Naihanchi Bunkai Follow-Up 2

I had a couple minutes after class this Saturday before I had to head home, so I recorded an ugly, quick-and-dirty demo of a broken-down bunkai drill I like for the beginning of Naihanchi Shodan. This video includes the application I described in my last post, Naihanchi Bunkai and Randori. I would have preferred better angles, close-ups of some parts, more detailed demonstrations, better lighting, etc., but I did what I could with the time I had. I really appreciate Brent, one of our intermediate teen students, for letting me beat up on him. As always, there are many applications that could work for any given movement, so these are not the only applications we use for Naihanchi and they certainly aren’t the only ones out there! If the video above does not work, or you want to watch a high definition version of the video, you can also find the video on YouTube.

The scenario starts with someone grabbing you and threatening you. The first movements of the kata are used a pre-emptive strike in this drill, where you grab your attacker’s head and strike it–in the demonstration, I simply punch the face, but you could backfist the nose or use small-surface strikes like ippon-ken on kyusho targets. From there, I lever the head down into a knee strike, and shovel kick the attacker’s knee.

The second part of the drill is when you have failed to pre-empt your attacker and they let go of you with one hand to start punching. You deflect and trap the punch beneath your arm and use that hand to slap the back of their head while elbowing them in the face. Just like the first technique, the strike (elbow, in this case) can be thrown as many times as necessary, although I only did it once in the demo.

The third part of the drill is when you have done one of the first two (I only demonstrate this off of the second part of the drill in the video, though) and your attacker blocks and clinches with you to prevent you from hitting them more. From there, you grapple with your opponent (normally I like doing this randori-style, plus strikes) until they try to make space to start hitting you again, at which point you drag their pushing arm across your body into hiji osae gatame (elbow press lock). That lock can be used to control the attacker, dislocate the joint, or simply bring their head level down, and then you can follow up with hammerfists or punches to the head/neck.

This drill can be worked into just about any self defense drill, because often when people start getting hit and don’t like it, but also don’t want to quit fighting, they will grab onto you and start wrestling with you. From that same situation, I have other drills from Naihanchi, but this was the only one I had time to record. Eventually, I would like to record other applications that can be used for a variety of other scenarios.

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About Noah

I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I started training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu. I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Richard Poage. I have been training with him ever since, and currently hold the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him. In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014.

2 thoughts on “Naihanchi Bunkai Follow-Up


    Hey Noah,

    I like the technique you demonstrate at 0:07. We used to do something like that back when I trained in Combat Hapkido – only difference being that there was usually a “distracting strike” thrown in before the main technique.

    Still, very fluid move you demo here.

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