Thursday Karate class – 12/20/07 – Dynamic tension – Squeeze the floor!

After taking Karate for over three years now, I thought that I had a good understanding of most basic Karate concepts and how to apply them. I guess I was wrong and tonight I felt like I got hit by a truck and no one got the license plate number but I will get to that a little later.

We started class with our normal warm up of kicks to the front, side and back like always. My right hip has been bothering me for a few days now so my first kicks weren’t too good but they got better as my hip warmed up. I’m not sure what happened to my hip but it feels like it is out of the socket and won’t pop back in.

We finished our warm up and Sensei Cieplik had us work on moving forward with front punch. After we did a few moves, he said something that Sensei Noia has been telling me for years now that I just didn’t understand until today. He said to squeeze the floor with our feet and try to pull our front foot back and push our back foot forward while keeping them planted. This creates dynamic tension. I don’t know about everyone else but I always thought that I was supposed to squeeze my legs together after I moved them not before like he explained. This allowed me to move faster than ever before. After all this time, I was doing this wrong until that very moment and never had dynamic tension in my legs when moving. We also used the tile lines on the floor to make sure that we were brining our knees in when moving and keeping the width of our stances far enough apart when finishing.

Next we worked on some kicks using the information that he just explained. We started with moving forward with back leg knee strike. The dynamic tension brought a whole new level of speed and power to my knee strikes. Doing the knee strikes like that was exhausting and Sensei mentioned that we should not over do those when practicing because they are very hard. After about 10 repetitions on each leg, Sensei had us relax our lower leg and let the kick fly. Because of the tension created, it allows the lower leg to snap or almost whip out with little effort. My lower leg extended very smooth and fluid with an almost automatic feeling.

We also spent some time working on back stances. Sensei had us put one foot on each side of the tile lines. We then moved forward and backward paying attention to keeping our feet from crossing over the lines. This was much harder than it sounds and being sure to turn the back foot only on the heal was very hard indeed.

After that, Sensei Cieplik sent the four new third kyu’s off to the side with Sensei Noia to work on Jion. We spent a good part of 30 minutes working on the kata up to the first kiai. Sensei Noia had us do many of the moves over and over until he felt that we had a good understanding of how he told us to do each movement. We did the first movement no less than 20 times. Sensei explained that we need to bend our knees, drop down and thrust the left leg back behind us without moving backward. The way I understand it, the idea is to put the left leg back while still directing the power forward. He also reminded us to squeeze the floor like Sensei Cieplik had us working on earlier when moving from the kicks to the sanbon punches. I was really tired after that short but intense session.

On a sad note, today was Sensei Noia’s last Thursday class. He is still teaching but he is taking over another park district for a Sensei who is moving to another state. Luckily for me, Sensei Noia is still teach the classes that I take on Tuesday and Friday each week.

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..


2 Responses to “Thursday Karate class – 12/20/07 – Dynamic tension – Squeeze the floor!”
  1. Stephen says:

    Heya Doug,

    I thought that I would comment on your hip issue. I have a problem in my left hip that prevents me from properly doing side thrust kicks and similar moves, so I definitely empathize with your problem.

    Your situation sounds familiar. In fact, when I originally went to the doctor’s back in 2005 I told him that I thought that my hip joint was coming out of place or doing something similar. Unfortunately the doctor didn’t listen beyond this, and only had me x-rayed to confirm that indeed nothing was wrong with the joint itself. Nothing was ever done to fix the issue because of this this short sightedness.

    It was after much online investigation of my own that I came across something called Snapping Hip Syndrome. You may want to research this yourself. It in fact seems very very common amongst athletes, and while it can produce pain, it does not seem to be a particularly bad injury.

    I still live with it and I simply try to deal with the bit of frustration of not being able to correctly perform certain kicks.

    Some ways to improve the issue, however, is to work on both increasing the flexibility and strength of the hip muscles. Obviously I suggest speaking with a doctor about it before you start doing any of that.

    I found you via MyBlogLog.

    Good luck in your practice. I admire that you have continued with it for three years.


  2. doug says:

    Thanks for the input Stephen.

    Luckily, my hip is much better now. I think it could have been related to over use and the cold weather change here.

    I have been working with my chiropractor for a few months now and my hips and kicks have improved a great deal.

    I did Google snapping hip syndrome and it could be related to my troubles too. I found some good advice on some exercises or stretching movements to try out that might help. I have already been doing some of the movements but this seems a little more focused.

    Thanks again.


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