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#106278 - 09/18/04 08:02 AM naihanchi nidan
kenposan Offline

Registered: 08/23/01
Posts: 633
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
okay, I need some help with the opening sequence.

The first move is to raise the arms parallel to the floor, as if breaking a rear bearhug with arms trapped.

After that... I am lost. My instructor simply taught it was a stepping sideways with the right hand blocking out and the left guarding the chest. This is great for sparring from a sidefighting stance but I don't 'see it' as bunkai.

My impression is that the step across is a turn to face the attacker but I am not sure how the hands come into play. Is it a lead hand strike to the face?

And what about the next series of steps. Are you moving through your attacker?

How would you interpret the inside block during that next stepping sequence?


#106279 - 09/18/04 11:12 AM Re: naihanchi nidan
Akiba Offline

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 365
Loc: London, UK
"Remove all notions of combat"

Naihanchi is a very old form and it was split into three parts probably to make it easier to study (space allowance).

In its original form there is no 2nd or 3rd part. Naifaunchin opens to the right and then proceeds to the left to the end (or first half) of naihanchi ichi, and then continues immediately into naihainchi ni, and san all to the left before finally restarting all the way back again.

The version practiced in Shotokan as Tekki 1-3 demonstrates this point. In Tekki Shodan (naihanchi ichi) you perform a ritualised opening with the hands. (an ancient buddhist greeting) In Tekki 2 and 3 you move straight into the techniques.

When trying apply Naihanchi to combat related bunkai it wont work. Sure you can say there are a range of movements like elbows and short-range strikes but even you yourself have already commented that it must be taken from the frame of the form.

Ask yourself why the kata is practiced along one straight line (unique in this aspect from all others) There are also no turns or fancy footwork (something essential to boxing).

The opening move you speak of 'could' be an escape from a bear hug but within the next move or so you will become stuck as to what you are doing. In my system the technique isn't an opening move its a transitional one between part one and two. It is used to 'roll' your practice partner into another joint manipulation technique (cross armed lock)

Applied nahainchi (naifaunchin) fits perfectly EVERY SINGLE MOVE as a two man flow drill for practicing multiple unbalancing and grappling techniques.

It fits as snugly as a key or Cinderella’s slipper so there will be no changing it on my front!

The name Naifaunchin translates as "Internal Divided Conflict" this, aside from the opening bow hints of its deeper meditative (esoteric) aspects and thus I end by linking you back to a sound piece of advice when trying to 'work out' bunkai..

"Release all notions of combat"

If you'd like me to discuss any aspects of this form further just let me know.

#106280 - 09/18/04 12:22 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

Actually you could use the first movement as a left hand grab of their left arm arm (which was either striking or grabbing you)with your right elbow striking behind their elbow, this is an armbar strike and the left foot stepping across strikes into their leg.

They bend over.

Your stepping behind their left leg locks their lower body and then the righ hand strikes into their face, neck or throat.

This is just one sequence of application potential within the kata.

Another could be the rising left hand actually hooks their left arm against your body as your right hand strikes into their ribs and then under their arm with the 2nd inward hook.

Application is a complex issue to discuss. And the application potential, suggesting areas of study, does not limit how the technique could be used in actuality.

There are no rules the kata must be applied on a straight line. Motobu applied the techniques in many directions.

Nihanchi kata can also be done with turns in them, stepping forward, stepping backward and many other combinations.

Most don't explore these issues as most systems incorporate more and more kata to study too.

The full answer about Nihanchi's origin remains clouded. There are also parties that feel strongly that Nihanchi 1 was the original and 2 and 3 were cooked up to add more to do.

Really the history is irrelevant, unless you are in a lineage that the full history of the kata curcumscribes how you approach it.

Does your instructor teach kata application, or are you left on your own to work them out?

When an instructor teaches application that should be your only source of study until you actually know what they know.

And one of the most intersting threads to approach Nihanchi with for study is that you are countering grappling with all the technique, upper and lower body.

The lower body is really the most important to master. It contains the secrets of breaking down the opponents lower body, of lower strikes to set up the upper body work, and of use of the stance to lock the opponents body to let the application become much more destructive.

This is not peculiar to Nihanchi.

This is the core of all kata application potential.

