Naihanchi / Tekki, Kata Bunkai by Helmut Kogel
BLURB: The book focuses on the advanced and deeper applications (Ura Waza) of the Naihanchi/Tekki Kata. Many of these applications are otherwise rarely or never taught at seminars. New three-dimensional representations have been chosen for better understanding. The book contains about 750 illustrations, some of them in colour, in order to illustrate the content of the Bunkai as comprehensibly as possible. Special emphasis was placed on applications that also work in the stress of a real situation. Superficial (Omote) or unrealistic applications have been deliberately avoided. Kyusho, Chin Na and Tuite techniques were included. The wide range of Bunkai in each sequence gives the reader the opportunity to choose the applications that suit her or him best. The historical contexts are also described.
Naihanchi is undoubtedly my favourite kata! As someone who travels a lot to teach, and hence frequently finds myself in hotels, I affectionately refer to Naihanchi as “my travel kata” because I can do it pretty much anywhere. I can even claim to have once walked through Naihanchi at the back of a plane halfway over the Atlantic as my fellow passages slept nearby. I also once badly injured by knee doing judo which meant I could not pivot on my feet for the best part of eight months. Unlike most other kata, Naihanchi has no pivots, so when other kata “abandoned me” Naihanchi remained a loyal friend.
I also find the history of the kata fascinating. Whilst we know a lot about the kata, its origins remain ultimately unclear. Regardless, we do know that most of the past masters held the kata in high regard and placed a great deal of importance on it. This is in stark contrast to today where Naihanchi’s simplistic appearance – which belies its ultimate depth – has seen its role downplayed in an age where aesthetics and flamboyance are more highly valued than practically and directness. This is no doubt due to the influence and requirements of kata competitions. From a functional and historical standpoint, a good case can be made that the kata is the most important one of the Shuri-te lines. That’s certainly how I see it.
Above all through, the main reason I love the kata is because of its bunkai. Naihanchi is wonderful for the close-range, “in your face” chaotic world of real combat. There are of course varying interpretations of the bunkai of the kata due to the fact modern karateka are having to rediscover “lost” aspects of the karate of the past. My advice to any karateka would be to study as many interpretations as possible and take the aspects that most resonate with you into your own practise. All karateka need to have a clear idea of that THE applications are for them, whist remaining openminded enough to know that others may have differing opinions. This book provides a fantastically useful resource to all those wishing to understand the Naihanchi series of kata! It will add much to the knowledge pool of modern karate.
Helmut Kogel has written an in-depth and yet easy to follow guide to the bunkai for the Naihanchi series. The text is logical, well-structured and provides an entertaining and engaging read. The illustrations are clear and unambiguous. It all combines to produce a superb guide to Helmut’s take on the kata and their applications, A such, it is sure to be a book that all pragmatically minded karateka will want to study. You’ve made a smart decision in purchasing this book!
Iain Abernethy, 7th Dan
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