Hard training equals good Karate training

I haven’t written much here since I have not been taking classes because of real life issues but I am still assisting each week and I thought it would be useful to outline the classes.

Step, technique and lunge

Sensei Plocharczyk started class with a tough warm up.  He had the students do each of the Heian katas but after each step, he had them do a lunge in place.  For example, Downward block to your left, lunge, step and punch, lunge and so on with each move of all five katas.  It did get interesting when the back stance and horse stances came up and the students had to pivot in order to get there legs in proper alignment to the do the lunges.  I’ll admit, I miss taking class but I am not sure if I would have made it though the warm up today.

Various kicking kihon

This is where Sensei really starts to push not only the body but the mind too.  He often comes up with combinations that make you think as hard as you strike.  One such drill began in a front stance, then front snap kick, putting the kicking leg back behind and then doing a front snap kick before stepping forward.  The point behind this drill was to get the students to use their hip action where you extend and retract the hip.  Most would think that this is nothing new but you would be surprised how many students, even younger ones, only use their legs for kicking instead of their hips.  This action of the hips is something that students either forget or they never did when first learning.

The next drill, along similar lines, was from a front stance, with a knee strike, striking leg down and behind and then front snap kick.  After that came, the knee strike again but with a roundhouse kick.  There were some other drills, where the students goal was to keep their shoulders loose by keeping their arms down and hands loose while kicking for both front snap kicks and roundhouse kicks.  One student in particular, when keeping here arms loose and behind her hips improved her roundhouse kick like night and day.  Not using her arms to throw the kick made the techniques look much better then when here hands were clenched and in front of her.

Throughout the class, there were some push ups and other conditioning exercises to keep everyone working but the various kihon drills I am sure were enough.

One step for many and kata for one

Since there was an uneven number of students in the class, Sensei had everyone get a partner, except for the one student without a partner.  He had the partner groups do various forms of one step sparring while the single person did a kata with yours truly watching.  After the group finished one step, another student would do a kata for me and I would give then one or two pointers to help them clean up their katas.

Finish up with some knee strikes

Class ended with everyone partnered up and doing knee strikes on a focus mitt.  The idea was to use the hips to drive the knee into the focus mitt which sounds simple but as I noticed earlier, everyone doesn’t use their hips when striking with their knees.

After seeing all the kicks and hip work, I am starting to think that helping out with class is sometimes a little better than actually taking class.

About doug

Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..

Kata, basics and more kata

Exams are coming to an end over the next couple weeks and Sensei Noia worked kata and basics today.

Exam time  is always good for training

Even though I stopped taking exams almost 6 years ago, I always enjoy the training before the exams. We spend a lot of time working on kihon and kata.

We started out doing all five Heian katas as a warm up. We could go as fast or as slowly as we wanted but with the intention of warming up and increasing intensity as we did them. After that, we did them all again with more intensity and speed since we were warmed up at that point.  Doing the Heian katas is always a good refresher and often, a Heian kata must be performed at the Shodan exams.

Next, we worked on basics. Starting with moving forward in a front stance with front punch, triple punch, back stance with knife hand block, horse stance with palm heel, horse stance with dropping strike from Jion, front kick with front punch, and front kick with triple punch. We followed that up with stances only, moving across the dojo doing two of the same stances and then changing to a different stance continuing to the other side of the dojo. We did the same again but this time adding hand techniques of our choice.

We worked on Taikyoku Shodan, executing each move with as much kime as possible. We did it twice again using only the left arm for one and right arm for another. One more time using both arms with all the power we could produce.

Kata of your choice but make it count

We then picked the kata of our choice and worked on power. After that, we had a partner watch us do the kata and tell us when the power started to decease for two total kats. We did it again and had our partner watch for spirit. Not just mean faces but if we were really into the fight and focused on what we were doing.

We then did one more kata trying to keep all that we just worked on in the kata. It was to supposed to be the all out, best of the night and then Sensei asked if anyone could have done better and for them to do one more kata if they felt the last wasn’t their best. Only one person stood off to the side, ya, you guessed it was me, because I felt that doing the kata once more would only be anti-climactic. I felt that the last kata I did was one of my best and I had little left in my legs to do one more and I knew that it would not be better than the last kata I did.

About doug

Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..

How many kicks was that?

From the title above, you can guess that we did a lot of kicks in class today.

Start with kicks and keep going

Sensei Noia had us start class with some partner kicks. Kicking my partner is always a good time, especially since my partner, in most classes, is normally my wife. Joking aside, she normally kicks me much harder than I kick her but maybe I deserve it.

We started with alternating front snap kicks and then moved on to alternating side thrust kicks. After that, our partner stood in a cross leg stance and the other partner did front snap kick at our partner, then side thrust kick to the side and back kick to the rear. After that, still working with one partner in cross leg stance, we did front snap kick at our partner, side thrust kick to the side, back kick the rear and roundhouse at our partner. Still working on kicks, one partner held a pad and the other partner did front snaps kicks at the pad.

We already had the pad so we might as well punch it

We moved into a horse stance while one partner held the pad, the other punched the pad. Single punches, double punches and some more double punches. After that, one partner still held the pad and other turned all the way to one side, facing 90 degrees away from our partner, holding the pad, and then stepped in and reverse punched the pad. The idea was to stand with slightly bent knees and push from the rear leg to drive the entire body and punch into the pad.

One step, kata and basics

After that, we worked on one step sparring. The lower ranks worked on the basic one step techniques and the Shodan’s and above worked  on whatever one step techniques they wanted. This is always a good time for me because I can work on techniques from various katas. This helps give me a better understanding of the katas and also lets me work on timing even if my partner attacks very quickly.  It always helps when you know what attack is coming but if you think too hard about your counter techniques, you will get hit.

We then worked on the standard testing basics with various punches and kicks and then moved to kata training.

The lower ranks worked on their exam katas and the Shodan’s and above worked on the four katas required to become a Nidan in our club. For those who aren’t in my club, this includes Kanku Dai, Hangetsu, Empi and Bassai Sho.

After that we finished up with one more kata but for the Shodan’s it had to end in a Sho. I choose Gojushiho Sho because that is one of my favorite katas and luckily for me, it ends in a Sho.


About doug

Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..