Nihon Karate Do Shoto-kai
Shoto-kai Exercise Dojo Admission

 Preparatory exercises   Fundamentals   Kata (forms)   Kumite (Sparring) 

Fundamentals
Stances

There are various stances in kata. Here, they are briefly explained.

Hachiji-dachi (Natural Stance) Heisoku-dachi (Feet-together Stance)
picture of Hachiji-dachi (Natural Stance)
Hachiji-dachi
(Natural Stance)
Stand, separating your heels by a distance roughly equal to shoulders' width and with the toes slightly outward. This is an ordinary and natural standing posture. This stance is the basis of all stances. Take care to not strain legs, arms, knees, hips, waists, shoulders, etc.
picture of Heisoku-dachi (Feet-together Stance)
Heisoku-dachi
(Feet-together Stance)
From the natural stance, slowly bring your feet together.
Kiba-dachi (Horse-riding Stance) Shiko-dachi (Square Stance)
Place your heels apart, and bend your knees toward the big toes of your feet. The center of gravity should pass through the center of your body and between your legs.

Front Side
picture of Kiba-dachi (Horse-riding Stance) picture of Kiba-dachi (Horse-riding Stance)
Kiba-dachi
(Horse-riding Stance)
Kiba-dachi
(Horse-riding Stance)
The distance between the heels should be almost the same as in kiba-dachi. Turn your feet as far outward as possible. Keep your spine straight, thrust out your stomach, and bend your knees deeply.

Front Side
picture of Shiko-dachi (Square Stance) picture of Shiko-dachi (Square Stance)
Shiko-dachi
(Square Stance)
Shiko-dachi
(Square Stance)
Kokutsu-dachi (Back Stance) Nekoashi-dachi (Cat-let Stance)
picture of Kokutsu-dachi (Back Stance)
Kokutsu-dachi
(Back Stance)
While bending your knees, move one leg slightly forward. Bend the knee of the supporting leg deeply. The body weight should be placed on your rear leg. Keep your body straight by thrusting out your stomach, and bending your knees deeply.
picture of Nekoashi-dachi (Cat-let Stance)
Nekoashi-dachi
(Cat-let Stance)
From the natural stance, twist your body slightly, change the positions of your feet, and bend your knees deeply, so that you are in a half-facing position against an opponent. In other words, the front leg of kokutsu-dachi is drawn toward the body. The center of gravity should be your rear leg.
Zenkutsu-dachi (Front Stance) Fudo-dachi (Immovable Stance)
picture of Zenkutsu-dachi (Front Stance)
Zenkutsu-dachi
(Front Stance)
Bend the front knee very deeply, and let the rear leg bend slightly and naturally. The body should be straight, and the body weight should be placed almost entirely on the front leg.
picture of Fudo-dachi (Immovable Stance)
Fudo-dachi
(Immovable Stance)
From the posture of zenkutsu-dachi, bend your rear knee slightly more deeply and thrust out you stomach, so that the center of gravity is between the legs.



Offensive techniques

If karate is considered as a combating art, the techniques can be broadly classified into offensive and defensive techniques. General offensive techniques include punching, kicking, hitting, striking, and grabbing. In karate, practice mainly consists of striking and kicking.
Beginners should practice striking and kicking techniques very hard.


Kicking

In karate, there are various kicking techniques, such as mae-geri (front kick), yoko-geri (side kick), mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick), mikazuki-geri (crescent-moon kick), and nidan-geri (double kick). Here, mae-geri and yoko-geri are briefly described.
There are jodan, chudan, and gedan kicks, depending on target area.


