From Sensei Steve
Midtown Karate Hombu Dojo, NYC
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
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
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.
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 its
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
4. Look down to see where the right foot is on the floor. Thats
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
( 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.