Introduction
Taigyoku Nidan is required for your orange belt. Like Taigyoku Shodan, it's deceptively simple but its very simplicity is what makes it so challenging to perform well because there are no dramatic or flashy manoeuvres to disguise imperfections in your performance behind.

It's often called "The Forgotten Kata" - not because people forget about it, but because it's very easy to forget which kata you are performing and leave out the kicks! The English translation of its name is "First Cause, Second Level" but we generally refer to it simply as "Second Kata", except at tournament when you are expected to announce the kata that you will perform in Japanese - "Taigyoku Nidan!".

For gradings you are expected to know the kata's pattern and footwork. Mistakes are acceptable in both adults and children, but you will need to demonstrate knowledge of kick mechanics by returning your foot to the knee after each kick.

Stances
There are just two stances in Taigyoku Nidan, and you will be very familiar with them as they are basic stances that you practice in class every single week. Here's the stances you'll be required to use.

Heiko dachi Parallel stance
Zenkutsu dachi Forward stance

Strikes
There are two strikes in this kata, and both are mid-level punches. Eeeeasy!

Gyaku tsuki Reverse punch
Oi tsuki Lunge punch

Kicks
There's just a single kick in this kata, repeated twelve times. It's GKR's most basic kick, so you'd better get it right!

Mae geri Front kick

Blocks
Again, there's just a single block in this kata, but it's repeated eight times.

Gedan barai Low-level sweeping block

Sequence:- By the numbers
White and yellow belts should simply follow the labelled blue and grey rows. Comments for more advanced students are at the end. References to compass directions (north, south, east and west), do not refer literally to their real-world directions, rather they are relative to your starting position, which is always considered to be facing north

Intro Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart start

Start in ready stance facing north. bow. Move your left leg in towards your right and bring your heels together. Place your hands by your sides. bow. Moving your left leg, return to ready stance.

1
Ichi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 1 Look sharply to your left. Pivoting on your right foot, turn your body to your left and move your left foot to form zenkutsu dachi facing west. At the same time, sweep your left arm downwards, performing low level sweeping block.
2
Ni
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 2 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your right arm. Now perform a mae geri using your right leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your right leg forward.
3
San
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 3 Look behind you over your right shoulder. Move your right foot back and place it on the floor two shoulder-widths behind and one shoulder-width to the south of your left foot. Turning to the right, rotate your body 180 degrees. As you rotate, perform a low level sweeping block using your right arm.You should end up in zenkutsu dachi facing east with your right leg forwards.
4
Shi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 4 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your left arm. Now perform a mae geri using your left leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your left leg forward.
5
Go
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 5 Look sharply to your left. Pivoting on your right foot, turn your body to your left and move your left foot forward to form zenkutsu dachi. At the same time, sweep your left arm downwards, performing low level sweeping block. Finish with your body facing north.
6
Roku
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 6 Perform a mae geri with your right leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki with your right arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.
7
Shichi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 7 Perform a mae geri with your left leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki with your left arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.
8
Hachi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 8 Perform a mae geri with your right leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki with your right arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.. As the punch lands, kiai loudly.
9
Ku
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 9 Pivoting your body anti-clockwise on your right foot, move your left foot and place it on the floor two shoulder-widths to the east and one shoulder-width to the north of your right foot. As you turn, look over your left shoulder. Continue rotating your body until you are facing east in zenkutsu dachi. As you rotate, perform a low level sweeping block using your left arm. Finish with your body facing east.
10
Ju
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 10 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your right arm. Now perform a mae geri using your right leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your right leg forward.
1
Ichi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 11 Look behind you over your right shoulder. Move your right foot back and place it on the floor two shoulder-widths behind and one shoulder-width to the north of your left foot. Turning to your right, rotate your body 180 degrees. As you rotate, perform a low level sweeping block using your right arm.You should end up in zenkutsu dachi facing west with your right leg forwards.
2
Ni
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 12 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your left arm. Now perform a mae geri using your left leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your left leg forward.
3
San
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 13 Look sharply to your left. Pivoting on your right foot, turn your body to your left and move your left foot to form zenkutsu dachi. At the same time, sweep your left arm downwards, performing low level sweeping block. Finish with your body facing south.
4
Shi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 14 Perform a mae geri with your right leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki with your right arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.
5
Go
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 15 Perform a mae geri with your left leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki with your left arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.
6
Roku
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 16 Perform a mae geri with your right leg. Rather than bringing the foot back to its original position, after it has returned to your knee, step forward to finish in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot lands, deliver a mid-level oi tsuki punch with your right arm, timed to strike just before the foot reaches the ground.. As the punch lands, kiai loudly.
7
Shichi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 17 Pivoting your body anti-clockwise on your right foot, move your left foot and place it on the floor two shoulder-widths to the west and one shoulder-width to the south of your right foot. As you turn, look over your left shoulder. Continue rotating your body until you are facing west in zenkutsu dachi. As you rotate, perform a low level sweeping block using your left arm. Finish with your body facing west.
8
Hachi
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 18 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your right arm. Now perform a mae geri using your right leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your right leg forward.
9
Ku
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 19 Look behind you over your right shoulder. Move your right foot back and place it on the floor two shoulder-widths behind and one shoulder-width to the south of your left foot. Turning to the right, rotate your body 180 degrees. As you rotate, perform a low level sweeping block using your right arm.You should end up in zenkutsu dachi facing east with your right leg forwards.
10
Ju
Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart step 20 Keeping your feet stationary, perform a mid-level gyaku tsuki with your left arm. Now perform a mae geri using your left leg and return your foot to your knee, but instead of continuing back to your original stance, place the foot on the ground ahead of you to finish in zenkutsu dachi with your left leg forward.
End Taikyoku Nidan footwork chart end

