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Kokutsu Dachi: Back leg flexed


Kokutsu Dachi, karate position on the back leg

Kokutsu Dachi: basic stance, bent back leg

We have already studied in previous articles, the stance Zenkutsu Dachi, with the front leg bent. We will now study the second fundamental stance you need to know: Kokutsu Dachi.

Unlike Zenkutsu Dachi, in the stance Kokutsu dachi, it is the back leg which is the most flexed. The weight of the body this time to 70% on the back leg. The feet are no longer parallel and apart but on the contrary at right angles and on the same line.

So much difference for these two fundamental stances. I introduced you Zenkutsu Dachi as a stance of attack, Kokutsu will have a more vocation defensive, but not only.

Decomposition of Kokutsu Dachi:

Let's analyze a little more in detail Kokutsu Dachi. You descend your weight on the back leg (about 70% of body weight) a bit like having a stool above the back heel and you want to sit on it. Your back leg is bent, the knee spread out at 90 °, foot in the same direction.

En Kokutsu dachi, front leg points forward and is slightly bent. It is on a line through the heel of the back leg (this is why it is said that the feet are on the same line). It is very important to do not fully stretch the front leg to protect the knee. Indeed, if the front leg is stretched, it becomes very vulnerable in case of frontal attack.
In addition, slightly bending the front leg secures the knee joint holding the patella in place. By slightly bending the front leg, you will avoid the problems of dislocation that could happen in case of sudden movement with a strained leg (I show you this on the video ;)).

The front leg remains so slightly flexed and supported on the forefoot. The heel brushes the ground.

Hips and shoulders are of 3 / 4 face, all the ENT stay well straight without tension. basin is flat, neither forward (anteversion: when the buttocks stand out!), nor towards the back (retroversion: when the buttocks are too tight!) and the vertebrae are stacked one above the other without tension on one side or the other.

You only keep a slight tension in the belly (hara).

Ideally, in the stancekokustu dachithe joints of the ankle, knee, hip and back shoulder are on the same level almost vertical. The rear foot rests flat and must stay in the same direction as the knee (at 90 °). You must avoid tension in the knee and ankle. What happens if you turn your foot backwards and tuck your knee or vice versa if your knee moves behind and you turn your foot forward.
Knee and ankle joints do not have the rotation function, so it is imperative that the knee is in the same direction as the foot, otherwise you create very strong tensions in the joints and you lose a lot of support on the ground, which must be done on the foot well flat.

How to move in Kokutsu Dachi?

We will now see some details about displacements forward (Ayumi Ashi) and backward (Iki Ashi) in the stance Kokutsu Dachi.

Ayumi Ashi : To move it forward in Kkokustu dachi, the important thing is to keep hips at the same level. At no time should they go up or down. To move forward, you will move your back leg next to the front leg by "closing" the back leg forward. You will then find your feet together. Your leg will continue to move forward (it will now be the front leg) while the other leg opens at 90 °. I decomposed voluntarily, but there is no stop in the middle, the movement is fluid.
Be careful, the body must not be turnedyou must keep in mind that your opponent is ahead. You will only change custody during the move but not turn. It's a common mistake for beginners to turn to every move. To not make this mistake, you must think of your opponent who is in front. You must send your hip forward and your foot must always point forward. This advance of the front leg will be accompanied by a opening of the back leg, the body weight remaining for the most part on this back leg.

Iki Ashi : In the backward motion in Kkokustu dachiyou will do the opposite. That is to say that your front leg will come next to the other, which will be "Closed", then continue backwards by "opening" to 90 °. You just put 70% of your weight on this leg.
Warningat first, you will tend to lean backwards. It's not good ! Remember, your opponent is always in front of you! You must go back on the back leg, but keep your body straight and ready to go forward.

I propose now to see all this in video

(But before, do not forget to warm up thanks to the advice that I give you in the ABC of warm-ups, my book to download for free ;))

>>> Download the video

That's it, I hope that this new training will do you more. Review this video often and practice, you'll end up mastering the position Kokutsu Dachi.

I advise you to work kihon on hip rotation to further perfect your kokutsu dachi!

Your opinion and your questions interest me! Leave me a comment below, thank you!

See you soon,

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  1. Could you make a video where the application of kokutsu and the other stance against a partner on kumite prearrenged and free?

    • Bruno Bandelier at

      Hello Guiseppe,
      Without waiting for you, I can already explain to you:
      Kokutsu Dachi is a receptionist (Uke). That is, you get Tori's attack. But be careful when I say receive, it does not mean "to submit". You get mastered, a bit as if you wanted to absorb the attack, to be better counterattack or back armed (chaining for example with Gyku Zuki) or the front leg (Kin-Geri), ...
      Zenkutsu Dachi is a position that is used in the case of an attack, but also in the field of defense of an offensive position with respect to the opponent.
      But as already said, these positions are learning positions. Neko Ashi Dachi and Fudo Dachi will be used more naturally.

