Tag Archives: shotokan karate

What Went Wrong with the Shotokan Karate Stance (Kokutsu Dachi)

Shotokan Karate is one of the four major karates styles in the world, so many systems are derived from this style, and thus are contaminated with some very incorrect concepts. Thus, whether you study Shito ryu, Isshin Ryu, Kyokushinkai, or any system that has the Heian forms as a base, you probably are making the errors I am listing in this article. It doesn’t mean your karate stance is bad, it just means if you make a couple of tweaks you can make it better.

A good karate stance should be a perfect blend between mobility and solidity. Mobiity is when one can launch their body quickly in one direction. Solidity is when one can grip the ground with their feet and become virtually immoveable.

In the Shotokan kokutsu dachi stance, however, the ability to be mobile or solid has been compromised. If you study the feet you will see that they are pointing in directions that are more than ninety degrees apart. This means the stance can’t make up its mind whether it is supposed to be mobile or solid.

If the rear foot is pointing away from the target the major muscles are pointing away from the target. The foot being in the wrong position means that there is not going to be enough traction for the push. The leg being pointed away from the target means that the major thrusting muscles of the leg can’t be properly employed.

in addition, the hips will be angled improperly, and when one pushes with the leg there will be a ‘power leak,’ in the structure. That is to say that the hips will not want to support the entire weight of the push. This can be severe enough to tweak the back, and even (in extreme cases) lead to problems with lower spine.

To fix this stance all one needs to do is turn the rear foot towards the target to about 45 degrees or less. This will angle the foot for better traction, and set up the major muscles for the push when one launches the body towards the target. Of course, this is going to alter the basic nature of the stance.

Thus, when you turn the foot properly, you are going to have to figure out the angle of the hips, and set the weight more on the back leg. Doing this will set the body for maximum push, but shotokan instructors will resist this alignment of the body for one simple reason: it lacks shotokan power. But this means that the system has been corrupted for the feeling and sake of power, and not for the balance between grounding and thrusting.

To get past this, Shotokan masters have set the system up to rely on overly aggressive front stances. What they have done is okay, but only in specific instance, and the proof is in the fact that the kokutsu dachi stance is more for rooting than for shooting. Thus, you have a choice at this point, do what you are told in Shotokan Karate, or other classical martial arts styles, or analyze the physics I have presented here and alter your stance in accordance with these physics.

If you are interested in learning the correct physics of the martial arts you should drop by Monster Martial Arts.

Using Bunkai Applications to Define the True Art

To find and develop Karate as a True Art, and this would include Shotokan, Goju, Uechi, or various other types of the art, one should always look to the techniques. The bunkai are the kata made real, they are concepts made to work. They are the heart of the monster that is The True Art.

The first step, in making your art work, is to make your stance work. The forms teach how to get into stances from a variety of directions and previous postures. So one should practice the movements of the kata until this concept of transitioning from stance to stance can be done without thought.

The second step, if you are going to make the karate forms real, is to make sure your limbs are set in positions that are functional. There are many arm positions in the martial arts techniques where your limbs cannot support weight, and therefore can’t really make the technique work. You must examine your patterns and altar arm positions until they become functional in real world situations.

The third step is to have proper body alignment between the floor and the target. The body is a chain of muscles and bones from earth to strike (block), and you must make sure that every piece of the body is properly aligned. The old wisdom, a chain is as strong as its weakest link, is certainly important here.

The fourth step if you are going to make karate moves become significant, is to work on your breathing. Breathing should be relaxed, but intent upon keeping the abdomen taut, especially upon striking, or getting struck. Breathing simply for the sake of breathing, as is done in the art of Goju Ryu Karate, must be inspected for real function, and possibly altered if you are going to have real martial arts self defense.

The fifth and final step, and ultimately the most necessary, is that you must have Coordinated Body Motion (CBM) when you use your body to do martial arts. You must harmonize all motion, taking into account the length and mass of every muscle and limb. You must understand how this all relates to real world timing, and you must make your body motions respect this concept of harmony.

An intriguing tidbit of data is that martial arts fighting has very little to do with finding The True Art. As a matter of fact, fighting tends to disrupt the mental processes that are necessary to put the pieces together that will resurrect your martial art. This piece of information is something that the old masters understood, and not just because they were old.

Any art can be a great art, but it always requires a great sensei, and a great student. The purpose of this bit of writing has been to educate students to be their own great teachers. Ultimately, your progress is up to you, and if you understand that then it will be easy to use Karate techniques to find the True Art.

You can get a lot more data on how to make your art perfect at Monster Martial Arts.

Zen in the martial arts, or Tell Your Hands to Shut Up and…!

Zen Karate, or Tell Your Hands to Shut Up and…!

A bright shiny grin to ya!
One more day in paradise…
one more day to work out.
I mean,
working out is really
the frosting on the cake
and the juicy steak,
and even those durn veggie things!
you know?

So I got stuck on a work out yesterday.
It was Karate
and I kept doing these moves,
but the energy wasn’t coming out.
I stuck on those moves for an hour,
just doing them and doing them.

you can’t stop,
especially when you are so close!

So when you do ‘loose tight’ in your karate,
or tae kwon do or kenpo or whatever,
when you really focus your mental and physical,
you have to really give your hands
a mental command to loosen the blank up!

Sometimes the body wants to get tired,
maybe pretend that the muscles won’t do what you tell them to,
just clean out the mind,
tell the body to get the blank working,
and DO IT!

Gosh durn furshluginner body isn’t going to get in my way!

Whether you do ZenKarate, Zen kung fu, Zen Aikido, or whatever…just do it!

felt great afterwards,
body rehabilitated an injury I had,
felt young again,
and life just toasted up and flipped over for me.

if you don’t know what I mean,
just work out.
the martial arts are free!
You can just do them!
There are no taxes on them!
even if there were,
you could just go to a dark corner
and practice the middle finger kata.
That’s good,
I said a funny.

laughter over,
let’s get on with it.
A couple of announcements.

Working on Monkeyland,
having real neutronic thoughts,
should be able to relaunch the site
in the not too distant future.
About time,

the article is supposed to be coming out in Inside Kung Fu
next couple of months.
It’s funny,
I do Matrixing
and they want to do me on Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is calm and balanced,
and they want me to snarl in the lead photo.


Oh well,
I live in Hollywood,
so I know what it all means.
You have to present an image that grabs,
and calm and balanced doesn’t always grab.
I appreciate what they are doing for me.

on another front all together,
I might sell a book.
A novel.
A western called ‘Small in the Saddle.’
I’ll know in a few weeks,
so cross your fingers
and wish me well.

what else.
So much has been happening,
and I’m behind,
trying not to forget anything.

I think that is it.

emptiness is the most important part of the martial arts.
emptiness is space is nothing,
and that concept permeates the true art
and life as well.

So focus your energy,
but realize that energy doesn’t exist
unless you create a space for it to exist in.
And the smallest energy can be the largest,
if you create a larger space for it to be in.
Not mysterious,
just start with giving your hands mental commands to relax the blank up.

Here’s the magic link…

MonsterMartial Arts

I really like the Pa Kua,
especially the middle of the three systems on this course.
You really learn how to swirl the energy in your body,
and it is so-o-o darn simple!

Okey dokey
if I forgot anything
I’ll share next time,
until then,
have the best work out of your life.



Monkeyland be comin’!

You might be a martial artist if…
You tie your bathrobe belt in a square knot. Then check to make sure the ends are exactly even.