Updated: Jan 12
This essay is written with the purpose of disclosing my knowledge about the kata hangetsu of the shotokan style. I wrote this essay with the determination to give my own opinion on the subject, development, changes of speed of the kata, postures, importance of postures, and breathing and techniques. I feel very enthusiastic about the development of the theme because hangetsu is a particular kata in the list of our shotokan style and that is not practiced very often in the dojos currently. I hope that through this essay I can give you important and truthful information that serves to enrich the knowledge in the art of karate. I personally believe that deepening the study of this kata will take me to higher levels.
Why is it done slowly in the first half?
The first part of the kata hangetsu is done slowly to activate our internal energy and prepare us for a quick and effective combat in the next movements of the kata. Consequently, we perform a coordinated breathing with advances in Hangetsu dachi, defenses and attacks; making a muscular contraction from the inner to the outer, going from a state of relaxation to contraction, where we develop the strong kime we need for a defense and a correct attack towards the opponent. I also believe that through these slow movements we can learn the correct execution of the position and the correct use of kime to improve our concentration. These movements are performed similarly to tai chi chuan, and sanchin de naha te, making this kata unique within the shotokan style. the master funakoshi knew well the importance of the postures of internal tension and deep breathing, that is why he creates the kata hangetsu. Through these slow movements we can show the application of force in each technique.
How do you make Hangetsu dachi?
Hangetsu dachi is a particular position in Shotokan style, it was created especially for the kata (hangetsu) within our list of shotokan katas. We do this by moving the semicircular foot, placing the feet twice the width of our shoulders very similar when we make other positions as zenkutzu dachi; we rotate the front foot about 30 degrees inward, and the back foot remains in a straight line; the knees are pressed inwards, as if searching for our center of gravity, producing a contraction in the abdominal muscles, buttocks, legs and feet. this position is a combination of zenkutzu dachi and sanshin dachi.
What is the purpose of Hangetsu dachi?
The main objective of hangetsu dachi is to be able to perform a close combat with great strength and effectiveness. Hangetsu dachi gives us a great balance and solidity in the kata, which allows the imbalance of the opponent. It gives us a greater protection from the lower area of our body until the moment of receiving an attack. In addition to helping us have a better muscle contraction at the time of our workouts where we use our internal energy. the master funakoshi created a long position with internal tension, which formed of zenkutsu dachi and sanshin dachi. which formed zenkutsu dachi and sanshin dachi with the aim of teaching us the coordination of arms and legs with breathing. for that reason also the entanglement of the kata remains in vertical line. for the purpose of teaching a particular technique or position.
What is the connection to the breathing methods?
Within the Hangetsu Kata we perform particularly the technique of deep breathing, which consists of filling our lungs to the maximum using the abdominal muscles, this breathing technique allows us to fill the whole body with oxygen, helping a better functioning of the organs of the body, controlling the heart rate and blood pressure. Through this technique we can acquire a better state of health as, for example, the control of anxiety and stress. I am sure that if we constantly perform the Hangetsu Kata, we will eventually master this technique that will take us to a state of calm even while in combat. The method of breathing is silent and original shuri te, this allows us to keep hidden the inhalation and when the body is relaxed. the master funakoshi did not like the noisy breathing as adopted in the kata of nahate styles, for this reason he maintains the method of silent breathing despite being a kata of slow movements with breathing techniques and muscular contraction.
Explain the very last technique (neko ashi and teisho awase uke)
This technique is performed by doing yori ashi backwards, adopting the neko ashi dachi position combined with the teisho awase uke defense. With this technique, we can defend ourselves from an attack to the lower area of our body (testicles) by the example of mae geri gedan; we can also perform an escape movement by pushing our opponent after performing the last kata attacks (mikazuki geri, yaku zuki gedan in hangetsu dachi).
I conclude my essay hoping that it will be useful for everyone. I have covered several important aspects of kata hangetsu, such as: the slow movements of the kata, the correct execution of the hangetsu dachi position, hangetsu dachi purpose, breathing method and final technique of the kata. I emphasize the kata hangetsu is an excellent means to deepen into various aspects of karate. I can also mention that it helps us maintain a good state of health due to the significant use of the breathing method. It is a kata that teaches us particularly the combat at close range. the coordination of arms and legs with the breath, immerses us in the history of karate since we can say that it is a link between the kata naha te and shuri te.