Now I know that these are just figurative descriptions, but when I come across people getting downright poetic about describing techniques I wonder whether this tendency to describe movements and techniques confuses more than it elucidates. I came across one guy on the Internet saying that just "as the name suggest [sic], the animal form is the cat and the practitioner should keep in mind the nature of the cat when using this stance." What is the "nature of the cat"?
Another person on the Internet says that the cat stance is "designed for pivoting, night walking, returning to the rear, blocking and weapons fighting." Why would you assume a cat stance before pivoting? Just pivot. Try walking at night or in the dark and see if you use a cat stance. Certainly when you are stepping back you shift the weight, but is it a cat stance? And a stance for blocking? Or weapons fighting?
|Cat stance at end of Seiunchin.|
The temptation to translate cryptic or figurative language literally is understandable. We are looking for meaning where meaning is not clear. And so when we see pivoting from a cat stance in Seipai kata, we say cat stance is "designed for pivoting." When we see a step back into cat stance in Seiunchin kata, for example, we say that the cat stance is for "returning to the rear." When we see a cat stance accompanied by a block in Kururunfa kata, we say that the cat stance is "designed for...blocking."
|Cat stance in Kururunfa kata.|
I can remember hearing criticism about different schools. People would say, "Oh, their cat stances are too low." Or, "Their cat stances are too high." Or, "In that style they turn their knees in a little in cat stance in order to protect the groin." But all of this makes sense only if you sit in the cat stance as if it were a kamae posture waiting for an attack. But it's not. Most stances in Goju-ryu are transitional and used in attacking the opponent in various ways. Of course, if you want to merely assume a stance there's always basic stance.