Kata - Hangetsu

English - Half Moon

This kata is also known in other styles of karate by its original name of Seishan. It is unique in Shotokan karate in making use of the stance hangetsu-dachi. Other styles, notably Goju-ryu contain multiple similar katas, but not Shotokan. The name of the kata and stance is normally said to refer to the semicircular movements that the feet make when stepping forwards. Details such as this and the slightly sliding uchi-ukes are important to get right when performing this kata, and have obvious applications such as foot-sweeps in close-in fighting.

Hangetsu is a very strong and powerful kata, and needs focus right through the body, starting from the legs, up through the core and emphasised by breathing. When learning this kata, start with getting the stance right, and the rest can follow. Unlike the major Shotokan stances, tension is on the inside of the legs as the knees are drawn in, and the outside of your foot should be pulling away from the floor with your coccyx tucked in.

There is some variation in way in which this kata is performed. Notably, many organisations teach that the gedan-barai, gyaku-zuki, age-uke combinations are performed in hangetsu-dachi, whereas in the club we perform them in zenkutsu-dachi. Researching videos, I even found some which use kokutsu-dachi.

Video links

Videos from YouTube.

Sensei Kawazoe

From the front and then from the side. Some useful tips on the kicking techniques at the end.

Sensei Shirai

Unfortunately taken from behind, but this shows the power required,