You must have balance – 5/14/09 – Thursday Karate class

Sensei Cieplik helped us with balance today.

We started with a drill where we moved with a forward front punch then switched our feet and did another front punch.  For example,  we started in a front stance, we stepped forward and did the front punch, we then stepped back and did the front punch with the other hand.  We also did this drill moving backward.  It sounds simple but doing was not so simple to me.


Sensei Cieplik had us work on some balance drills.  He had us stand upright and put our balance on the balls of our feet, then to the middle of our feet and then to heels.  This ties into base, retreat and attack that he and Doc Pusateri has shared with us before.  When you are standing in the middle of your feet, you are in base or ready.  When you are on the heels, you are in retreat.  When you are on the balls of your feet, you are in attack.  Just shifting your weight on to the three areas of your feet can put your body in the proper mode.

Bassai Dai details part 2….

We continued our Bassai Dai training from last week.  Sensei said, hit hard for the first move and he wants to see it.  Sensei once told me to imagine that first move as if I was hitting a cinder block wall with a 10 pound sledge hammer.

Next, he said that we need to pivot on the heels for the second, third, forth and fifth moves.  When we pivot on the heels, it helps bring the hips around and keeps our stance consistant.

One tip that Sensei has also given us before is to slow the kata down.  I know that I often rush through my kata, when under pressure but over the last few months, I have really slowed it down and make sure that I complete each movement.

When doing the crescent kick, retract the leg, much like the position of a front stance and get your balance then drive the hips into the elbow strike.  I was doing this move without the retraction since I started doing this kata and never realized it was wrong until now.  The retraction make the elbow strike much more powerful.

More kata…

Sensei had us also work on some of the Heian katas.  We started with Heian sandan and in the third move from the last, make sure that you get into a full horse stance.  I always did a half horse stance when doing that transitional movement but doing the full stance helps my embusen a great deal.  I was able to start and finish the kata within a foot of where I started it.

In Heian Yondan, Sensei stressed on of the moves that he told me to do a long time ago.  When doing the double hand grab with knee strike he said to hold after the head smach and then turn and look, then switch hands and step down into the back stance.

Another general tip that should apply in all katas and kihon is to make sure that we do an elbow strike with the draw hand when doing knife hand blocks.  Sensei said that a lot of students just place their draw hand instead of using it as an attack.  He also said that the draw hand should be pointed at our opponent and ready to do if needed as a strike.

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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