Single Side Techniques from Goju-ryu Kata

by Sensei Ray Kerridge


Chojun Miyagi stated that the essence of Goju-ryu karate is to be found in kata. When we follow his advice and investigate the katas thoroughly many fascinating nuances appear that were not at first apparent. One of these is the use of single-side techniques.

A single-side technique is a combat strategy which only requires the use of a single arm or leg to receive (uke) and counter an attack. Although most of these techniques as performed in kata make use of the leading arm, there is no reason why the reverse hand (hiki-te) could not used with equal effect.

Many of these techniques are easily recognizable once you understand the principle, others however, are folded into "parent" techniques and can only be recognized when you break these down. Please note these kinds of applications are not often included in the "official" or first level of kata bunkai-oyo.

One final point, please don't just regard these techniques as curiosities. Remember Miyagi Sensei said that the essence of Goju-ryu karate is to be found in kata, so there are valuable self-defense and combat applications here. Think about and practice the techniques and find out all the reasons why they are considered to be effective for self-defense and combat. When you have a good understanding of them slip them into your free sparring when the opportunity presents itself.

The following table lists several single-side techniques from the twelve goju-kata. I have also included the name of the katas they appear in to help you identify the techniques. I'm sure that this is not a fully inclusive list so let me know when you discover the ones I've missed and we'll add them to the table.

Don't get hung-up or confused by the terminology in the table that you don't recognize. I've included definitions of the terms at the end of the article so you can cross-reference the techniques. If all else fails, come and ask me.


FORMAL KATA TECHNIQUE
SINGLE SIDE APPLICATION
KATA
1. Jodan-hiji-ate followed by jodan-uraken-uchi and gedan-barai.
 

Zenkutsu-dachi stance

Attack: Jodan oi-tsuki, gyaku-tsuki kisami-tsuki, or furi-tsuki . 
Block: Hiji-ate acts as uke to a straight or haymaker type punch. 
Counter: Jodan uraken uchi followed by gedan tetsui- uchi 
Gekisai Dai Ichi & Ni
2.  Jodan-yoko-shuto-uchi
 
 

Hachiji-dachi stance

Attack: As #1 
Block: In kata this technique is executed with the hand first being drawn back to the head, this is the blocking motion. 
Counter: Shuto-uchi
Gekisai Dai Ichi & Ni
3.  Jodan-age-uke followed byjodan-uraken-uchi. 
 

Sanchin-dachi stance

Attack: As #1 plus uraken 
Block: Age-uke 
Counter: Uraken uchi. Drop the hand from age-uke to make the uraken.
Gekisai Dai Ichi & Ni Sanseriu
4.  Gedan-barai 
 

Shiko-dachi stance

Attack: As #3 
Block: Jodan uchi yoko-uke to a jodan punch. 
Counter: Tetsui-uchi to the groin. 
Gekisai Dai Ichi & Ni 
Seiunchin 
Sepai 
Suparunpei
5.  Jodan age-tsuki,followed by uraken and gedan-barai. 
 

Shiko- dachi stance

Attack: As #1 
Block: Jodan agetsuki 
Counter: Jodan uraken followed by gedan tetsui uchi.
Seiunchin
6. Jodan age-tsuki followed by uraken, otoshi-hiji-ate and gedan-barai.
Shiko-dachi stance
Attack: Oi-tsuki/gyaku-tsuki combination or Kisami-tsuki/gyaku-tsuki combination. 
Block: Jodan agetsuki
Counter: Jodan uraken-uchi followed by otoshi-hiji-ate and gedan tetsui-uchi.
Seisan
7.  Jodan ura-te-kake-uke followed by gedan shotei- oshi. 
 

Sanchin or neko-ashi-dachi stance. 

Attack: Oit-suki, kisami- tsuki or gyaku-tsuki.
Block: Jodan or chudan ura- uke.
Counter: Gedan shotei-oshi 

Note: This technique is one half of the classic Toraguchi technique. 

Gekisai Dai Ni
Saifa (some versions)
Kururunfa
Seisan
Suparunpei
Sanchin
Tensho
8.  Jodan ushiro-kake-uke followed by jodan shotei-oshi
 

Sanchin or neko-ashi-dachi stance.

Attack: As #1
Block: Jodan or chudan ushiro-kake-uke.
Counter: Jodan shotei-oshi.
Note: This is the other half of the classic Toraguchi
Gekisai Dai Ni
Saifa (some versions)
Kururunfa
Seisan
Suparunpei
Sanchin
Tensho
9.  Chudan ko-uke (bent wrist) followed by chudan shotei-otoshi-uke (a type of dropping knife hand block)
 

Sanchin-dachi stance.

Attack: As #1
Block: Jodan or chudan ko- uke.
Counter: Chudan shotei-otoshi-uchi (dropping knife hand strike)
Tensho
10.  Seiken awase-tsuke (leading hand side,only)
 

Zenkutsu-dachi stance.

Attack: Gedan oi-tsuki, kisami-tsuki, or gyaku-tsuki 
Block: Chudan otoshi-uraken uchi.(dropping back fist strike)
Counter: Chudan uratsuki (short punch- palm side up)
Gekisai Dai Ichi
Suparunpei
11.  Chudan gyakutsuki followed by chudan yoko-uke
 

Note: this is one "side" of Morote chudan uke and  chudan tsuki opening sequences to the noted kata

Sanchin-dachi stance .

Note: This is not the familiar block/counter sequence, rather a set-up and feint leading to a conclusive technique 

Set-up strike: Juntsuki or gyakutsuki
Finishing strike: As soon as your set-up strike is intercepted convert the punch into a jodan uraken uchi.

