Friday, July 29, 2016

Throwing the Sai



An old photo of Shinpo Matayoshi. So much for our throwing sai at the ground.
This reminds me of Sherman Harrill discussing that originally the sai throw in Kusanku Sai was into the body of the opponent, not thrown into the foot. The change was due to too many bodies in the dojo to toss the sai safely.
 
Charles Murray also experienced this at a Goju dojo on Okinawa which he visited when he was there in 1972

Monday, July 25, 2016

On Perfect Sai



 

I began my study of Sai in 1978 when Charles Murray taught me Chantan Yara No Sai, my first kobudo kata.


He had studied it in Agena in 1972, under Shimabuku Tatsuo and his son Shinso. I suspect he taught me it first so he had someone to work out with.

 

When he told me to first get some Sai, I was able to do so when on a business trip to Philadelphia. I went to the old location of Asian World on N. Broad Street. Then I purchased a Bo and a set of Sai. The Sai were Chromed Steel, fairly balanced but not perfect.They are still the sai I have used to this day.

 

Then sweat equity for several decades. Hours and hours working sai during that time.

 

Long before I heard of the idea of perfectly balanced Sai.  I had no interest in obtaining such sai.

 

What I had discovered is that the Sai through long practice become perfect in your hands because you shape yourself during the practice to make them perfect in your hands. I see no need to give confidence to another in their existancs. Though not necessarily perfect Sai, you make them perfect for you.

 

Now Sai are no longer necessary for self defense, Attacks with swords are not likely. Of course their purpose is very necessary because of the force enhancement the training provides.

 

But why do you need perfectly balanced Sai? At one level the last thing I would want is to have my sai be perfectly balanced in another’s hands.

 

Of course it is your business should you want to get such a Sai, it does not change the decades of work you will need to make them perfect for you.

 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Passages from the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu worth thinking about


Passages from the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu worth thinking about


 
9

It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to
carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been
sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.

When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them
safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil
on itself. When the work is done, and one's name is becoming
distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

 

36

When one is about to take an inspiration, he is sure to make a
(previous) expiration; when he is going to weaken another, he will
first strengthen him; when he is going to overthrow another, he will
first have raised him up; when he is going to despoil another, he will
first have made gifts to him:--this is called 'Hiding the light (of
his procedure).'

The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong.

Fishes should not be taken from the deep; instruments for the
profit of a state should not be shown to the people.

 

 

43

The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the
hardest; that which has no (substantial) existence enters where there
is no crevice. I know hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing
(with a purpose).

There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without
words, and the advantage arising from non-action.

 

68

He who in (Tao's) wars has skill
Assumes no martial port;
He who fights with most good will
To rage makes no resort.
He who vanquishes yet still
Keeps from his foes apart;
He whose hests men most fulfil
Yet humbly plies his art.

Thus we say, 'He ne'er contends,
And therein is his might.'
Thus we say, 'Men's wills he bends,
That they with him unite.'
Thus we say, 'Like Heaven's his ends,
No sage of old more bright.'

 

69

A master of the art of war has said, 'I do not dare to be the
host (to commence the war); I prefer to be the guest (to act on the
defensive). I do not dare to advance an inch; I prefer to retire a
foot.' This is called marshalling the ranks where there are no ranks;
baring the arms (to fight) where there are no arms to bare; grasping
the weapon where there is no weapon to grasp; advancing against the
enemy where there is no enemy.

There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. To do
that is near losing (the gentleness) which is so precious. Thus it is
that when opposing weapons are (actually) crossed, he who deplores
(the situation) conquers.

 


 

Chuang Tzu: the Cook and Mastery



I have found an interesting discussion on the Cook by Chuang Tzu on Wikipedialhttp://www.philosophy.hku.hk/ch/zhuang.htm

 

It does begin to get at what mastery begins.

 

Cook Ting was slicing up an oxen for Lord Wenhui. At every push of his hand, every angle of his shoulder, every step with his feet, every bend of his kneezip! zoop! he slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were dancing to Mulberry Grove or keeping time as in Qingshou music.

 

"Ah, this is marvelous!" said Lord Wenhui. "Imagine skill reaching such heights!"

