Punching Standard

Also known as the “Standard”, the Punching Standard is an integral part of Isshinryu practice in the Pacific Northwest.  Notably, it is absent from schools in other parts of the country.  Master Steve Armstrong, the American Karate pioneer had incorporated the punching and kicking standards into virtually every workout.  The kicking standard is pretty straightforward, consisting of six kicks, using alternating legs, in different directions.  The punching standard is somewhat more complex and represents a sequence of 10 moves, consisting of hand strikes, kicks, and blocks.  Sometimes it’s referred to as the never ending kata, because you can start the sequence with any of the 10 moves, then keep going, without stopping.  You can even switch sides on any of the 10 beats, again reinforcing the inherent versatility of the sequence.  Over the years, Isshinryu tournament fighters incorporated the sequence into their tournament strategies, and wouldn’t you know, began racking up the points.  Now, in the Iron Crane School, there is a maxim, “When in doubt, execute the Standard.”

Wanting to learn more about the Standard, I asked Master Don Wasielewski if he could share something about its history.  Per Wasielewski, “The standard is not considered to be traditional Isshinryu.  Sensei Steve Armstrong was friends with Chuck Norris and Ed Parker (founder of American Kenpo), and in the old days made it a point to attend the Long Beach Internationals, which for many years was the premier competitive event in the country.  Well, the story goes that on one of these trips, Norris shared a sequence of 10 moves with Armstrong, the theory being they were tactically mutually supportive and resulted in a more effective fight.  Armstrong was so impressed with the sequence that it became the ‘Standard’ and part of each student’s repertoire.”  Currently, there are many versions of the Standard, but all remain based on the original 10 moves.  Master Don Wasielewski demonstrates in the first clip below, I provide the drill down by numbers which follows.

Since this page was originally conceived, I have received inquiries from some of you regarding the Kicking Standard.  Responding, I am providing a clip of the Kicking Standard, demonstrated right and left, by the numbers.

(Click Image of Mizugami to View)

Punching Standard (Demonstration))


Punching Standard
(By the Numbers)

By the Numbers

Punching Standard
(Opposite View)

Left Side by the Numbers

Kicking Standard

Kicking Standard

For those with further interest in how these drills can evolve into a stream of coherent movement, click here.

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