Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (October 30th, 2006)

From Sensei Steve Lott, Go-Dan Midtown Karate Dojo
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA


Chambering the hands in Pinan Shodan

As a white belt we are taught proper chambering for blocks and punches. Sometimes during this learning period the instructor may ask the white belt to hold the chamber for a moment just to be certain that it is exactly where it should be.

But, once the proper chambering is learned, we then must strive to keep the arms in continuous motion during each technique, and not “hold” the chamber.

The opening move of Pinan Shodan begins with the combination chest block and head block. One common error in this opening move is to chamber the hands too quickly and thus have them waiting in the chambered position while the right foot is still moving to its proper place.

There is another common error. In addition to the hands “waiting” in the chamber they are not in line with the attacker. If the hands are positioned too far back in the chamber they must travel “around” the body in order to complete the move. This occurs most often when the shoulders turn in the direction of the chamber instead of keeping them locked in place and perpendicular to the attacker.

Think about what happens if the hands are chambered too quickly and the shoulders turn as well. Once the right foot lands in its proper position the hands may then be released. But if the shoulder turns, the hands are then chambered too far back on the right side, the hands must then travel “around” the body in order to block the attacks. Remember also that if this happens it means that the left arm is too far to the right which exposes the left rib to attack.

Timing is the key to properly executing this opening move. Try the following instead. Be certain to have the right foot move first. Time the opening move so that the right foot lands a split second before the hands reach the chamber. Keep the shoulders perpendicular to the attacker and you will find the hands more in line with the attacker.

This all applies even more to the third move. Everyone chambers much too early here. Because this turn is 180 degrees, if the hands are chambered too early, that hands must travel completely around the body in order to block the attack. In this move it is important to step first and turn the body toward the opponent as the hands are moving to the chamber so that the chamber is in line with the opponent. Then when the move is executed the hands move in a straight line from the chamber to their final position.

Timing is the key to perfect the proper execution of these blocks.


Steve Lott