Chūgoku no Chikara Himitsu
Chūgoku no Chikara Himitsu (“The Secret Power of China”) is an odd name for a karate kata. In the past, the Chinese influences on karate were down-played or intentionally covered-up. The names of all of the kata -- and even the name of the art itself -- were changed to appeal to the tastes of Imperial Japan. Prior to the 1920’s, the Okinawans called their fighting art “Tang hands” (to-te). (The Okinawans used “Tang” and “China” interchangeably, since the Chinese made first contact during their Tang dynasty.)
However the world has grown too small, and its problems have grown too large to keep feeding into petty nationalism. Goshin-Jutsu Karatedō is fully cognizant of the Chinese roots of karate, and has come to embrace them. This allows us to have the bone-crushing power of karate strikes with the free-flowing fluid motions of kung-fu, while sparing us the rigid inflexibility that the critics of karate denounce.
Chūgoku no Chikara Himitsu is appropriate for intermediate students and higher; while it is not a difficult form, it requires prior knowledge and experience to understand. It is a good stepping-stone to our advanced kata, which will progressively become more fluid.
[video of Hajimete, performed fast and slow, viewed from cameras at #1, 3, 7, 5. Be sure that you take up the whole frame. A lot of our old kata videos are from too far away, and it hides some detail. ]
- Quickly look to #7. Pull your right leg in, and pivot clockwise on the ball of your left foot to #7, with a right knee block. Enter a left cat stance, facing #7, with a right outside shutō block.
- Execute a right grasping block, and shift forward into a short front stance facing #7, then counterattack with a left four-fingered spearhand strike to the opponent’s throat.
- Quickly look over your left shoulder to #3. Pull your left leg in, and pivot counter-clockwise on the ball of your right foot to #3, with a left knee block. Enter a right cat stance, facing #3, with a left outside shutō block.
- Execute a left grasping block, and shift forward into a short front stance facing #3, then counterattack with a right four-fingered spearhand strike to the opponent’s throat.
- Quickly look to #1. Pull your right leg up into a left sleeping crane stance facing #1 with right ridgehand block.
- Execute a right grasping block, and step your right foot back to #6, entering a right back stance facing #1 with a left pressing block.
- Execute a right knee kick. Upon returning to a left front stance, reach your left hand behind the opponent’s head and pull it into a right forward elbow strike. (This should make a satisfying clap.)
- Keeping your elbows where they are, reach forward with both hands; the left arm is high, and the right arm is low, to clear the opponent away.
- While ibuki breathing, pull your right leg up to a sanchin dachi facing #1, with your hands in a spearhand guard; with your right hand at throat-level, and your left hand at solar plexus level.
Then switch your guard; lowering your right hand to solar plexus level, and raising your left hand to throat level.
- Left nami ashi, and pull hands to your hips, with your palms facing up. Step your left foot out to #2, entering a left front stance to #1 with an open-handed downward X-block.
- Left nami ashi, and pull hands to your hips, with your palms facing up. Step your left foot out to #2, entering a left front stance to #1 with an “incorrect” (left arm on top) open-handed rising X-block.
- Immediately perform a right grasping block. Right nami ashi, stepping your right foot out to #5, entering a horse stance facing #7 with a left backfist strike to #1.
- Twist and kneel on your right knee, facing #1 with a right rising ridgehand strike to the opponent’s groin.
- Perform a right kakutō uchi to their solar plexus as they bends down. Prop the opponent up with a left rising palmheel strike to the solar plexus, and rechamber your right hand to hip.
- Right gyaku-sukuite.
- Quickly look to #3. Stand up and twist into a right cat stance f facing #3, with a left outside shutō block.
- Use the walking cat transition to enter a left cat stance facing #3, with a right outside shutō block
- Use the walking cat transition to enter right cat stance facing #3, with a left outside shutō block.
- Pull up into a left sleeping crane stance facing #3, with a right ridgehand block.
- Turn your ridgehand over into a right grasping block. Set your right foot down in a transitional attention stance before sliding it to #1, entering a horse stance facing #3, with a:
- Quickly look over your left shoulder to #7. Pull your right leg in, and pivot clockwise on the ball of your left foot to #7, with a right knee block. Enter a left cat stance, facing #7, with a right knifu kinniku.
- Use the walking cat transition to enter right cat stance facing #7, with a left outside shutō block.
- Use the walking cat to enter a left cat stance facing #7, with a right outside shutō block.
- Pull up into a right sleeping crane stance facing #7, with a left ridgehand block.
- Turn your ridgehand over into a left grasping block. Set your right foot down in a transitional attention stance before sliding it to #1, entering a horse stance facing #7, with a:
- Quickly look to #1. Twist into a right cat stance with a left outside shutō block.
- Shift into a left hook stance facing #3, with a right pressing block to #3
- Reach your left arm across your chest to grasp the opponent’s wrist, forearm, or sleeve. Right nami-ashi, and slide your right foot out to #1, entering a horse stance facing #3, with a right backfist strike to #1.
- Quickly look to #5. Drop your center as low as you can, and place your hands on your quadriceps.
