Hangetsu (半月) (Half Moon).
Hangetsu is a breathing kata focusing also on expansion and contraction. Master Gichin Funakoshi added Hangetsu into the Shotokan cirriculam instead of Sanchin. Hangetsu-dachi (half-moon stance) is the essence of this kata, semi circular stepping (half moon) combined with breathing and expansion and contraction. Hangetsu kata consists of 41 movements and the older Okinawan version of this kata is known as Seisan (thirteen). Neko Ashi Dachi (cat stance) is also used for the first time.
The breathing in Hangetsu should be deep and should be combined with the muscles contraction and expansion. My Sensei used to have us expand our stomach when we breathed in, then tighten and pull the stomach in when we breathed out, he used to say this will help use the whole of the lungs, instead of just shallow breathing using the top of the lungs.
Hangetsu should be explored in detail and practiced often. This kata also gives the karateka a total mind and body workout. On the slow techniques the muscles tighten over a few seconds, with the body like steel at the completion of the technique, then relax breathe in and start the next technique. My Sensei had a unique breathing rythm for moves 7,8,9 and 10, which we will go into detail in the advanced Hangetsu tutorial. Once the advanced Hangetsu tutorial is ready you will find it inside the Kata Dojo.
Hangetsu (半月) Kata Tutorial Video
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