 

Cook Ting laid down his knife and replied, "What I care about is a tao which advances my skill. When first I began cutting up oxen, I could see nothing that was not ox. After three years, I never saw a whole ox. And nownow I go at it by spirit and do not look with my eyes. Controlling knowledge has stopped and my spirit wills the performance. I depend on the natural makeup, cut through the creases, guide through fissures. I depend on things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less bone."

 

"A good cook changes his knife once a yearbecause he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a monthbecause he hacks. I have had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I've cut up thousands of oxen with it. Yet the blade is as good as if it had just come from the grindstone. . . . "

 

"Despite that, I regularly come to the end of what I am used to. I see its being hard to carry on. I become alert; my gaze comes to rest. I slow down my performance and move the blade with delicacy. Then zhrup! it cuts through and falls to the ground. I stand with the knife erect, look all around, deem it wonderfully fulfilling, strop the knife and put it away."

 

Traditional interpreters stress the mystical flavor, the reference to tao. One way to read the claim that tao advances skill is as the claim that it surpasses skill. This traditional commitment to a mystical, monistic tao requires that accomplishment not be related in ordinary ways to practice and skill. It must come from some sudden and inexplicable insight, mystical experience or attitude. This interpretation coincides with a familiar Zen view. The absolutist monistic interpretation should resist the suggestion that Ting knows his tao and still can improve. How can you have some of a tao that has no parts? When you have it you suspend entirely all thought and sensation.

 

Cook Ting's story clashes slightly with this religious or mystical view of Chuang Tzu's advice. His description implies that Ting has a hold on a particular way of doing one thing. Ting's way is developing. He continues to progress in pursuing his skill by tracing his tao to points beyond his previous training. When he comes to a hard part, he has to pay attention, make distinctions, try them out and then move on. This supports the view that developing skill eventually goes beyond what we can explain with concepts, distinctions, or language. The focus required for a superb performance may not be compatible with a deliberating self-consciousness.

 

The Butcher does not say that he began at that level of skill. He does not report any sudden conversion where some mystical insight flowed into him. He does not say that he could just get in tune with the absolute Tao and become a master butcher automatically. And he does not hint that by being a master butcher, he is in command of all the skills of life. He could not use his level of awareness at will to become a master jet pilot or a seamstress. His is not an account of some absolute, single, prior tao but of the effect of mastering some particular tao. We all recognize the sense of responsive awareness which seems to suspend self-other consciousness.

 

It is natural to express this ideal of skill mastery in the language which suggests mystical awareness. It does normally involve suspension of selfconsciousness, ratiocination and seems like surrender to an external force. That language should not confuse us, however. Chuang Tzu's mingillumination should help us see that the full experience is compatible with having his perspective on perspectives.

 

Cook Ting can be aware that others may have different ways to dissect an ox. He simply cannot exercise his skill while he is trying to choose among them. We lose nothing in appreciating the multiple possibilities of ways to do things. In realizing a tao of some activity in us, we make it real in us. It is neither a mere, inert, cognition of some external force nor a surrender to a structure already innate in us.

 

Note, further, that Cook Ting's activity is cutting--dividing something into parts. When he is mastering his guiding tao, he perceives a world in which the ox is already cut up. He comes to see the holes and fissures and spaces as inherent in nature. That seems a perfect metaphor for our coming to see the world as divided into the natural kinds that correspond to our mastery of terms. When we master a tao we must be able to execute it in a real situation. It requires finding the distinctions (concepts) used in instruction as mapping on nature. We don't have time, anymore, to read the map, we begin to see ourselves as reading the world. Mastering any tao thus yields this sense of harmony with the world. It is as if the world, not the instructions, guides us.

 

This feature of tao mastery explains the temptation to read Taoist use as having become metaphysical. Guidance may, in the first instance, be broadly linguistic--telling, pointing, modeling. The choice of a butcher for this parable seems significant too. Butchering is seldom held as a noble profession. Even the "Ting" may be significant--it may not be the cook's name but a sign of relatively low rank--something like an also-ran. Other popular examples of the theme include the cicada catcher and wheelwright. Chuang Tzu probably intends to signal that this level of expertise is available within any activity. Common interpretations, however, suggest that some activities are ruled out.

