How many hidden applications can you find in the Kata….?

Here is my question. The Naihanchi Kata has many variations in both the name (Naihanchi, Tekki, Nafanchi,….), and the way it is practiced. The version I practice has about 30 moves total (actually less than 16 different moves, as some are repeated). while breaking it down to prepare for a seminar I’m teaching in May, I have isolated on 11 moves. From those 11 moves I have compiled a list of 51 different hidden applications. My question is, if you do Naihanchi or one of its variations, how many different hidden bunkai / self-defense applications do you have for your version of the Kata?

Note: By no means have I found all the possible applications that are in the Kata. The 51 applications I mentioned are only the ones I am aware of at this time….


Obviously, @Political does not have a clue how ignorant his rant sounds. Calling me kid is silly enough. To state something so bold, knowing nothing about the Kata or me and the long number of years I have been dong martial arts is ludicrous. I would tell him to come to my seminar and learn something, but we all know that would never happen. Either the excuse of distance, or limited time would be an easy excuse. It is a proven fact you can’t enlighten anyone that does not want to be enlightened. What is sad is to have such a closed mind.
another thing I find interesting is the differences between the way Shotokan does the Kata and the way I do it. A few of the bunkai I have so far take into account the way Shotokan does the Kata. One of the the differences being the high leg lift as you make the first cross step to the right. We do not do that high leg lift in my version, but there are good reasons why it is something to consider when examining the Kata.
The Naihanchi I do has no circle/knee raise/… in it (see the kata Seiyu Oyata taught). The foot crosses in front of the support leg and your weight is transferred to it so that the other foot can slide out into either a Shiko-dachi or Kiba-dachi, depending on what version of the kata you do.
@Kajukat……. what you describe can be seen in Naihanchi…… BUT, it is in so many other Kata too that I can’t say for sure if Naihanchi is in your style or not. best you research that with people who are much more knowledgeable about your style.
jwbulldogs mentioned the leg raise as being a kick. I have one application where the attackers wrist grab is countered with a nikkyo and the step-over pulls the attacker off center so the path is cleared to use a knee strike to his chin/face,…. if the nikkyo is used the attacker is often to close to kick his leg, but a knee to the face is easy.

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12 Responses to How many hidden applications can you find in the Kata….?

  1. Jim R says:

    Applications for tekki shodan (the version I learned in shotokan) are many, and varied.
    I am willing to bet that even if I could come up with 50 different applications (I doubt I could), that they would be very different than the ones you speak of.
    I say this because I know how differently we are built.
    What my body wants to do with a technique to make it work for me and my build would surely mess you up. And I could not apply is as you do. All that would need variations to work for both of us.
    Happily, there are many variations, and we can make it all work because of that.
    Also, I am looking more deeply at the hian forms, and have been for years. Tekki (Naihanchi, Naifanchi) has much to offer as well, including a lot of grapples.
    I hope someone videos that seminar. I for one would buy that video!

    edit: @Political: do you know how incredibly stupid what you just wrote is?
    I have more experience doing real karate, obviously, than you have breathing. And pugpaws2 has much more experience than I. If you don’t know kata, you have no clue about karate, and I will just flat state, you never had a “real karate” lesson in your life.
    Kata IS karate, so your statement is quite impossible. Before you argue with people, and make yourself look so stupid, I would recommend that you at least have a clue before ranting.
    At least look karate up, so you at least know what karate is.

    by the way, just a small point, but karate is Okinawan, not Japanese. But you wouldn’t know a single thing about karate would you?

    @ kajukat: from a shotokan point of view, tekki shodan (naihanchi 1) does all that you state and more. The other 2 tekki forms (naihanchi 2 & 3) accomplish the same, and again more.
    You will also find much of what you speak in other kata too. Hian godan for example can stomp you pretty bad, as can several more. Perhaps you don’t use kata, but you use bunkai/oyo, perhaps with different names, or without naming, but the principals of bunkai/oyo are common to all martial arts. Missing from fighting sports. As we discussed, yours is nearly purely a jutsu art, so bunkai/oyo will play a major role for you as well.

  2. Political says:

    let me give you a little tip kid, katas are ineffective. aka, they don’t work. let me give you a little history of the subject. when the first westerners went to the Japanese to learn karate they didn’t want to show them the truly deadly moves. so they made up a bunch of fake fancy looking stuff and put it into kata. and then they showed the westerners that, while the Japanese practice the real deadly techniques in live combat. so you might as well just forget about katas, they aren’t teaching you anything, except how to lose.

