Body Shifting and the Crescent Step

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Bill Mattocks, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Laus

    Laus Orange Belt

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    Goju Ryu uses that step. The principle of bringing the feet together applies in all steps inculdign turns, not just backeard and forward movement, so it doesn't always make a crescent.

    I'm studying Kyokushin these days which does not use this (so far anyways), and the linear stepping feels incredibly awkward to me after 7 years of half circles! I'll get it eventually....
     
  2. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the input, Chris. Those that except kata see, those that don't, don't......... Not to add to much to the thread drift that Chris has added to. [​IMG]
     
  3. teekin

    teekin 3rd Black Belt

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    Soooo that's what it's called. I was taught this in Judo kata ( yup, old fashioned instructor has us learn Judo kata) as "Walking on Rice Paper" . It reminded me of an Uber slow motion fencing attack step that allows you to either move foreward, halt or retreat at any point in the step.
    ( My old fencing instructor was from France if that means anything.)
    Honestly I think this follows the "Form to Function" rule evident in physics and Darwinian evolution. There are likely only a very few super effecient ways to advance the human frame while staying in ballance. Different names for the same motion.

    Lori
     
  4. MattJ

    MattJ Brown Belt

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    I was taught the crescent step way back in EPAK (anyone remember the box-step exercise? LOL). It can be useful in close quarters, but very inefficient at longer ranges, IMHO. I don't believe it has any mechanical adavantages over regular, linear stepping (head-bobbing and the like are poor form no matter what type of maneuver).
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, we do practice the tucked pelvis in everything. It's most obvious in Sanchin in my dojo, but we also do not over-emphasize it. Sensei gets a little animated when he talks about karateka from other schools who do a pelvic thrust when settling into the sanchin-dachi stance. He says it is most definitely not a 'flip'. He says people do that to emphasize to those watching the kata that they are tucking their pelvis, but that if they do that, it's too much.

    When we do Sanchin, we do both the Goju-Ryu and the Isshin-Ryu style, interchangeably (in my dojo). In both cases, we root our feet into the mat, tuck the pelvis, and breathe from the 'hara'. So not only are we practicing the crescent step in Sanchin, but also the pelvic tuck, hara breathing, and the principle of dynamic tension. In our dojo, FYI, we teach Sanchin as the first kata, not the last, as it is taught in many Isshin-Ryu dojos.
     
  6. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Sounds like your dojo is one that I would enjoy visiting, Bill. You are fortunate to have found good instruction - did you seek it out with some effort, or was this lucky happenstance?
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    It was LUCK!

    I happened to find myself in an apartment in Waterford, Michigan and looked around for an Isshin-Ryu dojo close by. As it turns out, there were two, both highly-regarded. I looked for Isshin-Ryu only because as a Marine, I was stationed on Okinawa and worked with Master Angi Uezu back in the 1980's. I did not study karate at that time (pity), but I knew what Isshin-Ryu was.

    http://hollowaysisshinryu.com/instructors/

    My Sensei is amazing. I know everybody says that, but I can't tell you how fortunate I feel to have found this dojo. It truly does feel like an extension of my family to be there. He insists on our best effort, and he is well-qualified to teach the best, most authentic, Isshin-Ryu that can be found outside of Okinawa.

    My other sensei are amazing as well. One is a demon for basics and kata. One is amazing with self-defense and practical training (even using moves taken from other arts) and another is a 'Bunkai Man' who can show you ten or fifteen different realistic self-defense moves that can be found inside the kata we do.

    Our dojo does not make any money. Sensei does not draw a salary from it, but he's there constantly when he is not doing his 'day job' (and pursuing his PhD at the same time)! No one at the dojo draws a salary; but all black belts are expected to teach some; some teach more. They do it from a love of Isshin-Ryu. How much better can it get?

    Yeah, my dojo is the real deal. I can't speak for other dojos, but I feel incredibly fortunate to have found this one. I would wish everyone a dojo like mine, and instructors like I have been blessed with.
     
  8. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Some would say the best Isshinryu IS found OUTSIDE of Okinawa. I'm not sure I disagree.
     
  9. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Depending on definition the crescent step has NO application at distance. It is a close in stance because karate is a close in fighting system. At training last night we were using the step to trap our opponent's foot to assist in takedowns.
    At greater distance, one to two metres, we would use moto dachi which is a more natural fighting stance a bit like hanmi is to aikido, but wider and straighter.
    I'm not sure if you are suggesting that head bobbing is produced by using a crescent step, but IMO head bobbing is totally wrong in any step. To me, a bobbing head would indicate an unstable stance. :asian:
     
  10. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    This sounds like all the makings of a sound, ideal learning experience. A sensei that has a heart for the art, and a student that has a heart for absorbing. My kind of dojo.
     