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    • Hello Guiseppe,
      Kokutsu Dachi, like ZenKutsu or KibaDachi, are especially learning positions that allow you to feel good about your position. You are never completely in Kokutsu Dachi, or ZenKutsu DAchi in Kumite but you find there the same sensations. For example, when you retreat to absorb a Tori attack, you pass naturally by a position related to Kokustu Dachi with a sensation of "receiving". Conversely when attacking, you will naturally place yourself in a position related to Zenkutsu Dachi with a feeling of giving.
      See you soon,

      Hello Guiseppe,
      Kokutsu Dachi, like ZenKutsu or KibaDachi, are mainly learning positions that allow one to feel the position of one's center of gravity. We are never completely in Kokutsu Dachi, or ZenKutsu DAchi in Kumite but we find the same feelings there. For example, when one moves back to absorb a Tori attack, one naturally goes through a position close to Kokustu Dachi with a feeling of "receiving". Conversely, when we attack we will naturally place ourselves in a position closer to Zenkutsu Dachi with a feeling of "giving".
      See you soon,

      • Thank you so much for you! I think that Kokutsu is good for Dodge attacchi without using the arms. There is something to similarity on western boxing. On the Nakayama book THE BEST KARATE vuol. 3 kumite chapter 2 GO NO SEN is described in stance that look me Kokutsu dachi. My opinion is to go forward on Kokutsu, Kokutsu at back, Kokutsu at back

  5. hi bruno, for this video me share against I can not go back without giving an impulse to the top (this is 10mois I practice) it may be due to a bad positioning, or a lack of flexibility? (I been operated at 2 knees) thanks and good luck.

    do you go to jka international stage in july of 05 in July 07 in Belgium?

    • Hello Fabian,

      No, I'm not going to this internship, I'll work on these dates.

      For your problem, it can not be a problem of flexibility because in retreating (or moving forward) you do not need more flexibility than in the static position. In my opinion, it's more of an investment problem.
      To retreat Iki-Ashi, you must "pull" your front leg towards you while pivoting on your back foot: You must do it with an idea of ​​grouping, closing (contraction adductor), you bring the front leg to you, under your body, by turning your pelvis backwards. You must have the impression of shooting with your belly. It's your hip before you pull back.
      In the middle part of the movement, you find your feet joined with the legs bent (your hips have not mounted, you are still at the same level) your buttocks are backwards.
      You continue the rotation of the pelvis and continue to retreat your front leg (which will now become the back leg) until you come to sit on it in Kokutsu Dachi.
      Well I hope it will help you, I prepare a video, I will put it online as soon as I find the time to write an article.


  6. Hello,

    A colleague of the dojo (essm karate) told us about your site Monday night before the training and well I can say that he has done very well. Your site is complete you explain and demonstrates things with more videos. A real bonus in addition to training.

    Thank you and very good job.

  7. This is a defensive position, usually associated with uke suhto. But it is also a position from which he can launch an attack and loses less energy than when you lean forward. For me, it's the most beautiful place!

    • Hello,
      Each position and each movement associated with it has no interest except learning in itself.
      In fact each position is useless if we do not learn others, it's a whole. Each of the postions is an educational one that allows the body to learn to move on one leg or the other, in one axis or another ...
      After in the reality of the fight, you naturally place yourself in positions that are intermediate between different positions, without realizing it you use each position.
      Here, I hope I have helped you. Remember that all positions and movements are important because they are part of a set that will allow you in reality to move properly according to the evolution of your fight.

  8. Hello,
    Thank you for all this technical information. This is very useful in my personal reflection on my practice but also for teaching. You are a pioneer of the genre. You share your knowledge and experience with as many people as possible. I recognize an enthusiast.
    See you soon

    • Hello Fabienne,
      I am delighted that these few knowledge that I share needs you. This is the goal, I want this blog is primarily useful; that it serves the karateka to progress, and if in addition it helps some teacher is very good.

    • Are you a sensei? I have a question for you,
      How can you using Kokutsu dach, and other stances on ju kumite? Usually only zenkutsu dachi is used!

  9. Hello Bruno,

    I want to thank you for this site.
    I only watched the kokutsu dachi part but I have no doubt about the quality of the rest of the site.

    Thank you for what you share!


  10. Hello Bruno,

    So I reviewed the details of the position "Kokutsu Dachi" it ends up taking it out of habit, because it is widely used, especially in the "Kata", in defense with "Shuto-Uke".

    Good luck, and good internship with Sensei Gence this Sunday.



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