Katachi no Chugoku-te Dō

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Katachi no Chugoku-te Dō (“Form of the China-Hand Way”) is another exploration into the understated Chinese influences on karate. This kata uses lots of spinning footwork transitions in order to teach students how to fluidly move from one movement to the next. By remaining in motion, you become harder to stop. Once students learn how to transition from any one technique to another, they can custom-tailor their response to the given situation without conscious thought or effort. They cease to perform techniques; they are the techniques, much like when the dancer becomes the dance.

Directions

[video of Chugoku-te, 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. ]

Points of Harmony.png
  1. Quickly look to #3. Twist counter-clockwise into a left hook stance facing #5, with a left ridgehand block, that turns to a grasping block, and then right two-fingered spearhand strike (palm up) to the opponent’s eyes or throat.
  2. Quickly look to #7. Twist into a right hook stance facing #5, with a right ridgehand block, that turns to a grasping block, and then left two-fingered spearhand strike (palm up) to the opponent’s eyes or throat.
  3. Quickly look to #5. Step your right foot to #6, and shift into a left full-side-facing to #5, with a right outside ridgehand block, to #5. This block guards your midsection, like a chūdan uke.
  4. Shift into a right full-side-facing to #4, with a right thumbknuckle block. Pull your right hand to your right hip, trapping the opponent’s fist.
  5. Grab your opponent’s hair with your left hand. Lift your heels off the ground, and rotate on the balls of your feet into a left full-side-facing to #5, pulling the opponent’s head from your right hip to you left hip, using your thigh as anvil for a right shutō strike to their neck or jaw.
  6. Grab the opponent’s face with your right hand. Step your right foot to #8, entering a left hook stance facing #5, rotating your hands clockwise as you pull them to your right hip.
  7. Quickly look over your left shoulder to #2. Throw your hands up by your right ear and throw a right knee kick to #6.
  8. Without re-chambering, set your right foot down at #7, and twist into a left front stance facing #2 with a left outside shutō block a right tate-shutō to the opponent’s bicep.
  9. Grab the opponent’s wrist with a left grasping block, and execute a right front kick, pulling your hands to your hips.
  10. Reach behind the opponent’s head with your left hand, and pull it into a right forward elbow strike. This will make a satisfying clap.
  11. Quickly look over your right shoulder to #7, entering a left walking crane stance to #2, with a right side guard.
  12. Enter a right hook stance facing #2, with a low-level pressing block to #7. Cover the right side of your face with your left hand.
  13. Execute a left knee block, and pivot clockwise on the ball of your right foot. Step your right foot to #7, entering a right full-side-facing to #5, with a left makkikomi-shutō to #7.
  14. Slide your right foot up into a left cat stance facing #5 with a left downward pressing block at groin level, and a right palmheel 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.]
  15. Execute a right side thrust kick to #5.
  16. Upon re-chambering, step your right foot to #4, entering a deep front stance to #5, with a left low-level pressing block to #1.
  17. Kneel on your right knee to #7, with a right rising ridgehand strike to the opponent’s groin at #7.
  18. Pivot on your right knee to #8, with a downward X-block (with closed fists).
  19. Rise up into a left walking crane stance facing #8, with a right side guard.
  20. Enter a right hook stance facing #2, with a low-level pressing block to #7. Cover the right side of your face with your left hand.
  21. Step your left foot out to #3, entering a left full-side-facing to #1, with a right outside shutō block to #7.
  22. Grab the opponent’s wrist with a right grasping block, and shift into a right front stance facing #8 with a left tate tsuki.
  23. Execute a right nami-ashi. Step your right foot to #1, entering a horse stance facing #3 with a simultaneous right makkikomi-shutō to the opponent’s temple, and a left tate-shutō to their neck. Strike through the opponent, snapping your hands to your left hip.
  24. Press your left palm against your right fist, and execute a right outside elbow strike to the opponent’s face, then immediately drive your elbow down onto their collarbone, rolling the opponent over your hip in a variant of kokyūhō.
  25. Cross your arms over your chest (left over right), and execute a right knee block, spinning counter-clockwise into a walking crane stance facing #3. Pull your hands to your hips as you execute a right stomp kick.
  26. Upon re-chambering, step your right foot to #7, entering a horse stance facing #1, with a downward X-block. Grab the opponent’s ankle, and pull your hands to your hips.
  27. Enter an attention stance, and Goshin-Jutsu bow.

