Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (May 9th, 2010)

From Sensei Steve Lott, Ueshiro Midtown Karate (Hombu) Dojo, NYC

Common Error Chambering in Pinan Kata.

There is an error that is commonly seen when chambering the hands in Pinan Kata.

Here's what happens in Pinan Shodan:

The student is in the ready position.

But, as the hands are chambered for the opening block notice how the body has turned away from the attacker exposing the rib and the back.

Here is the opening move chambered properly. The shoulders stay perpendicular to the attacker and the left arm stays parallel to the body.

A look from the opposite side:

The ready position.

As the arms are chambered the upper body twists away from the attacker. This is incorrect.

Done correctly you can see in this photo how upper body stays perpendicular to the attacker and the left arm stays parallel to the body. From this photo you can observe three things:


1. Chambering the hands properly takes less time since the hands do not have to travel as far.

2. Executing the blocks takes less time for the same reason. The hands do not have to travel around the body to defend the attack.

3. The left fist remains in a direct line to the opponent. With the exception of a few techniques in some of the very advanced Kata, the hands are always in a direct line to the opponent. They should not be "hidden" and should not have to travel from behind the body to execute strikes or blocks. These three items represent a key principle of Shorin Ryu - "Economy of Motion."

All of the above applies to the opening moves of the other Pinan Kata as well. Especially Pinan Yondan where, like Pinan Shodan, both arms are chambered to right side of the body.

Some important notes about the hands in the chambered position. As in every other Kata - do not stop the motion of hands and rest in the chamber. The chambered position may be held for teaching purposes only. When performing Kata, the hands and feet must be in constant motion. Proper timing of the hands and feet is critical. As the foot steps out the hands move toward the chamber. Without stopping in the chamber the technique is executed a millisecond after the foot is planted firmly. This takes timing. Use the mirror to practice. Then have an advanced student observe to be certain it's done correctly.


Steve Lott