A hundred years ago on Okinawa, the stances were much shorter in general, they did have some deep and long stances, but the original kokutsu dachi (back stance) was neko ashi dachi (cat stances) and Zenkutsu dachi (front stance) was much hifher and shorter, than the stance we have today in Shotokan.
When karate went to Japan, everything stretched out, the stances got altered, the kicks got higher, which was perfect for the young university students in Japan.
In many of the Japanese universities the karate practice was severe and they definately embraced the higher kicks, longer stances and a more dynamic karate than was found on Okinawa.
My Sensei used to explain to me that originally, the kicks on Okinawa were extremely effective and all aimed at ribs and below, only when karate went to Japan, did the kicks go head height.
As i get older I realize that what I used to do in my thirties I now struggle to do and as the years go by, the original Okinawan style of karate appeals to me more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shotokan karate, but I believe a natural progression for the senior Shotokan karateka is to explore Okinawan karate and especially their kata.
We are very excited as we are planning on adding more Okinawan karate kata into the Dojo, along with other martial arts practice including kobudo. Oss!
Shotokan Kicks And Stances!