Inward block, elbow strike and backfist
We started class with the normal kicking drills and then we moved into basics.
Stance within a stance, salad bowls and relax….
Basics included the usual blocks, inward, outward, downward and rising, all with reverse punch. We then moved into the meat of the basics and the all time crowd favorite, insert sarcasm here, inward block with elbow strike and backfist.
We spent a lot of time working on this drill because it is the one that both examiners and students dislike most. The reason is, this block requires a front stance for the inward block and a horse stance for the elbow strike and backfist and most student, me included, move too fast and make the stance look like a jumbled up front horse stance.
The key to this drill is to do a complete inward block, then shift into the horse stance, dropping down in the stance, while using the front leg, top of your thigh, to get under and hit the hamstring of your opponent while driving your elbow into their ribs. The idea of salad bowl movement, that Sensei Cieplik should trademark, is used when doing this because you drop the body to get under the hamstring and then use the spring or upward motion to take their balance away from them.
The hand motion when moving into the horse stance is to grab their arm to stretch them out as you drive your elbow into their ribs. I am not certain of why the backfist is needed at that point except to give them a little something else to think about, like maybe a broken nose to have fixed along with their ribs.
Moving backward is where this movement really falls apart but if you insert a cat since, when moving from the horse stance into the front stance, the move cleans up very nicely.
Key takeaways are, make your stances look like that stances they should look like, use the body and the power of the hips to take your opponents balance, insert a stance in between the stance and slow down.
Learn to relax and your kata will improve…
We spent the rest of the class working with partner and watching them do their kata to help them improve. One big thing that I have found over the years is that, myself included, everyone needs to to relax. This is the one thing that I have seen across the board. Most adults keep a lot of stress with them, especially in the neck and shoulders and it shows up when doing kata. If there is a single bit of advice that I can share, it is try to learn to relax. Sensei says that it takes 10 years to learn to relax, I still have a year to go, but if you can speed up this process your kata will improve.