Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2015 Ryushinkan Black Belt Examinations

On Sunday, December 20, the 2015 Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Black Belt Grading Examinations were held. The venue this year was the Shibuya Sports Center in Hatagaya, Tokyo. Aragaki Kancho supervised the grading session, assisted by other instructors from Ryushinkan.

Takahashi-san and Yumoto-san (both pictured left, with Aragaki Kancho) passed the rigorous session and have fully earned their black belts. Congratulations! 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Mawashi Uke Applications 3

The third in this series of posts. Mawashi Uke (circle block) application as a way of releasing an opponent's hold and explained very simply and clearly.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Mawashi Uke Applications 2

This time we can some applications of mawashi uke from practitioners in Italy, showing the basic uses and some interesting variations.  This and similar videos are from so many different parts of the world, demonstrating that karate really has become a global language. There are so many times I have seen people with no common conventional language communicating through the terms and techniques of karate. It is truly a uniting force - both inner and outer

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Mawashi Uke Applications 1

I will be posting 3 videos showing different ways to practice and apply the mawashi uke shown previously. There are endless variations to the ways the technique can be used, but the principles are the same throughout. One key point is the idea of sekkinsen, or in-fighting. Like many of the techniques in Gojuryu, the application is done at very close range, stepping into, turning and pulling an opponent's attack.  

Monday, 7 December 2015

2015 Gojukai Black Belt Examinations

The children's testing on December 6th

On Sunday, December 6, the 2015 Gojukai Black Belt Examinations were held at the newly opened Nihon Karatedo Kaikan in Koto Ward, Tokyo. The testing took place from 10:00 to 12:30, with approximately 40 persons being examined. The examinations for each grade level consisted of the following designated kata plus sessions of free sparring with other participants taking the test:

1st Dan:  Sanchin, Gekisai 1 or 2, Saifa
2nd Dan: Sanchin, Tensho, Seiyunchin
3rd Dan:  Sanchin, Tensho, Sanseiru
4th Dan:  Sanchin, Tensho, Shisochin
5th Dan:  Sanchin, Tensho, Seipai

Five members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan took the test and passed. Two for 1st Dan, two for 2nd Dan, and one for 3rd Dan. Congratulations!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Mawashi Uke

The mawashi uke is a core component of Gojuryu fighting technique, and is found in the kata Sanchin, Tensho, Gekisai Daini, Saifa and Suparinpei. The basic principles are of the arms blocking in a circular motion, catching and deflecting an oncoming strike while disrupting one opponent's balance, and then striking with a counter-attack having completed the circular movement.

Examples of how to practice and apply mawashi uke will appear in up-coming posts, but the technique must have both the tension and fluidity known in Okinawan as muchimi, as well as involving the entire body - legs, hips and torso - and not just the hands or arms. While the kata nearly always feature the mawashi uke performed with both hands (the exception is Saifa), it can, of course, be executed with either arm separately.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Morio Higaonna Sensei instructing in Hong Kong

Footage of Morio Higaonna Sensei giving a seminar in Hong Kong, with subtitles for ease of understanding. The topics include sanchin kata and how to train with the kongoken, chiishi, ishi sashi, and ga-me. He also mentions in passing that many of these tools originally came from China. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Kanto Seminar

Iwakawa-Sensei teaches the higher Dan grades
The third and final "2015 All Japan Karatedo Goju-Kai Association Kanto Regional Kata Seminar" took place on November 22 at the Minami Nagasaki Sports Center in Tokyo. Senior instructors of Goju-Kai were on hand to offer their advice and guidance. 
The primary purpose of the seminar is to prepare participants for the upcoming black-belt grading examinations to be held in the area on December 6.
As many practitioners train without the benefit of highly experienced and/or knowledgeable instructors, and as the officially recognized guidelines for the "correct" performance of kata are continually refined, the seminars represent an excellent opportunity for all attending to confirm, update and further their understanding of karate.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

New Renshukai Schedule for November

Members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan continue to train together as "Renshukai," with supervised day-time sessions at Shibuya Sports Center and evening sessions at Shinjuku Sports Center. As the Shinjuku Sports Center will close from November for renovations,  the evening sessions will be held at Heiwadai Municipal Gym on Mondays and and Kami-Itabashi Municipal Gym, on Wednesdays. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Friday, 6 November 2015

Tenchi no Kamae / Ninoji no Kamae

These two hand positions are known as Tenchi-no-Kamae and Ninoji-no-KamaeTenchi-no-Kamae (above right) is found in the kata Seipai and translates as "heaven and earth," as the palms of the hands face both upward and downward. Ninoji-no-Kamae (above left) is found in the kata Kururunfa and refers to the Chinese character for 2 ("Ni" in Japanese), which the shape and positioning of the hands resemble. In Japanese, these are written respectively 天地の構え and 二の字の構え. "Kamae" means "guard" or, more broadly, "state of readiness."

