Quicky on Shiko

In Karate there is a stance called Shiko-dachi 四股立ち.

Shiko-dachi is a modern Japanese term from the sphere of “developing a standardized Karate terminology”, i.e. earliest from about the latter part of the 1st  half of the 20th century, more likely from about the early 2nd half.

The original old-style Okinawan name for the stance appears to be unknown but it was used widely among the oldies.

Upper left: Funakoshi Gichin teaching Naihanchi. Upper right: Mabuni Kenwa. Bottom: Yabu Kentsu teaching Naihanchi.

Upper left: Funakoshi Gichin teaching Naihanchi. Upper right: Mabuni Kenwa. Bottom: Yabu Kentsu teaching Naihanchi.

I am not sure if everybody knows this, but the term Shiko is found in the realms of Japanese Sumō wrestling. There it refers to the stomping of the Sumō wrestlers in the ring as a kind of warm-up prior to the bout.

You know what I mean?

This is also called ‘chikara ashi‘ 力足, lit. strong legs, or power legs.

Two stages of Shiko in Japanese Sumō wrestling.

Two stages of Shiko in Japanese Sumō wrestling.

Well, to get even closer to the meaning of what is popularly referred to as Shiko-dachi: In some Karate styles this stance is called Jigotai 自護体.

Jigotai means ‘self-defense body [posture]’. It is also known as the name for one of the basic stable and changeable postures for fighting in jūdō. Likewise, the same stance is found in Okinawan Sumō.

Starting position in Okinawan wrestling (Shima).

Starting position in Okinawan wrestling (Shima).

For example, the term Jigotai is used in the Matsubayashi-ryū instead of Shiko-dachi. Besides, there are also other Karate schools who use the term Jigotai.

Nagamine Shoshin teaching the Jigotai posture.

Nagamine Shoshin teaching the Jigotai posture.

Finally, as can be seen in one of the few photos showing Miyagi Chōjun teaching close quarter applications, we see Miyazato Eiichi in the typical basic wrestlers posture, or Jigotai.

Miyagi Chojun (left) with Miyazato Eiichi (in typical basic wrestlers posture, or Jigotai).

Miyagi Chojun (left) with Miyazato Eiichi (in typical basic wrestlers posture, or Jigotai).

So that was a quicky on Shiko.

© 2017, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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