while blocking it with the inside of his right arm and then hooking it and throwing it the other way. There is much more to say about how this is done from both the defender's and attacker's points of view, but the point here is that this example is illustrative of the kata design and/or implementation problems that reality exposes but which in JKA instruction are either overlooked or ignored.

It must be emphasized that to be realistic each kata movement must be performed with maximum energy development in <0.5 second.

This web page last updated July 13, 2011.

Contents Blogs Introduction Fisher One Page Contacts Links