I’ve been thinking about this kicking concept for some time “In the "old days," the kick was never extended past the extended punch”.
First I think we must consider that the use of language (and of course translation) may not fully describe what is being done.
I can see this several different ways:
1. Delivering the kick as if you in distance to strike a wall, and instead using the kick.
i. Targeting the lower abdomen.
ii. Targeting the groin/legs
2. Delivering a kick with the same body alignment as if you were striking, and not shifting the hip into the strike. In that case your kick might hinge further than the fist.
3. Targeting a space one arm length from the body that the opponent will be moving into as your kick is delivered. That is not the same as kicking a static distance, but one where the opponent is moving into the space you have taken.
I see each as having a different launch mechanism in practice.
I tried doing a search but didn’t locate any video of IHA SEIKICHI SENSEI to watch.
I did locate some video of his contemporary, Miyahira Katsuya, but nothing that makes a case either way.
When I watch Shimabuku Sensei’s kicking technique in the 1966 Seisan kata versions, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyUMPjddzZc&feature=related
, I see his marvelous chamber, and kicks that appear to strike to the groin or the legs. In that case I see striking the distance a fist can strike, reasonable. You can watch them yourself and make your own decision.
I’m not sure any explanations of a systems kicking technique can fully describe what they may do.
At one time or another I’ve been trained in kicking from several different Isshinryu traditions, Korean Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, several different Chinese traditions (N. Shaolin and Tam Tuie) as well as Indonesian ones. They each have their time and place, execution theories and strategy.
I firmly believe in my Isshinryu core and teach it as I was taught, but even in that there is flex. I was taught that one’s kicking potential was taken as far as they could go, and in turn use my other studies as appropriate for student growth.