The Golden Ratio and Kata

I recently made an interesting observation — all the forms of my system’s kata inherently have the golden mean appearing in hundreds of places.

The golden mean (AKA: the golden ratio) is used a lot in graphic design, engineering and architecture. It’s known as the irrational number Phi. It’s the reason the nautilus curves like it does and why some graphic arts look more balanced than others.

In Taiho-Ryu Number one Kata, I found the Golden Ratio in the following places:

1. Siting to Down Block: One arm is bent at the acute angle of the golden mean and the extending hand is at the obtuse angle of the golden mean.

2. Zenkustudachi: When doing Zenkutsudachi (fore stance), the centerline of the martial artist falls exactly at the position of the golden mean right between the feet. The front leg is angled at the obtuse angle of the golden mean.

3. Oi Tsuki (front punch): When extending a front punch the hand turns over almost exactly at the point of the golden ratio.

4. Knife Hand Block: The angle of the hand at full extension is the golden mean.

5. Cross Step: The cross stepping leg is bent to the golden mean.

This little “aha” has been a rich discovery for me. I’ll be spending the next few weeks exploring it and seeing what happens when I align every motion with the golden mean and discovering how to use it to improve balance and performance.

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