Thursday Karate class – 4/3/8 – Turn the front foot in a small amount.

What a great class. I learned a lot in this class that will help make my kihon better.

Where to start, there was just so much, I will try to remember all of it.

Sensei Cieplik told us that during the winter months, he likes to have us warm up with more kicks than punches since it gets the blood flowing better then just punches which restrict blood flow to the heart and upper body organs during the cold months.

We did our normal front kicks, side kicks and back kicks, along with some roundhouse kicks to warm up but then we did something a little different.

Note: Sensei told me to turn my foot in a few degrees when doing my front snap kicks. By moving the position of my foot, just a small amount, my kick was so much more accurate. When I would kick without turning my foot in, my kicks were going to the outside or on an angle away from center. I was told this before but until now, it never clicked. It also made my front stance much more solid.

Sensei had us stand on one foot while pushing our hip forward. From that point, with our foot out in front of the opposite leg knee, we did a slow side thrust kick. Sensei sees some of us doing our side thrust kicks with the kicking foot too far behind the stabilizing leg. While doing the kick like this, it forces the foot to travel in the correct position to it’s target, it allows a greats choice of targets for the kick to hit. He had us do this to three different heights all while not letting the kicking foot touch the ground. This drills lasted for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds for each leg. I had better balance with my left leg than my right for some reason. I have noticed a problem with my balance when standing on my right leg for some reason.

We then worked on some stances. Sensei had us get into a horse stance and work on moving sideways. Instead of stepping across and falling into the stance, he had us pull with the forward leg and squeeze our leg muscles into the stance. It is hard to describe but it made the movement and stances so much more stable. We then added the side thrust kicks and side snap kicks to the movements.

We also worked on back stances moving both forward and backward.  Sensei told us a tip that he had mentioned before but I never really applied until today.  He said, when moving forward, turn the front out to the outside.  It shuts off the muscles in the front leg and allows the back leg to move easily to the front.  This also helps keep the heels in good alignment.  Moving backward is not so easy for me and on most of those moves, my heels came out of alignment.  I am using less shoulders when moving which is an improvement for me.

Sensei made a comment about Think, Action, Display.  The analogy that he used was screaming at a glass of water.  Your mind (think) starts the scream, the scream (action) causes the water to vibrate and you see it (display).

We finished up class with some kata.  We did the first nine moves of Heian Shodan and Sensei had us stand up and then take three steps back.  He watched how everyone took the three steps back and made that comment that even some of the higher belts did not remain alert when moving back.  The idea is that even if you won your battle or match, you need to keep your mind on the situation.  Even though the kata is over, you need to keep your mind there until Sensei says relax.  It’s the same with sparring.  If you score a point and the judge says to stop, you still need to keep your mind on the moment and your opponent.  If you turn your back or stop paying attention, you are open to an opponents mistake or if on the street, another attack.

Sensei also made a couple more points while we were doing Heian Shodan.  He said that kata should be seen as poetry without words.  It means just what it says.

He also made another great point about, when doing kata, anger can be killed but spirit cannot be killed.  This really hit home for me.  I often do my kata with an intensity that I would call anger.  The part is that the anger makes my kata much more mechanical and choppy.  When I concentrate on doing my kata with spirit, it feels much different and almost flows.  The key is getting my mind to do it without the anger and always do it with spirit.  Easy to type but harder to execute.  I am not an angry person but for some reason, my kata often comes out that way.  Hopefully, I will be able to break that habit.

I am sure that I missed some points since Sensei when over so many things but the ones that I remember will go a long way is making my Karate better.

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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