Shitō-Ryū Kata:  Naifanchi Nidan (内播地二段)


Naifanchi Nidan (内播地二段) is considered an Itosu-kei kata, primarily because it was passed down to Mabuni Kenwa by Itosu Ankō, but the exact origins of the kata are no longer known.  It is generally believed to be one of the oldest kata still practiced and can be traced at least as far back as Matsumura Sōkon (1809-1899).  Prior to the creation of the five Heian kata by Itosu Ankō, Naifanchi Shodan was often the first kata taught to beginners.  Naifanchi Nidan was usually taught shortly thereafter.  Naifanchi Nidan is now taught in most Shitō-Ryū dōjō as an intermediate level kata to green belts or brown belts.  At the Seishin-Kan it is usually taught to students holding gokyū (5th kyū) rank.  The video presented below is similar to how the kata is taught at the Seishin-Kan.  Differences are explained in the written description that follows.

Naifanchi Nidan Description

After bowing and announcing the name of the kata ("Naifanchi Nidan") ...

Yōi(1) (cross open hands at groin level in musubi dachi) and kiyomeri kokyū (purification breaths)
[NOTE:  kamaete is not performed in this kata]

  1 Cross left foot in front of right foot, spreading elbows sharply to the sides at armpit level(2)
  2 Step right with right foot into kiba dachi(3) with migi ken-sasae soto kentsui uchi
    Cross left foot in front of right foot, open the left hand at the crook of the right elbow and perform uchi soete-kentsui uchi(4) with the right hand (palm upward)
  3 Step right with right foot into kiba dachi(3) with migi hiji-sasae waki yoko uke
  4 Draw left foot to right foot into musubi dachi whilst moving hands into "yōi" position(1)
  5 Cross right foot in front of left foot, spreading elbows sharply to the sides at armpit level(2)
  6 Step left with left foot into kiba dachi(3) with hidari ken-sasae soto kentsui uchi
  7 Cross right foot in front of left foot, open the right hand at the crook of the left elbow and perform uchi soete-kentsui uchi(4) with the left hand (palm upward)
  8 Step left with left foot into kiba dachi(3) with hidari hiji-sasae waki yoko uke
  9 In place, kote-gaseshi kansetsu waza at left side, then migi ken-sasae yoko uke
  10 Raise the right leg in preparation for fumikomi geri whilst performing migi ushiro hiji ate with left palm against right fist,  then migi sokutō fumikomi geri(5) (in kiba dachi) and downward hiji ate (actually ippon seioinage) with left palm against right fist, then migi yoko shutō uchi and hidari kagi-zuki(6)
  11 Cross left foot in from of right foot, then step right with right foot into kiba dachi(3) with hidari yoko uke
  12 In place, migi-te ue hasami uke, followed by migi ura-ken uchi(7) with kiai, recovering to migi yoko uke position with left fist palm down beneath right elbow
13 In place, kote-gaseshi kansetsu waza at right side, then hidari ken-sasae yoko uke
  14 Raise the left leg in preparation for fumikomi geri whilst performing hidari ushiro hiji ate with right palm against left fist,  then hidari sokutō fumikomi geri(5) (in kiba dachi) and downward hiji ate (actually ippon seioinage) with right palm against left fist, then hidari yoko shutō uchi and migi kagi-zuki(6)
  15 Cross right foot in from of left foot, then step left with left foot into kiba dachi(3) with migi yoko uke
  16 In place, hidari-te ue hasami uke, followed by hidari ura-ken uchi(7) with kiai, recovering to hidari yoko uke position with right fist palm down beneath left elbow

Zanshin yame
Naotte (perform tekagami movement while drawing right foot to left foot into musubi dachi)
Rei (bow)

Key Training Aspects of Naifanchi Nidan

The Key

Naifanchi Nidan is the second of three Naifanchi kata in the Shimabukuro-Ha Shitō-Ryū karate-dō curriculum.   Shimabukuro Hanshi was not particularly fond of the Naifanchi kata.   Early in his teaching, this was undoubtedly because the Naifanchi kata rarely won tournaments, but even after his shift away from sport karate, he did not believe the Naifanchi kata added much value to a student's training.  Pellman Shihan, on the other hand, is convinced that the Naifanchi kata are essential to a thorough gounding in the fundamentals of karate-dō, particularly in developing powerful koshi mawari (hip rotation), body control, and stable stances.  In fact, this version of Naifanchi Nidan was not taught to Pellman Shihan by Shimabukuro Hanshi, but instead by Higa Yasuhiro Hanshi.

Naifanchi Shodan contains defences for attacks my opponents in front of you.  A key difference in Naifanchi Nidan is that several of the attacks are initiated by an opponent behind you, such as a "bear hug" or a "full Nelson."

The Naifanchi kata are the only kata in the Shitō-Ryū curriculum that utilize kiba dachi, which is probably why some sensei prefer to call it Naifanchi dachi.  Since Shimabukuro Hanshi's interpretation of kiba dachi differs somewhat from both the above video and how it is formed in the Shōtōkan style, it is explained in considerable detail below.

