Gopeishō

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Gopeishō is named after the Ho Pei school of Hsing-I (Xinyichu’an), where it was developed. This kata then made its way to Okinawa, where the school’s name was transliterated Go Pei. The “shō” indicates that there was a pair of forms, hat this is the smaller/lesser/shorter one. The kata is said to have been based on observing territorial battles between peacocks. This kata became a standard part of the Shuri-ryū Karate curriculum, which was then cross-pollinated into our art.

Goshin-Justu students are not required to learn Gopeishō; it is considered an apocryphal kata. However, intermediate students or higher are invited to work on if they can find the time.

Directions

[video of Godan, 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.]


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  1. Enter a left sleeping crane stance, facing #1. Your hands are overhead, with your right fist inside the palm of your left open hand. Nod your head, and close your eyes.
  2. Shift into a left fighting crane stance facing #1. Open your eyes, and raise your head.
  3. Step your right foot to #7, entering a horse stance facing #1, with double downward-fist blocks to #3 and #7.
  4. Execute a right foot sweep with a double downward pressing block (your right hand is on top).]
  5. Step your left foot out to #3, entering a horse stance facing #1. Peel the opponent’s hands off of your throat or lapels. This is just like preparing for a wristlocks.
  6. Execute a double tiger claw strike to the opponent’s eyes, then immediately strike both collarbones (clavicles) with a double seiryūtō strikes.
  7. Rapidly execute a:
  8. Execute a left foot sweep with a double downward pressing block (your left hand is on top).
  9. Step your left foot out to #7, entering a horse stance facing #1. Peel the opponent’s hands off of your throat or lapels. This is just like preparing for a wristlocks.
  10. Execute a double tiger claw strike to the opponent’s eyes, then immediately strike both collarbones (clavicles) with a double seiryūtō strikes.
  11. Rapidly execute a:
  12. Execute a simultaneous left downward-fist block and a right cross-body block.
  13. Execute a right nami-ashi, sliding your right foot to #1, entering a horse stance facing #3, with a simultaneous right downward-fist block and a left cross-body block.
  14. Shift into a right full-side-facing (with your chest turned to #3) with a left low-level pressing block to #5.
  15. Twist into a one-line left front stance facing #5, with a right two-finger spearhand strike.
  16. Step your right foot to #4, entering a right front stance, and rapidly perform a:
  17. Right nami-ashi, sliding your foot out to #2, and entering a horse stance facing #4, and rapidly perform the following, all directed at #2:
  18. Snap your head to #6, shifting into a one-line back stance facing #6, with a tiger-claw guard.
  19. Right nami-ashi, and reach your left hand behind the opponent’s head. Slide you right foot out to #6, entering a horse stance facing #8 with a right inside elbow strike.
  20. Pull your right foot back into an attention stance facing #8, and execute a simultaneous right side kick and a right backfist strike, both to #6
  21. Upon re-chambering, slide your right foot out to #5, entering a front stance facing #6, with a double tate tsuki.
  22. Snap your head to #2. Twist into a one-line back stance facing #2 with a left downward-fist block.
  23. Shift forward into a one-line front stance facing #2, with a right gyaku-sukuite. Finish by pulling your right hand up to a cross-body block directed at #7.
  24. Execute a left foot sweep with a double downward pressing block (your left hand is on top).
  25. Step your left foot out to #7, entering a horse stance facing #1. Peel the opponent’s hands off of your throat or lapels. This is just like preparing for a wristlock.
  26. Execute a double tiger claw strike to the opponent’s eyes, then immediately strike both collarbones (clavicles) with a double seiryūtō strikes.
  27. Shift into a left full-side-facing (with your torso turned to #1) with a right outside shutō block to #7. Seize the opponent’s wrist with a right grasping block.
  28. Step your right foot to #6. Shift into a front stance facing #7 with a left palmheel strike to the opponent’s elbow.
  29. Quickly look to #2. Reach your left hand behind opponent’s head at #2. Right inside crescent kick your left hand for a satisfying clap.
  30. Upon re-chambering, slide your right foot out to #2, entering a horse stance facing #4 with a right inside elbow strike. Follow up with a backfist strike to #2.
  31. Step your right foot behind yourself to #5. Turn to a front stance facing #6, with a double tate tsuki to #6.
  32. Enter a left fighting crane stance, facing #1, with your hands are overhead. Your right fist is inside the palm of your left open hand.
  33. Shift into a left sleeping crane stance facing #1. Close your eyes, and not your head.
  34. Attention stance. Goshin-Jutsu bow.

Notes

The tiger claw guard from Movement 18 is just a regular fighting stance guard, but your hands are in tiger claws, with your palms facing outward.

Movements 7 and 11 are often confused. Remember to block to the direction you just stepped.

Bunkai

While performing meditation and balance training exercises (Movement 1), you sense something wrong (Movement 2).

