The Iron Horse Kata
Tekki One, also called the Iron Horse, and other names, is considered a pivotal form in Karate.
Gichin Funakoshi, who is considered the father of modern day Karate, thought the form good enough that he spent ten years doing it.
Sure, he did other forms, stayed well rounded, but his real focus was on endless repetitions of the Tekki Form.
The Iron Horse is not a long form. Maybe a dozen moves, depending on your variation or school, but it is an energy heavy form.
All that time spent in the horse stance builds amazing amounts of pure energy. Simply, being that low, the legs have to work, and the tan tien has to work, and the result is oodles of energy, or ki power, as they call it.
The iron Horse is also not a technique heavy form. Actually, the techniques are just an assortment of odd blocks, useful in odd situations. The real thrill, however, is learning to go sideways in stance.
This is actually pretty important, as one should be able to move fast, and still drive his weight into the ground, if he wants to develop any serious combat abilities with the art of Karate.
The things to remember when doing Tekki are simple.
First, keep your stance low and your weight down.
Second, keep the hips low and level.
Third, let the hips turn when you move, don’t jam up the body by trying to move the legs sideways without the benefit of aligned hips.
Fourth, focus on breathing.
Fifth, focus on the loose-tight aspect of the hands.
And, there’s a lot more, but these other factors will become apparent if one just focuses on these beginning five concepts.
Now, as to where the form came from, that’s an interesting question.
My instructor told me that it was so people could fight in rice paddies, so they could move side to side in the slick earth. I think that’s a pretty good one, but probably a myth.
Another one I heard is simply to enable a student to fight while on the back of a horse. But horses were scarce back then, and, hmmm. Sounds a bit mythical, too.
Personally, I think the form just evolved, maybe from some instructor who had limited room to work out in.
You can pick up Tekki One, and a thousand variations on youtube. These versions, however, are usually tailored to tournament, and will lack a lot when it comes to instructions. My advice is to pick the simplest version you can find, and stick to the basic principles I have outlined here.