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Change of Venue for "Renshukai"

Members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan have continued to train together as "Renshukai," with supervised day-time sessions at Shibuya Sports Center and evening sessions at Shinjuku Sports Center. However, Shinjuku Sports Center will close from November for renovations, so new venues for the evening sessions are being sought. The new venues are Heiwadai Municipal Gym and Kami-Itabashi Municipal Gym, both within the 23 wards of Tokyo.

Heiwadai Taiikukan
Kami-itabashi Taiikukan

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Shibuya Tournament Results

Members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo participated in the Shibuya Ward Autumn Karate Tournament on October 25 in Hatagaya, Tokyo, and took first place in two categories of kata. Takahashi-san was the winner in the women's open yukyu (non-dan) grade division, while Kamano-san took first place in the corresponding men's category. 

The tournament has kata and kumite competitions, and is open to all dojos in the ward, meaning that competition is tough. The results demonstrate the consistently high level of kata that is maintained at Ryushinkan. Congratulations to them and everyone who took part.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events for the rest of the year include:
  • The Shibuya Ward Autumn Karate Tournament on October 25, as detailed in a previous post;
  • A Kata Seminar on November 22 (Kanto Regional Kata Seminar), participation at which is an essential requirement for anyone intending to take the Gojukai Dan grading examinations on December 6;
  • The Tokyo Senior Open Karate Tournament at Shinjuku Cosmic Center in Takadanobaba on November 29;
  • The Kanto Regional Gojukai Tournament also on November 29 at Joso City in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Traditional Okinawan Training in Sheffield

Here is some footage from Norton Dojo in Sheffield in the UK. They are practicing traditional Gojuryu, and have some interesting and useful approaches to group training. Additionally, there are clear demonstrations of how to practice randori, the semi-full-contact sparring required for black-belt grading. Finally, there are many applications from kata which are introduced during free sparing and yakusoku ippon kumite, as well as some sound overall advice. There is only one "Gojuryu," but many ways to practice, and we can all learn beneficial things from each other's training methods and philosophies.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Kake Uke

Based on identical principles to the mid-level side block, the kake uke (hook block) has the hand opened and the wrist bent so that the palm is almost at right angles to the direction the arm is pointing. Moreover, the hand is turned outwards, so that the fingers point midway between the vertical and horizontal. The opponent's strike is "hooked" with the fleshy part of the hand below the little finger and the edge of the wrist. As the block is executed (usually while moving, for example here shown in sanchin dachi), the arm (especially the elbow) is brought both downwards and inwards, drawing in and disrupting the opponent's momentum. This technique is found in the kata Gekisai Daini and Shisochin.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Shibuya Tournament Oct 25

The 2015 Shibuya Ward Autumn Karate Tournament will be held on Sunday, October 25. The tournament has kata and kumite competitions, with a total of 18 categories for kumite and 15 for kata, according to age, sex and rank. 

The opening ceremony is at 9:30 and competition begins at 10:00. The Venue is: Shibuya Sports Center at 1-40-18 Nishi Hara, Shibuya-ku in Tokyo. The nearest stations are Hatagaya and Yoyogi Uehara.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

No "Renshukai" Session on September 28

There will be no evening session of "Renshukai," at Shinjuku Sports Center on September 28 as the center is closed on the fourth Monday of every month.  The next evening session is Friday, October 2.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

"Renshukai" Schedule on September 21

There will be no evening session of "Renshukai," at Shinjuku Sports Center on September 21 as it is a national holiday - Respect for the Aged Day. Instead, there will be an unsupervised training session during the afternoon. Regular training will resume from Friday, September 25.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Goju-Kai Seminar

The second "2015 All Japan Karatedo Goju-Kai Association Kanto Regional Kata Seminar" took place on September 13 at the Minami Nagasaki Sports Center. Around 50 participants attended, learning SanchinTensho and the Kaishu kata, either in preparation for upcoming grading examinations or to refine their understanding as practitioners and teachers.
The day kicked off with everyone doing many of the traditional warming-up exercises together, as well as sanchin and tensho.  After lunch, participants were divided by rank into smaller groups to study various kata
I was fortunate enough to be put in the group taught by Iwakawa Sensei, who had us run through every kata from Gekisai Daiichi to Suparinpei, and explained many applications. 
In the wrap-up session in the morning, accurate basics, or kihon, proper breathing and maintaining abdominal tension were stressed as a solid foundation for good kata, while constant and varied practice of applications in realistic situations to deepen understanding was emphasized in the afternoon.