Sanseriu
Seisan
Suparunpei
Sanchin
Tensho (some versions)
12.  Chudan uchi-barai followed by jodan tetsui- uchi.

Hachiji-dachi.stance

Attack: Chudan oi-tsuki, kisami-tsuki, or gyaku-tsuki
Block: Chudan uchi-barai
Counter: Jodan tetsui-uchi.
Saifa
13.  Chudan-yoko-ko-uke followed by shuto-uchi.

Sanchin-dachi stance.

Attack: As #1
Block: Chudan ko-uke
Counter: Chudan shuto-uchi.
Tensho
14.  Chudan mae-hiji-ate followed by jodan uraken-uchi.

Shiko-dachi stance.

Attack: As #12 
Block: Chudan yoko hiji ate.
Counter: Jodan uraken uchi
Sepai
15.  Chudan sukui-uke followed by kake into hiki- uke and then Gedan shotei- barai.

Sanchin dachi stance

Attack: As #12
Block: Chudan sukui uke
Counter: Kake (hook), hiki uke (catch) followed by gedan shotei-barai (pull down and off-balance)
Saifa (variation)
Kururunfa (variation)
Seisan
Suparunpei
16.  Gedan furi-uchi followed by jodan uraken-uchi.
 

Swivel into Heiko dachi stance

Attack: Chudan or gedan mae-geri keage or yoko-geri kekome
Block: Gedan furi-uchi
Counter: Jodan uraken-uchi
Sepai
17.  Mae-geri-keage
 

Zenkutsu, sanchin or neko-ashi-dachi stance

Attack: Jodan or chudan mae-geri keage, or yoko geri kekome
Block: Chudan hiza-uchi (use this motion to slip around the incoming kick.
Counter: Mae-geri keage from the knee raised position.

Variation. Use maegeri-kekome after the hiza-uchi

Gekisai-Dai-Ichi
Gekisai-Dai-Ni
Saifa
Shisochin
Sanseriu
Sepai 
Kururunfa
Seisan (Keage and kekome)
Suparunpei
18.  Hiza-kansetsu-geri
Han-zenkutsu and heiko dachi stance
Attack: As #17
Block: Chudan hiza-uchi (see #17).
Counter: Hiza-kansetsu-geri
Sanseriu
Seisan
19.  Chudan yoko uke followed by kisami tsuki
Sanchin dachi stance
Attack: Chudan oi-tsuki, kisami-tsuki, or gyaku-tsuki 
Block:   Chudan yoko uke
Counter: Jodan kisami tsuki
(not in kata)
20.  Gedan uchi-barai followed by chudan tetsui-uchi

Sanchin, Shiko, neko-ashi-dachi, or zenkutsu dachi.

Attack: As # 19
Block: Gedan uchi-barai
Counter: Chudan tetsui-uchi
(not in kata)


The stances indicated in the table are those used in the kata, however, you should feel free to experiment in all of the stances in order to get a better feel for what works for you snd what doesn't.


Age-uke.......................Rising block
Age-tsuki.....................Rising punch
Chudan........................Area of the torso between the solar plexus and the neck
Furi-uchi.....................Circular swinging strike. In the article it means slipping the opponents kick and striking the opponents groin by swinging the arm down in a circular arc from above.
Furi-tsuki....................Circular swing punch
Gedan.........................Area of the body below the solar plexus
Gedan-barai...................Downward sweeping block.
Gyakutsuki....................Reverse punch (punching using the opposite hand to the lead leg)
Hiza-uchi.....................Knee strike
Hiji-ate......................Elbow smash
Hachiji-dachi.................Natural stance, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
Heiko-dachi...................Feet parallel stance, shoulder width apart.
Hiza-kansetsu-geri............Knee joint kick
Han-zenkutsu-dachi............Half length
Jodan.........................Head and neck area.
Juntsuki......................Leading punch
Kake..........................Hook
Ko-uke........................Bent-wrist block
Kisami-tsuki..................Leading jab punch
Mae-geri-keage................Front snap kick
Mae-geri-kekome...............Front thrust kick
Mae-hiji-ate..................Elbow strike from the side to the front of your body.
Neko-ashi-dachi...............Cat foot stance
Oi-tsuki......................Stepping or lunge punch
Otoshi-hiji-ate...............Dropping elbow smash
Otoshi-uraken-uchi............Dropping back fist strike
Sanchin-dachi.................Three sided stance, hour glass stance
Shiko-dachi...................Four sided stance, straddle leg stance
Shotei-oshi...................Palm heel strike/thrust
Shotei-otoshi-uke.............Dropping palm heel block
Seiken-awase-tsuki............Two handed punch (the technique outlined in the article only uses the lead hand)
Shotei-otoshi-uchi............Dropping palm heel strike
Sukui-uke.....................Scooping block
Shuto uchi....................Knife hand strike
Tetsui-uchi...................Hammer fist strike
Toraguchi.....................Tiger's mouth. Two handed block and strike
Uraken-uchi...................Back fist strike
Ura-te-kake-uke...............Back of the hand hooking block
Ushiro-kake-uke...............Reversing (comes back towards you) cutting block
Uchi-barai....................Inside downwards block, meaning the block originates outside the body line and crosses your center. The knuckle side of the arm is used.. Uchi-yoko-uke Block coming from outside to inside (shoulder to center line)
Ura-tsuki.....................Rising punch, an uppercut
Yoko-shuto-uchi...............Knife hand strike to the side
Yoko-ko-uke...................Bent wrist block moving from your center line out.
Yoko-geri-kekome..............Side thrust kick
Zenkutsu-dachi................Front (inclined forward) stance

*above article by OKK Sensei Ray Kerridge, all rights reserved (c)1998*


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