Inward block, elbow strike and backfist – 6/2/11 – Thursday Karate class

Sensei Cieplik had a spend extra time on one of his least favorite movements to watch, the front stance with inward block move in to horse stance with elbow strike and back fist.  This movement feels more awkward to me than most so I can understand why Sensei doesn’t like watching it. 

Turn with the hips….

We did a lot of kicks for warm up today.  At least is felt like we did more than usual.

After the warm up, we did knee strike with front snap kick, then turn 90 degrees to the left (using the hips to turn not the shoulders or upper body!)  and then step back with the kicking leg into a front stance.  After eight in one direction, we did eight more with the other leg.  We did the same drill but this time we added a reverse punch to the end of the movement when we put our kicking leg down behind us.  Next, we did one more variation of the same drill but when we turned, we did an inward block, bringing the blocking arm to the opposite knee to help us use the core and hips to turn.

For the next drills, we did our standard kihon.  Moving forward and back with downward block and reverse punch, rising block with reverse punch, outward block, jab and reverse punch.  For the outward, jab and reverse punch, Sensei wanted to see three distinct hips movements.  For example, with the outward block, our hips were open but not fully open.  The reason being, if your hips are fully open, you cannot use your hips to throw the jab.  Then, when you finish with the reverse punch, your hips are fully closed.

Oh, my eyes……

Sensie left moving forward and back with inward block and reverse punch out of the kihon above to lead in to moving forward and backward with inward block, elbow strike and back fist.  Moving forward is easier than moving backward but it still has it’s issues.

  1. For the first movement, the most important part is showing a front stance.  Many students turn this move into a kinda front horse stance that is very narrow and unstable.  The narrow stance shows up more when moving backward but Sensei has a fix for it.  When moving backward, out of the horse stance in to the front stance, Sensei has us insert a cat stance.  This brings the hips in to the proper position so that you can just step back and execute the inward block.
  2. For the second movement, the horse stance needs to be low.  Sensei said that you get under your opponents arm by six inches..  This is so you can get under their arm and hit around the bottom of the ribcage.  This is very hard when working with a shorter partner.  From this stance you want to get the leg closest to them, behind their hamstring and bump it to take them off balance.
  3. The last part is to throw your back fist out.

To help us get a better understanding of this technique, Sensei had us partner up and work on these movements.  When working with a live partner, this movement felt totally different than when doing it on the air.  It is certainly much harder to execute when there is an arm or leg in the way of where you want to move.

In number 2 above, Sensei demonstrated the movement where he put his leg under my hamstring and bumped it.  I am not the lightest person n the room at just over 200 pounds but he was able to hit me hard enough to make both of my feet come off the ground by at least two inches.  It’s wasn’t as if I fell forward, I went straight up in the air.

Last minute kata advice….

Examinations are winding down in under two weeks and Sensei had those who plan on testing come out on to the floor, do their kata and offer them some last minute advice.

We did Heian Nidan, Heian Yonda twice Heian Godan twice, Tekki Shodan twice, Jion, Bassai Dai and Kanku Dai.  Most of the common suggestions that Sensei offered were stance issues along with hip and arm positions in the various movements.

One issue that Sensei often brings up is the person doing the kata must look like they mean it.  They must have their mind in kata and not just be doing the movements.  I lost count of how many times my mind wandered and interrupted my kata.

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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