Mae-geri (Front Kick)
Practice of mae-geri usually begins from the zenkutsu-dachi. In mae-geri, it is especially important to raise the knee of the kicking leg so that your thigh touches your stomach.

first picture of Mae-geri (Front Kick) second picture of Mae-geri (Front Kick) third picture of Mae-geri (Front Kick) fourth picture of Mae-geri (Front Kick)
Zenkutsu-dachi Raise knee. Kick forward Lower the leg
with the knee raised.
Return to standing
position slowly.
Yoko-geri (Side Kick)
There are keage (side-up kick) and kekomi (kebanashi, side-thrust kick) in yoko-geri.
Practice of yoko-geri usually begins from kiba-dachi. Later, practices should also be done from hachiji-dachi, zenkutsu-dachi, and kokutsu-dachi.

first picture of Yoko-geri (Side Kick)
Kiba-dachi
second picture of Yoko-geri (Side Kick)
Move left leg.
third picture of Yoko-geri (Side Kick)
Raise knee.
fourth picture of Yoko-geri (Side Kick)
Kick.

Mae-geri and yoko-geri from hachi-dachi are also shown for reference.

picture of Hachiji-dachi (Natural Stance) picture of Mae-geri picture of Hachiji-dachi (Natural Stance) picture of Yoko-geri
Hachiji-dachi
(Natural Stance)
Mae-geri Hachiji-dachi
(Natural Stance)
Yoko-geri



Striking

Fist of Shoto-kai is ordinary and natural fist, but the thumb and the little finger are tightly bent so that the second joint of the middle finger hits opponent. Be careful not to strain your elbow and shoulders while making fists.
Striking practices of oizuki and gyakuzuki are done from the hachiji-dachi and kiba-dachi, and by moving forward from zenkutsu-dachi. Concentrate your power in the fists, and punch as if your fists are going to penetrate completely through the target.


Regular Fist
first picture of Regular Fist
second picture of Regular Fist
third picture of Regular Fist
fourth picture of Regular Fist
Striking from kiba-dachi and continuous movements of oizuki
Striking from kiba-dachi and continuous movements of oizuki are shown with continuous photographs.

picture of striking from kiba-dachi1
picture of striking from kiba-dachi2
Striking from kiba-dachi
(Never put unnecessary strength in the elbow or shoulder.)

Oizuki (continuous photographs)

picture of oizuki 1 picture of oizuki 4 picture of oizuki 5  




Blocking

Fundamental exercises, blocking is practiced separately from striking. Blocking techniques are not just blocking the attacks of an opponent, but are the forms from which one can spontaneously attack the opponent.
Generally, there are blocking techniques of gedan-barai (lower level block), jodan age-uke (upper-level rising block), shuto-uke (sword-handed block), ude uke (forearm block), and tetsui uchi uke (iron hammer strike block). Here, gedan-barai, jodan age-uke, and shuto-uke are briefly explained.


Gedan-barai (Lower Level Block)
Raise the left (right) fist beside the right (left) ear, and thrust the fist downwards to about 15 - 16 cm above the left (right) knee to block an attack.
Gedan-barai from hachiji-dachi is shown with continuous photographs.

first picture of Gedan-barai (Lower Level Block)
  third picture of Gedan-barai (Lower Level Block)
Gedan-barai from hachiji-dachi
Jodan age-uke (Upper-level Rising Block)
The basic concept is to sweep up an upper level punch from an opponent. It is important to cross the arms by drawing back the arm to be used for block toward the hip of the other side of the body.
Jodan age-uke from hachiji-dachi is shown with continuous photographs.

first picture of Jodan age-uke (Upper-level Rising Block)
    fourth picture of Jodan age-uke (Upper-level Rising Block)
Jodan age-uke
Shuto-uke (Sword-handed Block)
Shuto-uke is a very difficult blocking technique.
From hachiji-dachi, flex your knees, support your weight with your right leg only, and move the left leg forward without putting your body weight on the left leg. While moving the left leg, open the left hand (with fingers straight and close together), thrust your right hand out lightly, and bring your left hand above your right shoulder with palm upward. Bring your right elbow to your right side with palm upward in front of your stomach. Thrust your left hand outward from your right shoulder so as to cut and catch the striking arm of the opponent.
Shuto-uke from hachiji-dachi is shown with continuous photographs.

first picture of Shuto-uke
second picture of Shuto-uke
third picture of Shuto-uke fourth picture of Shuto-uke
Shuto-uke




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