Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

May 7th , 2017

This weeks technique is submitted by Sempai Steve Hatle, Co-Shihan
Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Minnesota

Stay Low and Straight While Traveling

The Naihanchi kata present new challenges to the karateka. For me, it's
been how to stay low while traveling and get power in the foot strikes, or
"stomps." Analyzing Hanshi’s Kata DVD and working with the senior belts
in Florida gave me some insights that have helped me improve my technique.

To get low and stay low, we must engage the core muscles of the abdomen
and quadriceps. This is certainly the case as we hold a position such as
the first move in Naihanchi Sho. However, I found that when I release all
tension to begin the travel, there is a tendency to rise up slightly as
the abdomen and quads relax. To counteract this, I concentrate on
utilizing just enough tension in the core and legs to prevent the upper
body from rising.

With the second step in the travel the tendency to rise up is magnified by
the knee coming up to chamber for the foot strike. The rising knee tends
to bring the upper body up with it. To counteract this, I double down on
the control of energy in the abdomen and supporting leg, and strive to
keep my center of gravity over the bent leg while the knee comes up along
the centerline. Here I try to visualize reaching my chin with my knee. If
the knee comes off the centerline, this changes the center of gravity and
I end up "falling" into the foot strike, sacrificing power and control.
When the knee reaches the top of its arc, we should have perfect balance
and foundation before driving the foot down like a piston, choosing our
target and delivering all the force we can from the quadriceps, hips and
core. Of course, we must always seek to minimize tension to avoid
restricting movement, whether in travelling or executing a technique,
except at the precise moment of impact.

Coming back to the basics - "work to get lower" and "make the correct
shape" – provides a path to improve and refine our technique not only in
the Naihanchi kata, but in all of our karate training.

Domo arigato Hanshi, Kyoshi, and all Shinden for the wonderful gift of
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate and its opportunities for exploration and
improvement!

Sempai Steve Hatle, Co-Shihan
Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Minnesota