Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Motobu on Naifanchi-Dachi

Watashi No KarateJutse by Motobu Chokoi

English translation by Patrick and Yuriko McCarthy

Page 89

Naihanchi Kata

You may probably already know that there is a kata called Naihanchi, which uses the Nachimonji-dachi (please refer to photo #3 of Naihanchi). There are those who believe the proper way to perform the stance is by twisting the toes inward and squeezing the feet together. Hence it is often taught this way. However, I believe this to be completely wrong. This way of performing the stance has been down through the Itosu lineage. However, disciplines of Matsumura and Sakuma senseijust naturally open their feet up into the eight-shape posture (hachimonji-dachi) without  application of power. I once questioned Matsumura and Sakuma about this point. Matsumura sensei responded by saying   “I think the practicality of Itosu’s method and someone using it could easily defeated.” I considered his comments and agreed with his theory. Using the hachimonji-dachi by twisting the toes inward and squeezing them together, as prescribed by Itosu, would be unstable. A person could be shoved to the ground even if lightly pushed from the rear with someone’s fingertips. I just don’t think this is the type on stance that functions very well when power is applied to it. Kata should be taught with the practical issues it represents. I don’t believe it is wise to teach a student to apply force to the movements if the application of the technique is impractical or misunderstood. This is why I disagree with twisting the toes inward and squeezing the feet together and felt it necessary to clarify my point.

Motobu then proceeds to discuss his Naifanchi kata.


Frankly this is quite interesting.  First to indict the Itosu lineage, which in Japan at that time was the karate of Funakoshi and Mabuni. The photos of Funakoshi performing Tekki- Shodan (his renames Nihanchi Kata) are almost identical to those of Motobu.  Assuming this had something to do with the rivalry with Funakoshi.


Thus I am not sure why he would take space in a book about his karate to criticize others practices.


But small points make large differences.


As I as shown Naihanchi dachi the toes are turned inward. I have seen others who are parallel footed when doing the kata.  In my opinion it does not make a great deal of difference. I can see a logic behind each practice. If it puts some attacker on the ground. Fine.


Now what does this mean for Tatsuo Shimabuku.  Not sure. This was written in 1932 or 34, perhaps Motobu changed his thinking. Perhaps this represents Shimabuku Sensei’s own evolution in karate thinking.


Just another of our mysteries.
Funakoshi Ginchin

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