Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: Tekki Knee-dan

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tekki Knee-dan

In yesterday's class I spent a solid hour working on Tekki Nidan. Aside from simply learning the pattern, I've made a commitment to myself to always perform the kata in a proper kiba-dachi – which is easier said than done, considering it is the only stance in the kata and it appears eight times throughout.

Each time I land the stance I do a four-point mental check:
  1. Feet facing forward
  2. Back straight
  3. Hips forward
  4. Knees out
If my knees fall in, it is a sure sign my posture is poor and my hips aren't in the correct position. When in a proper, deep stance you can bet I feel it – my quads burn a little, my ankles feel the pressure, and my knees will ache the next morning (if I've done the kata for an hour, so I learned today). If I feel nothing, I've cheated myself with lazy stances.

For now, as I'm still learning the kata, it can be a bit distracting to do this check every time; sometimes after correcting my stance I've forgotten where I am in the kata and have to retrace my steps. This being said, practicing in full stance will pay off in the end because I want my body to learn it as well as my mind. And when my body knows it, my mind won't have to.


  1. Hi there

    Stumbled across your blog yesterday and I found funny how I can relate to most of what you say.
    I'm also going for shodan at the end of the year and I am trying to discipline myself to get to this milestone of my karate journey :)

    I have a question regarding your kiba-dachi. You mention that your knees will ache from training this stance.
    What kind of pain is that?

    The reason I ask is that I've identified only a few type of pain that indicate correct exercise:
    - immediate pain on muscles and ligaments when keeping a stance or executing a technique - such as in your ankles
    - muscular pain (from lactic acid mostly) the day after training - such as the pain in your quads

    My understanding is that pain in joints indicates "non-natural" motions or stances.

    I would love to hear your opinion on that.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience with us and keep up the good work :)

  2. Hi,

    Ah self-discipline, that’s a tough one to master and I know we’re not alone in that. If you manage to find it, let me know.

    The ache I feel in my knees is in fact muscular (the grouping of muscles around my knees), and fortunately not in the joint. I’m really focusing on finally getting down as far as I am supposed to, and not letting my knees fall in, so the muscles work harder than ever – I think it is natural that they will protest at first. My ankles experience the immediate discomfort of pointing my feet absolutely forward, and not let them slip out at a slight angle, my flexibility is increasing with this one, so it too is getting better. As soon as I stand up from my kiba-dachi they feel relief.
    I have a really great Sensei and I work hard to practice all stances and techniques properly, so to avoid injury, and to make it look good of course! ☺
    Few things frustrate me more than being sidelined from Karate due to an injury.

    The only pain I am currently experiencing is in my wrist – tendonitis, which is very annoying and forcing me to modify a few things. Not a good way to start off my Shodan year, but I’m not letting it get in the way of my overall training. It isn’t affecting my basics or kata, I’ll just have to give it time and take it easy with sparring for now.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my blog, I appreciate your thoughtful insight. Good luck with your training and I hope you will continue to read and comment as often as you wish. I’m interested to learn how your journey progresses this year as well.

    * I notice you are from S.A. I lived in the Western Cape (Stellenbosch) for a year and absolutely loved it. You live in a very beautiful Country.