Those are all pretty good, except I don't agree that turning right or left implies anything that specific, tai sabaki is already shown in the techniques, the embusen isn't neccessary to show you tai sabaki.

I read the book. On page 111 it examines the beginning of gekisai dai ichi, and it says that stepping forward in a angle and turning left is not to defend against a flank attack, but to get out of the way of the attacker, so you flank him and attack from his side. This same principle is also explained by Kenwa Mabuni. Check "Wisdom from the Past: Tidbits on Kata Applications from Pre-War Karate Books. Part One" By Joe Swift, at:

You can compare the beginning of gekisai dai ichi and the beginning of fukyugata dai ichi, since both kata were done at the same time as a coordinated effort. Nagamine sensei created fukyugata dai ichi, and Miyagi sensei created gekisai dai ichi (which was then called fukyugata dai ni). In fukyugata dai ichi, you turn left into hidari zenkutsu dachi and perform hidari gedan barai uke. So you twist your body as in a late reaction. In gekisai dai ichi, you step forward in an angle and turn left, so you do your sabaki to anticipate your opponent's strike, so it is a preemptive strike.

The sabaki part is secondary. I think it was my mistake to mention it. The point is that turning to the sides usually implies you attack your enemy's flank.


Also, i know it's generally accepted that forward=offense and backwards-defense, but I often wonder how this plays out on anyhting but a basic level. Really we should rarely be doing anything that's "defensive" in the sense of walking backwards while performing purely defensive movements it seems to me, so I often wonder about this rule.

Well, that principle is the second of the shuyo san gensoko (p. 112-13), and the point is that techniques in advanced karate are not purely defensive or purely offensive, but both. That is the second rule in my previous post: "2.- Both offensive and defensive bunkai have the same goal: to end the fight as fast as possible.", which means that the purpose of your defensive techniques is to end the fight.

Being a defensive fighter I learned to love this principle, at least in dojo randori or irikumi. However, in a fight to defend my life, I know I would have to go forward relentlessly to incapacitate my opponent before he has time to think, strike or get ready. If possible, of course.