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nielmag
nielmag's picture
Stepping Backwards in Kihon

Was just thinking while doing kihon the other day.  I dont think stepping backwards shows up too much in Shotokan kata that is taught up to 1st dan (i know in Bassai Dai there is one sequence where 3 knifehands going forward and 1 backward).  Is  stepping backward emphasized in basic kihon (EG rising block step backward into front stance, downward block, etc) because when Karate was introduced at the university level, due to space limitations, easier to go backwards and forwards in a straight line as well as it seemed to fit the militarized style of calesthetics?  Is going backwards not in kata because as I heard one well known karate instructor say "theres no future in going backwards"? in otherwards its not a good idea in self defense?  Seems like there is a lot of going forwards, getting to certain angles, pivoting for throws, etc.  ive read iain's article on stances, but I would just like to get everyones thoughts on going backwards.

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

my friend, you need to "read" the kata to a deeper level

A step forward can also be a step back, a closed fist can also be a grab, and many other things just there infront of you, they're not hidden, they're just waiting for you to see them

nielmag
nielmag's picture

Black Tiger wrote:

my friend, you need to "read" the kata to a deeper level

A step forward can also be a step back, a closed fist can also be a grab, and many other things just there infront of you, they're not hidden, they're just waiting for you to see them

Interesting.  I get fist can be a grab, block can be a strike, a lock, etc.  Wasnt sure stepping back was that prevelant, can you give me an example of stepping forward can be step back?

karate10
karate10's picture

Self discovery is the key not only in life, but also in Karate...Whay I love about Karate is that it's an endless story with some thing new I learn in my Senseis dojo everytime I step onto the wooden floor......Normally for Ippon-Sanbon Kumite, when you use Uke countering with a strike, typically we move forward and backwards, also in our dojo, we also side ways and to the angles as well so we the students can get use to the action and reaction with no hesitation.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I think it's true you need to be able to apply yourt stuff moving backward, forward, whatever.

I've come to the conclusion that moving backwards blocking in kihon as it's often done is bad training though, maybe not bad training..but training where the negatives  outweigh the positives.

Stuff like sandangi in Goju Ryu i've pretty much abandoned as it just teaches so many bad things along with the good stuff - teaching people the mechanics, forcing use of the stances. The bad stuff is moving backwards a bunch, teaching isolated 'blocks' as seperate entities, and getting people accustomed to a very artificial kind of punch and timing.

Bascially, it just lacks too many "real" factors to be worth it. The uke waza motions work very well for receiving attacks, especially the "x form" from the inner hand crossing the centerline..it just doesn't play out the way it does in kihon, so I still do "kihon", I just try to use the drills where we press in, take angles, stuff attacks etc..it's the same techniques, they are just being used functionally instead of ..being "presented".

The consensus of people I trust seems to be that alot of modern kihon stuff was just made up because modern students are too easily bored by just having to practice standing, stepping, thrusts etc., and to teach large groups of people.

karate10
karate10's picture

I agree that stepping backwards for blocking is good training for basic understanding, but in practical street situation, we definetely won't be doing anything like that unless we can convert using "jodan uke" as an entry atemi using empi (elbow) for example, Jodan uke(Can also be a strike/defense application) to the face level of your opponent by seizing the moment of attack to disturbing his/her flow, follow up with other technique combinations. As far as stance is concern, I would maintain in Kumite dachi or heiko dachi so my opponent won't know whats coming to them in street scenario

Zach Zinn wrote:

I think it's true you need to be able to apply yourt stuff moving backward, forward, whatever.

I've come to the conclusion that moving backwards blocking in kihon as it's often done is bad training though, maybe not bad training..but training where the negatives  outweigh the positives.

Stuff like sandangi in Goju Ryu i've pretty much abandoned as it just teaches so many bad things along with the good stuff - teaching people the mechanics, forcing use of the stances. The bad stuff is moving backwards a bunch, teaching isolated 'blocks' as seperate entities, and getting people accustomed to a very artificial kind of punch and timing.

Bascially, it just lacks too many "real" factors to be worth it. The uke waza motions work very well for receiving attacks, especially the "x form" from the inner hand crossing the centerline..it just doesn't play out the way it does in kihon, so I still do "kihon", I just try to use the drills where we press in, take angles, stuff attacks etc..it's the same techniques, they are just being used functionally instead of ..being "presented".

