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Empi kata (elbow strikes)

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The empi kata is a way of showing how the Jitsuka can combine the powerful elbow strike (empi) with control and accuracy. As well as committing totally to each strike, the Jitsuka must also focus on the position his or her opponent (imaginary or otherwise). Strikes should be accurate and clean — no wobbling elbows after a powerful swing. The stance of the Jitsuka is also of great importance in this kata. It is easy to overbalance when powering into an elbow strike on an imaginary opponent.

The kata involves 10 separate strikes with the elbows to particular points on an opponent's body. The kata may be performed with or without an uke.

It is almost always demonstrated dynamically, the Jitsuka progressing along the floor using his or her movement to add additional force to the strikes. However all of the strikes can be highly effective from stationery.

The Jitsuka normally starts the empi kata in an informal attentive stance, occasionally from kiba dachi, the stance being called by the Sensei.

The 10 strikes are:

  1. Right elbow to chin
  2. Left elbow to chin
  3. Right elbow to left clavicle
  4. Left elbow to right clavicle
  5. Right elbow to left temple
  6. Left elbow to right temple
  7. Right elbow to right temple
  8. Left elbow to left temple
  9. Right elbow to groin
  10. Left elbow to face

The final position of the empi kata is held by the Jitsuka until instructed to do something else. It is common for the empi kata to be repeated a couple of times, going back and forth along the dojo. When asked to repeat the kata, the Jitsuka should return to an informal attentive stance.

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