Shotokan: Meikyo

  • Natural Position – Like Gankaku and Sochin, Meikyo does not begin with any special posture. Simply stand in the natural position with the hands resting at the sides in relaxed fists. There should be no tension in the body as you assume this posture, nor should there be any tension left as you stand here.
  • Reach and Pull Back – Reach up with the hands open without bending the elbows until the hands are crossed at the wrists in front of the forehead. Most people do this as a wide, circular action out to the sides. As you begin to reach up, start sliding the right foot out into a horse riding stance as you lower your torso by bending both knees. Pull both hands back, clenching them into fists, and draw both arms back until the fists rest at the waist. Be sure that the elbows are not visible from the front. Perform this technique with deceleration and increasing tension.
  • Look in the Mirror – Without any serious tension, keep the elbows close to the sides of the body as you bring your open hands up from their drawn positions to a point in front of the face where the little and ring fingers touch. The elbows should still be torso width apart, so your forearms are in a triangle shape.
  • Open Handed Wedge Block – Flip the hands over so that the palms now face away from the face, and slowly add tension and decelerate the arms as you wedge block outward with both hands. The finishing posture should have the hands in front of the shoulders with the elbows at 90° angles.
  • Down Block and Punch – Shift the left foot so that it becomes the front foot in a new front stance facing to the 45° angle to the left. Turn the hips to the side as the arm descends to block. Down block strongly as you do this. Step forward and punch middle level along the same angle, bringing the hips squarely to the front as the feet pass and then keeping them front facing for the rest of the step.                                                                                               Shift the right foot over 90° to the other 45° angle while throwing a down block, and then step forward and punch with the left hand along that same angle.
  • Two Tiger Mouth Blocks – Step forward with the right foot into a new back stance. The step will be somewhat awkward because you must take a heading 45° to your left. Step quickly at first, but the last quarter of the step should decelerate as this technique is performed slowly. As the stance begins to take shape, bring the right forward and up from underneath so that it appears to scoop upward. The right hand should end up over the right knee. Lift the left elbow up and over the head so that the left hand ends up in front of the forehead palm up. Both hands should be palm up and open, and the thumbs should be out.
  • Stab Downward – Shift forward about six inches in your back stance. As you shift, close both hands into fists, and then rotate the wrists as you stab downward with both of them. When you are finished, your left hand will be in front of your navel while the right hand will be extended forward to the low level. Shift the left foot forward as you shift into a front stance with the right leg forward as you stab.
  • Pivot and Turn – Pivot on both feet into a front stance that faces the rear by looking over the left shoulder and turning counter-clockwise. Perform this quickly in one explosive motion. As you do this, leave your hands where they are in relation to the room, not in relation to your body.
  • Reach and Pull Back – Step up with the right foot to the left and then outward so that you are in a new horse riding stance. As you do this, reach forward and pull back as in the beginning of the kata. Unlike the beginning of the kata, you will not do the mirror looking nor the wedge block, though.
  • Repeat as Necessary – From your previous position with both hands at your waist drawn back, fold the arms for a left down block and head out on the 45° angle. Down block. Then, along the same heading, step in and punch middle level. Pivot as before to the right and down block again, then step in and punch at the other 45° angle.                   Step 45° to the left with the right foot as above, slowly decelerating as you perform the two tiger mouths. Stab downward while shifting into a front stance, and then turn, leaving the hands where they were, repeating the motions above. Then step up into the horse riding stance again, performing the reach and pull.
  • Inside Block and Stepping Punch – Step out at the 45° angle and perform an inside block in a front stance with the left foot forward. Step and punch middle level. Shift to the right 90°, and inside block as you shift. Step forward and punch with the left fist middle level.
  • Bottom Fist Strike – Step to the left 45° with the left foot, assuming a sidefacing horse riding stance. Look to your left. As the foot settles, perform a bottom fist strike to shoulder level with your left fist.
  • Crescent Moon Kick – Turn the left foot forward, open the left hand, and crescent moon kick into the left palm with the right sole of the foot. Do not step forward, instead, move to replace the foot where it came from. As you set the foot down, assume a back stance with the right foot becomes the rear foot.                                                             After the kick connects with the palm of the hand, down block strongly with both arms so that the left fist ends up over the left knee and the right fist ends up over the right knee. The blocks are not squared to the room, but rather are aimed in the directions the knees point in the back stance.
  • Shades of Heian 2 – In place, without stepping, bring both hands up strongly into the opening double armed block of Heian Nidan. The right forearm should end up pointing forward at forehead height, and the left forearm should point at the ceiling. The knuckles of the right fist should line up with the wrist of the left arm as far as height is concerned, but when viewed from the front, there should be a space at least 8 inches wide between the right fist and the left forearm for your face to be seen through.
  • Double Block Again – Step forward into a back stance with the right foot becoming the front foot, and bring the arms down to the left waist and then back up again strongly into the same posture as before.
  • Double Down Block – Step forward with the left foot into a front stance with the hips square. Block with both hands by crossing them at the wrists and bring each down to the sides of the body pointing out at 45° angles to the floor.
  • Double Inside Block – By now you should feel as though Jion and Heian Nidan were mixed and jumbled together in a strange fashion. Step forward again, this time into a back stance. Cross both arms over the torso and then perform double inside blocks that focus when you step.
  • Snapping Punches – Shift forward with both feet about six inches as you uppercut punch with both fists from their current positions. Snap the punches and return the hands to their original positions immediately.
  • Pivot and Upper Block – Turn to the rear 180° by pivoting on the heels counter-clockwise. As you pivot, reach up over the forehead with the right open hand while you draw back the left hand. Strongly upper level rising block with the left hand as you complete the pivot into a new back stance with the left foot forward.
  • Triangle Jump – One thing that’s for sure is that Shotokan Kata seems to have an affinity for triangles. You make triangles with your hands at the beginnings of kata, triangle postures, triangles on the floor, and now a triangle in the air.                                                                                                                                                                                 Leap off of the left foot and jump upward, smacking the right elbow into the left palm at the mid point. Best Karate says that you should attempt to jump in place, but most people seem to travel about a stance length when they perform this kata. When you complete this jump, you should perform a right handed sword hand block and land in a back stance that has the right foot forward.                                                                                                               Technically the jump is just like the one from Kanku-Sho, the only difference being the elbow strike and the fact that you change which shoulder you are looking over in mid jump. It is a 360 degree jump. Don’t let the fact that you change directions fool you, you are still putting the feet back where they came from, just in different positions because you change which way the back stance faces during the jump. It isn’t that hard of a jump, despite all of the press to the contrary in various kata books. The jump in Unsu is much more difficult, and so is the jump and duck in Kanku-Sho.
  • Sword Hand Block – Step backward into a new back stance and sword hand block.
  • Finish – Pull the left foot back to the natural position and relax.


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