A Great Isshin-ryu Karate Exercise.
The in-line stance drill is a great little drill that teaches the practitioner to break the line of attack and remain safe while staying close enough to deliver an effective counter. This is not kata. It is just a drill designed to develop an understanding of a few key concepts in Okinawan Karate.
In my dojo, this drill was typically taught after the Basic Kata and before learning the Tachi Kata, which was developed by Sensei Harrill as an intermediary step before starting into black belt level kata. The Basic Chart Kata and Tachi Kata will be examined in future posts.
In the two videos below you will see both a front and side view of the drill performed as a single-person exercise, much like kata. And while, not a kata per se, this drill is made up of techniques taken from kata to illustrate the concepts.
However, this drill is a two-person drill and is worked back and forth repeatedly. Beginners will start out slowly and perhaps give themselves a bit more “working room.” As you become comfortable with the drill, your speed and power can increase, and the distance may decrease a bit. You will learn to control your distance and remain safe while being close enough to deliver effective counters. But, not so close that you cannot execute a good technique.
Here is an how the drill will look with two people.
The nice thing about truly understanding techniques is that you begin to realize that it does not matter what your opponent does, so much as how well you can utilize your technique. In this drill, the attacker started with a right-handed punch. What if he hadn’t? Suppose he had attacked with his left-hand first? Do I change what I am doing?
Nope, the nice thing about good technique, is that it works (as we say, “Right, Left, Up, or Down). Yes, of course, there are specific techniques for certain types of attacks. But for most techniques, if you truly understand them, it does not matter. In this next video, the attacker will initiate his attack from the other side, and I will not change anything I am doing. It still works.
I would like to thank Lucas Davis for helping me with the two-man aspect of this drill. Lucas trained with me in Isshin-ryu for several years before I moved to Raleigh, NC for about three years. After I moved back to Tennesse, Lucas now trains both in Isshin-ryu with me and in Uechi-ryu with Sensei Bob Noel who is also an excellent instructor.