top 3: heian yondan

'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. direct double block. following the opening slow moves, the hands making the double block travel directly from the right shoulder, and do not come to the sides.

2. upper body tension. for the combination keage/uraken techniques, the upper body should remain relaxed and nearly upright. tension will cause the techniques to be slow, off-target, and contrived.

3. foot position in keage. though this is explicit in the pinan kata, shotokan uses the blade of the foot as the striking surface through a yoko-geri keage. the side-on position of the hip must be maintained for the correct kick; allowing the body (hips/shoulders) to rotate to face the side leads to a toes-forward mae-geri and should be avoided.

bonus point: high and wide. this applies to both the wedging blocks after the first kiai, and the double-hand grab preceding the second. the arms should finish no wider or higher than is necessary for the application.

heian yondan is a demanding kata, and care must be taken not to overcomplicate moves. softness together with simplicity allows techniques to be delivered with core intent.

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