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Rotate on the heels, to avoid "Nige"


Rotate on the heels for avoided "Nigé":

here is a article a bit special, which is rather a parenthesis but which seemed important to me.

Since the publication of the article on Taïkyoku Shodan where I advocate turning on the heel, I was often asked why. Sometimes, I was even told that it was an aberration :-(.

It was therefore normal for me to explain myself on this subject.

Why rotation on the heels would be more effective?

First of all, tip-toe rotation (or rather the bowl: Koshi) is not bad in itself and it often exists, but not in Taikyoku.

I confess to you that a short while ago, I was shooting myself on koshi, but as the absurd man is the one who never changes (Georges Clemenceau) I have since changed my way of turning. I still make the mistake of turning on the front of the foot, but ...

In fact it is Sensei Johnny Gence who explained to me why the rotation in the kata was done on the heel.

When we turn on the tip, there is Snowy (逃 げ る) , Japanese word meaning escape. Indeed, your technique goes in one direction and your leg goes in the other, so there is Nigé (I show you that on the video, because it's difficult to explain.)

That one turns in this way to position oneself, is not embarrassing, but in the kata, one seeks to have maximum efficiency in every technique, be it defensive or offensive. It is therefore necessary that the whole body is mobilized in the technique.

Turning on the heel, your center of gravity moves towards the target while turning on the tip, it does not move almost because your back leg moves in the opposite direction of the technique.

Practice pivoting on your heels and you will feel a real difference in efficiency in your techniques.

But as a video your thousand explanations (That's me ;-)) I invite you to watch the one I prepared for you.

>>> Download the video

Erratum: On the video, I say "Nijé" while Nigé (逃 げ る) is pronounced "Nigué", sorry.

Here, I hope you have understood this principle of Nige and you understand better why in the kata must turn on the heels.

I look forward to your comments 😉


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  1. HITACHE Améziane at

    You're absolutely right, you have to turn on your heels. This way of doing things was explained to us by our karate teacher (Mr. ROUIBA Bachir 4em Dan, one of the best coaches in Setif, Algeria). He told us that this was explained by a Japanese expert during an internship in Algiers. With a little practice, we get used to it and we discover all the interest to turn on the talents. Of course at first it's a bit difficult and then with the training everything is set up and we gain speed and efficiency. Thank you Bruno, your advice is really very interesting and provide a solid foundation.

  2. Thank you it was very interesting!
    I am a beginner in karate and I ask myself a question: I start to learn Heian Nidan, and at the moment of the second uchi uke, the movement of hips makes that front foot back slightly (as explained here: can we consider that it If yes, should it be avoided or is it normal?
    Thanks again !

    • Hello Florian,

      First of all, if you have not done it yet, I invite you to watch my video ofHeian Nidan where I explain in detail this movement and in particular the retreat of the foot.

      It's an excellent question you ask. In fact I do not think that in this case we can talk about Nige because even if the foot back, there is no decline in the center of gravity.
      The foot recoil in this case is only due to the rotation of the hips. The Gyaku Uchi Uke is given with the left arm and one has the left hip that advances to bring the body into Gyaku Hanmi. Suddenly the right hip naturally recedes and causes the recoil of the right foot. But it's not Nige, it's a bit like saying that Ikité in a Zuki was Nigé.

      That's just my personal opinion but I hope this explanation suits you.


  3. I also turn on the heels for the reasons mentioned in this article.
    However, in the style matsubayashi-ryu, which I had the opportunity to practice in Okinawa, rotations are done on the front of the foot. Before turning the body, it is the foot that rotates, the body is then put in torsion (or compression), and this denier is then released to perform the technique. The technique that follows, thanks to the pressure generated during the rotation. This is a particularly interesting body dynamics found in some kata shotokan passage but not in rotations.
    The important thing is to know why we do things and this article explains very well why in shotokan it is better to turn on the heels.

    • Hello Areski,
      I am very honored that you intervene on my site,
      I wanted to tell you that your book Bunkai: The art of decoding kata is a reference for me and it really opened my eyes on the art of decoding kata. I love it.

      Regarding the compression generated by the foot that turns before to put the body in tension, I understand the principle, but I do not really see how it happens concretely (I tried, but I got a little tangled brushes: - )). Would you have a video to show us?


