NIJUSHIHO - Twenty Four Steps
The name Nijushiho originally came from then number of foot movements contained in the kata, 54. This is the only Shotokan kata in which haishu-uke (back hand block) is used. It is very important that the student not be confused regarding this technique by mistaking it for any of the other pressing, or gabbing techniques that they have learnt in previous katas. The flow of Nijushiho should be very smooth and the student must make every effort not to make the kata appear jerky and uneven. Master Funakoshi took Masatoshi Nakayama to Kenwa Mabuni the Founder of Shito Ryu and told him to learn two katas from Sensei Mabuni, one of those katas was Nijushiho the other kata was Gojushiho which is how these two katas came into the Shotokan system. This kata introduces several new techniques such as chudan-osae-uke (middle level pressing block), chudan-mae-empi-uchi (middle level forward elbow strike), as previously mentioned haishu-uke (back hand block) and awase-zuki (upper level and lower level punch).
This kata contains 33 movements and should take the student approximately 40 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is required in order to advance from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
There are two kiai points in Nijushiho. The first one occurs on the jodan-kensei (upper level palm feint). The second one occurs on the second to last movement of the kata, a combination awase-zuki (upper level and lower level punch) that is performed in sanchin-dachi (hour glass stance).
To return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your left foot in place and withdraw your right foot so as to stand up once again facing forward in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). You must now formally end the kata. You do this by bringing your left foot half way in towards your right foot and your right foot half way in towards your left foot so that you are now standing with your feet together. At the same time as you bring your feet together also bring your hands to your sides so you are again standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance). Now rei (bow). After bowing, step out with your left foot and then your right foot and once again stand in hachiji-dachi (natural stance) while at the same time bringing your hands from your sides and hold them in a ready position in front of you with your fists closed.