Block as if you are holding a sword – 9/14/08 – Monday Karate class

Sensei Brien taught a really interesting class tonight.  This was a bit different but in a really good way.

One interesting point that he made was to attack with a defensive mind and defend with and attacking mind.

Stand up and punch…

We started our first drill standing upright and punching.  Sensei told us to bend our knees a little and as we punched, we needed to tighten our abdominal muscles and push our hips forward to get maximum power out of the punches.

Kick with amplitude….

When doing kicks, Sensei told us to keep the following in mind;  What if your kick misses, what if your kick is blocked or what if your leg is caught.

We started with stationary kicks to warm up our legs.  After that we did kicks moving forward and backward.  For the next drill, Sensei had us do our kick and hold our knee up before setting it down in to our front stance.  The idea was to make sure that we still had balance after the kick.

Sensei wanted us to extend our kick more forward than normal.  Instead of stopping our kicks within our balance range, he wanted us to push our foot farther out by pushing our hips forward.  This allows for more power or amplitude as he called it.  Use full power when kicking, recover by snapping the leg back and if your attacker grabs your foot or leg, pull it back hard, raise the knee up and pop him or her in the head with your hand.

Block and punch as if you have a sword in your hand….

This was interesting.  Sensei had us moving forward doing downward blocks but then he said for us to let our blocking hand extend past our knee as if we were cutting all the way through the attacker with a sword.  The added a different dimension to the movements.  It felt as if the block was unrestricted or more natural then when we stop our blocks in front of our knees.  We also did this drill with an inward block, again with an extended motion.

We also did a punching drill where we put our hand on the side of our waist as if we were holding a sword and pointing it forward.  We reached with the other hand as if to grab an attackers jacket and then stepped forward and thrust the sword forward.  This was an extremely power drill and I don’t recall ever getting that much kime out of my front punches in the past.

The main idea behind this training is to make our blocks feel as if we are using a weapon and for us to stop after going through the target completely not stopping short or halfway through.

Sensei also mentioned that we should be intense when doing the movement but loose after it is complete.  He said “be intense not tense.”   Make sure all the correct muscles lock when doing the movement but then let all the muscles loosen up so that you can move for the next movement.  If your muscles are tight all the time, it is very hard if not impossible to move and your movements will be very slow.

Sensei Brien mentioned another way to train, that Sensei Cieplik always talks about.  He said to do our kata using a bo staff or Kali sticks to do the kata with a feeling of having a weapon in your hands.

I am going to visit Home Depot to pick up some wooden oak dowels over the next few days.  If I end up missing class in the future, it is because I ended up knocking my self out doing kata with weapons in my hands.

Self defense against idiots….

We spent the last 15 minutes of class doing some self defense drills to cool down.  Today was self defense against headlocks.  For this attack, Sensei gave a few different ways to escape this hold.  One of my personal favorites is, if the person is wearing clothes, bite them in the chest.  The reason Sensei said if they are wearing clothes is you might not want to bite an attacker and break the flesh since you don’t know what they might have as far as disease.  Even making the noise like you are going to chomp them should make them loosen their hold on you.

Another escape is to hit the groin or tailbone, stop the foot and then finish up pealing their far hand off and having the other arm locked behind you, punch them in there exposed ribs.  They key here is to get them to break their initial hold and make them not want to try it again.

It was a really good class and I am looking forward to more just like it in the future.

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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