The consensus of people I trust seems to be that alot of modern kihon stuff was just made up because modern students are too easily bored by just having to practice standing, stepping, thrusts etc., and to teach large groups of people.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Quote:

I agree that stepping backwards for blocking is good training for basic understanding, but in practical street situation, we definetely won't be doing anything like that unless we can convert using "jodan uke" as an entry atemi using empi (elbow) for example, Jodan uke(Can also be a strike/defense application) to the face level of your opponent by seizing the moment of attack to disturbing his/her flow, follow up with other technique combinations. As far as stance is concern, I would maintain in Kumite dachi or heiko dachi so my opponent won't know whats coming to them in street scenario

What I try to ddo is have a basic fence and posture to work our 'kihons' from, and vary how you start them. Beyond that..yes of course the uke waza lead to forearm smashes, imbalances, strikes etc. However, for brand new people (which is what i'm assuming most people use the traditional kihon for) for me it's worked well to start with simply learning a bit about how to not get hit, how to use angles to better position, and how to use a parry and shield type motion to violently stuff attacks (implicit in all the basic uke waza imo) before connecting it stuff I consider more broadly effective. I'm sure plenty disagree with that, it's just been my experience so far. I try to move to more proactive uses of the motions quickly, but so far it has been a good thing to solidly put out some non diagnostic ways of dealing with getting hit.

Katz
Katz's picture

Try doing you kata backwards, you'll have plenty of steps back. And you'll find plenty of new ways to do your moves. It's a very interesting, if challenging, exercise. :)

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

Personally I do not think stepping back is found to much in classical kata as already said it isn't a great way to defend against an aggresive attacker.

Where it does appear, I see alot of grappling/locking and using the shift back to gain space (to kick) or leverage to an entangled limb etc.

There is also some merit to the strategy of stepping back out of range once you have unloaded on an attacker - to give them the benefit of the broken knee cap, i.e. rather than staying in range to be grappled etc. Stepping back also has some use in multiple or weapon scenarios but granted none of this is good news!

Interestingly in our Shorin Ryu we NEVER choose to step straight back, but we understand sometimes we do not have the choice - we do step back and take an angle, but not so much from classical kata this is more of an entry technique, change body/tai sabaki is a big part of our karate strategies.

Our kata are, off the top of my head and more 'obvious' step/shuffle backs-

Pinan Shodan/Nidan - no steps back until end Naihanchi Shodan/Nidan - no steps back Passai Sho/Dai - 1 step back in each (clearly stepping back to kick) plus the three morote tsuki that go in/out towards the end Rohai - 3 shift backs, not steps to get out of range to draw a kick entry, then shift back into the crane positions, 3 morote tsuki like Passai, then 2 steps back at end to show kamaete/exit tactics Chinto - step back at begining, clearly grappling, shift back to double kick to make range right and open opponent. Gojushiho - some grappling stepping back going on but only in 2 places. Kusanku - some drawing back to entangle and kick underneath arms/necks.

Some of the big turns could be considered stepping back, just with the attacker and using torque of course. I have proberly missed some of course, I do not agree any step forward can be a step back - but you most certainly do what you need to do in any given situation, you dont fight in a sequence!

Finlay
Finlay's picture

some reason to step back in my opinion, could be

- a reaction to surprise attack, then the following movement shoulod have you recovering your position

- sweeping the legs especially if the hands are also going out or down

- strong pulling motion

- exiting the fight

karate10
karate10's picture

I concur with your comment........In my dojo, my sensei have a syllabus for san kyu and up for Katas Pinan/Heian: Shodan,Nidan,Sandan, Yondan and Godan in reverse or simply (Ura's) which is good to build a strong foundation of balance, additional bunkai application,e.t.c... But, It's a challenge...I find it, believe it or not, additional Bunkais which is very helpful in Ura(reverse) situation......The vids I purchase from Iain gave me a broader idea not only in the basics, but in certain situation as well.

Katz wrote:

Try doing you kata backwards, you'll have plenty of steps back. And you'll find plenty of new ways to do your moves. It's a very interesting, if challenging, exercise. :)

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

I ruled out performing kata backwards or even on opposite side as 'particulary useful' a few years back, for me the investment of time and energy can be spent doing them the right way round and working with the kata in other areas.

Don't get me wrong it is interesting and things can be found doing such things, just not for me.

Jason Lester
Jason Lester's picture

Hi guys, again one needs to look deeper into moving backwards and forwards.

Look at it like this, close quarter, your in a clinch, drive your leg into their leg, theres your step through.

Moving back etc, same scenario, close quarter, depending were your opponents leg is step back sweeping your attacker etc taking them of balance.

Hope this is of some help.

Al the best,

Jason