GOJUSHIHO DAI

   Gojushiho Dai, or "Fifty-Four Steps Big," is the longer and more complex of the two Gojushiho kata. At 67 counts, it is the lengthiest of Shotokan kata, beating Gojushiho Sho (and Kanku Dai) by two moves. Its surplus of movements over its twin can basically be accounted for by the inclusion of two techniques in Gojushiho Dai that are not present in Gojushiho Sho: koko-sukui-uke/tsukidashi and washide. Washide, or "eagle-hand," is a precise attack using all five fingertips pressed together in the shape of a bird's beak to strike an opponent's pressure points. Outside of this kata, washide does not exist in Shotokan.
   Gojushiho Dai has a smaller frame than its twin, mostly due to its "trademark set" of kitsutsuki-no-kamae, keito-nagashi-uke, and otoshi-ippon-nukite. Essentially, the larger frame of the ryuun (flowing cloud) set of Gojushiho Sho is replaced by the smaller kitsutsuki (woodpecker) set of Gojushiho Dai. The grand style of ryuun-no-uke is replaced by the smaller curving keito-uke; the long shihon-tate-nukite are exchanged for shorter otoshi-ippon-nukite; and the big zenkutsu-dachi and kokutsu-dachi are traded for the much smaller neko-ashi-dachi. Gojushiho Dai has more techniques executed in neko-ashi-dachi than any other Shotokan kata. Along with Unsu, it is one of only two Shotokan kata that have no kokutsu-dachi at all (excluding Tekki, of course). This can prove difficult for Shotokan karateka who generally practice kokutsu-dachi to a much greater extent, often neglecting the practice of neko-ashi-dachi. One of the more difficult aspects of the kata occurs when changing direction from one neko-ashi-dachi to another; many students tend to have difficulty maintaining balance throughout.
            At one time, Gichin Funakoshi tried to change the name of the kata to Hotaku, meaning "woodpecker," due to the frequency of poking strikes found within the kata. Some consider the true woodpecker's strike to be ryo-kentsui-koho-hasami-uchi (#61), viewing it primarily as a head butt attack. Regardless, for reasons unknown, the name Hotaku was never really accepted. Striking with the fingers is the norm for Gojushiho Dai so one must have an understanding of an opponent's vital areas. As a final note, since it is entirely possible that the Gojushiho kata originated from China, perhaps one may be able to see the movements of the snake (one of the five animals of Shaolin kung fu) in this kata. The keito and nukite techniques can easily be compared to the snake techniques of kung fu; and the zigzag pattern at the beginning of the kata...
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Technique
Translation
Stance
Target
Notes
1
mizu-nagare-uraken-kamae
(uraken-tate-mawashi-uchi)
water flowing back-fist posture (vertical back-fist strike)
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan
slow speed
2
ryoken-morote-uke
(morote-tate-uke-zuki)
both fists double-hand block
(both hands block-punch)
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
3
ryoken-morote-uke
(morote-tate-uke-zuki)
both fists double-hand block
(both hands block-punch)
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
4
tate-shuto-uke

vertical knife-hand block
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
5
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

6
tsuki

punch

zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

7
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
chudan

8
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

9
tate-shuto-uke

vertical knife-hand block
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
10
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

11
tsuki
(oi-zuki)
punch
(lunge punch)
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

12
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
chudan

13
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

14
tate-empi-uchi

vertical elbow strike
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan

15
koko-sukui-uke /
koko-osae (tsukidashi)
tiger-mouth scooping block /
tiger-mouth press (thrust)
zenkutsu-dachi
gedan
gedan

16
keito-uke
(kitsutsuki-no-kamae)
chicken-head wrist block
(woodpecker posture)
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed
17
keito-kamae /
gedan-uke
chicken-head posture /
down block
neko-ashi-dachi
jodan
gedan
slow speed
18
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
yori-ashi
19
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

20
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

21
keito-uke
(kitsutsuki-no-kamae)
chicken-head wrist block
(woodpecker posture)
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed
22
keito-kamae /
gedan-uke
chicken-head posture /
down block
neko-ashi-dachi
jodan
gedan
slow speed
23
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

