Thursday Karate class – 2/28/08 – Zanshin and pull power reverse punch.

Really good class.

We started out a good warm up. Front snap kicks to the front, front snap kick and back kick combinations and front snap kick with side thrust kick to the front.

Sensei Cieplik had us do the last warm up movement a little different way tonight, not different in the sense of new but different in the sense of correct. After doing the front snap kick and side thrust kick, Sensei had us pay extra attention to how we put the kicking leg back down. Most of us would start in a good solid front stance but after we executed the kicks our stances looked nothing like we started with. Most of us did not have our rear leg in the proper guard position and the overall stance was weak to say the least.

At this point, Sensei gave a really good explanation of Zanshin. It was explained to him that if you have a crystal glass of water and you pour the water out, Zanshin is that film of water that remains in the glass. It is so simple but so complex too.

Next, we moved on to draw hand out with palm up and reverse punch. That movement feels so powerful to me. The extra reach at the start of the movement and the twist at the end feels as if it could break bricks. With that in mind, Sensei had us do something different. He had us stand in a bit of high front stance with much of our weight on the back leg. From that stance we pushed forward off the back leg with the body and twisted our hips. It’s a little hard to explain the movement but made power like I have never felt before. It felt like I was able to put my entire body into the movement. The power with the forward push and hips coming around is something that I don’t remember ever having before. We also did a few combination of blocks but using this punch when moving backwards. The idea was to complete the block going backward and then drive our body and reverse punch forward. Since we were already moving backward, our weight was on the back leg and we were able to push forward using the back leg.

We spent some time working on moving sideways from horse stance to horse stance. Sensei had us do the movement very slowly, almost dragging our back toe on the floor. This prepared us for when we added the kicks shortly there after. Sensei also made a point on how we should be turning when changing direction.

We then did some kata and spent a lot of time working on details of Jion.

One point that Sensei made was for us to push our hips forward as if a hand pad was in our obi.  Pushing the band pad forward would force us to use our hips and not our shoulders.

Another point was not to wiggle.  When we stop a movement, we have to stop and not move at all.

After completeing the second front snap kick with triple punch we need to torque the body, and reach with our right hand, move into a short cat stance and block, push and drive into a reverse punch.

We finished class working on an advanced technique, more for the black belts.  Moving from a back stance to a horse stance without shifting our body.  The idea is to use the body and follow “the salad bowl”  transition that he often shows us for black belts.  Moving from the back stance, we turn the back leg in toward the other and get lower, bring the other hip in, get lower and finally finish in the horse stance moving lower.  Sensei was able to demonstrate it easily but I did not have much luck executing it myself.

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..

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