top 3: heian sandan

'top 3' is a series of short videos aimed at highlighting common points that are often neglected when performing kata. after learning the sequence of each kata, make sure that these details are given particular attention.

1. kosa uke preparation. these blocks, characterising the beginning of the kata, are often short-changed by lack of preparation. both arms are drawn in and across the body, before hitting out and forward as matching knuckle strikes.

2. 'chicken wings'. in this position, the elbows and shoulders should all be colinear; the tendency to naturally pull the arms back not only weakens the posture, but prevents effective blocking.

3. wide oi-tsuki. the direction of this final punch is often corrupted by the need to turn out of kiba-dachi, leading to a very wide stance. take care to step with the correct stance.

bonus point: no jumping. on the final move, the feet are shifting laterally without lifting.

heian sandan is a compact kata that can suffer disproportionately if not conducted with strong focus, and the three elements described above can be critical in performing the kata well.

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