The things you can do from a horse stance
I never realized how many drills you can do when you start from a horse stance. You can stay in a horse stance and do many arm techniques, you can move to into other stances or you can pivot on your heels and turn those horse stances into front stances and back again.
You can do a lot in a horse stance
After starting out in a horse stance, we did the following:
- Bring the right leg to left with the feet together
- Step forward into a front stance with the right leg
- Step back with right leg into a back stance
- Bring the right leg back to the left and step back into horse stance
We did the same as above but stepping forward with the left leg to work the other side of the body. We then added some hand techniques doing the following:
- Front punch when stepping into the front stance
- Manji uke when stepping into the back stance
- Double punch at the end when we moved back in to horse stance.
The next drill is a good hip opener. Start in a horse stance:
- Reach to the left with your left hand
- Pivot on both heels into a front stance with a head level reverse punch
- Pivot to the right with a stomach level reverse punch
- Pivot to the left with a below belt level reverse punch
Come back to horse stance and repeat the same but the time starting with a right hand reaching.
The last horse stance drill was done moving forward in, you guessed it, a horse stance.
- Start out in a left leg to the front horse stance with a downward block
- Step into a right leg forward horse stance with a palm heel strike
- Step into a left foot forward horse stance with the dropping block from Jion
We did that combination of moves a few times and moved on to kata.
Kanku Dai details
We spent a good amount of time working on Kanku Dai and many of the little details that are often ignored. The little details can make a decent kata into a great kata.
The first section was near the start of the kata, where you do the standing punch block, moving to the side snap kick with back fist and into the back stance with knife hand block. A key points is, shuffle the back leg halfway up to the front leg before the side snap kick with back fist. This is the same footwork as in Heian Nidan and it is the only time that we the foot movement in this kata.
The next part we worked on is to pull both hands to our side quickly before the last side snap kick near the end of the kata. The idea here is to get your hands to your side very fast and collect your balance and then execute the side thrust kick and back fist.
The last part we worked on was after the high x-block when you pull the hands down in front and close the fists. The idea is to make sure that you loosen up the hands before the double front snap kick. If the hands are too tight, your shoulders will rise up and and the kicks will be forced.
We finished up doing an entire Kanku Dai and then a kata of our choice, twice.