My background is Shotokan karate, with lower stances and nowadays more stylised than traditional karate (forgive my over-generalisation).

I have recently been looking at other styles of karate, and was surprised at the difference in Tekki Shodan / Naihanchi between the two styles. Notably in Okinawan karate the kata is performed much higher than in shotokan.

It got me wondering whether a Karate-ka with some kind of mobility issue due to age or injury (perhaps a back injury or knee injury) would do well to switch to Okinawan karate or some other similar style with high stances.

My knowledge of other styles is limited. Am I correct in saying Okinawan karate has all high stances and is better suited for older or less mobile practitioners ?

1 Answer 1


It is inaccurate to say that all Okinawan karate has high stances. There is a difference in the way that Tekki Shodan and Naihanchi are executed, however. One uses what I would call kiba dachi and the other uses the higher naihahchi dachi, what my style would call soto hachi monji dachi. The difference in stances is a stylistic choice, the bunkai is relatively the same.

When you watch videos of Tekki Shodan and Seiyunchin, both done by well known masters, both have deep and high stances.

With that being said, I have found Goju Ryu to be very adaptable. In the adult mixed classes, we have had students ages range from 14 to 70. Everyone does their best, and a good instructor knows the limits of their students.

Any well rounded art has the potential to be adaptable given the right teacher. Styles that aren't applicable to different capabilities and body types don't last through the generations. Research the school, talk to the teachers and explain to them your situation. You can practice good self defense without a textbook horse stance.


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