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By Noah LegelNoah Legel on Facebook Visit author's website

Noah Legel has been training in martial arts since 2006, and holds rank in Shorin-Ryu (Iikyu), Shuri-ryu (Sankyu), and Judo (Gokyu). In addition, he has training in Okinawan kobudo and Japanese Shinkage-Ryu Iaijutsu, and cross-trains with other martial artists whenever possible. He currently runs his own blog, Budo no Kaizen, and is a frequent contributor to the Okinawan Karate-do Institute and offers great insight from the Non-Black Belt perspective.

Comments (10)

  1. Nicely done! Is this a higher-level kata? I literally just learned it last class, but since I train in Goju it is pretty far up our curriculum and I can’t really compare.

    • My understanding is that this kata is not actually part of most school’s official curriculum, but rather something taught at a lower black belt level. Having seen some practitioners perform it in a “drunken style”, I think there is a lot about that I still have to learn. The techniques are very unique in themselves. I don’t have it up in front of me but I believe it is a Tomari-te kata, which would explain why it is so different from most Shorin-ryu or Goju-ryu.

      • This is a higher level kata, but in my dojo we are required to be able to perform all of the kata in the Shorinkan curriculum before black belt, which is why I have already learned it despite being a brown belt. Gojushiho was originally called Useishi, and there are two versions that I am aware of–Oyadomari Useishi (Tomari-Te) and Matsumura Useishi (Shuri-Te). I believe that this is the Matsumura version, but I would have to double-check. Unfortunately, although I study a lot of history, I have a terrible memory and constantly have to refer back to my materials :P

        • Well done on the kata for the time you say you had with it before recording this. I would lean toward the version you performed being Matsumura as well. The gojushiho that I’m familiar with is Tomari based, not that I’ve done more than walk the kata a few times.

          • Thanks, Myke! In looking back at my study materials (I had forgot about this comment) I agree that it is the Matsumura version. In regards to Ted’s comment about the “drunken style” method of performing it, I’ve never been terribly fond of that, and I recently came across an interesting discussion online about similarities between Useishi/Gojushiho and some Black Tiger Style techniques mentioned in the Bubishi, which could be a link to its Chinese origins.

  2. No disrespect intended. This is a master-level kata in Shorin-ryu Shorinkan, which we do not teach until students have strong stances in kihon, and have paid their dues through intermediate and advanced kata, particularly the previous cat styles of paisai sho and dai. That you would put this kyu-level performance online is amazing hubris. Another thousand hours before your cat stance has enough grounding to strike from, and you can try this kata again. Osu.

    • Well if you would like to watch a master perform this you are welcome to pay a few hundred dollars for the DVD. Most people who saw this likely googled the word “Gojushiho” to learn more about it and now have some idea of how it looks. Noah personally got some feedback on his cat stance. So while you personally have not gained anything from this video, I believe a lot of other people did – and it is disappointing to me that you suggest only master level karateka should be displaying their karate.
      If you do not like his form give him some suggestions, because clearly you think you know how to do it better. If you just want to complain that the free videos of Gojushiho aren’t “master-level” – go somewhere else, this obviously isn’t the type of website you are looking for.

    • I actually recorded this video after learning Gojushiho and practicing it for just a few weeks, so I should think that I have gotten better at it since then, as it has been a few months. I would agree that my cat stance needs work, although part of that is transitioning from a style that uses a wide cat stance to one that uses a narrow one. Can I perform it at a master level? Of course not–I can’t perform ANYTHING at a master level. I am a kyu-ranked student, so of course my recording is of a kyu-level performance. Also, as with all of my kata videos, it was recorded after I had already been training for a couple hours, so I am typically not at my best by then, anyway. I seem to have offended you, and I am sorry for that, but I assure you that I am not attempting to pass myself off as a “master” and I did not intend for this to be an instructional video. If you would really like to see a recording of a master level performance, I have a video of Nakazato Minoru Sensei performing it at the Winterhaven Shorinkan Camp this past November that I can send to you.

      • Noah l.,
        I have been trying to view hanshi minoru nakazato performing gojushiho at last years camp. Where could i view this? Thank you.

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          Hi Chris,

          It is my understanding that they don’t want it to be posted publicly online (not sure why) so if you send me a PM through the forum here, or contact me through email or Facebook, I can send it to you. Thanks!

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