Scare them with your footwork – 9/10/09 – Thrusday Karate class

This is one of those classes that I will remember for sometime.  It was the start of the fall session and what a start it was.  There was so much energy in this class, I cannot describe it in words but I will try.


We about the first third of the class working on kicking drills.  Sensei Cieplik gave me some really good advice about how I was kicking and how I should be kicking.  When doing a front snap kick, I need to bend my stationary leg more and then tighten my abs (core) and then bring the knee up and let the lower leg fly.  For the longest time, I was standing up, almost totally straight, and then kicking and leaning backwards instead of contracting my abdominal muscles and squeezing my core.  This was not allowing my kick to snap, instead it was almost a front thrust kick.  I always thought that my front snap kick was my kick but it wasn’t and now I have something to work on to do it the correct way with consistency.

Scare them with your footwork…

Sensei has shared this concept with us before but tonight, I think I am getting closer to doing what he is looking for when moving forward punch.

Sensei has often told us to throw the front leg out in in front and do a shin clash.  This concept has eluded me for some time, a long time I guess, and I think the key to this movement is to make sure that you throw the front leg out but also push forward with the hips and tuck the butt under.  For most, this might be Karate 101, but the amount of tucking and pushing the leg forward is very subtle but it makes the difference between a good punch and a great punch.  That little motion makes the movement feel so much different and much more powerful.  Also, tucking the butt under and pushing the hips forward ever so slightly keeps the arch out of the lower back that I know have when I try to force my movements without pushing the hips forward.

One of the drills that we used to get the feeling for this movement was to put our weight on one leg and bend the knee of that leg and then reaching out with the other foot in a long cat stance, then push forward, using the back leg while pushing the hips under and forward.

Sweep them with your knee…

For our next drill Sensei had us get a partner.  One partner stood in a front stance with their left leg forward.  We then stepped in with our right foot on the outside of their left foot and then put our right knee in the inside of their left knee.  From that position, after our foot was planted next to theirs, we turned our knee out to the right and put that force on their knee which makes them fall over to the side.  Very little force is needed for this drill and just turning our knee out can easily topple someone much larger than yourself.


We spent the rest of the class working on kata.  We did Heian Shodan but with extra attention to the shin clash on each punching movement.  From there we did Heian 2 through Heian 5, Tekki Shodan, Jion, Bassai Dai and Kanku Dai.  Sensei counted out each move of the kata for us, explaining little details along the way, which I really enjoy when doing kata.

We had some special visitors today.  Sensei Santos came by to say hello, Sensei Renner was there help out and one of my Sensei’s, that I have trained under from the beginning, Sensei Plocharczyk, was there taking class with us.  It meant for a very high energy class, at least for me and a few others that I talked to afterward.

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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