And if 3 Nihanchi give you fits, switch to the Chinese systems and consider Tam Tuie. It is a 10 row (most frequent but there variations between 12 to 16 rows too) that moves back and forth on a single line too.

Of course the movement has nothing to do with karate, but it is very long and challenging.

Always another thought,

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

BTW isshinryu only uses nihanchi 1 and moves in the opposite directions of most other nihanchi (but not all). Any movement in Nihanchi 2 or 3 can be completely countered by Nihanchi 1 too. Which of course is not unique to any kata, just something to ponder.

#106281 - 09/18/04 01:50 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Stampede Offline
Lord of the Kazoo

Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 967
Loc: El Dorado, AR
Excellent post Sensei Smith! Great information.

#106282 - 09/18/04 02:26 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Akiba Offline

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 365
Loc: London, UK
I've never seen a version of this kata with turns in it?

#106283 - 09/18/04 03:20 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Raul Perez Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 2806
Loc: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

I don't think Victor Smith was stating that the Naihanchi Nidan he practices has turns in it but to add turns or different stances (front, cat) when in a self defense situation to fit the particular situation you are in. Just because it is done in naihanchi stance does not mean it should only be done in naihanchi stance as long as you adhere to the basic principles of combat being presented in the kata.

Kind regards,


#106284 - 09/18/04 04:43 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

Turning, Twisting Nihanchi All the Day.

Training with Carl Long in Penna long ago, (Carl was teaching shorin ryu descended from Shimabuku Ezio) one of the many different Nihanichi practices was doing the kata with turns.

For the step across movement, he would turn 180 degrees and complete the movment facing the opposite direction, and continue. Then at the next step across another 180 degree turn and finish facing the front as the beginning.

Besides the technical development it offers, the turning technique begins to present new training options for applications.

I've also seen people do Nihanchi on a zig zag pattern moving forward with the form.

Carl also used to practice Speed Nihanchi to see how fast (timed uner the stop watch) it could be done, shouting with the students to encourage faster time. And of course not at the expense of correct technque. Some how I remember shooting to break 10 seconds in the kata performance.

And for the really perverse I have a personal Nihanchi exercise with my teenage advancing kyu students. Where we incorporate jumping spinning crescent kicks in each direction. It helps them get rid of the excess teenage energy and helps them keep a health hate of my inventiveness. Of course having a jumping spinning crescent kick in reserve never hurts either.

O to be young and flexibile again....


#106285 - 09/19/04 08:31 AM Re: naihanchi nidan
Akiba Offline

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 365
Loc: London, UK
Am I missing a point, is karate about fighting?

And call me pedantic but, if you take techniques from a form and then have to change them anyway then you are no longer practicing the form, but simply adapting movements that appear IN a form.

#106286 - 09/19/04 11:28 AM Re: naihanchi nidan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

First there are no rules as to right or wrong, excpet with individual schools of instruction.

Second kata are nothing more than shapes to develop the energy of the practitioner. The art of application is taking those shaped energies and inserting them into an attack or an opponent.

Kata are a way to guide the development, not an exact signpost to say stop don't go futher.

Now I didn't create the path, its been that way for a long time, with many different interpretations.

Motobu's son shows how Nihanchi is applied and it's not linked to exact kata performance, for one example. At the same time there is no simple answer.

My answers often infuriate others. Fine, I can step on the floor and shape what I say and teach it and have done so for a long time.

BTW there is nothing saying karate is about fighting either. Okinawa didn't develop karate because it was a violent place. Much was not shared in kata application potential because sutudents 1) had no need to know it 2) didn't have enough experience to believe in the shape presented to use it.

The truth is nothings changed, except for rare examples, thank God.

Most will never use their karate study for anything except practice. I'm happy about that. If the study was for instant street application, well it wouldn't be karate.

Karate's too deep and takes too long and most who follow the path don't have the patience to drink deeply.

But we can dissucss and share and perhaps grow together.

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

#106287 - 09/20/04 03:02 PM Re: naihanchi nidan
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Mister Perez is correct. The Naihanchi kata practiced in Isshinryu has no 180 degree turns. It moves to the left, then the right, with opponents in front, also.

The way I do it, on the step-overs I turn my body 90 degrees for a short time. This allows for a "pivot" kick from a crane stance, as opposed to the feet getting tangled up when your legs are crossed and the hips face forwards.

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