Last chance to prepare for Karate exams…

Exams are nearing the end and Sensei Cieplik is making sure that those who are testing are fully prepared.  We spent a lot of time working on kihon today which I always enjoy.

Warm up because it’s cold…

I don’t know if it is because I am getting older but it takes me a long time to get warm.  Being that the dojo is above an ice rink with a concrete floor could have a little something to do with it but my body is taking longer to warm up than I remember.  Luckily for me and a few others who have this problem, Sensei makes sure that we get in enough kicks to warm up.  Although my kicks are not my best techniques, getting those big legs moving does warm the body up fairly fast.

We started with the following kicks:

  • Rear leg front snap kick 20 times each leg.
  • Front snap kick to the front and back kick to the rear 5 times each leg.
  • Front leg front snap kick followed with rear leg front snap kick 5 times each leg.
  • Front snap kick to front with side thrust kick to side 5 times each leg.
  • Knee strike with front snap kick and knee strike 5 times each leg.
  • Start in front stance with reverse punch out, rear leg front snap kick, switch hands, step back and reverse punch. (This is one of my favorite drills)
  • One count, front snap kick, side thrust kick, back kick, roundhouse kick, hook and front snap kick 3 times each leg.
  • Front leg roundhouse kick followed with rear leg roundhouse kick 5 times each leg.
  • Front snap kick and side thrust kick to front 4 times each leg.
  • Knee strike, front snap kick and knee strike step forward.

Not cold any more….

After all those kicks, being cold wasn’t really an issue but being tired was another story.  We moved into our exam kihon drills doing anywhere from 4 to 12 movements depending upon the technique:

  • Moving forward front snap kick with front punch.
  • Moving forward with front leg front snap kick followed by rear leg front snap kick with triple punch.
  • Stationary, reverse hand out, move weight into a back stance then move, like a salad bowl, forward and throw a front punch.  The idea behind this drill is to load up your body weight on the back leg and then push forward and letting the punch go at the end. The hips have to be in good working order (not mine yet) for this technique to work as planned.
  • Moving forward and backward in a front stance with rising block and reverse punch.
  • Moving forward and backward with Inward block and reverse punch.
  • Moving forward and backward with downward block and reverse punch.
  • Moving forward and backward with outward block and reverse punch.
  • Moving forward and backward with outward block, jab and reverse punch.
  • Moving forward and backward in a back stance with knife block and front snap kick.
  • Moving forward and backward in a back stance with knife block, front snap kick and front stance spear hand.
  • Moving sideways, horse stance, step across with side thrust kick.
  • Moving sideways, horse stance, step across with side snap kick.
  • Moving sideways, horse stance, step across with side snap kick and side thrust kick.

Get off the track, the train is coming….

Sensei had us split up with with a Kyu rank for each Shodan or above to work on three step or one step sparring.

A quick refresher: three step sparring is two separate drills.  The attacking partner announces what attack they are doing where it is going to be placed.  One partner steps forward three times with a front punch to the face, the other partner steps back with a rising block for each punch and on the last, they counter with a reverse punch.  They do the same three steps but with front punch to the stomach for attacks and inward blocks for the blocks.

For one step sparring, there are four to six attacks.

  1. Step in with front punch to the face.
  2. Step in with front punch to the stomach.
  3. Step in with front snap kick to the stomach.
  4. Step in with side thrust kick to the stomach.
  5. Step in with roundhouse kick to the stomach or head.
  6. Step in with spinning back kick.

The other partner has to block and counterattack with whatever works.  The idea is to move out of the way of the attack and if you move to the outside make sure that your entire body, including your feet, are out of the path of your attacker.

The key to both three step and one step sparring is to make the techniques look like they would actually work.  You cannot just place your hand out in front, the punches needs to look and move like they would finish your opponent but you must have precise control so that you do not hurt your partner.

The examiners expect the higher ranks doing one step sparring to look that much more powerful and controlled than the lower ranks.

Only time for a quick kata…

We worked on Jion and Sensei gave some excellent advice.  When doing the kata, every time there is a downward block take a pause to count one one-thousand, two one-thousand before doing the next move.  This short pause breaks the timing, slows the kata down overall and gives you a short rest so you can continue on with good speed and power.

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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