24
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

25
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

26
haito-uke

ridge-hand block
kiba-dachi
gedan

27
jotai-sonomama

upper body as is
--
--
kosa-ashi
slow speed
28
ryosho-bo-tsukami-uke
both palms grasping stick block
ashi-dachi
kiba-dachi
jodan
gedan

29
haito-uke

ridge-hand block
kiba-dachi
gedan

30
jotai-sonomama

upper body as is
--
--
kosa-ashi
slow speed
31
ryosho-bo-tsukami-uke
both palms grasping stick block
ashi-dachi
kiba-dachi
jodan
gedan

32
keito-uke
(kitsutsuki-no-kamae)
chicken-head wrist block
(woodpecker posture)
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed
33
keito-kamae /
gedan-uke
chicken-head posture /
down block
neko-ashi-dachi
jodan
gedan
slow speed
34
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

35
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

36
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

37
shihon-nukite
(yoko-nukite)
4-finger spear-hand
(sideways spear-hand)
zenkutsu-dachi
gedan
shuto variation
38
uraken-tate-mawashi-uchi

vertical back-fist strike
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan
slow speed
39
shihon-nukite
(yoko-nukite)
4-finger spear-hand
(sideways spear-hand)
zenkutsu-dachi
gedan
shuto variation
40
uraken-tate-mawashi-uchi

vertical back-fist strike
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan
slow speed
41
washide-otoshi-uchi

eagle-hand dropping strike
zenkutsu-dachi
gedan

42
washide-tsuki-age

eagle-hand rising thrust
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan

43
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
jodan

44
ken-kata-ue /
tsuki
fist above shoulder /
punch
ashi-dachi
--
chudan

45
koho-gedan-uke /
yoko-empi-uchi
rear down block /
sideways elbow strike
hizakutsu
gedan
jodan

46
keito-uke
(kitsutsuki-no-kamae)
chicken-head wrist block
(woodpecker posture)
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed
47
keito-kamae /
gedan-uke
chicken-head posture /
down block
neko-ashi-dachi
jodan
gedan
slow speed
48
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

49
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

50
otoshi-ippon-nukite

dropping one-finger spear-hand
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan

51
haito-uke

ridge-hand block
kiba-dachi
gedan

52
jotai-sonomama

upper body as is
--
--
kosa-ashi
slow speed
53
tate-shuto-uke &
shihon-tate-nukite /
hari-empi-koshi-kamae
vertical knife-hand block &
4-finger vertical spear-hand / elbow guard hip posture
ashi-dachi
kiba-dachi
chudan
chudan
--

54
haito-uke

ridge-hand block
kiba-dachi
gedan

55
jotai-sonomama

upper body as is

--
--
kosa-ashi
slow speed
56
tate-shuto-uke &
shihon-tate-nukite /
hari-empi-koshi-kamae
vertical knife-hand block &
4-finger vertical spear-hand / elbow guard hip posture
ashi-dachi
kiba-dachi
chudan
chudan
--

57
mizu-nagare-uraken-kamae
(uraken-tate-mawashi-uchi)
water flowing back-fist posture (vertical back-fist strike)
zenkutsu-dachi
jodan
slow speed
58
kentsui-uchi-mawashi-uchi

inside hammer-fist strike
kiba-dachi
chudan

59*
oi-zuki

lunge punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

60
ryo-hiji-suhei-kamae

horizontal elbows posture
hachiji-dachi
--
slow speed
fast variation
61
ryo-kentsui-koho-
hasami-uchi
both hammer-fists rear scissors strike
hachiji-dachi
chudan

62
ryo-hiji-suhei-kamae

horizontal elbows posture
hachiji-dachi
--

63
ryoken-sonomama

both fists as is
zenkutsu-dachi
--

64
ryosho-kakiwake-uke

both palms wedge block
neko-ashi-dachi
gedan
slow speed
65
ryo-keito-hane-age-uke
both hands chicken-head rising block
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed
66*
ryo-otoshi-ippon-nukite
both dropping one-finger spear-hands
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
yori-ashi
67
keito-uke
(kitsutsuki-no-kamae)
chicken-head wrist block
(woodpecker posture)
neko-ashi-dachi
chudan
slow speed