Timing is the key
Today, we didn’t do our normal kicking warm up, instead Sensei Cieplik had the Shodan’s and above partner up with a Kyu rank at the beginning of class.
We started out facing each other in a horse stance and then began a series of double punches followed up with triple punches.
After that, one partner stayed in a horse stance while the other partner was standing with one knee up and doing small but close front snap kicks to their partner. The distance between the two partners had to be close enough for the standing partner to touch the back of the other partners neck. All the time, while kicking, we had to hold our balance and keep the knee of the kicking leg up as high as possible. These were short kicks much like those in the second and third moves in Jion.
Next, each partner stood side by side. While clasping hands, partner A put their foot on the other partners hip, like a side thrust kick. Partner B then moved into a front stance pulling partner A’s arm and stretching out partner A’s hips. This was a really good stretch, even for me, with my tight hips.
For the next drill, each partner stood side by side again. Both partners clasped hands again and one did side snap kick under the arm of the other partner.
For the next drill, one partner stepped in and front punched while the other partner stepped to the outside, inward blocked with the open front hand and threw a reverse punch to the stomach. The key to these drills are timing. The block is very gentle and it redirects the attacker and also causes them to run into the reverse punch. This concept is go no sen, where you block and then follow the block with a counter attack.
The next drill was similar but one partner steps in with a front punch to the stomach, the other strikes the attacking partners punch with their front hand while counter attacking with a reverse punch at the same time. This concept is called sen sen no sen.
Each Shodan took their partner to watch their kata and give them any corrections if needed. After that, we finished up class doing Heian Shodan five times as group.