Gyaku-zuki consists of punching with the hand which is on the same side as the rear foot. It gains force by making maximum use of the forward twisting motion of the hips. This adaptation of the fore-fist straight punch is so basic and so often used that it is treated as an independent technique in karate. Because it is a forward attacking technique it is usually used with stances which are strongest to the front, i.e. Zenkutsu-dachi or Shiko-dachi. It simply fortifies straight punch performed from forward stance, with the hips twisted in the direction of the punch. The point at which the hips are twisted to their maximum extent should concede with the focusing of the bodys muscles at the point of impact.

      In summary the major points to keep in mind; 1) since much of the power of the reverse punch depends on correct timing of the forward twisting motions of the hips, in practice you need to emphasize synchronizing the twisting and punching; 2) do not lean too far forward, otherwise, the twisting of the hips is delayed and the punch weakened; 3) do not allow elbow of punching arm to far out from body, otherwise it is impossible to transfer the power of the hip movement to the fist.

By Tim Kennett


      Seisan translated in the Okinawan dialect of Japanese means Crescent Moon, which is the Shorei ryu lineage.

      Seisanís origins are somewhat obscure; some say an ambassador named Seisan was sent to Okinawa from China during the 1500ís. His martial arts skills were exceptional, and after his death, his students passed on his best techniques in a kata named "Seisan".

      Seisan probably existed on Okinawa for many years before it was systematically taught as a structured part of a recognized style of karate. The origins of this kata are most certainly from China; brought back by an Okinawan traveler to China or brought to Okinawa by a visiting Chinese martial artist. Because there was only oral tradition to pass down the information, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Seisan was incorporated into Okinawan karate.

      Bushi Matusmura incorporated Seisan into the Sorei-ryu style form the Okinawan city of Shrui-Te. Seisan is a wonderful blend of beauty, speed, and power. Seisan incorporates many of the techniques learned in the basics. This makes Seisan a logical choice for the brown belt stage of a studentís development. Seisan incorporates several stances, but emphasizes the straight forward Zenkutsu-Dachi stance.

      There has been significance placed on the fact that you might face thirteen opponents while performing the kata. Dr. Chitose said when surrounded, in this kata one attacks the enemy by going ahead. This kata is learned to acquire the right posture. There are several modifications of this form in the areas of Naha and Suri. The kata in Naha is a hard one and the kata in Shuri "Suri-Te" is soft.

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