  4. In France, there is a lack of hip rotations that the French experts do not teach at all ... I worked a long time ago with French experts and for me the movements were so hard to do. was so horrible ... So one day I met some Japanese instructors who told me to change a lot of things in my karate of that time ... There was a lot to do, but done ... Today if I look back I tell myself wow they are still there 40 years back zut ,, what advance I made.
    But my teaching without hip rotations is impossible ... The Base remains the basic foundation. Oss.

  5. Hello Mr BRUNO
    I am very happy to receive these updates Oh! how useful with the more frankness on your part.
    I have grasped this principle of rotation on the heels instead of the front of the feet (about Nijé), indeed experts karate go a lot in these details and that's what distinguishes them from us , their great experience is in this, I am particularly grateful for all your efforts that allow us to learn more.

  6. Hello,

    Should you always turn on your heels? I'm thinking especially of techniques like mawashi? (I used to tiptoe for this technique)

  7. Bruno Hello and thank you for your work.
    In the continuity of the rotation on the heels. Can you tell me or confirm that the passage kokustu zenkunstu is also rotated on the back heel.
    Thank you

  8. Hello Mr. BRUNO master!
    We follow you everywhere in the world, I am every day thank you very much for the video, it is superb!
    at the same time express my best wishes for the 2015 year! A lot of success !

    send me especially to my email:

  9. Thank you Bruno for this video which explains very clearly this notion of Nige that I did not know. I will try to remember it every time I practice kata.

  10. I've been told this many times and I've experienced this weekend at JKA Christmas Camp (with SAWADA Sensei) and it's impressive how the position of the heel changes the position and channels the energy! Glad to have finally managed to feel its effectiveness. It remains to train at the Dojo to make it "automatic" 🙂

  11. Hello,
    I really liked your analysis of Nigé !! This is the first time I discovered this word ... Indeed, during my training, my trainer always made me the remark that when I turned, either I raised the heel of my back leg or I moved on the front of my leg, as you mentioned.
    And I tried to rectify that, but I could not, because I was not turning on the heel but I kept my foot stuck and I tried to turn. It was not easy since I lost my balance and I lost strength !!
    Once I read your article, I got up from my bed
    I can not wait to find myself at the Dojo to practice even more on that and try to improve my movements in Kata and Kihon !!
    Thank you very much for creating this karate site, because what really opens your eyes on other things, on size details! as the saying goes !!
    Good luck ... ..Oss ..

  12. This notion is interesting but to apply them to the pivot I remain reserved. Strength is a resultant of several strengths. If the pivot is on the heel I think we do not take advantage of the force related to the screw movement that is done when you rotate on the bowl of the foot. In my opinion, this is the principle of the wave movement of Yoseikan Budo. I think we must take advantage of the telluric force to instead increase this power. And on top of that, you have to stay supple on your legs and if you're on your heel, I think you have a tendency to repeat your legs and go back to the back. My explanations are not exhaustive but in any case I remain attentive to the principle.

  13. It is necessary to resonate in transfer of force and direction, if one remains in the definition of the snow it is easy to even if it is necessary to turn on the heel or not.

    • Thank you Johnny.
      In fact I had not reworked Empi since you taught me this principle. That's why I was a little puzzled, but taking all my katas as if I started it should do it.

    • Hello,
      Very good question, actually on these kata if we turn on the tip, there is also Nigé.
      For Empi, I have a doubt because a lot of rotation is done on the spot and I am not persuaded that one must turn on the heels.
      If a specialist can enlighten us, that would be good.
      Thank you

  14. Hello Bruno,

    Thanks for this explanation about the rotation on the heels. They had already told me, but without explanation. Now it's crystal clear. I think I understood also what could be gained through the shift of the center of gravity in the same direction as the attack, and the contribution of stability to the arrival in the new position. In addition, less risk of getting your toes between the carpets, which can be very painful!
    Just a question :
    Is there one or more exceptions where you have to turn on tiptoe?

    PS: Is it normal that I have no sound from 6 mn 30 s? I lose all interest in the second part.

    Thanks again.

