Reach is block, block is strike – 6/09/11 – Thursday Karate class

Sensei Cieplik made a comment tonight that really sunk in my thick head.  It is okay to loose your balance when your are moving but it is not okay to loose your balance in your mind.  If you physically slip when doing a movement that is okay but if you let you mind slip it is not good. 

Get the exam kicking movements out of the way….

After our warm up, Sensei had us working on more kicking drills.  We started with shuffle up front leg roundhouse.  The idea is to use the back leg, that is shuffling up, to help push the front leg and make the kick faster.

For the next drill, with our left leg in front, we did shuffle up front leg roundhouse kick, shuffle back, then rear leg roundhouse kick but leave the rear leg in front at the point.  From there, we did right leg in front roundhouse kick, shuffle back and rear leg roundhouse house kick again.  Every second kick, your front leg changes from left to right.

The roundhouse kick is one of the most awkward kicking movements for me and I have a tendency to point my knee down when kick.   Because of this, Sensei said that it is okay for me to do a cutting kick instead.  Even though, that is not my best kick, it is a lot better than the standard roundhouse kick.

Back to basics….

Next came front leg front snap kick with triple punch.  This might sound like an easy drill but when kicking with the front leg, I start in a shorter stance but Sensei wanted us to end up in a long front stance when doing the triple punch.  This made this drill significantly harder, at least for me, than usual.

After that, we did our standard kihon.  Moving forward and backward with downward block and reverse punch, rising block and reverse punch, inward block with reverse punch and outward block with reverse punch.

We also did a variation of the outward block and reverse punch where we start in a front stance, move into a blocking leg stance (longer cat stance) and block, then we slide forward with the front leg and reverse punch.

Next, we did moving forward and backward with inward block, elbow strike and back fist.

The next drill was different.  We did a rising block with rear leg roundhouse kick.  Front front stance, we stepped in and did a rising block, with the hips open, and then did a roundhouse kick.  I am glad that I wasn’t in front of the mirrors when I did this drill because I think it would have looked really ugly.

We finished up our kihon with stepping across side thrust kick, then side snap kick, then both side thrust and side snap kick, then front snap kick to the side.  A key point that Sensei keeps mentioning is to make the side snap kicks short and the side thrust kicks long.  This means that your side snap kick should not reach anywhere near as far as your side thrust kick.

Block with your reach and strike with your block….

When doing kata, use your reach hand as a block and your block hand a strike.  For example;  If someone is stepping in to punch your face, you can block their punch with your reaching hand, step in and do your rising block (strike) under their chin or in to their throat.

With that in mind, we did Heian Shodan three times with the mind of using the reach hand to block and the other hand as a strike.

In order to give the students who are examining, some last minute kata advice, we did Kanku Dai twice and Bassai Dai twice.

When we were doing Bassai Dai, like I mentioned above, it’s okay to loose balance when moving but it is not okay to loose balance in your mind.  You need to keep focus on what you are doing and do not show anyone that you made a mistake.

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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