Cat Leg Stance (Neko Ashi Dachi)
The cat leg stance is an advanced stance in Shorin-ryu. While being slightly defensive in nature, it provides the karateka free movement of the front leg and the ability to quickly move towards and away an opponent. To perform this stance, stand in natural stance (Shizentai Dachi). Shift 90% of the weight onto the back foot and lower your body as if you were sitting on the back foot. The front foot is there for stability only. Both knees are noticeably bent and the front foot rests on its toes. To practice this stance, occasionally attempt to lift your front knee straight up. If you need to adjust your weight, you were placing too much weight on the front foot. An additional benefit of this stance is that it can be implemented in katas such as Kihon Kata in place of Zenkutsu Dachi (Forward Stance) and Shizentai Dachi (Natural Stance) once it has been practiced and feels natural.
Knife Hand Block and Knife Hand Strike (Shuto Uke and Shuto Zuki)
These techniques will be used many more times in advanced katas. This is taught as a Chest Height (Chudan) block and strike in Pinan Shodan. The knife hand block and strike are both done in a circular motion. The lead hand works in a circular whipping motion, fingers held tight together and thumb against the pointer finger. Unlike other strikes and blocks which work on a push pull system, this movement is a whipping style momentum technique where the front hand strikes/blocks while the rear hand follows behind to provide momentum for the technique.
An excellent way to practice this is by standing against a wall (facing left or right, not towards the wall) and then moving both hands in a circular pattern. If facing left, for example, the hands start at 11 ‘o clock and move clock wise towards nine. Practice this on the wall 30 to 50 times and then practice it against an opponents straight punch.
Spear Hand (Nukite)
A powerful attack that is first learned here as an attack to the sternum. This can be adapted to be used as a throat attack. To do this move, extend the fingers and thumb and then press them tightly together. The hand moves from the hip (palm up) to the sternum of your opponent making a 90 degree turn to the inside (palm facing inside). The striking surface is the finger tips. To strengthen the fingers to a level that this move can be done safely, practice is required. Start slow and strengthen the fingers before attempting the technique on something hard.
Augmented Block or Double Block (Morote)
This is an unique move that is similar to one of the augmented blocks learned in Naihanchi Shodan. In this move, both of the wrists face up into the air. Everything else about the movement is the same (you can see this performed at the end of the kata and compare it to the block done to the outside of the Naihanchi Shodan kata). For now, treat it as a block with a guard hand behind it, but understand it will later be utilized as a strike as well.
Cross-Legged Stance (Kake Dachi)
This kata is often a karateka’s first introduction to cross-legged stance, but is not always the case. In Shorinkan Shorin-ryu where students turn their body, but do not cross their legs, this is not the case. This stance is frowned upon by many as being dangerous, with the possibility of tripping over one’s own feet. It is arguably no more dangerous than breaking your thumb when doing a punch. If done correctly, there is minimal danger.
To perform this stance, start in natural stance and rotate the front foot to face nearly 90 degrees to the outside. Then move the back foot behind the front foot and rest the upper shin or knee into the back of the front leg’s knee or calf. This stance is prevalent in Kobudo katas as well, particularly with the Bo.
- Announce the Kata.
- Ready Stance.
- Turn to the left in cat stance. Double high “mountain” block.
- Right hand arm block.
- Left hand punch.
- Left foot steps over and then turn 180 degrees to right leg cat stance. Double high “mountain” block.
- Left hand arm block.
- Right hand middle punch.
- Turn to the right in cat stance. Right hand hook block.
- Front kick with right foot. Right foot steps down and across the body and then turn 180 degrees into left leg cat stance.
- Left hand leads in a knife hand block.
- Step forward into right leg cat stance. Right hand leads in a knife hand block.
- Step forward into left leg cat stance. Left hand leads in a knife hand block.
- Left hand downward palm block. Right leg steps forward into long stance. Spear hand strike.
- Left leg steps across to the right. The body turns counter clockwise into left leg cat stance facing to the right. Left hand leads a knife hand block.
- Step forward 45 degrees to the right into right cat leg stance. Right hand leads a knife hand block.
- Right leg turns 135 degrees to the right (left of when you did the spear hand strike). Right hand leads a knife hand block.
- Step forward 45 degrees to the left into a left cat leg stance. Left hand leads a knife hand block.
- Turn 45 degrees to the left into cross-legged stance. Right hand hook block.
- Front kick with the right foot. Left hand punches middle height.
- Turn into cross-legged stance. Left hand hook block.
- Front kick with the left foot. Right hand punches middle height.
- Step forward with the right foot and perform a double arm block (Morote).
- Left leg steps across to the right. The body turns counter clockwise into left leg forward stance facing to the right. Left hand low block.
- Step forward with a right rising block in natural stance.
- Right leg slides to the rear and then turn180 degrees clockwise into right leg forward stance. Right hand low block.
- Step forward with a left rising block in natural stance.