An opponent from #1 attempts to grab you with double underhooks, but you sink your center extra low for additional stability and sweep their arms aside (Movement 3). The opponent tries to grab ahold of you with a standard jūdō grip (i.e., simultaneously grabbing the right lapel and grasping the left sleeve just under the elbow), but you parry their arms with a double downward pressing block, and try to disrupt their balance with a leg sweep (Movement 4). However, the opponent evades by sidestepping. You sidestep as well, so the opponent cannot maneuver around you. The opponent reacts by grabbing your throat or lapels, but you peel their hands off, as though you were to perform wristlocks (Movement 5). Instead, rake the opponent’s eyes with double tiger claw strikes, and break both their collarbones (clavicles) with a double seiryūtō strike (Movement 6). The opponent fights through the pain and lashes out with a right punch to your solar plexus, which you shrug aside with a left downward-fist block, and counter with a right punch to their groin. As the opponent reflexively leans forward from the pain, their motion will augment a quick right kakutō uchi to their chin, which props them up just to be knocked down with a right hook punch to their temple (Movement 7).

The above series is mirrored when another opponent with similar intentions appears from #1 (Movements 8-11). When that series is complete, execute a left downward-fist block and a right chūdan uke (Movement 12); the left hand directs the unconscious opponent downward, and the right hand sets up the next movement, where you shrug them aside with hip check and right downward-fist block (Movement 13).

Another opponent approaches from #5, and attacks with a kick, which you deflect to the side (Movement 14) and immediately counter with a right two-fingered spearhand strike to the opponent’s throat or eye (Movement 15). Immediately close in with a right rising elbow strike to the chin, which knocks the opponent’s head back and sets up a right downward backfist strike to the bridge of their nose. Perform a right downward-fist block, simply because you should not perform more than three offensive moves in a row without evaluating your defense and stancework; people tend to get carried away while attacking, and this inadvertently creates the openings which lead to their downfall. Once you are certain that you are solid, crumple the opponent with a left pursuit punch (Movement 16).

Another opponent approaches from #2 with a kick. You assume a side-facing posture, since it is quicker and provides the opponent with fewer targets, and you deflect their kick with a downward-fist block. The opponent follows-up with a punch, which you also quickly deflect, and in the process, setup a backfist strike to the bridge of their nose as a target-of-opportunity. However, this only angers the opponent, who rushes in to grab you with a standard jūdō grip. You brush their arms down and to the side with a downward-fist block; this causes the opponent to lean forward, augmenting your hook punch to their temple or the side of their jaw (Movement 17).

Another opponent approaches from #6, and you assume a guard position in anticipation of their attack (Movement 18). As they rush in to grab you, you reach behind their head, and pull them into an inside elbow strike to their temple or the side of their jaw (Movement 19). Immediately follow-up with a simultaneous side kick to their abdomen or groin, and throwing a backfist strike to the bridge of their nose. Since the opponent is leaning from their previous attack, both the strike and the kick will connect at the same time (Movement 20). Then, close in and crumple the opponent with a double tate tsuki to the abdomen (Movement 21).

The opponent at #2 has regained their composure, and kicks again. You notice them, maneuver into position, and deflect their kick (Movement 22) before finishing them off with a gyaku-sukuite performed in a dramatic fashion, to induce a chilling effect on the other would-be attackers (Movement 23).

Dauntless, another opponent rushes in from #1 to grab you with a standard jūdō grip (i.e., simultaneously grabbing the right lapel and grasping the left sleeve just under the elbow), but you parry their arms with a double downward pressing block, and try to disrupt their balance with a leg sweep (Movement 24). However, the opponent evades by sidestepping. You sidestep as well, so the opponent cannot maneuver around you. The opponent reacts by grabbing your throat or lapels, but you peel their hands off, as though you were to perform wristlocks (Movement 25). Instead, rake the opponent’s eyes with double tiger claw strikes, and break both their collarbones (clavicles) with a double seiryūtō strikes (Movement 26). The opponent fights through the pain and lashes out with a right punch, which you evade and block with a right shutō block, as a prelude to a wrist grab (Movement 27). Step back to pull the opponent off-balance before breaking their elbow with a palmheel strike (Movement 28). You then reach your left hand behind the opponent’s head to pull it into a right inside crescent kick (Movement 29), followed by a right inside elbow strike, either to their temple or the side of their jaw. As the opponent collapses backward, hit them with a backfist strike to the bridge of their nose for good measure (Movement 30).

The opponent at #2 has regained their composure, so quickly turn around and crumple them again with a double tate tsuki to the abdomen (Movement 31).

Having defeated all those who wish to arm you, you return to your meditation and balance training exercises (Movements 32-33) as you wait for the police cruisers and ambulances to arrive, ending the kata (Movement 34).