Naihanchi is Wado’s Key Kata To Advanced Skill

naihanchi is tanren gata

Naihanchi is what we call “Tanren Gata”.

Tanren means to practise or to forge. Especially “to forge” speaks volumes about how to practise and the purpose of that practise. Although at first glance the techniques are not so complicated, they contain the fundamental skills necessary to achieve quality of movement.

Naihanchi is a tool to learn how to use your body. 

Not simply by intellectually knowing how to use your body, but learn in the sense that your body becomes programmed to move in a certain manner. This ‘certain manner’ is Karate.


naihanchi - step by step

Take Musubi Dachi.

Take Shin Nu Kurai Gamae.

Bring your arms up without changing the angle of the elbow.

Draw a circle in front of you while bending your thumbs into Shuto.

Meet both hands in front while touching the fingers lightly.

Bring your arms in front of your chest without exposing the elbows.

Lower both hands back to Shin No Kurai.

Look left slowly.

Look right slowly.

Step across with Chidori Ashi while raising the hands in front of the chest.

Execute Tate Shuto Uke. Move as much trough a straight line as you can, don't swing from the side as Shotokan does.

Execute Empi with Tateken (always in Wado Kata) without collapsing the left knee.

Take Kamae sharply and look left. Note that some instructors get into this position through rebound. Others do this as a seperate action which makes sense as Naihanchi is known to be a Kata that has no combinations.

Execute Gedan Barai to the left — straight out of shoulder line. NOT in a diagonal.

Execute Nanamezuki (diagonal punch) and let it bounce back into position (do not pull manually). 

Using Chidori Ashi, move to the left while you keep looking + holding Kamae in place until the moment you do the next movement.

Execute Jodan Soto Uke and look straight forward, both equally sharp.

Make a scooping move with your left arm and bring Hikite up higher. Simultaneously, execute Gedan Barai.

Punch upward with Urazuki while not moving the other arm.

Let the fist bounce back in position. This is not manual nor Soto Uke.

Look left.

Execute Nami Gaeshi while maintaining centre line and not affect your upper body state.

Execute Jodan Soto Uke to the left without collapsing the right knee. Touch the inside of the elbow lightly if not at all with the right fist.

Look right.

Execute Nami Gaeshi in front of your knee (not against it)

Execute Jodan Uchi Uke to the right without collapsing the right knee. Touch the inside of the elbow lightly if not at all with the right fist.

Take Kamae sharply and look left. As your left arm is out of shoulder line to begin with, you don't need to move it much if at all when taking Kamae.

Execute Morote Zuki with the feeling of throwing both fists away.

Execute right Hikite as you rotate your wrist and pull it closer to your body while keeping your elbow down. Both moves should finish simultaneously.

The rest of Naihanchi is the exact same, but mirrored.

naihanchi instructional videos

The #1 Key To Smooth Nami Gaeshi

This quick 1-minute video should not be underestimated. As we were practising a Bo Kata in the Dojo, I noticed my students desperately need this method. Listen carefully for the IMAGE that you need to have in your brain. Think of your knee like a...

Internal Stance Training

I recorded a full 20 minute follow-along session where I taught how to build that roundness and connectedness in your Internal Stances using specialised never-seen-before Naihanchi Resistance Training.



Like any other Kata, Naihanchi has do's and don'ts. Practise along with me and learn what to pay attention to as you perform the techniques. 

key point #1

This video is about the first movement and sequence and contains 'rules' that apply the the whole Kata.

key point #2

Naihanchi is a Kata with a lot of fine print - and this is one of them. 

key point #3

Nami Gaeshi is often explained as a foot sweep or defence against a foot sweep. The fundamental concept that I explain in this video however... It has nothing to do with that.

my naihanchi history

in the dojo 2006

This was in Hillegersberg where Ishikawa sensei taught at the time. Had the camera with me as we were doing test shots for the DVD.

You can even hear him talk in the background about Kushanku.

teaching at summer camp 2011

During this camp I covered Naihanchi together with Nukina sensei. We highlighted the use of back muscles, what and how to move and what to emphasise. This video contains especially the first movement (use of elbow), Urazuki and Morotezuki.



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