Yottsu Mae Undō no Karatedō
Yottsu-Mae Undō no Karatedō (“Fourth Exercise of the Empty-Hand Way”), reiterates the core concepts from Mittsu-Mae Undō no Karatedō by presenting them in new applications. Applications of tate-shutō uchi, uraken uchi, and transitional stances are also presented.
[video of Yottsu Mae, 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. ]
- Goshin-Jutsu bow, and snap into a ready stance facing #1.
- Pull your right foot up into attention stance, and step your right foot back to #5. Immediately slide your left foot back into an attention stance, while using your shoulders to rotate your arms up along your sides. Form a diamond with your thumbs and index fingers directly overhead, and look through this “Eye of Heaven.”
- Flip your wrists forward (so your fingers point towards #1) while maintaining the Eye of Heaven. Forcefully exhale with ibuki breathing as you slowly lower the Eye to the knot of your belt. Synchronize your breathing and movement so that your lungs are completely empty when the Eye reaches the knot.
- Quickly look to #3. Twist into a right cat stance facing #3, with a left rising block. Execute a left front kick.
- Upon re-chambering, slide your left foot out to #4, entering a left front stance facing #3, with a right tate-shutō uchi.
- Pull your right foot up into a left cat stance, facing #3, with both of your hands on left hip (right fist on top). Quickly look over your left shoulder to #7. Invert your cat stance, ending in a right cat stance.
- Make a make a small step to #2 (into a transitional right sanchin dachi) before twisting into a left cat stance facing #7, with a right rising block. Execute a right front kick.
- Upon re-chambering, slide your right foot out to #6, entering a right front stance facing #7, with a left tate-shutō uchi.
- Quickly look to #5. Shift into a transitional left back stance, then pull the left foot back into a left cat stance, with both hands on the left hip (right fist on top).
- Slide your right foot to #4, entering a right front stance facing #5, with a right rising block. Execute a left uraken uchi.
- Quickly look over your left shoulder to #8. Pull your left leg up into a right cat stance, with both of your hands on right hip (left fist on top).
- Step your left foot back to #1, entering a left front stance facing #8 with a left downward-fist block. Execute a pursuit hassō-shutō uchi to #8.
- Shift into a transitional left back stance, then pull your right foot back into a transitional right cat stance, and then up into a right sleeping crane stance facing #1, with a left rising block.
- Slide your right foot down into an [[Transitional stances|transitional] bent-knees attention stance, then immediately slide your right foot out to #7, entering a horse stance facing #1, with a right punch. Turn the right hand to a thumb-down position, and grab the opponent’s lapel with a grasping block. Pull the opponent off-balance with the reciprocal hand as you attack with a left punch.
- Pull your foot in, and enter an attention stance. Goshin-Jutsu bow.
Movement 2 is the “Eye of Heaven,” and it will appear in later kata. Largely a symbolic gesture, it is also a critical coordination drill. Many novice students have difficulty coordinating their upper and lower bodies. The Eye of Heaven will expose this problem, so the affected students can be prescribed the coordination drills they desperately need.
Students tend to lose their balance on Movement 13. The trick is to turn the left foot, so its toes point to #1.
It doesn’t matter what foot you use to step into attention stance before the closing bow in Movement 15. We typically step towards the center of the ring or room, just for aesthetics.
Movements 4-8 demonstrates a simple defense that can be applied equally well against punches to the head, front chokes, lapel grabs, and downward knife stabs à la Hitchcock’s Psycho. As the opponent rushes in to attack, their hands are brushed off by the rising block, distracting them long enough for you land a front kick to their groin. As the opponent doubles-over with pain, capitalize upon their forward momentum, and break their jaw or neck with a tate-shutō.
Movement 10 deals with an opponent who is rushing in for a tackle. Many attackers like to get close as possible, since standard punches will be jammed up from that position. However, this is why non-standard strikes, like uraken uchi, were developed.
Movement 12 describes a basic defense applicable to a variety of right kicks (e.g., front kick, side kick, roundhouse kick) -- by deflecting it to the side with a downward-fist block, and driving forward to break their collarbone with a hassō-shutō.
Movement 13 can be thought of as defense against a the classic 1-2 jab-cross combination quickly sifting to the side to evade a left front-foot punch, and throwing a left block to deflect a follow-up right reverse punch to your head up and away from your face. You counter in Movement 14, when you throw a punch to their throat immediately upon settling in your horse stance. Immediately turn your hand over to grab the opponent’s lapel, and pull them into another punch to finish them off.