Kicks, a trend, maybe?

There seems to be a trend related to kicks.  If I had to guess, Sensei Cieplik is seeing something in our front snap kicks that we really need to improve upon.  If I was a good guesser, I would guess that many of us (me being more guilty at this than most) are letting our kicking knee drop after we extend our lower leg instead of raising the knee higher.  Doing so causes the leg to straighten much like a front thrust kick instead of a front snap kick.  This also places a great deal of stress on the knee and the hamstring muscle of the kicking leg.

Fix those kicks by doing kicks….

We did many front snap kicks but the corrective movements were knee up to the shoulder and hug your knee.

For the knee up to the shoulder, we started in left foot forward front stance, put our left hand across our body, at our right shoulder level and then raised the right knee and touched it to our left hand.  The key is to bring the knee to the hand and not to lean over and break the upright posture.

I always felt that the knee up hug was harder than the drill above.  For this drill, we started in a left foot forward front stance and then pulled the left leg to our chest and hugged it.  Again, the main key is keeping the upper body upright throughout the drill.  Bringing the chest to the knee causes a lot of stress on the lower back (lumbar spine) and cancels out what the drill is supposed to be doing.

Make each move a separate kata…

Heian shodan  42 seconds. Finish each move, stop, go again.  I have done this one my own before and it really make the kata feel different.  Sensei mentioned, make each move a separate kata.  In my opinion, for sport, we move as fast as we can from move to move but when training for ourselves, we can make each move count and know that all attackers that we defeat in our kata are just that, defeated.

Drop into a back stance or get hit….

We spent the rest of class working with our partner.  The first drill started with one partner punching at our face and we stepped into a back stance keeping our face just out of the range of punch.  The idea behind this drill was to drop down into a back stance instead of moving forward.  A punch coming at the face makes the drill work just the way it should unlike doing the drill without it.

The next drill was to have our partner do a knife hand block ensuring that their hand was turned, showing the forearm to engage the lat (upper back) muscles.  This also keeps the arm inside the body.

We finished up with a shin clash and twist to our partners leg.  As they step into punch, we step into to their leg, hit their shin bringing our knee to the inside of their leg and then push and twist our leg to the outside.  This pushes our partners shin and takes them down to the floor.  Even if the attackers leg is extremely strong even, the smallest of people can take them down because of the position it puts the attackers knee in.  It’s moves like these that allow smaller and weaker people to survive attacks from larger more powerful attackers.

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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