Look to your left. Turn your body to the left and stand in ready stance, moving your left foot back to stand beside your right, feet a shoulder-width apart. You should be facing north. Bring your heels together, moving your left foot alongside your right. Place your hands by your sides. bow. Move your left foot away and return to ready stance.

Advanced notes

You set the tone for your entire kata by the way that perform your opening bow, and set yourself in ready stance. Focus, then move from your bow to ready stance with tension and precision. Remember, left hand over right, then bend the bar!

The first and last stance of any kata are the most crucial because they are the most visible. Ensure that you set yourself properly. Go through your check-list: hips straight or at 45 degrees, back leg locked, back foot at 45 degrees, front knee bent and pushed out, weight low, fist pulled back, etc.

Try to keep your height low as you perform your turns. Avoid leaning forwards to compensate.

You should concentrate on bringing your hips square as you punch. Remember hips and shoulders are connected and point the same direction!

Your low level sweeping block should reach its final position as your hips lock into position, deriving maximum power from the hip movement. Practice hard to achieve maximum synchronisation.

Many students seem to forget where mid-level is when delivering the punches in this kata. Your arm should be slightly below horizontal. Your target zone is between stomach and sternum.

The footwork on step 5 of the first half and step 3 of the second half can very easily look sloppy and there's no "official" way of doing them. They're best performed if you bring your left foot back in to your right, in a diagonal cat stance, with the heel of the the left foot moving to the instep of the right foot, before stepping out into zenkutsu dachi.

As you progress through the grades, you will increasingly be judged on the power of your kata. Don't just go through the motions. Keep in mind the bunkai behind the kata, then punch and kick as if you mean it.

As you step forwards, work hard on keeping your height low and consistent from one move to the next - no bobbing! As you become more experienced, you'll be able to perform kicks from a lower height by bending your supporting leg more. One "trick" experienced students use is to start off with a slightly higher stance than in Taigyoku Shodan, so that there's no need to rise up to deliver the kicks.

When you deliver an oi tsuki, attempt to land it a fraction before your foot hits the floor, thus driving your entire body weight, momentum and hip movement through your fist.

It's very important to bring your foot up to your knee at the start and return it there at the end of your kicks, rather than simply throwing your foot out straight from the ground, then after the kick, allowing it to crash back to the floor like a stampeding elephant!

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