 

The examples above, together with Chuang Tzu's obvious delight in parable, fantasy, and poetry invite the common hypothesis that, in the West, he would be a romantic--suspicious of direct, reasoned, logical discourse in favor of the more "emotional" arts. At least, one should eschew "intellectual" activities. That he is critical of Hui Shih, the alleged logician, supports this reading. The problem is that Chuang Tzu's parallels his comments about Hui Shih with similar comments about a lute player. Furthermore, the criticism does not seem to be the activity, but the search for absolute know-how. Chuang Tzu's "criticism" is that in being good at X, these paradigms of skill are miserably inept at Y. This is another example of ch'eng (completion) which Chuang Tzu argues is always accompanied by hui (defect).

We may achieve this absorption in performance by achieving skill at any tao--dancing, skating, playing music, butchering, chopping logic, lovemaking, skiing, using language, programming computers, throwing pottery, or cooking. At the highest levels of skill, we reach a point where we seem to transcend our own selfconsciousness. What once felt like a skill developing inside us, begins to feel like control from the natural structure of things. Our normal ability to respond to complex feedback bypasses conscious processing. In our skilled actions, we have internalized a heightened sensitivity to the context.

These reflections lead us to a problem with "achieve tao mastery" as a prescription. I shall argue that the problems are both textual and theoretical. On other places, (as we noted above) Chuang Tzu is more equivocal about the value of mastery. Any mastery, Chuang Tzu notes, must leave something out. Most particularly, to master any skill is to ignore others. Chuang Tzu remarks that masters are frequently not good teachers. They fail to transmit their mastery to their sons or disciples.

Chuang Tzu directs our attention to this problem with the glorification of total skill dedication and mastery. We trade any accomplishment at one skill for ineptitude at some other thing. The absent minded professor is our own favorite parody. If the renowned practitioners have reached completion, he says, then so has everyone. If they have not, then no one can. From the hinge of ways perspective, we no more value the world's top chess player than the world's finest jack of all trades. We need not read Chuang Tzu as advocating specialization per se.

Thus the three parts in Chuang Tzu's dao pull in separate directions and we must treat each as tentative and conditional. The flexibility advice seems hard to follow if we also accept convention and work for single-minded mastery. That, in the end, may the message of perspectivalism. We have limits, but we might as well get on with it.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Surviving Multiple Attackers


 

A frequent topic is how to survive multiple attackers, along with which art(s) is better to equip you to survive.

 

Let’s be honest this is a good reason to choose to run. It is flight not fight. But flip answers aside what is a rational choice.

 

Can any art work against many attacks? I believe the rational answer is it depends. First lets categorize the attacks as unarmed vs armed.. Of course there are many combinations of those categories. On the whole I do not believe it is likely to take on multiple armed attackers. But the unarmed attacker offers potentials to consider.

 

Much depends on how you have been trained, what force multipliers you employ to make your technique most effective. Broadly separating karate technique into two categories, percussive and grappling the main thing to consider is that your technique selection places the opponents you down between you and the other attackers.

 

More specifically has your impact training (i.e. makiwara) been sufficient to down an opponent with each strike? Do you have sufficient power behind the grappling you chose to employ to down an opponent where you choose?

 

The technique employed is less important in those cases.

But for the grappling control of an attacker you might consider Chinto kata as one option.

 

I MO it is not so much the system as the training regime where you prepare your abilities.

 

If so pressed, move swiftly, move surely, plan to succeed. But in any case do so as a reasoned response to evade, escape or attack as needed.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

On Finding an Old Pair of Kama




In an old box I was going through I just came across an old pair of kama from a long time ago.

 

I had studied kama with Tris Sutrisno starting in 1980. Those kama were the lighter common Okinawan variety. The two kama forms I studied, Chosen No  Kama Sho and Chosen No Kama Dai were forms that built complexity to the forms as the progressed.

 

The weapons of the Sutrisno tradition all worked the same way. In  that the forms were progressive in nature each one building on the subsequent one. At that time I had studies 2 kama forms and 4 bo forms, while not the complete Sutrisno kobudo tradition they were representative as an approach to weapon instruction.

 

In those hand held weapons (kama, sai, sticks and tanto) a characteristic of the handling was continually changing the weapon handling from along side the arm (or closed position) to held pointing away from your body (or open position). Thereby making it confusing for the opponent to keep track of the weapon. This builds significant handling skill and is difficult to do.

 

In my program these kata are reserved for instructors to push their abilities. At the same time I have to admit they are beyond me. There is no way I can continue to do the kama position shifts these forms require.

 

As it turned out in 1983 I attended the Bando Summer Camp at the Maryland Boys Scout camp. The Bando people invited friends to attend.

