Technical comparison: Karate’s Gojushiho with Tai Chi’s Yang form

Introduction:

In the art of Tai Chi (Taiji Quan) the Yang style is represented by the long form. Variations of this are called the “Yang Cheng Fu form”, the “108 step”, the “81 step” and the “88 step.” In Karate styles such as Shotokan, Shito Ryu and Shorin Ryu, the kata Gojushiho (otherwise known as Useishi and meaning 54 steps) is one of the longest and most advanced forms. In Shotokan the are two versions, Gojushiho Dai and Gojushiho Sho, which are almost certainly variations of the same form.

This article is designed to compare some of the most similar movements between what is essentially the representative form of Yang style with what is one of the most historically significant forms of Karate. I have quickly photographed movements of the forms of Li Yu Lin performing 81 step and Hirokazu Kanazawa performing Gojushiho, for no other reason than I had them to hand.

karateban

Both versions of Gojushiho begin with this slow pressing movement…

The press in Taiji is called Ban and uses the same kind of slow movement

The press in Taiji is called Ban and uses the same kind of slow movement

Gojushiho Sho includes these double punches done at 45 degrees on both sides

Gojushiho Sho includes these double punches done at 45 degrees on both sides

the equivalent of which in Taiji is "box the ears"

the equivalent of which in Taiji is “box the ears”

In Gojushiho the Kakiwake Uke is carried from one side to the other...

In Gojushiho the Kakiwake Uke is carried from one side to the other…

Rather like "carry tiger to mountain" in Taiji

Rather like “carry tiger to mountain” in Taiji

The punch kick combo is used in Gojushiho to 45 degrees

The punch kick combo is used in Gojushiho to 45 degrees

Seen also in Taiji

Seen also in Taiji

In Gojushiho there is a movement which somewhat links the form to Naihanchi) where we travel sideways in a kind of horse stance

In Gojushiho there is a movement which somewhat links the form to Naihanchi) where we travel sideways in a kind of horse stance

This kind of principle is seen in Taiji as Cloud Hands

This kind of principle is seen in Taiji as Cloud Hands

This is one of the signature movements of Gojushiho Dai

This is one of the signature movements of Gojushiho Dai

the equivalent of which in Taiji is "white crane spreads wings"

the equivalent of which in Taiji is “white crane spreads wings”

I Gojushiho the "washide" technique is used where the fingers are bunched together like a cranes beak

In Gojushiho the “washide” technique is used where the fingers are bunched together like a crane’s beak

Gojushiho Sho also has this technique...

Gojushiho Sho also has this technique…

in Taiji the movement Tanbien uses the bunched fingers, as well as a similar posture to the second technique front arm out, other arm hooked)

in Taiji the movement Tanbien uses the bunched fingers, as well as a similar posture to the second technique front arm out, other arm hooked)

Gojushiho uses this tight motion performed in cat stance

Gojushiho uses this tight motion performed in cat stance

which we may compare to "hands strum the lute"

which we may compare to “hands strum the lute”

Gojushiho uses this "pointing downwards" technique

Gojushiho uses this “pointing downwards” technique

which of course we may compare with "needle at sea bottom"

which of course we may compare with “needle at sea bottom”

Most of my pictures above are from Kanazawa’s Gojushiho Sho. See here:

Here is Yang Chen Fu doing the family form:

We should note, Shotokan’s Gojushiho is not the only version of the kata. Here is Hohan Soken:

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