Friday, 11 September 2015

General Overview of Goju Ryu Karate

This video shows the history of Gojuryu through demonstrations by Higaona Sensei, displaying many of the warming up, pair-work and training exercises used in the style. The clear explanation in English helps to understanding many key points.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Traditional Karate Belt Tying & Gi Folding Techniques

I have covered the standard way of folding the dogi uniform in a previous post. This video reiterates the process, despite the overly dramatic music at the end, and earlier shows the accepted way to tie a belt or "obi."  

The belt is wrapped round and looped over twice, so to end up with the embroidered belt logo or brand mark on the right, one should start with it on the right side, facing outwards. It isn't difficult to learn, but requires a little practice.

Monday, 31 August 2015

2015 Goju-Kai Kata Seminar

The second "2015 All Japan Karatedo Goju-Kai Association Kanto Regional Kata Seminar" will be held on Sunday, September 13 from 10:00 to 16:00 at the Minami Nagasaki Sports Center in Tokyo. The kata to be taught will be Sanchin, Tensho and the Kaishu kata.  As kata are constantly being modified, it is a good opportunity to learn the latest officially sanctioned way to perform them. The seminar is particularly useful for practitioners who often train unsupervised or without a teacher of sufficient expertise to ensure a correct and thorough understanding of the kata. Applications to take part on the seminar must be made formally through the the Goku-Kai association. The Japanese name of the seminar is:


Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Roots of Karate in White Crane

This Chinese documentary with English subtitles explores the roots of karate in the White Crane style of Kung Fu. Just observing some of the techniques and practice methods in the video reveals deep similarities with Gojuryu, which is said to be a combination of White Crane with the original Okinawan "Te" style of fighting. At a very fundamental level, many seemingly different martial arts share the same principles and require the same levels of dedication. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

No "Renshukai" Session on August 24

There will be no evening session of "Renshukai," at Shinjuku Sports Center on August 24 as the center is closed on the fourth Monday of every month.  The next evening session is Friday, August 28.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Yoko Uke Tai Sabaki

This is a chuudan yoko uke, or mid-level side block, while moving forward in sanchin dachi. The movement of the arms, trunk and legs should be in accordance with each other, with the trunk or hips leading the way. The head and spine remain erect and in line with the trunk. The hiki ken, or non blocking arm, plays a key role in the coordination of the technique and should not be neglected. As the hips draw the advancing leg into and then away from the body, the body naturally crosses the center line; this is the essence of sabaki, or "side-stepping," an attack. The movement of the feet is such that they do not leave the surface of the floor but rather slide across it in suri ashi. The center of gravity of the body is thus maintained over the legs throughout the move. Breathing is harmonized with the body's motion. This technique is found in the kata Gekisai Daiichi.

Friday, 24 July 2015

No "Renshukai" on Monday

Members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan warm up for the "Renshukai" training session last Friday in Takadanobaba, Tokyo. There is no session on Monday, July 27.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Renshukai Schedule Update

Members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan continue to train together as "Renshukai," with supervised day-time sessions at Shibuya Sports Center and evening sessions at Shinjuku Sports Center. There are also unsupervised sessions at the weekends. Please note the Sunday session times have been moved forward to 13:30-15:30 for convenience’ sake. Moreover, the session on July 20, a national holiday, will also run from 13:30-15:30. Finally, there is no training on Monday, July 27, as the center is closed.

Friday, 10 July 2015


This video shows in great detail the teachings of the great Miyazato Sensei and other instructors at Jundokan, one of the leading Gojuryu karate dojos in Okinawa and the school to which Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan was affiliated for many years.  After footage of Okinawa from many decades ago, including training using the Hojo Undo tools and techniques and kata such as Tensho and Seiyunchin, Miyazato Sensei demonstrates Seisan, warming up exercises and the proper use of equipment such as the kongoken. The kata Sanchin is then explained fully with English subtitles, as is how to guide and check someone who is performing the kata. Finally, the kata Gekisai 1 and 2 are also shown with detailed commentary. 

