The Tekki Series are some of the most complex kata in the Shotokan Style. It has been reported that Funakoshi spent several years singularly practicing these kata, and because he viewed them as such a vital training exercise they have been placed in very high importance in the Shotokan Syllabus.
Master Funakoshi learned these kata from the great Master Itosu – who is renown for both developing and creating many of the shotokan kata we practice and study today. Funakoshi spent three years learning each of the Tekki kata, growing to understand that although short and economical on space, these kata were tremendously difficult to master.
Originally named Naihanchi, Funakoshi changed the name to Tekki. More significant is the way these kata have changed in performance. Originally being practiced from Naihanchi-dachi and hachi-ji-dachi, these kata are now practiced from kiba-dachi.
Tekki Shodan, originally a Shuri-te kata, places much emphasis on deep rooting. To maintain a strong kiba-dachi, with accurate posture and to avoid bobbing up-and-down requires much lower body strength, and this kata, as with all of the Tekki Kata are renown for their effective development of the ‘Hara’ (Located three fingertips below the naval). This kata promotes lower body strength, and the technique Nami-gaeshi (Returning wave) involves raising the sole of the foot in front of the body while being supported by just one foot, requiring great skill and balance. To perform this technique without significantly raising your body is very difficult, so when a beginner can perform this effectively, they will begin to fully appreciate the benefits of this kata.