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Fukyugata Ichi Angles

This post is for Matsubayashi-Ryu students, and student of other styles who practice the Nagamine Shoshin version of Fukyugata Ichi.

The eighth movement of the kata is a right forward punch (chudan zuki) in a natural stance (shizentai dachi) -- the third punch of the first forward sequence. I'm sure you know which technique I am referring to.

The next movement is a left downward block (gedan barai) in a front bent leg stance (zenkutsu dachi). This block is to the back left diagonal (to the left after you have turned). From the front, you turn counterclockwise to the left to deliver the downward block.

So here is the question. Based upon the angles of your shoulders, how many degrees do you turn to deliver the downward block? Think about it for a minute. From the forward punch, how many degrees do you turn?

If your shoulders are square in the forward punch and downward block (this means that your koshi is pointing to the front), you would turn 225 degrees. But if you are in the hanmi position (with slanted shoulders), you would turn only 90 degrees! That is 90 degrees, less than half of the total with your shoulders square.

I hope that you can see this.

The turn from the forward punch to the downward block is difficult. It takes a lot of time and the block is usually too slow. An attacker in the back could easily kick you. But in hanmi, the black is incredibly fast. There is no comparison. It is not a matter of hand speed, it is a matter of turning speed. It is obviously faster to turn 90 degrees than it is to turn 225 degrees.

As Shinzato Sensei has taught me, Fukyugata Ichi provides many examples of this. Fukyugata Ichi can teach the student how to move more efficiently, and how to turn by slanting (with less actual turning).

Before learning Fukyugata Ichi in this manner, I disliked the kata. After learning it this way, I love the kata! Fukyugata Ichi, to me, is like origami -- neatly folding the body angles.

All this does not have to do with koshi dynamics. It is purely body angles and alignment. Koshi dynamics is still important, but less so. The koshi explosion only takes place after the body alignment and weight change, perhaps in the last 10 or 15 percent of the technique, or less.

Did Nagamine Sensei intend that Fukyugata Ichi be performed in hanmi rather than with square shoulders? I do not know, but the older photos I have seen of similar techniques are usually done in hanmi.


Charles C. Goodin