Friday, 3 July 2015


Sagiashi is one of the stances found in Goju-ryu karate, and its presence can be seen as a clear link between traditional Okinawan karate and its deeper roots in the "white crane" style of kung fu from China. ("Sagi" means "crane" in Japanese.)

Although the stance does not technically appear in any of the Goju-ryu kata, it can be said to occur naturally when delivering a kansetsugeri from the nekoashidachi stance, as in the kata Kururunfa. Kansetsugeri is sometimes translated as "dislocation kick," as it targets one's opponent's knee, as is shown in more detail here.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Kakie Demonstration

In this video, Morio Higaonna Sensei demonstrates various techniques and approaches in the pair-work practice of kakie.  Beginning briefly with vertical and then horizontal arm movements in a stationary position, kakie is next performed with a stepping motion, and finally, from 20 seconds in, various applications are demonstrated. It is in this order that kakie is best learned. Many of the applications shown in the video are variations on techniques found in the kata, especially Shisochin and Kururunfa.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Keeping the Center

It is important to maintaining good posture in the form of a straight axis from the top of the head through the spinal column to the coccyx. With this achieved, the arms can be "locked up" using the elbows and pectoral muscles.  Rotating the body around this axial center without leaning or bending at an angle is the key to keeping balance, and forms the basis for the various "pulling" and blocking techniques found in Gojuryu and other martial arts, such as Tai Chi, which is explained here.  The principles are the same, and can be practiced in kakie.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Chiishi Exercise 4

This chiishi exercise is a variation on the basic routine and incorporates the kentsui uchi that occurs in the kata Saifa.  As in both the kata and this exercise, the forearm and fist (tettsui) are brought round over the top of the head and down, as if on to the opponent's head or collar bone.
As with the other exercises, the chiishi is initially tilted backwards rather than directly sideways to avoid excessive leverage causing damage to the elbow joint.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Miyazato Eiichi Sensei

In the lineage of Okinawan karate, where much emphasis is placed on personal guidance and oral tradition, Miyazato Eiichi Sensei was the personal student of Chojun Miyagi Sensei, the founder of Gojuryu, and therefore represented a direct link with the master during his lifetime.
Shown here is footage of Miyazato Sensei at his renowned Jundokan dojo in Okinawa, along with some of the many students who trained there over the years.  Aragaki Ryosei Kancho, the head of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo, was taught by Miyazato Sensei and is situated directly in his lineage.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Green Book

This highly informative book is published by the Japan Karatedo Federation Goju-kai, and entitled simply 剛柔流空手道 ("Gojuryu Karatedo"). Many of the introductory sections are accompanied by English translations, while 212 of the 295 pages detail with photos and feet diagrams each move, stance and application of the twelve kata of Gojuryu. Aragaki Kancho, head of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo, was involved in the making of the book in an advisory capacity.

In one of the introductory sections, it is stated that the key kata of Sanchin and Tensho are designed to help us work on developing Ki (), Soku () and Tai () - respectively, inner energy, breathing and body strength, fundamental features of Gojuryu karate. The book, though not widely available, can be obtained from some of Shureido's outlets. 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Chiishi Exercise 3

This exercise is to strengthen the wrists for kake-ukeko-uke and other techniques involving that part of the arm. It will also help to develop a suppleness and fluidity in the blocking motions during the kata Tensho
The chiishi is swung in a figure-of-eight pattern, with the elbow kept down and tucked in as much as possible.  It is not generally recommended to use a heavy chiishi for this in order to avoid damage to the wrist.   

Friday, 15 May 2015

Ethics and Real Skill in Martial Art

This is an interesting talk by Tai Chi Master Chen delivered to European students. Though the cultural background to what he says is clearly rooted in the Chinese situation, it is still highly relevant to the responsibility of teachers everywhere. The bottom line is that, while anyone can go to a dojo to learn martial arts, not everyone should or will end up being taught. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Working on Ki

The use of ki (or chi or qi) is fundamental in karate, shao lin kung fu, and most other martial arts. Strength and speed alone will not help you against a stronger and faster opponent, so it it necessary to utilize ki.  Ki is not a concept easily translated into English, though "life force" or "inner energy" are often used. It is centered in the seika tanden or lower abdomen.  From this demonstration by Chinese Tai Chi Master Chen, we can draw at least two conclusions: ki is inherently connected to gravity - it would be much more difficult to perform in space - and thus is rooted in the earth. Moreover, ki utilizes balance, which is why it is so vital to "occupy the center." In Gojuryu, the kata Sanchin is the primary vehicle for working on ki.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Chiishi Exercise 2