Mr. Lewis sent me an invitation, and there were Bando Seniors I had met, Bob Maxwell and Rick Nemera through Mr. Lewis.

 

I was attending by myself, there were some students there from Mr. Lewis’ dojo and Reese Rigby’s dojo. Also in attendance was Mr. Don Bohan and a group of his students. This was the first time I had met him, but being a solitary 3rd dan I am sure I did not make much of an impression. My main focus that weekend was the depth of the arts shown, and I also had the chance to  learn the Bando stick for, The Hidden Stick.

 

I remember this very clearly because Bohan Sensei had some weapons for sale, and that is where I purchased the kama.

 

These kama were very different from the other ones I had. They were very stout, and the blades almost a ¼ inch thick. In construction they were so sound you could easily use them to dismantle a car.

 

It was impossible to do the kama kata I studied with these kama. Their size did not permit the same handling.

 

Time progresses. I was never a kobudo weapons kata collecter. Content to work on what I had, But once YouTube became available, that most Okinawan Kama Kata (but not all) did not use the same handling technique. I observe many of the kata use the kama held open in the hands. Which is logical in its own right, in an actual combat situation.

 

So I created a simple exercise to work many those motions with kama.

I never gave it a name, it was just a personal drill.

 

 
 

 

Now having found those kama, it seems a good fit for training for me. A way to preserve my strength.

 

I am not sure if there is a large lesson here. Just a memory that translated into a new way to train for myself.

 

But each time I touch these kama, I travel back to that Bando Camp, reviving memories of many people and finding new incentive to train anew.

 

 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kobudo for the Disabled – a Work Progresses



It it is an interesting time.

 

As a force enhancer to counter the weakness I have experienced with my disability I have begun working on using two hand held sticks to do Seisan kata.

 

I chose Seisan kata as the one I have been practicing longest.

 

At first I borrowed the term tecchu because I was using Okinawan kata with tecchu as an inspiration. The format was using the template of kata Seisan.

 

I looked at the following kata, many of which gave me ideas. Of course the weapon they are using is not exactly the same as I am employing, but the ideas are there.

 

Much that Kensho Tokumura is demonstrating makes more and more sense to me.
 
 
I was also inspired by the kata Jifa by Gushi Sensei
 
 
 
However I was not content to try and imitate kata from video.
 
Here is an early example that I came up with.
 
Eventually I discarded using the name of an Okinawan implement. For one thing I don’t really know the Okinawan language and do not want it to appear that I do so. What I am doing is just for myself  not to teach to others, so names are far less important, But if I was going to teach it I would not pretend that I had the name right.
 
At first the attempts were just doing the kata with sticks in my hand. Then gradually I made adjustments to use the weapons potential as I came to understand it. It still resembled Seisan kata, but a  little different too.
 
The more I worked with the sticks I came to understand more of their potential such as Tokumura Sensei utilizes. The fact that striking with both sides of the hand became more important.
 
There was less need to remain exact to Seisan, and more utilization of the stick potential.
 
I then began to explore what other kata could offer me in their movement potential for the sticks.
 
I began to look an Naifanchi Kata with Sticks and SunNuSu kata with sticks. The more I tried the less I was relying on one movement pattern and gaining greater understand what the Force Enhancer of the Sticks could represent.
 
Stating the obvious, I strike harder, And the stick does not feel the impact. There is more to learn.
 
This is still a work in progress

 
 
And remember earlier days too
 
 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

From Okinawan Toe Tip kicking as seen through the Chinese Tam Tui Training



A recent discussion about how one time individuals were looking toward a Chinese practice of the form Tam Tui as a possible link to Nihanchi kata, because it was performed in a linear manner. This was long before youtube changed the paradigm of research. I discounted this theory because I had actually been trained in the practice of Tam Tui, and recognized that assumptions were being made by those who had not seen the form.

 

Today, I do find a relevance to the that training as an adjunct to a part of Okinawan training. Not from a historical point of view, but from a practical one.

 

Kicking with the toes creates a very penetrating type of kicking. There were different methods that Okinawan toe kicking utilized. But for many systems those methods have been discontinued. Other kicking traditions were used, and not less effective. Yet there are those which retain the training, such as Ueichi Ryu.