  3. Kokoro says:

    i love tekki/naihanchi, but like jim i dont think i could come up with 50.
    the way i understand it tekki/naihanchi is the first advance kata. the heian is a more basic kata to help understand the advance ones and to get your feet wet. but even in the heian there is a lot to unlock. once you figure out how to unlock the heians the more advance kata become easier if you never figure out the heians the advance kata will elude you as well.

    tekki/naihanchi is one of the older kata. whos history is for the most part only theory at this point. it is also one of the kata that is suppose to be a two man kata. with an opposite side.

    i look forward to your seminar on it. im glad you were able to move it to may from this weekend. this one just got completely messed up for me know

    @Political, let us give you a little tip non of us are kids, and we know far more about kata actually working then you could possible imagine. almost every move in martial arts can be found in kata, even what you see in those mma matches

    the naihanchi version i learned where the shotokan version does the crescent kick naihanchi does a slight semi circle, does your version perform that semi circle as well? now that you bring it up i wonder how many version do have the semi circle.

  4. possum says:

    I am myself taking my journey of “kaisai no genri” in my Taekwondo forms. On average, we are taught approximately 1 application for every two numbered movements. In Japanese, they would say “Omote Bunkai”, and this is commonly taught. Around me, many schools will not go beyond that (“Ura bunkai”?), and even more teach fewer still – some with appalling ideas about what applications really are. To the chagrin of two of my instructors (and the encouragement of one), I’m seeking the advice of Karate instructors to help me go down this path.

    In my own discovery, I’ve approximately doubled the number for the basic forms – to about two applications for every two movements (that is not to say one application for every movement, even though the math works out that way). I hope to increase that with more outside training.

    @jwbulldogs – Right now, just the Taeguek and ITF forms. I’m more comfortable with WTF form knowledge, but there are a lot of things in the ITF forms I see in Aikido. So… both.

    I don’t know if the forms have no bunkai, but it’s not common to see a WTF instructor who will teach it. They seem more concerned about competition, and they don’t cover forms application in competition. Also, there’s a lot of complaints that the palgwe replacements (the Taeguek) don’t always make a lot of sense. What many say is that the forms were hastily assembled, and the application sort of came later. As to all this, I’m only parroting what my instructors say. But the lack of application books out there, and of the instructors that teach it, suggests this is probably true. Kukkiwon has some basic application for the taeguek and black belt forms, but they are not very realistic, especially so if you come from a Karate background.

  5. bunminjutsu says:

    political the answers are there available to anyone who wants to take the time to do research and study.

    If you can rid your mind of terms like block strike and substitute some of them for terms like lock throw sweep many possibilitys appear.Many exaggerated moves like the hi step over (ala kanazawa and others) in tekki are there for tournament show .The original intent is a trip sweep or stomping the knee joint evading a kick to your own knee .If you look at kata from these perspectives my answer is “endless”.

    The process is kihon basic/ henka variations on basic /oyu or oyo the subtle principles or hidden aspects of each movement often erroneously termed “secret “

  6. kajukat says:

    @Pugpaws2: I have to ask you a question about Naihanchi.

    I have read that Kajukenbo founder Sijo Adriano Emperado`s instructor Prof William K.S. Chow knew only one kata and it was Naihanchi. That kata may have influenced Kajukenbo.

    So my question is: Is Naihanchi the kata where there are techniques of kicking an opponent on the ground, stomping an opponent on the ground, and jumping on top of an opponent on the ground? If it is that, then a lot of the moves from Naihanchi went into Kajukenbo. If I am mistaken, sorry about getting the katas mixed up.

    As I have often stated, Kajukenbo was never into bunkai, and and there was never a big emphasis on kata.

    Anyone else who is familiar with Naihanchi can also answer my question.

    EDIT: Pugpaws2 and Jim R. Thanks for answering my question. I would speculate that the founders of Kajukenbo borrowed the techniques of Naihanchi and had the beginners practice them on each other. Only the beginners with no fear actually stayed.

  7. JoKyoNim says:

    I am not to familiar with Karate and its forms. I have seen them at tournaments and demos. I actually study Korean Martial arts. But that doesn’t matter.
    Some people believe that what the forms are that is it there written stone. Yes You can always find hidden techniques in all forms no matter what style.
    Here are some other pointers not many know. Instead of everything right side do the opposite left sided. Martial arts is neither left sided or right sided sometimes it is both. And instead of just closed fist punches you can replace with other hand strikes. Same goes for kicks. Do it blind folded or even backwards.
    And interestingly enough you can do most of the same forms with weapons as well, once you learn the movements of the weapon. You can also try to hold your breath for the duration of the form. Do it with out rushing thru it.

