For whatever reason, my test partner and I are having more trouble remembering the koryu dai san no kata than we are performing it.  (Sempai may disagree with that).   As an exercise we wrote down the techniques as we remember them.

koryu dai san 

Kneeling (standing variations; my knees no longer permit me to perform kneeling techniques.)

1 overhead strike. to head
2 yokomen broken nose
3 gut punch
4 push hands up 
5 rear choke. static
6 shihonage lift hand
7 sleeve grab to strike
8 clap hands and throw (sandwich hands)

1 lapel grab kote mwashi
2 grab tori right wrist, under armpit. pick up penny
3 rock the cradle
4 rope arm
5 two hands front choke
6 go behind choke
7 bear hug 
8 first hog tie pull pants off

1 heart strike
2 overhead strike broken nose
3 backhand
4 first assassin (pulldown)
5 first kidney 
6 second kidney
7 second assassin. big scabbard 
8 hog tie with foot kote gaeshi 

The traditional names, along with links to some reference video can be found at (among other places)


The exercise led me to reflect on the barriers that arise from the extensive use of Japanese in martial arts. I’ve had a number of people tell me that their reluctance to learn a foreign language is one of the reasons they don’t practice martial arts. Although I find the names of the basic 17 to be reasonably mneumonic and didactic, I find that the traditional names of the techniques in classic form number three, and the names of the jo suburi to be completely unhelpful.  I have to memorize the technique and the name separately, and then connect them in my mind.  But that is for another day. 

Koryu Dai San 

Traditional Dojo Entry Technique
Kneeling Techniques performed in the classical “correct” style
1 Oshi taoshi video Vigorous overhead strike to heart Bend out, fake strike to neck
Kneeling Techniques adapted to standing to avoid knee damage
1 Oshi taoshi Heart Strike Vigorous overhead strike to heart Bend out, fake strike to neck
2 Gyakugame ate Broken Nose Angled strike strike to opposite temple, reinforce at sternum
3 Kote gaeshi Gut Punch Pucnch to solar plexus Kote Gaeshi
4 Ryotemochi sukui nage Push Hands Up Double wrist grab Enter, raise hands, pivot hips, hook ankle
5 Tenkai kote hineri Static rear choke Right arm bar choke from behind chinup, apply kote hineri to wrist
6 Shiho nage Lift hand, four direction throw single hand grab (right?) Four direction throw
7 Gedan ate Go away kid, you bother me From 45 degree angle, grab sleeve break grab, shoulder strike
8 Hiji kime Sandwich hands/Clap hands Grab right lapel Trap hands in a “sandwich”, slide to elbow, hip pivot, throw
Standing Techniques
1 Kote mawashi Kote mawashi Grab Right lapel Kote mawashi
2 Uchi tenkai nage Pick Up Penny Grab right wrist Under armpit, very low, arm resting on neck
3 Gyakugamae ate Rock the cradle Grab left sleeve ?? fall back off line, lay arm over sankyo points, use hips to draw back, return to enter space
4 Hijii kime Rope arm grab ? wrist rotate wrist tegatana forward, rope arm to ear, lower to permit roll out
5 Mae otoshi Front choke Grab lapels for choke hold Mae otoshi
6 Ushiro waza mae otoshi Go behind choke Grab right wrist, “pin down”, enthusiastically circle around behind to choke Mae otoshi
7 Ushiro waza tenkai kote hineri Bear hug Wrap arms around from behind walking tori Tenkai kote hineri against shoulder
8 Mune tori kata gatame Hog Tie/Pull off pants Stabilize & haymaker pull off pants
1 Shomen Uchi Heartstrike Vigorous strike to heart Bend, step offline, (fake) strike to neck
2 Migi yokomen Uchi Broken nose ?angled? strike to head Strike to opposite temple, reinforce to solar plexus
3 Hidari yokomen uchi Backhand Reverse strike to the neck Interrupt, ??
4 Tanto tsuki First Assassin Vigorous, repeated stab with hunched over posture Behind, ushiro ate linear
5 Gedan yokomen uchi First Kidney Strike to the kidney Block, lift to shoulder. Hands on elbow, ear pinning wrist, shuffle back
6 Gyaku gedan yokomen uchi Second kidney Reverse strike to kidney Kote Gaeshi
7 Tanto tsuki Second Assassin/Big Scabbard Pull knife from scabbard, stab forward Seize hand, kote hineri
8 Shomen-giri-gedan-ate Hog Tie/Foot Gaeshi Overhead strike Guide knife to thigh, topple, foot kote gaeshi

External Links