Monday, 13 November 2017

順路初段 (Junro Shodan)

The 順路 (Junro) and 常行 (Joko) kata are essential for those who wish to achieve a very high level; however, they must be practiced properly. The problem is that very-very few know the correct movements, key points, and applications. Many organizations have simply 'turned the Junro and Joko kata into Heian movement'.

Today lets consider the objectives of Junro Shodan, followed by an outline...

The 40 movements of this kata, done in the way 'they were originally designed', result in a catapulted progression. Sadly, 'Shotokanization' of this kata for competitions (and, indeed, the other kata from my late Sensei), have largely invalidated their 'purpose of design'. Some have attempted to 'stylistically' imitate the Junro; however, this is again pointless, as it misses their application for actual fighting.
Tsukiwaza in kihon, kata and yakusoku kumite keeps the heel down and foot flat, but in freestyle practice, the heel drives then lifts. This is a critical understanding in Karate.

The key points of Junro Shodan are as follows:

1. The main theme is: push and pull.

2. Next, is gravity.

3. And equal to gravity is ground power.

4. Un-weighting the lead leg to transfer weight (and timing of techniques in relation to this: for maximum impact). This point transcends Junro and is one of the core aspects that separates sports karate and the bujutsu (martial arts) karate of the past.

5. And, finally, related to point one and underpinning any optimal use of the body, maximising the kinetic chain for maximum effectiveness.


1. Drop down moving the left leg outward to form kiba-dachi and execute hidari sokumen gedan-barai.

2. Pull back the left foot to heiko-dachi apply hidari sokumen jodan uchi-uke.

3. Advance into hidari zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan nobashi-zuki.

4. Kaiten shinagara migi gedan-barai (migi zenkutsu-dachi).

5. Hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

6-10. Turn 180 degrees and repeat movements 1-5 on the opposite side.

11. Turn 90 degrees to face shomen in hidari zenkutsu-dachi with hidari gedan-barai.

12. Pull the lead foot back into hidari ashi mae neko ashi dachi (Hidari chudan uchi-uke).

13. Drive forward into hidari zenkutsu-dachi with migi chudan gyaku-zuki.

14-16. Repeat movements 11-13 on the opposite side.
Tenshin is an essential aspect of Asai Sensei's karate and is found throughout the Junro, Joko and Koten-gata.

17. Advance with migi chudan gyaku-zuki in hidari zenkutsu-dachi (KIAI). 

18. Turn 270 degrees into hidari kokutsu-dachi with migi jodan-barai.

19. Pull back the lead foot into migi ashi mae neko ashi dachi with migi chudan soto-uke.

20. Drive forward into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

21. Zenshin migi chudan gyaku-zuki

22-25. Turn 180 degrees counterclockwise and repeat movements

18-21 on the opposite side.

26. Turn 90 degrees clockwise and make migi gedan-barai facing ura shomen in migi zenkutsu-dachi.

27. Pull back the lead leg forming migi ashi mae neko ashi dachi with migi jodan age-uke.

28. Migi kizami mae-geri.

29. Drive forward with the lead leg into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

30-33. Repeat movements 26-29 on the opposite side.

34. Zenshin hidari chudan gyaku-zuki in migi zenkutsu-dachi.

35. Advance with the left foot (tsugi-ashi) then pivoting 270 degrees on the left heel move into hidari kokutsu-dachi with migi chudan uchi-uke.

36. Migi jodan shihon nukite (yoko nukite) transferring into migi-zenkutsu.

The points found in Junro Shodan expand to the most advanced Koten-gata and, in turn, boost the understanding of the standard Shotokan-Ryu kata.

37. Hidari chudan oi-zuki.

38-40. Turn 180 degrees and repeat movements 35-37 on the opposite side.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

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