Kyoshi's Technique of the Week


Technique of the Week (July 17th, 2005)

From Sensei Steve Lott
Go-Dan
Midtown Karate Hombu Dojo, NYC


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The Opening Step in Pinan Kata


Pinan kata have something very important in common. The opening step.

The movement of the right foot in this opening move must be done in such a way that the left foot can not leave its spot. The left foot does twist to get the body into cat stance but it does not move off its spot.

The critical factor that determines whether the left foot moves off its spot is the place to where you step with the right foot in this opening move.

The four common errors in the opening move are :

1. The right foot steps too far forward of the body – the left foot is then forced to slide forward to maintain the proper cat stance. NO GOOD.

2. The right foot steps to far to the right of the body – the left foot is then forced to slide to the right to maintain the proper cat stance. NO GOOD

3. The right foot steps to far to the left – the left foot is then forced to slide to the left to maintain the proper cat stance. This error sometimes causes a short cat stance. NO GOOD

4. The right foot does not step forward enough – the left foot is then actually forced to move to the rear to maintain the proper cat stance. This error sometimes causes the cat stance to look like it’s on a “tight rope.” NO GOOD

One way to practice the proper first step is the following. With hands on the hip:

1. Take a perfect cat stance facing to the left as you normally would after the opening move.
2. Slowly rise to walking stance still facing to the left. Make sure not to move the feet as you rise.
3. Slowly rotate forward on the balls of the feet to come to the starting position.
4. Look down to see where the right foot is on the floor. That’s the spot to where you must step in order to execute the first move properly.
5. Slowly bring the right foot back to soto-hachiji-dachi ( yame ) stance.

After practicing this “reverse” motion exercise a number of times you will remember that perfect spot where to step. Much like learning that first step in F1.

Another little helping tool is the placement of the left foot when you open the kata.

When you step with the left foot from formal attention stance ( chokuritsu-fudo-dachi ) to
( yame ) soto-hachiji-dachi – step to the spot that results in the right foot being exactly to the rear of the spot to where it must move for the opening move. This positioning of the first step with the left foot from formal attention stance to yame stance may make the stance feel a little bigger or smaller than you are used to but it will result in making the opening move of all the pinan kata much easier to execute. Now the right foot has the shortest distance to travel to the proper spot in executing the opening move.

Arigato,

Steve Lott
Go-Dan