- Step your right foot to #4, quickly looking over your right shoulder to #5. Twist into a deep right front stance facing #5, with a right downward shutō block.
- Shift your weight back, and slide your right foot to #2, entering a right cat stance with a left outside shutō block. Execute a left two-fingered spearhand strike to the opponent’s eyes.
- Grab the opponent's hair with your left hand, and pull them into a left front kick.
- Upon re-chambering, step your left foot out to #6, entering a left front stance facing #5. Pull your left hand to your left hip, and execute a right hassō-shutō to your left hip as well.
- Quickly look to #4. Shift into a left walking crane stance facing #6, with a left downward pressing block at groin level, and a right palm-heel to chin level. Your right wrist is twisted such that it looks like you threw a tate-shutō.
This position will be referred to as a “Chugoku-te guard.” Refer to the photo below.
[picture of a Chugoku-te guard from the front and side.]
- Execute a simultaneous right side thrust kick and a right backfist strike to #4.
- Upon re-chambering, step your right foot to #5 and shift into a right full-side-facing with a downward-fist block to #1, and a cross-body block to #5.
- Pull up into an attention stance. Goshin-Jutsu bow.
It is critical that you emphasize twisting into the opponent on Movement 6. If you just step back into your stance, you will not have enough power to break the opponent’s elbow.
The guard-switching in Movement 9 is a circular movement confined to a vertical plane.
Be sure to bring your knee block across your chest before turning in Movement 21. You need to wildly exaggerate this move, since it requires lots of momentum to perform smoothly.
Once you look at the opponent in Movement 29, do not look away from them. Immediately turn to look at them again once you step, so that your head remains fixed, and your body rotates beneath you. This way, the spin won’t make you dizzy, preserving your balance.
.An opponent approaches from #7, and attacks from close range, but you deflect the attack (Movement 1) and crush their throat. (Movement 2). This series is repeated on the other side, to help ingrain it into the student’s muscle memory (Movements 3 and 4).
Another opponent attacks your with a right pursuit punch from #1, which you evade and deflect (Movement 5), before disabling their arm with an elbow break (Movement 6), and using their compromised position to set up a knee kick and a forward elbow strike to the face (Movement 7). To prevent the now-unconscious opponent from compromising your balance by collapsing on top of you, you extend your arms out to clear the opponent away with your forearms. If the fall towards, the left, they will be swept down and aside by your downward block; if they fall to the right, they will be taken down with a variant of kokyūhō (Movement 8).
As you clear the opponent aside, another opponent immediately approaches from #1. Without time to evade, you drop your center, and assume sanchin dachi with ibuki breathing to steel yourself for impact. By assuming a spearhand guard, you prevent the opponent from entering the clinch, since they can’t run in without stabbing their own throats. By switching between spearhand guards, you can exploit the wedge technique to deflect incoming attacks (Movement 9).
As the opponent presses on, executing a nami-ashi initially tricks them into thinking that you offer no resistance, since you are not pushing back, but by suddenly assume a solid stance, the opponent’s low-level attack is abruptly stopped (Movement 10). This is repeated for the opponent’s follow-up high-level attack, which you jam up in a non-standard way (Movement 11) to help setup a backfist strike (Movement 12) needed as an atemi to stun the opponent long enough for you to smash their testicles with a rising ridgehand strike (Movement 13). Since groin injury causes men to reflexively double-over, the opponent will fall on top of you unless you prop them up again (Movement 14). Once that is done, you are free to annihilate their chances of conception with a gyaku-sukuite -- another rising ridgehand strike to the groin, clenching their testicles in your hand, and using your extended arm to deliver a hassō-shutō to their bladder -- all augmented by the horrific, scissor-like reciprocal action (Movement 15).
Another opponent rushes in from #3, with a right punch. By standing to deflect this, you will simultaneously clear the previous opponent away with a hip check (Movement 16). The opponent continues to punch, but you continue to deflect those blows and close in (Movements 17 and 18), before evading (Movement 16) and countering with a series of blows (Movement 20). This series is also repeated on the other side, to help ingrain it into the student’s muscle memory (Movements 21-25).
A new attacker appears at #5, swinging with a right haymaker, which you duck (Movement 29), before striking their thigh with a shutō strike to off-balance them and/or give them a Charlie Horse (Movement 30). Unphased, the opponent attacks with another right punch, which you evade, block, and counter by piercing their eye (Movement 31), as an atemi to pull them into a front kick (Movement 32). You pull the opponent’s head to your left hip as a “karate chopping block,” to maximize the damage from the shutō strike to the side of their jaw or neck (Movement 33).
Two of the attackers from earlier have regained their composure, and team up to attack you simultaneously from #4 and #6. You deflect the opponent’s punch from #6 by placing them in a standing arm bar (Movement 34). You stop the opponent at #4 with a side thrust kick, and take advantage of their crumpling effect to augment a backfist strike to the side of their jaw or their temple (Movement 35). Finally, you strike the previously arm barred attacker with a backfist strike to the philtrum while striking an awesome pose, just because (Movement 36).
Having defeated all those wishing to harm you, the encounter ends (Movement 37).