  8. Fit4Life says:

    Well From Uechi Ryu I learned sanchin which consist of
    1. pulling elbows back can be somone from behind grabing you or an attacker from behand
    2.the snachin guard can be used for a double chop or guard against a punch or even more than meets the eye
    3. the sanchin foward thrust can be a push, punch, block, knife sword bo or dao strike. or even a throw
    the bring back of the thrust, a guard, snapping the neck, breaking somones arm, a knife cut, a chop to the back of somones head, a chop to the neck, a grabbing movement, a wepon guarding movment
    4.Wauke or circle block- this can be another hand held wepon offesne like a dao or knife again or bo, a tiger claw srtach to somones face, getting out of a hand grab, thrust of hitting a face and groin while tearing off as much as possible, a grab reutlsing in a throw
    5. double thrusts- pulling, blocikng, tearing, knife thrust, hitting an attack from behind

    This is as much as I know from the basic Uechi Ryu Sanchin

    Im only 20 still a kid much still needs to be discovered

  9. jwbulldogs says:

    I don’t know how many applications that I have been taught in Naihanchi.

    But I saw you mentioned the step over and raise the leg technique. In the version of Matsubayashi Ryu that I study we do this technique. I was taught that was to block or basically kick a kick. I had a hard time believing that. But later I went to a seminar. We covered to kata with Naihanchi being one of the kata. This bunkai was supposed to be the bunkai taught by Nagamine the founder of Matsubayashi Ryu.

    1 technique that is not seen. A person is grabbing your wrist and you do nikyo. While stepping off line the step over. You still have the wrist lock then the leg lift is a kick to the opposite leg.

    That made a lot more sense to me.

    Are you doing this for the palgwe or for the forms that were made to replace the palgwe?

    If I’m not misinformed the one created to replace palgwe do not have any bunkai. Bunkai wasn’t taught to the Korean initially. Therefore when they created their own form to set them apart from Japan they didn’t create their form with any hidden applications in mind. I could be wrong as I have not done much research on this. But that is basically the information that I have been given.

    I can see where the knee smash would be good too. But when we kick while using nikyo we kick the opposite leg that is further away an inside kick. This helps set you up for the neck crank and throw. that looks like a leg block.

    Possum there is probably a reason why they don’t teach the applications. Because there wasn’t any hidden application, Just my guess. Some try to teach a bunkai that don’t make since because it was never taught to them. Much like some of the thing that are taught in karate. Many were never taught the bunkai and began to make things up after they heard about bunkai. Much like the self defense techniques that I’ve seen from the Gracies family. They often don’t make since for self defense or dealing with bully. But they selling snake oil and the consumer is buying it.

    Naihanchi has some of that, but I think it may have been one of the Pinan kata like pinan godan. On that kata you jump to the ground or go to the ground with what looks like a x block, but it can be a choke or joint lock. I’ve heard that you were catching the foot of a person kicking and turn them over. But that doesn’t make sense to me to try that.

    Kusanku or chinto are other possibilities. It wasn’t uncommon for one to have only studied one kata.

  10. Johnathan Pierson says:

    If I had the time, I would probably not bother to count, because then we run into technique overload. I would however try to search for an underlying principle and see if it, and the diverse techniques work according to my strategy of self-defense. If so, I keep and practise, if not, I ask why. If there is no redeeming quality, I toss that application. But not before giving it every opportunity to work.
    It make work better later on, but it’s better to practice the applications I can make work.

    I’m 100% sure you do the same, however, I’m just coping out without giving an answer.

  11. Karate Dave says:

    @ Kajukat. There is another connection to the kata. Tang Soo Do was also an influence in Kajukenbo, if I am not mistaken they have a version of Naihanchi. Tang Soo Do was influenced greatly by Shotokan, many of the non ITF affiliated schools still do the original kata as taught by Funakoshi prior to his changing of the names from Okinawan to Japanese, which was also before he made some subtle and not so subtle changes to the kata themselves.

  12. samuraiwarrior_98 says:

    A very strong, traditional kata that a friend of mine, Terry Creamer sometimes would do in competition and he does it quite well for a big guy. It is sometimes thought of as a “wall kata” because of its movements to the sides while never completely turning around to face attackers from behind because there are none in it. It teaches this and strong, direct, powerful movement while never turning to face your attacker completely, making yourself more vulnerable to other attacks from other attackers from other angles in front and the opposite side.

    It is a very short kata but yet it contains probably as many bunkai than most kata that are easily three times longer.

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