  11. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    Very common in shotokan karate (we use it all the time every class every step)
     
  12. MattJ

    MattJ Brown Belt

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    That is pretty much re-stating what I wrote. :)
     
  13. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do you use it for Junzuki then as well? What do you use for knife hand, we use front view cat stance.. Mashomen No Nekoashi. Have loads of other stances as well for other techniques.
     
  14. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to plagiarise. I was reinforcing your observation that sanchin dachi is effective at short range if it is used for the purpose for which it is designed. If it is not used to tie up your opponent's feet then there are possibly better stances for grappling and it has no application at a distance. I misread your reference to the head bobbing. I thought it was saying that stepping in sanchin caused head bobbing. Sorry my error! :asian:
     
  15. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    im not sure junzuki, not familiar with the term (its not on our glossary vocab page on our association's website that and im just a little yellow belt, so i dont know everything yet)

    I do know though crescent steps is what shotokan senseis teach you when you're just a little white belt.

    as for knife hands, do u mean a knife hand block or a knife hand strike or a spear hand strike.....?
     
  16. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Either a knife hand strike or a block. Spear hand is done in Junzuki stance usually. I know Shotokan is the same as Wado in these.
    Junzuki is the very basic front stance/punch, it's been in the first grading of all the styles I know. First thing to learn usually, depending on style the stance can be long or short but the stance and punch are the same. The 'crescent steps' are usually taught a bit later I've found.
     
  17. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you go on You Tube you'll find the differences between the styles and also good demos of Junzuki.
     
  18. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    It looks like Junzuki is what we (Isshin-Ryu) call a lunge punch, or Seiken oi Tsuki. We begin from hands-on-hips (or a basic Kamae stance with hands at the sides naturally for colored belts). Shifting the body, we perform the crescent step, and bring up the hand over the leading foot to the obi, and strike to the solar plexus of the opponent with a vertical fist. We use the other hand drawing back in what could be an elbow strike to the rear to cause the hips to twist and power to be generated. We don't leave the fist hanging out there, we return the body to a neutral position, which retracts the fist to a guard position. This is our first lower-body exercise, taught to newcomers immediately.
     
  19. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's the most basic punch and stance I think there is, I know it's in Shotokan and I checked several Shotokan syllabuses and it's there for 10th and 9th Kyu gradings. It's the one that most non martial arts people associate with karate, whatever the style. I've done it in TKD and we do it in TSD.
    The most basic way of doing it is from 'ready stance', left leg goes forward knee bent, left arm punches, back leg locked straight, right hand in fist at hip/belt. There's a shoulder width between the two legs. There's variations of course. As you say, you pull the punching arm back, some styles leave it there. Shotokan and TSD have a deep stance, Wado a shorter one, in all when moving forward the foot moves straight, no 'crescent' step. In Shotokan the foot is slid across the floor, in Wado it's skimmed across the floor (this causes my instructor and I to disagree lol, he's Shotokan, I'm Wado) Often there's a kiai every punch(often seen in films where they want to show a dojo, the students all doing line work). There's a few other differences but they are minor, in TSD the fist of non punching hand is usally kept a bit higher than belt/hip height though we don't.
    When we do what you call the crescent step the punch is always off the opposite arm from the leading leg. The punch is usually Chudan but we can do it low then it's called Gykazuki No Tsukkomi. Gykazuki Kette No Tsukkomi is quite difficult to do.



    Junzuki though is the beginners first stance and punch, almost the building block of karate.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    We do the crescent step when we do the lunge punch. Of course, we do use the Isshin-Ryu vertical fist. Our step is not as deep as Wado or Shotokan; we do heel-toe. So the foot we step out on, that heel is within an inch of the toe of the trailing foot if you were to draw a line across them. About shoulder-width apart. We also keep both legs bent, not just the front leg. Posture is upright, but we 'sink down' into our punch.

    For us, the word 'chudan' refers to middle-body, and we use it in terms of a block; a 'chudan uke' is a middle-body block, the fist level with the shoulder when it stops. We cross the center line when we block in this manner, so we can block a punch from either side with the same block using the same hand; it either turns the opponent in or out depending on which side they throw from.

    The knife-hand is similar to the chudan uke, but it has the block done with an open hand, palm out, instead of a fist, and instead of a reverse punch, we throw an open spear hand. We call this 'tegata barai nukite'.

    All of these; seiken oi tsuki, chudan uke, and tegata barai nukite, are done with the same crescent step and footwork in our basic exercises. We have a total of 15 upper-body exercises and 8 kicks. Once these are basically understood, we move students on to kata. We start with Sanchin.123
     

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