Let your lower body do the work – 4/16/09 – Thursday Karate class

Kicking warm up…

We did our normal kicking warm up with front snap kicks being one of the movements.  This time, Sensei Cieplik made a comment when I was doing my kicks, he said to bring my knee up before I let my kick go.   Even though Sensei has said this many times in the past, it just didn’t “sink in” until tonight.  Sensei has often said that a front snap kick is and extended knee strike and even though I heard him say it, I guess I wasn’t doing it.

Kihon with attention to the lower body…

Sensei had us spend a lot of time working on kihon but with extra attention to our lower body and hips.  One of the drills that we have been doing more often is start in a cat stance, move the front foot forward, drive the hips and punch.  Making us start in a cat stance helps us focus on driving from the hips and not from the upper body.  Sensei has been seeing too much “chin knee disease”  where our chin is over our front knee when we punch.

One point that he stressed and an area that I need the most work on is “make the hips do the work.”

A block is a strike…

Sensei said that a block can often be a strike.  Doing the reach before say a rising block can be a block and the rising motion can then be used as a strike.  For example, when reaching forward with the front hand before doing a rising block, the opponents eyes can be poked with the fingers and the can be struck under the chin with the rising block motion.  I know that poke in the eyes and a hard strike under my chin with a rising forearm would stop me in my tracks pretty fast or at least slow me down a lot.

Kata but use the hips…

We worked on a few katas but I focused hardest on Bassai dai.  Sensei said that the key to the kata is to let the hips do the work on the double blocks.  For example, after the first move, we turn and 180 degress and then do an outward block with our left arm followed by and outward block with our right arm.  The power between those movements should come totally from the hips and the motion of our arms should be moving into the lock and not a swinging motion.  Locking the muscles with the hips in the right position will stop the attack, not the swinging motion of the upper arms.

Learn something from the Dog Whisperer….

On a different  note, Sensei made a comment about Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, and how he says to use calm assertivenss when dealing with dogs.  The point that Sensei was making is that we should do the same with our Karate and use calm assertiveness when doing our movements and when sparring.  I have seen the dog whisperer often in the past but I have been watching more and can see what Sensei was talking about.  Cesar does not have to be aggressive and forceful to take control of unruley dogs, instesad he is able to show them who is boss but in a very calm way.  Make sure you watch it if you have a chance, there is something to learn there.

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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