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On Kata

"On Kata" is reader feedback column designed to elicit your ideas about kata, their philosophy, structure, strategy and application.

Do you have a good application for this move seen in a number of karate kata?

Just send mail to and describe the application to us.

You can also send a photo or sketch in an attachment to your e-mail. We will post the best answers.

Subject : Kata application .
Manouvre : Morote gedan Shuto Uke .
Kata : Kanku Dai .
Move : 44.

Standard application .
>From move 42 ura zuki / hiza gamae.
Use the hiza as a protective guard , use the left open hand as a parrying hand disabling the attackers right outreached grab by pushing against the outside over to the left , your right ura zuki follows very soon after, almost simultainously to your opponents easy chin while he /she is in a high state of kuzushi .
Move 43 Ryote fuse. Falling forward to avoid being grabbed from behind.
Move 44 Morote gedan shuto uke . The attacker realises the double grab has failed , so then trie's to stamp on your vonerable back leg . This is where the re-inforced gedan shuto uke comes in to deflect the stamp of line missing your leg.
Move 45 chudan shuto uke. my preference here is shuto uchi to my opponents temple.

Application Idea !!!!.
>From move 42 .
As the right leg should follow behind the hands , go between an attempted double lappel grab with your own hands and take a firm grip of the attackers head / hair pulling the head in close taking control, bring your knee up hiza geri into the solar plexus.
Move 43 .
Keep a firm hold of the top of the attackers head / hair with your left hand , take your right hand under the chin as you push forward, then as your right foot lands onto the ground twist sharply and strongly to your left into move 44 keeping hold of the attackers head , your hands should react the same or moreless the same as in morote shuto renching the attackers head back in the opposite direction to the push, " Kuzushi at the maximum". Note , not only will this wrench the head , the head would be twisted and neck broken, a fatel move !!!! and should be tried only by skilled bugesha very carefully ??.
Move 45 as the preference above .
the reason I prefer this move as a uchi is because the following move [46] chudan uchi would most likely be a positive block.therfor two consecutive blocks would leave you dealing with maybe two attackers.

Mr S Circuitt .

It does appear to be an arm bar, but looking at the position of the hands and the footwork I would say it is a dragging take down. From a right handed punch the demonstrators right hand redirects the blow and pulls it across his body at a downward angle. The left hand catches the elbow at the point to help guide along, and the footwork shows him sliding away and lowering his base to pull the attacker down and to the ground.

Or he could be rubbing out a cramp.

This move is similar to Shuri-Ryu's snake stance. We use this to evade an attack. Stay in the game by bending the rear leg to avoid a kick or punch, then return with a reverse punch, following the man's leg back to him.


Mark Rowe

Regarding the stance in the On Kata section. Quite frankly, this is the position that we have taught and used in self-defense from a double hand push. The attacker pushes your chest with both hands. You are to allow the first attemp to be successful. This gives the attacker more confidence while allowing him/her to become off balance in the second pushing attempt; his/her weight will be thrusted forward on the shove. While the attacker approaches with the second shove, the defender drops downward and offset to the right or left into the stance. The atacker will frequently trip over the defeder's leg, thus either falling onto the ground or stumbling forward off balance while giving the defender time to react to the stumble. Not a very fancy explanation, but this does work very well.

OK my humble comments. This move is from the second Pinan. Assume you are "bear hugged" from the rear. Your opponent will likely be lifting you or "uprooting" you. The trick is how to get him off your back. A trained person will sink his weight into his legs. That's part of regaining control, but the guy is still on your back. So now what? As you sink into your Zen stance, allow the hips to rotate so that as your arms sway back, and one shoulder aligns with the front knee. The feel should be almost as if your front knee is supporting your shoulder (side of your deltoid, not the front). What happens? Your opponent spins off and falls into the hole (behind you) created by the sinking and twisting motion. The secret here is the hips. A traditional Zen stance has the hips supporting the lower back over the long stance. If, after sinking into your Zen stance, you do not rotate the hips, you will end up supporting the opponents weight as he falls onto your back. You lose the hole (and the move)! Alignment is key. Remember hips, back and shoulders must rotate and maintain the same line over the front knee. Study your picture. It's right there!

Paul U.

This is similar to a foot-sweeping takedown we employ, typically as a follow-up to percussive techniques, i.e. the opponent has already been 'softened'.