This is the standard chiishi training exercise, as used at Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo. The chiishi is gripped firmly and held in front of the body in a deep shikodachi stance. The arm is not extended fully, but tension is maintained in the pectoral muscles of the arm holding the chiishi. Rising out of shikodachi to full height, the chiishi is alternatively lowered towards the ground, raised above the head, dropped to the inside, lowered diagonally outside, and finally bought up to the armpit and then thrust out to the front as with a punch. For each move, inhalation is performed, followed by a short but full exhalation going into shikodachi

The key points are to keep the posture straight, attain a nice, low shikodachi, align movement with breathing, keep the wrists supple and the movements circular, and always tense for a fraction of a second for the "kime" when the chiishi is held out front each time. For beginners, the moves can be separated into three exercises: up/down, inside/outside and the forward thrust. Or the exercise can be done as one set of five moves, as shown in the video.

Friday, 1 May 2015

"Renshukai" Training Schedule

Members of Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan are continuing to train together as "Renshukai," with supervised sessions both in the day time at Shibuya Sports Center and in the evenings at Shinjuku Sports Center (public martial arts dojo, pictured above). In addition, there are free training sessions at the weekends. However, with the Golden Week holiday season in full swing in Japan, the schedule for next week has been somewhat revised. Please contact for more information, as well as details on other training groups involving members and former members of Ryushinkan .

Shibuya-ku Tournament Results

Members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo participated in the Shibuya Ward Spring Karate Tournament on April 29 in Hatagaya, Tokyo. Miyasato-san (pictured left) took first place in the Master's division in kata, while Saito-san and Kamano-san also finished in the top three of their respective categories. 

The tournament is open to all dojos in the Shibuya Ward, as well as school and university karate clubs, so there are many styles and kata on display. There were a large number of participants this year, and competition was very tough. Congratulations to them and everyone who took part.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015 Shibuya-ku Spring Karate Tournament

The 2015 Shibuya Ward Spring Karate Tournament will be held on Wednesday, April 29 (Showa Day), a national holiday.  The tournament has kata and kumite competitions, with divisions for black belts, 1st-3rd grades (brown belts), and 4th grade (green belts) and below.  There are also various categories for schoolchildren, as well as senior (over 40s) and masters (over 50s) divisions. The opening ceremony is at 9:30 and the event proper kicks off at 10:10.  

The Venue is: Shibuya Sports Center at 1-40-18 Nishi Hara, Shibuya-ku.  The nearest stations are Hatagaya (shown on the map below) and Yoyogi Uehara.


Friday, 24 April 2015

No Training on April 27

Just a quick reminder that there is no training on Monday, April 27 for the Yoyogi Ryushinkan Renshukai, as the venue used for the evening sessions, Shinjuku Sports Center,is closed the fourth Monday of every month.

Moreover, as Japan is entering the so-called Golden Week holiday period, some of the training times will changed over the coming two weeks.  For more information, please contact

Friday, 10 April 2015

Terminology - Striking Areas

Some of the fundamental and most frequently used parts of the anatomy in Goju-ryu strikes and kicks are depicted left and listed below. There are not always convenient or useful English translations readily available, so it is helpful to understand and remember these Japanese terms:

English (Description)
oya yubi
hito sashi yubi
naka yubi








Index finger
Middle finger

Fist hammer
Back fist
Knife hand

Ridge hand

Palm heel

Finger thrust


Bent wrist

Outer edge of foot

The striking part is the knuckles of the index and middle finger, known as the daikento
The bottom of the fist is used; application in saifa
Used in the uraken uchi snap technique
Strike with the fleshy area beneath the little finger and closest to the wrist
Bend and tuck the thumb under the palm and strike with the base of the index finger
Bend and press the thumb against the palm and bend the fingers slightly
Keep the fingers firmly together and straight but level, bending the middle finger as necessary
The strike with the elbow (hiji uchi) is also called empi
Bend the hand down as far as possible and touch the thumb to the middle and/or fourth finger
The striking area for ushiro geri
Used in sokuto geri and kansetsu geri
The striking area for ushiro geri
Used in sokuto geri and kansetsu geri
hiza ate is a strike with the knee

