Thursday Karate class – 3/13/08 – With the body.

Sensei Cieplik has us do the normal warmup with our kicks and other movements. Sensei told me to do one of my combination kicks a little differently. Instead of doing each move of the front snap kick, side thrust kick, back kick and roundhouse kick as separate movements, he said to use the rebound of the back kick as the start of the roundhouse kick. That move felt so different to me, in a good way. I was able to bring my hips around and execute my roundhouse with power. The rebound made my hips come around faster then I ever felt in the past.

We moved into a front snap kick but instead of just snapping the kick, Sensei had us use our hips to throw the kick. This created more power then I ever felt in any kick that I have done in the past. My back leg actually moved forward a couple of inches after the kick was extended. It was a feeling of total commitment to the kick. The other part is that squeezing the floor and using the hamstrings was an important part of making this kick effective.

We then did the same movement but with a knee strike. This movement was similar to the front kick and when executed, the motion was forward and not up. Again, the back foot moved when executed. Sensei had us add some walking front punches after the knee strikes. The idea was to use the full power on the knee strikes but then come down gently and move forward with front punches.

The idea behind many of these pull power movements is using the entire body to create motion and make power. Sensei often speaks of doing our movements “with the body” and these moves certainly get the entire body into them.

We then partnered up and worked on a different movement. Sensei had us put our hands near our partners side at a little higher than hips level. He then had us use our hips to push forward but draw our power from the ground. This is hard to explain in text but the idea was to use the motion of the hips and core to forcefully push our partner with little upper body or arm power. This was a hard move to master but it deserves some a lot of practice because I can see the amount of power that it can create.

We applied some of these ideas above to Bassai Dai. The movement where you stand upright with both hands on one side, reach and then punch. Since you are standing upright, the power for the punches need to be generated from moving the body. The idea is to draw the power from the floor and have our hips and core generate the power for the punch. Even though, I am not working on Bassai Dai as my current kata, when doing just that sequence of movements, I could feel the power generated as compared to when doing it with just the upper body. Sensei described this motion as “wave motion.” He also told us to try and think of parts of our kata where we can apply this motion.

Sensei made some comments during class and one that really stuck with me was “Prepare, display and Retreat.” The prepare part is the start of the kata in the ready stance or yoi position. The display part is say a kata or kihon move or movements. The retreat is when we pull our front leg back and get back into our ready stance.

Another comment was “base, retreat, attack.” I understand this as one-step or three step sparring. You start in the ready stance, when your partner attacks, you retreat and move backward with a block and then you finish with a counter attack.

Another important point that Sensei made was for us to do what your body will allow us to do. If we have some problem or even disability, we should only do movements that are within our capabilities. I am often guilty of trying to do some movements that my body just doesn’t want me to do.

It was an excellent 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..

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