 

However, outside the dojo, in the modern world, across the world, often in extremely hostile environments, removing ones footware do deliver those kicks is problematic to say the best. Of course in the movies Billy Jack first took off his boots. But what looks good in the movies does not pray so well in real lift.

 

But kicking with the toe tips of one’s footwear remains a potential possibility.

 

Taking this into account is where the method of delivering those kicks through Tam Tui style kicking becomes more reasonable. 

 

The training was done wearing footwear. Often the Chinese stylist wore boots.

So it more resembled the practices of today’s world. Then the kicks were delivered with the ankle extended to deliver more impact with the kick

 

There are various kicking heights used in various Tam Tui practices. Myself  I was trained with kicks into the ankles, shins, thighs or groin area were the targets. Most practical for defensive uses. The shod foot is a great force enhancer for these kicks.

 

Yet another version of the kicks involves dragging the toes across the floor, and then using the angle, to deliver kicks upward for greater effect. Of course this is situational.

 

The form is not difficult to learn, It might be worth your time to explore for the advantages it offers.

 

Just a small paradigm change.

 

This is close to the version I studied.  Chin Woo Tam Tui https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=divSJKUHaZ4

 

 No longer where this came from but I think you will find it helpful 

Tan Tui

Now here's the rub, based on my interpretation all CMA is Circular. Not because there are curved techniques but because they are continuous. Some arts are considered linear because of a pattern or tempo that moves and stops. Like a rhythm on a drum, block, kick, punch, kick, move in, move out. Kung Fu never stops until you are finished like circular breathing on a wind instrument. Not to say that there aren't round circles of power, and straight lines of power, all martial arts have these. But in CMA one thing leads to another, to another so a punch leads to the elbow, shoulder body and turns into a throw, continuously until you are done.

In our system of long fist, Tan Tui is the first set of three forms. Tan Tui, Pao Chuan and Cha Chuan. It might be said generally that Tan Tui teaches straight lines, Pao Chuan teaches angles and Cha Chuan teaches circles. Not the rule, just emphasizes these things.

Tan Tui can mean springy legs or flicking legs but the emphasis is on kicking long from a deep stance. Some people will drag their foot along the ground like striking a match when they kick. The form emphasizes long kicking but that too is deceptive. In CMA kicks and steps are not separate. Many times in Tan Tui the kicking is actually a set up for a throw like a diagonal leg cut. People often say that long fist means long range techniques and focus on long range high kicks. This is of course, another gross generalization. Long fist, like all styles of CMA cover all ranges and techniques.

There are at least 3 forms of Tan Tui I know. All have similarities and differences. They can all be broken down into lines. Two have ten lines and one has 12. A line is a section done on both sides, or one right handed, one left handed and another right handed. Then you turn and begin another section. The reason people say roads is because you don't have to stop after three rep's. You can just keep going on a section until you have run out of space, than turn and do another section. They might say a road because you do about a mile or kilometer of each section before turning. Tan Tui is a great method for building foundation and root.

You might also say that Tan Tui has 3 levels. After you learn the movements you learn power by adding a grinding step and more focus on chan su jin. Than you learn applications. There is a second side of Tan Tui to complete a two man version but that's just icing on the cake.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Naifanchi (Nihanchi – Naihanchi and all variant spellings)



 

After I made blue belt I began my study of Nihanchi kata with Dennis Lockwood. There were no explanations of what the kata was,  just the study and practice, practice, practice. Another puddle of water on the dojo floor.

 

And after many years yet another instance that nothing that my instructors taught me was ever found to be wrong. Their classes were not history lessons, just the study of Isshinryu. And for the most part I kept the same path.

 

Only after black belt were there ever occasional discussions about other things. That left to the individual a choice to pursue Okinawan history or not. It did not have much to do with our actual practice.

 

You might note I do have a lot of history on my blog. This is so they do not have to begin where I did, if they find an interest in the subject, but it is totally voluntary.

 

When I began reading what was available, I accepted that almost everything I read was true. Then studying more, I found I had a lot of unlearning to do too.

 

When I learned Nihanchi kata, I was amazed that there was something that matched what I experienced in reality. In those days I was a construction laborer. You know someone who digs footers for foundations, one who totes things, etc.

 

One of the experiences I had was to move across mats of rebar laid out for concrete floor pours. Now one way to cross rebar was to walk atop the mats, stepping carefully not to trip and fall. Another method was to step in between the rebar and step laterally between the steel.

