Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Back stance blues

I have noticed the back stance (kokutsu dachi) appearing more and more frequently in the training syllabus, both in the combinations and in the kata, particularly pinan godan where it is done twice. I find it a difficult stance to get into mainly because we have to step forward into it. Stepping forward into a back stance does not feel very natural! It is very difficult to get your weight distribution correct i.e. most weight on the back leg when you have just stepped forward. There is a tendency to want to put your weight forward initially and then adjust it backwards - but this is wrong. When sensei demonstrates the move it looks natural, elegant and strong. When I do it it looks, well feels, awkward, ungainly and unbalanced! I expect with practice I'll get better at it but I can't imagine why you would step forward into this stance in a real self-defence situation. According to Nakayama in his book 'Best Karate - fundamentals' the back stance is... "useful for blocking when moving backward, or for getting the body safely out of the opponent's range," implying that you step back into the stance. So is stepping forward into back stance peculiar to shukokai style karate? I don't know - I would appreciate some insights from any senseis out there.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,

You'll find that stepping forwards in kokutsu dachi is quite common in many styles. From my time in Shotokan I can tell you that we used to practice stepping forward and doing shuto uke (amongst other techniques) and in Wado Kai we do something similar with Hanmi Neko Dachi which is similar to Kokutsu but, on the front foot, only the toes and yo sokute touch the floor (there's other differences but, from a simplistic point of view, that's mainly it). Wado's kokutsu stance has an extended front leg in most moves and the weight is even slightly further back and yet, once you get the move right, it makes perfect sense to step forwards.

You must remember that, when stepping through most stances, there is a point at which both your legs are next to each other and, at that point you must decide how the weight will be distributed and position yourself accordingly, here your hips play an important role. This becomes natural with practice.

My two pennies worth.

Sue C said...

Thanks for your comment. I'll just keep practising and try to use the hips more.


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