Wednesday 9 November 2022

The 15 Stances of 'Dynamic Karate'

I was asked to make commentary on the 15 tackikata (stances) specified in Nakayama Masatoshi Sensei’s classic publication: ‘Dynamic Karate’. I’ll make some more detailed case comments    later but, in sum, there are seven ‘shizentai’ (natural positions) and eight ‘karate specific/specialized positions.' They are as follows:


Shizentai: Heisoku-dachi

Shizentai: Musubi-dachi

Shizentai: Hachiji-dachi, Uchihachiji-dachi, Heiko-dachi

Shizentai: Teiji-dachi

Shizentai: Renoji-dachi







Fudo-dachi (Sochin-dachi, please refer to my later notes)








A key point here, which I should probably highlight is that ‘shizentai’ doesn’t only mean hachiji-dachi. Please note how Nakayama listed seven, three of which he paired together.


A second aspect worth noting here is the absence of: (1) Zenkutsu; (2) Hiza-kutsu; (3) Kosa-dachi; (4) Tsuruashi-dachi/Sagiashi-dachi (Migi/Hidari ashi-dachi); and (5) Jiyu-dachi. This is because these tachikata are sometimes regarded as hybrid stances or transitional positions of the above listed ‘base 15’. Of course, there are other stances also like Kihouken-dachi, Moto-dachi, and others, but these too (at least in Shotokan) are stances within stance transitions/movement).


It is also interesting to point out that those with strong links to Funakoshi Gigo Sensei uniquely separate Sochin-dachi from Fudo-dachi. That is, Fudo-dachi is an in-line tachikata; whereas, Sochin-dachi is the JKA styles wider Fudo-dachi. This runs parallel to Zenkutsu and Zenkutsu-dachi.

Osaka Yoshiharu Sensei: Nakayama Sensei's finest technician.

I need to also mention that what is widely referred to as Zenkutsu now (the narrow/inline and smaller scale Zenkutsu-dachi) was termed ‘Shokutsu-dachi by Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei and, according to him, this was the term used until the late 1970s


As an instructor, I personally define more stances to optimize my teaching—than that listed in ‘Dynamic Karate’; that being said, like the other older texts, it holds many subtle gems for those wishing to advance their skill.

Yes, in many ways karate has advanced. However, in many ways, mainstream karate has also been diluted as a form of budo/bujutsu. Accordingly, if one is to maximize their Shotokan karate development it is imperative to “...determinedly continue to draw in the knowledge of the past whilst swimming through the ocean of contemporary karate”. In this way one will maximize the present through the past and, indeed, the past knowledge from the present. 押忍!!アンドレ  バーテル


© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2022).

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