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Shotokan Myth #2 Hangetsu – A missing link to Naha-te Karate

In the #47 issue (May ’96) of Shotokan Karate Magazine, late Steve Cattle wrote an article on this kata, Hangetsu. It was a needed and educational article. The title was “Hangetsu the neglected kata” where he pointed out that this kata was most unpopular.  He claimed, “I feel it is a very neglected kata, generally because of the difficulty in performing the turns, the stance and its lack of beauty”.  He concluded that the biggest reason why this kata is unpopular to the difficulty of turns and its stance, Hangetsu dachi.  “The difficulty is in the turn, which is why I think it is neglected in competition as well as the actual stance difficulty”.   I agree with most of his claims but I am afraid he has missed some key points.  If you investigate the origin of this kata, you will discover the hidden history and the deep mysteries behind this unique kata. Even though Shuri-te and Naha-te do not share the same kata, Hangetsu (Seisan/Seishan) is one exception.  This kata is found in almost all styles including Wado, Shito, Goju, Uechi, Shorin, Ryuei, etc.  I will attempt to put the facts together and make necessary comparisons to come up with the answers to many questions.  By sharing those findings, I hope the readers will come to a new appreciation and understanding when he/she performs this unique and valuable kata. There is another article that is definitely worth reading is found in the issue #49 (Nov ‘96). The title is “Inside Tension Stances” and the sub title, “Sanchin-dachi, Neko-ashi-dachi, Hangetsu-dachi” by John Cheetham, the chief editor of this magazine. It is a 3 page article explaining whata those inside tension stances are and how they are constructed. It touches the subject that is not frequently touched and I recommend all Shotokan practitioners to read it if they have not. Unfortunately, the detailed information of Hangetsu dachi and it s very uniqueness were not mentioned or described in this article. However, I can not blame the author at all. He probably has a set of all karate textbooks such as Dynamic Karate, Karate-do Kyohan and Best Karate, but he can find only the steps of Hangetsu kata and not much else. In fact, we can find very little information on how to do this kata properly or on the details of Hangetsu dachi. The author wrote, “ – hangetsu dachi is described in most books and by most instructors as a longer version of sanchin dachi with all the same points as sanchin.” That is how it skips the detailed description of Hangetsu dachi.  I will attempt to bring out the hidden facts from the history and the comparison of this kata with the other Ryuha (styles) to fill the gap in this article. (read more...)     Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Book announcement: Re-print of Karate Do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi

I am very proud to announce that KarateCoaching has access to the new re-print of Master Funokoshi's original book Karate Do Kyohan. KarateCoaching is working in cooperation with Tokon Martial Arts to fulfill your orders immediately. We can only highlight what a treasure this book in its full print is (not the shortened version that was published in the past) but we also need to mention that copies are limited so we highly recommend to place your order immediately as long as stock is still available. Please order through the website of our partner Tokon.com  
Karate Do Kyohan – Master Text for the Way of the Empty-Hand Written by Master Gichin Funakoshi – The complete original 1935 Japanese Edition Translated into English with all of the original photos and artwork 8.5” x 11” Format – Softcover Edition
This classic Shotokan Karate Master Text has been printed for the explicit purpose of providing an exact reproduction of the complete original 1935 Japanese publication, preserving a historically accurate archive replica in the English language, that now can be experienced and enjoyed by all who can appreciate its significance. This legacy, as is the true goal of Karate Do, is meant to be experienced with mind, body, and Spirit. Master Funakoshi's message is transmitted in these pages through philosophical thought, physical and mental practice methods, and most importantly, with manifest image. Each photograph of Master Funakoshi not only demonstrates the exact form and method of each technique, but is also an archetypal key to the spiritual path he followed and exemplified. This book is a comprehensive guide for the study of karate and is credited as the foundation document of the modern day karate movement. Inner strength and personal character development are stressed through an active daily regimen of physical exercise and martial technique. Kara-te Do Kyohan is Master Funakoshi's gift to mankind. An informed study will reveal that his focus in life was to share his knowledge and the benefits he acquired and experienced through a life of conscious self-discipline rooted in the principles of Karate Do. Gichen Funakoshi (1868-1957) was born in Shuri, Okinawa and, as a boy, began training with Yasutsune Azato (Shuri-te) and Yasutsune Itosu (Naha-te). Through many years of diligent practice these two styles were blended and became what is known today as Shotokan Karate.   A Look inside: picture51 copy   vpofb1 copy        

Announcement of new book

This is what the author Sensei Bernardo Mercado has to say about the book: "As some of you may know, I started karate training at San Francisco State University in 1981 with sensei Mayer Parry. I then joined sensei Leroy Rodrigues at the Shinkyu Shotokan Karate dojo in 1983 and he has been my instructor ever since. Immediately I noticed that he and his students had a different way of sparring than I had seen anywhere else. Shinkyu students had the ability of quickly closing distance and forcing opponents to retreat. Sensei Rodrigues called these techniques ‘push basics’ and told me that he learned this way of fighting from sensei Chuck Okimura in San Jose. He told me that the JKA developed these basics and that they were taught at the exclusive Instructors Training classes in Japan. Over the years I’ve played around with arranging combinations and developing new techniques based on sensei Rodrigues’ push basics. Some black belt instructors and brown belts asked me many times to formalize and document the basics so they could practice on their own outside the dojo. My effort eventually developed into a book which contains fundamentals of push basics and 41 new combinations that I composed. This new book, ‘Tsuku Kihon: Advanced Fighting Techniques of Shotokan Karate’, is now published and available for purchase. Push basics are only meant to be taught to solid brown belts and above, by someone with extensive experience and who knows how to execute them properly. These should not be taught until a student has diligently practiced regular kihon for at least 3 years and developed strong kime. Teaching tsuku kihon to anyone who is not ready is a bad idea and the technics will not work. In other words, students must first develop a strong foundation in karate basics prior to being exposed to tsuku kihon." Tsuki Kihon   The book can be purchased by Amazon by clicking this link  

Book Shotokan Myths

About the Author

Yokota Sensei has extensive martial arts experience. Not only does he have over 46 years of Shotokan Karate experience, he has also studied other styles of karate such as Goju-Ryu and Kyokushinkai, as well as Judo and Ki; his Kobudo weapons experience includes Nunchaku and Sai. Yokota Sensei started studying the martial arts in 1960 at the age of 13 when he joined the Judo club at the Hyogo Prefecture Police station. Yokota Sensei then switched his martial arts training to karate in 1964 when he joined the JKA dojo in Kobe Japan. In the 70's, Yokota Sensei became a full time instructor at the ISKF Philadelphia dojo where he taught and competed. He returned to Japan and completed his instructor's training in 1983 under the late Master Jun Sugano, 9th dan, JKA Vice Chairman. Yokota Sensei was the champion of Hyogo Prefecture Championship in 1981 and 1982, and he represented Hyogo prefecture at the JKA All National Championship in Tokyo during those years. Yokota Sensei attained all his dan ranks up to Go-dan from JKA. After switching to JKS, the late Master Tetsuhiko Asai granted him Roku-dan. Sensei Yokota received his Nana-dan and Hachi-dan from WJKA (World Japan Karate Association). The WUKO (World Unite Karate Organization) also recently granted him Hachi-dan. He holds the positions of Technical Director and Shihankai member at WJKA. He is the Chief Instructor at Byakkokan Dojo in San Jose California and his passion is to propagate Asai-ryu Shotokan karate-do.
available now by Amazon
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