What are the Tekki series in Karate?

The Tekki series, also known as the Naihanchi series, is a fundamental set of karate katas or forms. These katas are an essential part of traditional Okinawan karate and are widely practiced in various styles such as Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, and Goju-Ryu. The Tekki series consists of three katas – Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, and Tekki Sandan – which are known for their unique stances, focus on close-range combat, and development of core strength and stability. In this introduction, we will delve into the significance, characteristics, and training benefits of the Tekki series in the practice of karate.

Understanding the Tekki Series: An Ancient Tradition in Karate

Karate, a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan, is known for its diverse range of techniques and forms. One such series of forms, known as the Tekki series, holds a special place in the world of Karate. The Tekki series, consisting of three forms – Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, and Tekki Sandan – is often considered a cornerstone of Karate training and grading. In this article, we will delve into the history, significance, and techniques of the Tekki series, shedding light on this ancient tradition in Karate.

The Origins and History of the Tekki Series

The Tekki series, also known as Naihanchi in some styles of Karate, traces its roots back to the island of Okinawa during the 19th century. It is believed that the forms were developed by Okinawan masters as a means of training and preparing individuals for real-life combat situations. The exact origins of the Tekki series remain somewhat elusive, with various theories and legends surrounding its creation. However, what is clear is that the forms have been passed down through generations, preserving the essence of Okinawan Karate.

Key Takeaway: The Tekki series in Karate consists of three forms – Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, and Tekki Sandan – that hold immense significance in Karate training and grading. These forms help practitioners develop a strong foundation in Karate by emphasizing stability, balance, and control through linear movements. By practicing the Tekki series, individuals can improve their stances, enhance their overall technique, and cultivate a deeper understanding of body mechanics. It offers physical benefits such as improved stance and stability, enhanced body mechanics, and strengthened martial arts skills, as well as mental benefits like increased focus and concentration and self-defense readiness.

Unveiling the Significance of the Tekki Series

The Tekki series holds immense significance within the realm of Karate training and grading. These forms are often considered a bridge between basic and advanced techniques, helping practitioners develop a strong foundation in Karate. The movements within the Tekki series are characterized by their linear nature, emphasizing stability, balance, and control. By practicing the Tekki forms, individuals can cultivate a deeper understanding of body mechanics, improve their stances, and enhance their overall technique.

Unlocking the Techniques of the Tekki Series

Each form within the Tekki series offers a unique set of techniques and challenges for practitioners. Let us explore the key elements and techniques found in each of the three Tekki forms:

  1. Tekki Shodan:
  2. Stances: Tekki Shodan primarily focuses on the “horse” stance (kiba-dachi) and the “cat” stance (neko-ashi-dachi). These stances promote stability, lower body strength, and proper weight distribution.
  3. Techniques: The form encompasses a variety of strikes, blocks, and transitions, including punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, and open-hand techniques. The movements are often executed in a linear fashion, enhancing precision and control.

  4. Tekki Nidan:

  5. Stances: Tekki Nidan builds upon the stances introduced in Tekki Shodan, incorporating the horse stance and cat stance, as well as the back stance (kokutsu-dachi). The back stance emphasizes a strong rear leg and proper alignment of the body.
  6. Techniques: This form introduces additional techniques such as kicks, sweeps, and circular hand motions. It requires practitioners to execute combinations of strikes and blocks while maintaining stability and balance.

  7. Tekki Sandan:

  8. Stances: Tekki Sandan further expands on the stances practiced in the previous two forms, incorporating the horse stance, cat stance, and back stance. It also introduces the crane stance (tsuru-ashi-dachi), which enhances agility and balance.
  9. Techniques: The form includes intricate hand techniques, such as grabs, joint locks, and throws. It challenges practitioners to execute dynamic movements while maintaining a strong foundation and focus.

The Benefits of Practicing the Tekki Series

The practice of the Tekki series offers numerous benefits to Karate practitioners, both physically and mentally. Some notable advantages include:

  1. Improved Stance and Stability: The Tekki series places a strong emphasis on stances, helping individuals develop a solid foundation and enhance their overall stability and balance.
  2. Enhanced Body Mechanics: By practicing the Tekki forms, practitioners can deepen their understanding of body mechanics, including weight distribution, proper alignment, and efficient movement.
  3. Increased Focus and Concentration: The intricate techniques and precise movements within the Tekki series require practitioners to maintain a high level of focus and concentration, fostering mental discipline.
  4. Strengthened Martial Arts Skills: The Tekki series serves as a valuable tool for developing fundamental martial arts skills, such as striking, blocking, and transitioning between techniques.
  5. Self-Defense Readiness: The practical nature of the Tekki series prepares individuals for real-life combat situations, equipping them with the skills and mindset necessary for effective self-defense.


The Tekki series, also known as Naihanchi in some styles of Karate, is a set of three kata (formal patterns) practiced in many Karate systems. The word “Tekki” translates to “Iron Horse” in Japanese, which reflects the strong stances and horse-like movement prevalent in these kata.

How many kata are there in the Tekki series?

The Tekki series consists of three kata: Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, and Tekki Sandan. Each kata builds upon the techniques and principles learned in the previous one, allowing practitioners to progress in their training and understanding of Karate.

What are the characteristics of the Tekki series?

The Tekki series focuses on strong stances, linear movements, and the development of core strength and stability. It emphasizes close-range combat and defense against multiple opponents. The kata in this series often involve intricate footwork, powerful strikes, and various hand techniques performed from stationary positions.

What are the benefits of practicing the Tekki series?

The practice of the Tekki series provides numerous benefits to Karate practitioners. It helps improve balance, coordination, and overall body control. The emphasis on strong stances and core stability helps develop leg and abdominal strength. The repetitive nature of the kata promotes mental focus, discipline, and concentration. Additionally, practicing the Tekki series enhances self-defense skills and instills a deeper understanding of timing, distance, and body mechanics.

Are the Tekki series suitable for beginners?

Yes, the Tekki series can be practiced by beginners, as well as advanced practitioners. While it may take time to master the intricate movements and transitions, beginners can start by learning the basic stances and techniques incorporated in the kata. The Tekki series is a great foundation for building strength, control, and understanding of fundamental principles in Karate.

How are the Tekki series different from other Karate kata?

The Tekki series stands out due to its unique characteristics and focus on close-range combat. Unlike some other Karate kata that involve dynamic and flowing movements, the Tekki series primarily focuses on strong stationary stances, linear movements, and powerful strikes. The techniques in the Tekki series are often performed with minimal wasted motion, reflecting the practical aspects of self-defense in a confined space.

Can the Tekki series be practiced in other martial arts?

Yes, the Tekki series is not exclusive to Karate and can be found in other martial arts styles as well. It is particularly prevalent in various styles of Okinawan Karate, where it originated. The principles and techniques found in the Tekki series can also be seen in styles such as Kobudo (Okinawan weapons training) and some Chinese martial arts systems.

How long does it take to master the Tekki series?

The time it takes to master the Tekki series varies depending on individual dedication, practice consistency, and the guidance of a qualified instructor. It is important to remember that mastery is a continuous journey, and progress is measured in personal development rather than a set timeframe. With regular practice, it is possible to achieve proficiency in the Tekki series within a few years, but ongoing refinement and deepening of understanding can continue throughout a lifetime of training.

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