    • Hello Frederick,
      Exceptions, there are plenty, since it will depend on your combat strategy. If you swivel with the idea of ​​absorbing and therefore backing up, you will rather pivot on the front of the foot.
      The concept of Nige is also not specific to the heel, it concerns the whole body. The fact for example to YoKo Geri and at the same time to have the weight of the body that goes to the other side (We see that often in beginners), it is Nigé.
      After that I think you were asking me for exceptions in the Kata. There is nothing that comes to mind, one should look for.
      Do you think of a particular passage?
      PS: For video, do not worry, it's only 6: 35. After that it's the same thing, but without the sound. This is a mistake that sometimes happens on Youtube. Thank you for reporting it to me. As soon as I can I correct that.

  15. A clear and clear explanation that highlights the continuous improvement in the execution of kata ...
    I'll be careful now for my rotations ... one more point to improve!

    @ +

  16. Hello,

    it is true that we do not pay attention to it at all if nobody does it for us (before a few deans at least, apparently = p). I just did the test to see how I was doing. I do not remember if I had been taught a way of doing things or pointed out that mine was not good, but ...

    After paying more attention to that, I noticed that in kata, unconsciously, I made a rotation on the heel, then my back foot slides forward. As a result, the whole foot slides on 10-15 cm after rotation.

    Direct consequence, that I had noticed, but of which I did not know the reason: my embusen are noticeably larger than the normal one. I do not think this is very serious (the idea of ​​going to the opponent being present), but when working in a group, I have to reposition myself regularly or go a little wrong so as not to walk. on my neighbors.

    Another direct consequence, and there maybe that Bruno or Johnny can confirm it to me, my blockages and blows have a little more impact, no?

    I think it came to me naturally, because here I try, and back when we give a shot forward, it is, at best, counterproductive. I can not make an impact, sometimes I lose my balance, my basic positions become bad, and so on.

    • Hello Lonewaer,

      I will surely disappoint you, but the fact that your back foot slides forward is a fault that reveals a problem more serious than you think (I reassure you nothing dramatic either.)
      In fact your foot is forced to slide because your front leg has been positioned too forward because you disconnected your two legs opening excessively at the level of the aducteurs. The problem is that at the moment of impact you are no longer in contact with the ground (your back foot is slipping.) And the reaction force that should descend down into your back heel will disperse at your hips.
      The hardest thing for you is going to be missing, especially if you think it's not one.
      You have to train to do your kata with the back heel lock on the ground at the time of the kime.
      Do not think that your fist or your foot strikes, think that you must be able to return this strike force to the ground (Principle of Action / Reaction) At the moment of impact you must be planted in the ground.
      Johnny will probably know better than me to explain this principle of rooting in the ground.
      Go see this article, maybe it will help you:
      I hope I've enlightened you a bit and not too confused.

  17. Posted by hansb51Hello Bruno,

    I understand that in the kata it is necessary to move towards the opponent and think about pivoting on the heel, but in the applications, it is necessary to think to absorb the attack before counter attacking.

    No, it is in the application that one must go to the adversary, that all the forces are directed towards him. The application or the "what's the point" should be used to do the right thing in the kata.
    There is not a good gesture for the kata and a good gesture for the application.
    Now, this is not the only solution we can also absorb all that, but this is no longer what makes the kata work.
    You can imagine that if kata prepares for the fight, you make 100000X a movement from top to bottom but where you pay attention in application it's from the bottom up, it would not make sense.

  18. Hello Bruno,

    Your explanation is very clear. The shift of the center of gravity towards the attack is obvious.
    I understand that in the kata it is necessary to move towards the opposite and think about pivoting on the heel, but in the applications, one must think to absorb the attack before counterattacking. (hence the difficulty of working both without being mistaken).
    Thank you again for your explanations and good luck.

  19. Hello,

    Well I must admit that after reading Bruno's article, I began to rotate because by habit we do not realize it, if no one tells you.
    I realized that I was doing "Nige" in some "Kata"
    that Johnny was well-intentioned to explain it in detail so that it does not turn into an Achilles' heel.

    Have a nice day, friendships

    @ + Marc

  20. You must know that Nige is a generic fault that is to send a part of his body or his movement in the opposite direction of the technique.
    Mae geri or yoko managed for example that are launched by throwing the body back to be able to better mount for example is also Nige, it is not only this displacement.
    Thanks to you for the video.

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