Notes

Because of its many spinning movements and crane stances, this kata makes an excellent sobriety test.

There is some flexibility in how the opening of this kata is performed. The two-fingered spearhand strike in Movements 1 or 2 can be directed at either the eyes or the throat, depending on the situation. Eye-poking is less-effective when the opponent is wearing is glasses. If you decide to spear the opponent’s eyes, you can use either a standard or a “Stooges” two-fingered spearhand.

Do not raise you center during Movement 5; only raise your heels.

When spinning in Movement 25, you need to cross your hands over your chest to increase your angular momentum, making the spin easier. Pulling your hands to your hips on the stomp kick will help you keep your balance.

Bunkai

An opponent advances from #3, attacking with a pursuit punch to your jaw or temple. However, you swat their punch aside with a ridgehand block. Grabbing their arm, you pull them into a spearhand strike to the eyes or throat (Movement 1). This series is repeated against another opponent who approaches from #7 (Movement 2). Please note that this technique works equally wall against either right or left punches.

Another opponent approaches from #5, attacking with a pursuit punch to your midsection, which you deflect with another ridgehand block (Movement 3). Trapping the opponent’s hand with a thumbknuckle block, you pull them off-balance (Movement 4) and grab them by the hair. Pulling them by the hair, rest their head on your thigh, which acts as an anvil (“a karate-chopping block”) for a right shutō to their neck or jaw (Movement 5). Grabbing the opponent by the face and the back of the head, your sharply twist their head as you pull it to your right hip, snapping their neck (Movement 6). To keep the opponent’s corpse from collapsing atop of you and compromising your balance, you simultaneously prop them up with your knee and shrug them aside (Movement 7).

Another opponent approaches from #2, attacking with a right punch to your face. You block their attack with an outside shutō block, and simultaneously deliver a Tate-shutō to the groove between their right bicep and triceps. This will strike their radial nerve, causing incredible pain with some temporary loss of arm function (Movement 8). Grabbing their wrist, you pull the opponent into a front kick to their abdomen or groin (Movement 9) to get them to collapse forward. Then, reach behind their head and pull it in to a forward , using their forward momentum to augment a forward elbow strike to their face (Movement 10).

Another opponent approaches from #7. You assume a guard stance in preparation of their attack, and move to the side, to let the previous attacker collapse between you and the new opponent, creating an obstacle (Movement 11). The opponent kicks over-top their fallen comrade, but you swat this attack aside (Movement 12), then twist around, simultaneously stepping over the fallen opponent and off-balancing the opponent further by swatting their thigh to the side with your knee as they re-chamber. Then, strike their neck with a makkikomi-shutō (Movement 13).

Another opponent approaches from #5, attacking with a pursuit punch. You simultaneously deflect their punch downward with your left hand while pushing their elbow up with your right hand, placing the opponent in a standing arm bar. Continue to hyperextend their elbow until it snaps (Movement 14). Then clear them away with a side thrust kick to their abdomen (Movement 15).

The strike to the neck was not sufficient to stop the attacker at #7, who attacks with a left kick. You evade and deflect their attack (Movement 16), and hit with with rising ridgehand strike in the groin as they re-chamber their kick (Movement 17). Jam their right leg with an X-block so they can’t kick you in the face (Movement 18). As the opponent switches to an appropriate stance, cover yourself and enter a guard position (Movement 19). When the opponent throws a left front kick, move away from them, and swat the kick aside (Movement 20). When the opponent follows up with a right pursuit punch, step back to evade it, and block it with an outside shutō block (Movement 21) before grabbing their wrist and pulling them in to a tate tsuki to their floating ribs (Movement 22).

Another opponent approaches from #1, frantically attacking with a right haymaker. You step in, towards the opponent, so that their large, looping punch wraps around you, and you rain pain on their temple and neck with a simultaneous makkikomi-shutō and a tate-shutō and (Movement 23). Pushing them up with your elbow, you roll the opponent backward, over your hip, in a variant of kokyūhō (Movement 24), before spinning around and crushing them with a stomp kick (Movement 25). In a desperation move, the opponent swings their leg up to strike you in the groin. Trap their leg with an X-block, grab their ankle, and twist it until it dislocates (Movement 26).