nijushiho

nijushiho, most commonly translated as 'twenty-four steps', is one of the five kata that can be selected for second dan. it is a popular choice, and often represents the first move into the advanced dan kata that lay beyond bassai dai. nijushiho is best performed with attention to the many changes from slow to fast moves, emphasising the smooth control in slow moves, and the explosively dynamic nature of the fast combinations. the greater the contrast, the better.

the difficulty of nijushiho comes, in part, from the unfamiliar nature of the stances and footwork, and it is important to consider the detail. being able to correctly join and remain on the diagonal parts of the embusen is critical, and subtleties of footwork make a clear distinction between the appearance of competence and awkwardness. the hourglass stance, zanshin-dachi, as well as long back stances, thin fudo-dachis, and shifting kiba-dachis all represent challenges only hinted at in previous kata. unusual hand movements such as the wheeling teishos at the end, and the open-hand block, confusingly different to heian godan and bassai dai, are a test for the new dan grade. the video below shows more of the detail of the kata, and attempts to outline common mistakes. pay particular attention to the footwork, and embusen line. note that nijushiho moves backwards from the starting point, unlike many of the preceding kata which move forward, and it is necessary to position yourself accordingly with regard to other students, walls, or competition mat boundaries.

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