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Chiishi Exercise 1

This chiishi exercise is good for practicing the technique of shiboru, or "wringing," whilst also making sure one maintains a sound and correct posture when dropping deep into the shikodachi stance.  
Start by gripping the chiishi in both hands, with the thumbs facing forward.  Bring the chiishi up and over, and then turn it out towards the front. As the chiishi is extended forwards and outwards, keep the elbows tucked in.  Left and right hand positions are switched after alternating thrusts.
This exercise also helps in practicing the final nage, or throw, found at the end of the kata Sepai.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Working on the Hips

Here is a way to improve use of the hips, or "koshi" in Japanese. Start in a shikodachi stance with an oizuki punch, and then execute a gyakuzuki punch in the zenkutsudachi stance.  The front foot essentially remains in the same position, but the back foot, leg and hips are used to "kick off" from the floor as you perform the gyakuzuki thrust. Height should remain even throughout and the head kept as still as possible. The focus should be on getting the maximum power by turning the hips, first into zenkutsudachi and then back firmly into shikodachi. Repeat again and again, with hard punches delivered, preferably, on the makiwara each time.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Training Update / Running Style

Aragaki Kancho supervised last Friday's evening training, which was a great honor for us. However, there is no practice session scheduled for this Monday evening at the Shinjuku Sports Center as the facility is closed the third Monday of every month. (There is, however, a free session on Sunday.)


Instead, and in addition to karate practice,  we must find other ways to train and get fit. Yours truly runs and attends a gym, and I am coincidentally featured in Japan's Running Style magazine #5, which came out on March 21.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Training Update

Members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo are continuing to meet and train together regularly in March, as the earnest spirit and desire to improve remains. There are various schedules, reaching into April and May, with one centered on practicing in the daytime at Shinjuku Cosmic Sports Center, another more varied schedule at differing locations, and evening sessions on Mondays and Fridays for supervised training (and occasional weekends for free training) at the Budojo (Martial Arts Hall) at Shinjuku Sports Center.  

At the Budojo, one can see practitioners of many different martial arts, including kendo, iadaojujitsu and so on, and so that in itself is an educational (and very Japanese) experience. For more information, please contact

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Terminology - Stances

Stances - the placing of the feet, angling of the legs and knees, and the ratio of body weight load between either leg, are literally the foundation for all movement and techniques in karate. Thus it is extremely important to thoroughly know and practice the main stances that are employed in Gojuryu, as well as, preferably, memorize their Japanese terminology, as given below. 
Ultimately, the stances become incorporated into a natural flow of motion, rather than discrete techniques - the so-called  "no stance" of Musashi. 
Additionally, more information can be found here and also at wiki:

      Rough translation & explanation

-dachi (tachi)
heisoku dachi
musubi dachi
heiko dachi
hachiji dachi

sanchin dachi

shiko dachi

kiba dachi

zenkutsu dachi    

han zenkutsu dachi
kokutsu dachi

han kokutsu dachi

renoji dachi

neko ashi dachi   

sesan dachi
Closed foot stance” (feet together – parallel and touching)
Joined stance” (heels touching, feet open at a right-angle)
Parallel stance” (feet parallel, shoulder-width apart)
“Kanji for “8” i.e.  stance” (feet shoulder-width apart, feet open almost at a right-angle, toes pointing outwards - not found in any kata)
Three battle stance” (Feet shoulder-width apart, the toes of one foot and the heel of the other meeting at an imaginary line passing under the body - see image above right - toes angled inwards, the upper legs, abdomen and lower back tensed; when the feet are parallel, it is called heiko sanchin dachi)
Straddle stance” (feet double shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outwards, knees bent to almost a right angle)
Horse-riding stance” (Upright shiko dachi with the toes and knees turned inwards)
Front foot stance” (feet shoulder-width apart, front leg forward; front knee bent so as to obscure the front foot, rear leg completely extended; 70% of weight on the front foot)
Half front foot stance
Rear foot stance” (Reversed zenkutsu dachi – found in the kata Seipai)
Half-rear foot stance” (found in the kata Sepai and Kururunfa – this nomenclature is primarily used on mainland Japan; in Okinawa, the "stance" is the natural consequence of turning the hips and feet 45 degrees in sanchindachi and has no specific name)
Japanese letter  stance” (back foot facing forward, front foot a foot-and-a-half step to the front and point outwards at 45 degrees)
Cat foot stance (Renoji dachi with 90% of the body's weight placed on rear foot and the rear knee bent)
Stance from the kata Sesan” (modified Shiko dachi facing sideways)