1: "Katas of Shorin ryu Seibukan" by Kim Mitrunen
& Tommi Prami
The Naifanchi (Daipochin)
kata comes from the famous Okinawan karate-ka, Choki Motobu, who is
famous for his actual active testing of bunkai in real fighting situations.
This sometimes happened by suspicious means, and many a teacher would
watch this kind of conduct with disapproving eyes. It was said that
Choki Motobu knew only three kata, the Naifanchi series, Wansu, and
Passai Guwa. Motobu for the most part, was victorious in his use of
the kata bunkai.
many Shorin-ryu styles, Naifanchi (Heishugata) acts as foundation
to further kata (Kaishugata) like Sanchin in the Goju-ryu system.
Master Tatsuo Shimabukuro, the founder of Isshin-ryu (blend of Goju-ryu
and Shorin-ryu), was quoted as saying that, “Naifanchi is mother
to Shorin-ryu and Sanchin is father to Goju-ryu.
The primary stance
in this series of kata is kiba dachi, which emphasizes the strengthening
of the legs and hips. A distinct characteristic of the kata is the
technique where the circular movement of the arms protects the head
in a block, while simultaneously setting up the opening for the uraken.
The appearance of kata can be seen as simple, but from careful study
and practice of the bunkai, it is very rich in techniques, and is
seen as an effective fighting system.
created both Naihanchi Shodan and Nidan from a kata called Naifanchi
that he got from a Chinese Master named Ason. Some believe either
Itosu or Choki Motobu made Naihanchi Sandan. Naihanchi Sandan is not
a Matsumura kata, passed down other Shorin lines. Funakoshi called
Naihanchi by the name Tekki, meaning "Iron Horse", which
refers to the stance used in it. "Iron" refers to its strength
and stability. "Horse" refers to the fact that it resembles
a man riding a horse. There is more than one possible meaning for
the word Naihanchi, and they are both very plausible. The pronunciation
of Naihanchi was originally Naifanchi, because that is the way it
was pronounced in China. The particle 'Nai' means "inner"
or "inside" and probably refers to pointing the toes inward.
'Fan' means a clawed foot of a certain animal. 'Chi' means the soil
or foundation. So the original name probably meant something to the
effect of being rooted to the ground in correct stance. Chin could
mean "battle" as it does in the word Sanchin. The word 'Naihan'
could refer to the narrow paths through rice fields that resemble
squares. Therefore, it could mean "battle in a rice field."
2: The kata of okinawa Ishin ryu karatedo by Joe Swift
Naihanchi (a.k.a. Naifuanchi) is typical of in-fighting techniques,
including grappling. There are three kata in modern (i.e. post 1900)
karate, with the second and third being thought to have been created
by Itosu Anko (Iwai, 1992; Kinjo, 1991a; Murakami, 1991). Another
popular theory is that originally the three were one kata, but were
broken up into three separate parts by Itosu.
This kata was not originally developed to be used when fighting against
a wall, but this does not preclude such interpretations. While the
kata itself goes side to side, the applications are more often than
not against an attacker who is in front of you, or grabbing at you
from the sides or behind. Some say that the side-to-side movement
is to build up the necessary balance and physique for quick footwork
and body-shifting (Kinjo, 1991b).
There are various theories as to what the kata were created for: some
say to fight against three people while one's back is against a wall,
others say they were designed to fight along the walkways of rice
paddies, and still others suggest that they are simply a means of
developing the legs and hips for a strong stance and powerful techniques.(2)
If one understands the bunkai of the Naihanchi forms, it is easy to
see the "against the wall" theory is improbable. The rice
paddy theory is more plausible, but very limiting (particularly if
the kata did come from China and represents Crane influence). The
third theory, the development of balance and strong technique is the
most likely explanation.
Also Known As: Daipochin, Naihanchi
Sho, Ni & San, Teki, Chulgi, Nihanshi
Meaning: Iron Horse, Fighting Holding Your Ground.
History: The kata is a widely used international form, which is performed
in many different styles of Karate as well as Kempo and Taekwondo
today. Because of the kata's complexity and length it was divided
into three sections for student learning and practice. The originator
of Nihanchi Sho is unknown but it is known that the three katas were
practiced as one single kata by Master Sokon (Bushi) Matsumura around
1825. Naihanchi was however handed down to Matsumura from earlier
times. This kata was also the favorite form of Yusutsune Itosu (1830-1915)
who was nicknamed "Iron Horse" because of his performance
of this kata. Itosu is said to have modified Sho and Ni and developed
Naihanchi San. This was confirmed in the writings of Mabuni and Funakoshi.
Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu, learned all three from Ankoh
Itosu. However, first, while traveling and studying, Mabuni learned
a form of Naihanchi from a student of Matsumura's namved Matayoshi.
When Mabuni returned and showed the kata to Itosu, his teacher remarked
that it was similar to the kata Matsumura had devised after training
with a Chinese attache named Channan. It was at this time that Itosu
confirmed that he (Itosu) had modified them as well.
Around 1895, Master Choki Motobu popularized the kata by daily performing
the three forms as one kata at least five hundred times. The three
Naihanchi katas performed as one became known as Motobu’s Kata,
and he is said to have stated many times, "There is only one
kata necessary to develop and excel in karate, and that is Naihanchi
as one." The form was developed as a defense against four to
eight opponents, with performer pinned against a wall defending to
the right, left or from the front, but never from the rear.
The composer of this kata is unknown, but it has long been treasured
by karateman from Shuri and Tomari. Many traditions assert that Soken
Matsumura created Naihanchi or based his version on older forms known
to him. Most Shorin-ryu styles practice tree distinct short form of
Naihanchi. Before Pinan's invention in 1907, Naihanchi kata were the
first forms taught to beginner level practitioners.
The most important purpose of Naihanchi lies not in the fighting skills
it develops, but in training the lower parts of the body through slow
and steady sideward movements. Developing strong legs and hips are
indispensable to karate training. According to Grandmaster Nagamine
the posture for Naihanchi is similar to the sitting posture for Zen,
with strength concentrated in the abdomen. Nagamine has stated that
the Naihanchi kata were a favorite of Choki Motabu. Naihanchi kata
is useful when there is limited space.
The punching and blocking motions are short because space is very
restricted. The short techniques make Naihanchi a very difficult kata
to master, and some consideration might be given to thinking of Naihanchi
as a more technically advanced level form. Naihanchi, or Tekki in
Japanese, translated means horse when riding. Some practitioners perform
Naihanchi with the knees directed inwards. This is incorrect posture
and the practitioner does this because they have not properly developed
their legs. When performing each of the Naihanchi kata, once the practitioner
drops into the horse stance it is critical to keep their height consistent
throughout the entire kata. The practitioner's height should not fluctuate
up and down. The only way to build power is not a stance is a strong
stance for defense from the front and rear of the practitioner. However,
it is extremely strong from the left and right sides of the practitioner.
The weight distribution is equally spread between the two legs. if
the weight is ever transferred to one leg the practitioner looses
all strength in the stance from the sides and is vulnerable to attack
from the left and right sides of the body. Therefore, when stepping
over to move in the horse stance in a sideways direction, the practitioner
must try and shorten the time the weight distribution is over the
supporting leg. This is one of the primary skills developed in the
three Naihanchi forms.