Facing an attacker in closed stance, step through to the outside, then shoot your other leg through between your opponents, effectively like you are executing a spinning back kick, but only lifting your foot enough to shoot the leg through. With good penetration (as depicted by the deep stance, the back of your hip/leg makes contact with your opponents back leg, knocking it forcibly from beneath him, and causing his head to drop forward. We often accompany this with a simultaneous knife hand strike to the groin, which one could see as a possible application of the hand position depicted in the illustration.

Alternately, the technique can also be used against someone in an open stance, but you need to step further toward their rear side and, instead of turning a full 180 degrees to shoot the leg through, you only turn 90 degrees, effectively shooting your leg across perpendicular to the original line of uke's frontal attack.

Care should be used in trying this out the first few times and in training with an uninitiated uke so not to injure the knee, as in both cases you are working against the joint. Upon finding it to be effective, uke should just let his foot 'float' on contact for safety's sake.


Kata application as everyone knows just depends on your level of training and you having an open mind. The position of the karate-ka first shows to me a finishing move to drag the attacker to the ground. What about the karate-ka being on top of the attacker locking both arms. But what about his left foot being higher than the right. This may show the karate-ka going under the attacker arms, and holding one foot while stomping the ankle or foot the the left foot. Application just depends on what works for you.

Gene R

One application to a low stance like that could be evading a kick on a horizontal line then springing forward to catch the leg with your front arm and using your back to grab their belt and leverage them onto the ground. I'll leave the rest to you.

I think the application for this move would be an over head throw. A defensive move executed after the opponent grabs both of your hands from the rear. You step to the inside of your opponents feet and assumes a forward Kamae and pulling your hands strongly downward.

Charles L. La Torre III
Philippine Aiki Parpagkam Martial Arts

This application can be found in Kushanku or Kanku kata and can be easiest applied when you have engaged the opponet and placed him in a choke using the right arm to choke or crank the neck and the left arm to hyper-extend the opponents left arm, further adding to the effectiveness of the Choke or neck crank.


This is seen when working with a Shaolin broadsword. It is a set up move to burst a hidden poison sack. The poison is then transferred to the opponent. It is also a leg sweep defense of a side or front thrust kick which lands the opponent next to the bent knee for a finger rack to the eyes and poison if necessary. I hope this offers a small measure of insight.


This move in Shotokan Karate is seen in the Kata Kanku Dai. While you approach an opponent and take them to the ground, you attention immediately is focused on you rear. This is a low "knife hand" stance. As you turn you stay low with your head back which will protect you from an attack from the rear. The frot foot can sweep or kick, and your hands are knife hand so a block-strike can be performed

I believe this would be an evasion of an attack to the head by stepping in, followed by a two handed chop to the leg. Striking two pressure points in the front leg. Weakening the attackers balance, therefore making an easy target for a Hook or numerous other follow up techniques...

Clyde Lewis
Granite City Martial Arts

The application as already stated can be an arm bar. However, it can also be used as an anti chin-na against the same technique previously described. An attacker tries to arm bar your left arm. You go wth the force by dropping suddenly and placing your left leg behind the opponent. the left arm can now grab the left ankle and the right chambered hand can grab the right ankle. You can then throw the opponent over the leg.

Dave T

The application for this picture is, I think, an escape from a side kick or any attack to face level, the stance having the advantage of keeping the feet planted and body ready for a fast counter attack.

Nawas Palick

The movement is a Tuite Waza. This is most obviously an arm bar. The shifting in weight is to off balance the opponent or to drag them onto their stomach for a control. In the picture, the right hand has seized the wrist of the attacker and has moved into this "coiled snake" posture to pull the arm straight. The left hand is applying a strike or press to the opponents arm just above his elbow. This could damage the attackers elbow and will drive him to the ground. An alternative lock would be to manipulate the attackers wrist.

Sensei K. Peters
Iowa Combat Martial Arts Academy

The movement is what is known in Kung Fu as "Monk Chops Log". Sensei Peters description is accurate.

The movement is also a follow-up to a left-leg sweep. The enemy falls to the ground and, without shifting body-weight, the right hand attacks to the enemy's eyes or throat. The left hand blocks.

Head Instructor Doyle Perry
United Martial Arts

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