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Naihanchi - footwork

A reader commented on one of my posts and mentioned that he wished that I'd post on the footwork in the kata.  So here you have it ;-)
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There are three pretty distinctive types of footwork illustrated in this kata
  • the cross-step - essentially a normal walking step (ayumiashi) stepping forward across your other foot.  Useful for changing your angle wrt the opponent.  I have posted on this idea before and called it "walking over the hill"
  • the returning wave step - a sliding side-step (tsugiashi) - one foot picks up off the ground and sets back down without ever shifting your center of mass over the standing leg, so you begin to fall/slide to the side of the foot that you picked up.  In this kata, this motion is typically used to illustrate how to drop your weight into a strike, but it also suggests the proper mechanism for a sliding evasion step sideways.
  • backward turning step - if you pick up your right leg and pivot clockwise on your left leg, placing your right foot back on the ground behind you and perhaps a little to the left of where you started, then you are in the same position as if you'd cross-stepped forward with your left foot.  This very useful turning motion (tenkan) is not explicitly seen in the kata, but is suggested by the cross-step.
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Patrick Parker

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