amongst all the kata tekki shodan is perhaps my favourite. its compactness and symmetry appealed to me instantly, however its apparent simplicity belies what is in reality a complex and challenging kata replete with practical implementations. according to katate folklore tekki shodan ought to be practiced 10,000 times before it can be fully mastered. that is about 10 years if you practice it three times every day, which give you some idea.

whilst never really counted how many times i performed i’ve it, i started learning the kata as soon as i became aware of it, which was when i was still a 9th kyu. that was about two years before i actually graded on it (in the KUGB syllabus tekki shodan is the grading kata for 4th kyu).

because the kata is relatively short, with a very simple embusen (line of movement), and is symmetrical it is relatively easy to learn to a basic level. furthermore, its compact embusen make it ideal for the particular predicament we find ourselves in right now – being sequestered at home. if you don’t already know the kata, now could be a great time to learn it, regardless of your grade. it might end up keeping you company for a while.

one of the many challenges in tekki is maintaining a good strong kiba dachi throughout whilst twisting the upper body as far as possible and generating good power. it requires both strength – glutes, abs and obliques – as well as good mobility and flexibility.

many movement is tekki shodan require activating the muscles diagonally across the body, from one hip to the opposite shoulder. a very good functional exercise to help strengthen the body for tekki is the low-to-high woodchopper. the woodchopper is an exercise mimicking the action of chopping a log with an axe – a lift under tension followed by an explosive downswing. the low-to-high variant is a reverse whereby the lift is explosive and the down movement is under tension. this is another good exercise you can do at home using either a resistance band, a weight or a fitness sandbag.


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