 

 

This is what I recognized. Interesting that Okinawans developed this method of stepping. Carefully stepping high to cross the rebar sections and into the next free space. Of course I never mentioned this in class, just did the kata.

 

So when later I read a variety or reasons the Okinawans developed this form, stepping across rice patties was something that made some sense to me. Not that I paid much attention to the story, nor did I teach it. Much later learned Okinawan rice was not grown in that type of patty. At least from what I have read.

 

The other stories did not concern me much, then again I never was teaching anyone to defend attacks outside a wall.

 

What the stories did inspire me was to use challenges to Naihanchi training for the adult students. At times we did Nihanchi kata on balance beams. On sections of a tree cut into pieces, forming a place to practice stability stepping between those tree sections.

 

Isshinryu’s Nihanchi kata is one that begins stepping towards the left, however I learned to to the kata mirror image so it would make it easier for all my students to see me moving the same way they were moving. Of course I taught this to the instructors I developed.

 

Which eventually led me to realize that it really didn’t matter which way you went, you were still doing the same kata. Then the adults started working the kata both ways.

 

Another drill was to do Nihanchi in a stack, one behind the other.



Variety of practice making life more challenging.

Likewise the theories that Nihanchi was teaching lateral movement for defense. It makes sense from one point of view as you are moving laterally, and many applications can be found for that movement in certain situations that can be encountered.

But, there are NO rules as to what application potential can be, meaning that you can move in externally of internally turning towards the attack, and you can move away externally or internally turning towards the attack, and use movement from Nihanchi kata to defeat an attack. The upper and lower body movements provide potential, much potential that can be used.

 

Back in the early 1980s I trained with Carl Long, a Shorin Ryu stylist. He taught me several Nihanchi practices that I have also done from time to time.

 

The first one was Nihanchi kata as a speed drill, seeing who can go the fastest under say 10 seconds. Always doing full technique at the same time. It is an interesting practice.

 

The other practice is more interesting, It is doing Nihanchi with a series of turns. Start as normal but after the initial elbow strike, chamber, low block and then strike across the body, when you step across you pivot 180 degrees toward what had been your rear, and then continue the kata normally. Again when that section repeats itself again step across and again pivot to the original front of the kata, and close as normally.

This version of Nihanchi open new potentials of application.

 

Then I had teenage students with too much energy. So I began a teen brown belt practice, Doing Nihanchi kata with jumping spinning crescent kicks. Slake off their extra energy. And though they do not admit it, it became a fun practice for them, with the jumping spinning crescent kicks.

A version for older more dignified karate-ka was to do the form with grounded stepping and turning crescent kicks.

 

When you train people for a long time it helps to find new ways to keep working at the kata.

 

I realize Nihanchi is something of a holy grail for some karate-ka. Finding it integral to their art. In some ways I agree with that. But personally I find Nihanchi kata has a different role.

 

I see Nihanchi kata as a basic training too preparing the core strength for better Chinto kata practice. The use of the side to side strikes strengthens the core for the spins in Chinto kata. That spin uses the same core muscles, and to me Chinto is far more important to my black belt practice.

 

A long time ago, before youtube made so much available, a topic was floated that the origins of Nihanchi kata was the Chinese form (and System) Tam Tuie.   Those proposing that had never seen the form and were relying on written descriptions that the form was performed side to side.  The form was in my studies with Rothrock Laoshi, and it is performed side to side, but not the same way Nihanchi kata was. It turns you to face the side head on and perform the form head on that way. A different thing all together. (Tam Tuie is a very worthy study in its own right)

 

The Nahanchi form in the Itosu lineage is also thought to have been a predecessor for the lateral movement in the kata studies Nijushiho and Gojushiho. Which by coincidence we have included in our training. But not the source version of the Shotokan Tekki ShiDan (their version of Nihanchi).

For further reference there are several groups that include Nihanchi starting to the left.

 
 
 
 
These days I just do the form several ways. As seen below and a version just stepping out, No crossover stepping. I also do the form with short sticks in my hands for force enhancement.
 
I have not begun to plumb the depths of Nihanchi.



Note: I chose the varied spellings for Nihanchi (Naihanchi- Naifanchi, et al) as ways I have seen the kata spelled at different times. All of which refer to the same kata. At this point in time, I tend to use whatever spelling comes to me at the time. My Isshinryu has never been a spelling challenge.