A punch with a twist

Karate class today was full of fundamental drills.  Sensei Cieplik had us spend more time on our front snap kicks again and also making sure that we are moving from our hips.  Sensei also shared a really good self defense punch that will make most people gasp for air.

The warm up, then the kicks…

We started out with the usual warm up doing 20 front snap kicks with each, 20 knee strikes with front snap kick, another knee strike and another front snap kick.  After that, we did front snap kick with back, then front snap kick with side thrust kick to finish up the warm up.

The next drill is one of my favorites.  We started in a front stance, from there we did a front snap kick, from there we kept the front knee up after the kick and then turned 180 degrees, using the hips to turn and then put the kicking leg back down behind us. Dropping the knee down after the kicks allows the hips to be used to turn the body. Turning from the upper body is not the correct way to do it.

We did the same drill again but this time, when making the turn, an inward block is executed and brought toward the kicking leg knee to engage the core muscles, then after the turn, the kicking foot is put down behind while doing a reverse punch. The timing of putting the kicking foot down with the reverse punch creates a lot of power.

Step by step….

The next drills were for sparring.  We stepped forward twice will throwing a reverse punch with each step.  The move is almost a march or even think of chasing someone with reverse punches.  The forward movement makes these very strong movements.  The next drill was the same but with three steps and three reverse punches.  I am not not most coordinated in this drill because I kept ending up with a front punch on the last step for some reason.

Time for kihon….

We did moving forward and backward with rising block with reverse punch, inward block with reverse punch, outward block with jab and reverse punch.

After those came some back stance stance work. We started in a back stance with left leg forward, we then moved the right foot next to the left foot, turned the left foot 90 degrees to the side and then moved the right foot out in front, into a back stance.  This ensures that the groin is protected when moving the legs and it helps keep the feet in the proper alignment.  After working on the footwork, we did moving forward and back with knife hand block, front snap kick step down, move into front stance with spear hand strike.

For the last kihon drill, we did moving to the side in  a horse stance.  The key is to keep the feet in the same line after stepping sideways and making sure that the stepping foot does not turn out to the side. We finished up doing step across with side thrust kick in a horse stance.

Shodans, Kyu ranks and a punch with a twist….

Sensei had the Shodans partner up with a Kyu rank to work on a very specific punching drill.  The idea behind this drill was to punch your partner in the solar plexus area but with a twist.  The twist was a real twist of the fist where the punching hand did not twist all the way at the end of the punch.

Picture your punching fist at the end of a punch.  The index knuckle and pinky knuckle normally ends up at the 9 and 3 o’clock position.  When doing this drill, the fist ends up near the 2 and 8 o’clock position.  This position of the fist fits almost perfectly into the xiphoid process and getting hit there will at least knock the wind out of you, even with a light punch.  My partner hit me a few times in that exact spot and it was not pleasant. There is no way to tighten that area because there is no muscle around it.

Keep in mind, the idea of this drill was to work on our aim and not have our partners falling to the floor gasping for air.

We finished up working on kata with the Kyu ranks.  I was lucky to work with a purple belt doing Heian Godan, who has been out of class for a while.  Her kata looked really good and after just a few small corrections, it looked very good..

Time went by much too fast and before I knew it a really great class was over.

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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