Bunkai: Pinan 1 Chudan Arch

Bunkai: Pinan Shodan – Chudan Arch

The arch:

In the kata: touching your left fist to your right forearm forms an arched structure from one fist around your back to your other fist. It is a stable structure. If you do not make the hand-to-arm contact the structure will not be as strong.

In version two, below, this connection forming the arch is made by connection with the opponent’s arm.

Do not strike to the head during practice.

In version one your crossing forearm pulls the opponent toward you as you deflect his punch, and simultaneously close in on him, evading his incoming power.

This is followed by an quick reversal of direction, launching your backfist, and keeping him off balance. 

In version one an ideal target for the backfist is the mental foramen in the lower jaw.  Even tapping on this is unpleasant. A good hit will be stunning and will snap the head back, destabilizing the opponent briefly and creating a suki for the follow up.

Other side-of-the-head targets include the temple, mandibular angle near triple warmer 17, or the gall bladder 20 area toward the back, if his head turns a lot.

Do not strike the head during practice.

This interpretation follows the exact move in the kata. Although it does not set up the next move, the turn, perfectly, but it works by itself.

Here is the version that sets up the next move in the kata very well:

In version two the crossing arm comes in underneath the incoming strike. You trap the arm with your hands in the both-hands-chambered position, as in the kata. This pulls him off balance toward you. 

You instantly reverse direction toward him, as in the kata. You rotate and hyper-extend his arm with your lower-hand grip. You lift up under his elbow against the range of motion of his hyperextended elbow joint. This lifts him off his feet. Then you can do the throw, if you are using that as your interpretation of the next move in the kata. 

The next move in the kata, turning backwards 225°, does not seem to be well-adapted to fighting a new opponent coming from behind. It does work well as a throw of the opponent you were just facing.  

Version two also works against a kick, but does not lead to the following move in the kata as naturally. But if it works you might not need the next move.

A third version of this chudan arch is to trap the opponent’s hand and apply a wrist lock, with your thumbs placed to grip the back of his hand around Heart 3. You seize his hand when it is palm-down for his punch. You turn it over, following the move in the kata and hyper-flexing the wrist, toward him.

This will move him to his knees as he tries to release the pressure. But it is less controllable for you, and it does not lead naturally to the next move in the kata, so it is not a first choice for us. 

We can use these interpretations in Pinan Yondan too.

There are many ways to use all these techniques.


Post and video Copyright © 2023 by Jeffrey Brooks, Mountain Karate, Yamabayashi Ryu, Saluda, NC USA

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