Make those kicks better or else

Sensei Cieplik is still focusing on our kicks and I believe that we are going to make those kicks better or else.

Get the knee up higher….

The focus of this class was to get our knees up higher when doing our front snap kicks.  Not bringing the knees up high enough causes us to fully straighten our kicking leg at the end of the kick and hyper extend our knees.  This puts a lot of stress on the hamstring, I really feel it, and can cause pain or worse.  The knee should be up higher after the kick than during the kick.

We started with 20 front snap kicks for each leg.  Then we did front snap kick with side thrust kick, again, keeping the knee up high between the front snap kick and side thrust kick.   This is the point where Sensei Cieplik saw that our knees were not up high enough and we did some drills to help us get those knees up.

We started in a tall front stance with our left leg forward and our left hand across our body near shoulder height.  From there, we had to bring the left knee up to our left hand across our body.  The key to doing this is not to move your upper body close to your knee, instead, you need to bring the knee up.  Moving the lower body causes the lumbar spine to bend forward which can cause lower back pain.  Keeping the upright posture is key here.

After those, Sensei had us do squatting kicks.  We took a wide stance, turned our toes out to near a 45 degree angle, put our hands behind our head and squatted down.  From that position, we stood up and kick with one leg, alternating legs after each squat.  Again, it is important to keep our posture on this movement and keep the upper body upright, not leaning.  The lumbar spine is meant to be stable not mobile.   I am not sure how many of these we did but it was more than 20.

The next drill was moving forward with front leg front snap kick, rear leg front snap kick and triple punch for each count.

The basics feel easy now….

Next, we did moving forward and back with downward block and reverse punch, inward block and reverse punch and then outward block with reverse punch.

We follow those in a back stance with knife hand block.  Then came back stance with knife hand block, front snap kick and spear hand strike moving forward and backward.

Into a horse stance, we moved sideways with side thrust kick and then with side snap kick before a quick water break.

Help your partner step and punch….

Sensei had the Shodan’s stance on one side and had a lower belt pick one of us to work on moving forward with front punch and kata.

The reasons for working on stepping forward with front punch were many.  The idea was to ensure that our partners were using correct form.  This includes, hips closed, back leg straight at the end of the punch, protecting the groin when moving between stances, making sure the punches were centered, keeping the back heel down and that the draw hand was being used among other things.  Something that sounds simple, like moving forward and punching, has a lot of little details that can make it a good move or a great move.

We ended class giving our partners some advice on their belt level 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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