Diagram of Kiba DachiAs shown in the diagram at left, kiba dachi is slightly wider than shoulder width from heel to heel.  The correct foot position can be found by starting in heikō dachi, with both heels at shoulder width and the outside edges of the feet parallel.  Turn both feet outward 45 degrees into soto hachi-ji dachi, keeping the heels shoulder width, then pivot on the balls of both feet and swing both heels outward until the outside edges are again parallel.  This should result in the heels being about a half foot-length wider than the shoulders.

Your body weight should be centered between the feet, both side-to-side and front-to-back, as indicated by the intersection point (+) of the vertical and horizontal centre-lines in the diagram.  Ankles, knee, and hips should all be flexed slightly, but the back and neck must remain straight; not bent or hunched forward.  The hips should also be tucked in, so that the rump does not protrude.

A movement unique to Naifanchi Nidan is the fast and powerful spreading of the elbows at armpit level in movements #1 and #5. 

Although kagi-zuki is introduced in the kata, Shinsei, and is also featured in Naifanchi Shodan, remember that it is performed somewhat differently in Shimabukuro-Ha than in other styles.  In many other styles of karate, including the video on this page, kagi-zuki is performed with the striking fist stopping roughly even with the opposite side of the body.  However, in Shimabukuro-Ha, the strike should continue past the opposite side until the striking arm is fully extended (without turning the shoulders), then rebound back to a point roughly even with the opposite side of the body.  This not only ensures that the strike will make powerful contact with the opponent, but also promotes the development of greater koshi mawari (hip rotation) to generate striking power.

Another feature unique to Naifanchi Nidan is the sokutō fumikomi ("stomping kick") that is performed twice, once with each leg, in the kata As its name suggests,  sokutō fumikomi is performed by stamping down with the outer edge or "blade" of the foot (sokuto), and is used in conjunction with a rearward elbow strike (hiji ate) to help off-balanace an opponent in preparation for the ippon seoinage shoulder throw that immediately follows.  Maintaining balance and a lower centre of gravity than the opponent is vital to sucessful execution of the throw.  It is therefore essential to rise from kiba dachi as little as possible and to avoid shifting your weight side to side whilst executing the stomp.  Instead, try to keep your head and body absolutely still, as if some unseen force or support mechanism is holding you in place.  Although it is impossible not to shift slightly, the less you do so the more difficult it is for the opponent to counter the throw.

  (1) Perform yōi as the "tekagami" movement in musubi dachi, rather than as shown in the video
  (2) Unless otherwise instructed, perform this movement as a defence against a rear "bear hug," but regularly practice it as a defense against a "half Nelson."
  (3) Be sure to perform kiba dachi as explained above, rather than as shown in the video
  (4) The ending position of uchi soete kentsui uchi should be with the fist at solar plexus level; not shoulder level as shown in the video
  (5) Be sure to perform sokutō fumikomi with minimal rising or shifting of the weight side-to-side, as described above
  (6) Be sure to perform kagi-zuki as described above, rather than as shown in the video
(7) In uraken uchi, the non-striking hand should not move until the striking hand has reached full upward extension.  The striking hand should make minimal rearward movement, but instead be propelled forward by powerfuel koshi mawari (hip rotation).  As the striking hand retracts, the non-striking hand should swing up parallel to the floor so that the back of its fist contacts the bottom of the striking arm elbow at the completion of the uraken uchi.

Performing Naifanchi Nidan in the manner described above will ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from your training in this kata and greatly improve your body control, stability, and koshi mawari for more striking speed and power.

Additional Information

MakimonoWhen learning any new kata, it is important to remind oneself of the adage: "Manabu no tame ni hyakkkai, jukuren no tame ni senkai, satori no tame ni manga okonau" (学ぶのために百回、熟練のために千回、悟りのために万回行う.).  A hundred times to learn, a thousand times for proficiency, ten thousand repetitions for complete understanding.   A related Okinawan saying is "ichi kata san nen" (一型三年):  one kata three years. 

As you perform Naifanchi Nidan repeatedly, you should grow increasingly aware of the differences in movement, footwork, tempo, and timing between it and the kata you've learned previously.  This awareness will lead you to think about why those differences exist, and what those differences might mean in terms of  bunkai (step-by-step analysis) and ōyō (practical application).   For instance, why are you moving only side-to-side in this kata?   Which movements in the kata are best suited as jūhō, rather than gōhō?  What are the advantages, disadvantages, and best uses of kiba dachi?  Why are so many strikes in this kata directed to the sides instead of the front?

The word bunkai (分解) literally means "disassemble and analyse."   It is the same term Japanese sports officials use for the slow motion frame-by-frame analysis of the video of a contested referee's call, and it has a similar purpose and application in budō.  It involves examining each technique in minute detail, as if frozen in time, to determine its potential uses and the factors that make it most effective.

Ōyō (応用) means "effective use" or "practical use," so ōyō is the application of the knowledge gained from bunkai.   Once you have analysed every movement of the kata and determined both its intended use and the principles that make it effective, you will be able to use each of the techniques in the kata against the types of attack for which it is best suited.  Although this takes years (at least three), it doesn't mean you have to study only one kata for three years.  Since many kata share some of the same movements, you can be performing bunkai and perfecting ōyō on several kata at once!

The ultimate purpose of analysing and perfecting kata is to develop a methodology and a habit of analysing and perfecting every important aspect of one's life:  knowledge, skills, capabilities, behaviour, attitudes, ethics, motivation, ambitions, desires, ideals, beliefs, values, relationships, and character.