Shotokan Karate



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    Post  Unsu on Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:42 pm

    Nijūshiho (二十四歩) (Japanese: Twenty four steps) is an advanced kata practiced in Shotokan karate.

    The origin of Nijūshiho is unknown, but it is presumed that it originates from one of the Chinese "Dragon" styles. Alternating explosive and calm sequences lend it a very distinctive rhythm. Some Okinawan practitioners[who?] have likened it to the ebb and flow of the ocean crashing on a beach. This explosion and recession of movement is especially evident in the opening movements. This principle, applied throughout the kata, alludes to an understanding of reception of an attack, and suppression of the attacker in the same motion.
    Niseishi to Nijūshiho: "The Twenty Four Steps"

    In an effort to make his Okinawan (and thus, foreign) art more palatable to the then nationalist Japanese, Funakoshi changed the name of the kata from Niseishi to Nijūshiho. Both names mean "24 steps." However, this is not simply an interpretation of the number of movements or techniques extant in the kata. Twenty-four is related to 108, which is an auspicious number in Buddhist scriptures. Both 2 and 4 are divisors of the larger number. One hundred eight refers to the 108 'afflictions' of the soul, which are to be symbolically stricken down in events like Kagamai Baraki (Japanese New Year). The kata Gojūshiho (originally Ueseishi) is "54 steps", another divisor. Although the kata has come down to karate practitioners via Okinawans, who mostly rejected Buddhism in favor of their own animistic beliefs, the original kata came from the Chinese, who embraced it.

    This does not imply that the kata itself is a Buddhist exercise - the Buddhist symbolism is only an artifact of its originators, who were most likely Buddhists of one school or another.

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