thinking about iron horse nahanchin kata

There have been a number of versions of the kata over the years and I’ll attach 2 versions that have been most prominent to me, I realise that if you come from a different style then it’ll be a bit different.. either way i’ll be going over principles / concepts revelant to kata that move side to side..

the opening sequence of 3 techniques is as follows.

1. from preparation stance

2. hands move up to mid section and weight drops slightly by bending the knees

3. focus right and step horse stance right and right arm moves in the same direction stopping above the knee… (1)

4. standing up in a should stance, left elbow head / jaw height (2)

5. right elbow head / jaw height. (3)

This is where I believe the first sequence ends… Well essentially you could stop and the left elbow, for the purpose of the principles this technique finishes the opponent. For me the repeat elbow is a representation of allowing functionality on either side

For me the main concept here is the movement of the body weight in line with the motion of the hand.

Some assumptions here.

– Its an attack to the front or to 12 o’clock

– The height of the stance is not as important as what occurs because of them

– the hand movement is not a strike but disruptive movement to take the balance of your opponent and place their head in the optimal position for a finish attack, in this case the elbow.

A small video to showcase this.

Some detail…

I’ve mentioned the preparation stance in the post briefly… In the beginning…

So I wont say much else here except.. the addition of movement 2 here adds the following concepts.


this to me is a transition point, not really a focus point though its important as it show a withdraw of hands and and feet with a slight dropping of weight. it possibly indicates a regathering of strength balance and lowering of your centre (your personal body weight) to better perform the next set of movement and or to brace yourself agains an opponent who may be grabbing or starting to grab you.


when performing this move see your right hand in this case (as we are initially moving the entire body to the right) grabbing at the wrist of you opponent (how this comes about is not important at this point in time), from there as in the kata move your body to the right stepping out into a wide stance and extending the right arm in the same direction. Now because you have hold of you opponents hand this will cause a number of thing to happen to them.

Note here: the entire movement here does not need to be huge just enough to do the following…

If you have their right hand..

as you step and pull in this case you will cause their body to rotate slightly dropping their right shoulder a little, starting the change in their balance. the drop in the shoulder will open their neck and head and show the prominence of their jaw line, getting the head ready for you to attack.


now that the head is exposed and their body weight and balance in moving toward you the effect of the left elbow will be significantly increased, and the continuous movement of you to the body right will have a greater impact of their head. the impact here will be with you entire body weight moving through the impact zone of your opponent, and even if you do not exactly hit the jaw line where the knock out point is the power and impact from the elbow anywhere in that area will render the opponent useless for enough time to escape.


So what are the main conceptual processes here…

Well there are a few but the main ones are:

1. using your weight combined with a technique is invaluable. ( this may seem like a basic concept here), the use of dropping body weight in combination with punches, elbows, kicks, grabs, and pulls is a highlight.

2. how sharp translations of movement and energy on an opponent cause the opponents body to be better aligned for attack.


In this form as I see it there are 2 significant movements you do to the opponent that cause similar effects on their body but from 2 different approaches.


I’ve mentioned one of them above where you grab their hand, step and extend. This movement cause the opponent to loose balance slightly rotate their body to a closed position and open their head/jaw to further to a better strike attack.

I feel its interesting that this movement is repeated in a number of other kata, so my assumption here is that the closing of the body and extension of the head / neck area is important for swift and effect incapacitation of a person.


The next sequence starts where the last left off at the end of the second elbow. From there the sequence continues as follows


1. A backfist right hand toward the head

2. a reverse punch to the mid section and in this case I believe the rib cage or the solar plexus

3. withdraw the left hand that just punched and move your body to the left and

4. strike open handed with the right hand stopping in a wide stance and the right hand inline with the left that has withdrawn to the side of the body.

5. reach underneath with the left hand and as you move to a higer should stance reverse elbow to the head of your opponent.


Similarly here we have a number of conceptual movements, againt the use of body weight and technique to finish the opponent. The use of distracting techniques, and this time opening the gate, where we move inside the opponents arms to better facilitate our attack.

In the sequence above the actions in 1. and 2. are distracting, movement 3. and 4. are the setup and 5 the finisher.

In movement 1. and 2. I believe your opponent has grabbed you where you reach and grab at the wrist of your opponent, as you perform your “backfist”… in my interpretation here is a rotating distraction with the aim of either dislodging their grab or opening the arm enough to allow your reverse punch into the rib area, these actions in the form are performed in close succession if not at the same time. I don’t believe it matters if they let go or not, your punch to the rib should allow you to grab their arm as in 3. above and step to the left and assist the taking of balance with your right hand pushing with speed and power into the elbow region of their arm, this movement here as it was in the first sequence will help align their head for a better finishing technique.

the finisher is the reverse elbow in the case to the side of the head / jaw.

things to remember here we are in close and performing these actions in close succession, the movements are ment to cause confusion and as intended incapacitation of your opponent. while is advisable to be out side the gates of your opponent on occasion it proved the best and fastest option to finish them.


The final sequence…

We have finished the slide up elbow in a shoulder width stance… from here

1. right hand covers the right side of the body with the hand near the face hands closed, the left arm extends and finishes at shoulder height inline with the opposite shoulder.

2. as you perform the above, trigger the right foot and do a left left low round kick.

3. as you withdraw the leg right hand punch to the head followed by a left hand punch to the head.


The is the end of side one the Kata now repeats everything on the opposite side.

the sequence mentioned above offers a number of recurring themes in Kata and the introduction of a kick.

I movement 1 we assume that the opponent has grabbed either 1 or 2 handed at our jacket. it could also be a throat grab or something similar. The conceptal idea with the right hand is to regain some contraol from being grabbed. The advantage of grabbing you opponent is that you know where they are and when combined with balance taking techiques we can easily find where they are in relation to where we are.

the extending hand in movement 1 is aimed at a number of places, the inner arm, the outer arm, the head neck area, depend on where they are and what arrm they grab you with or you decide to attack.




one more sequence to come…

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