Use six joints to kick

I am sure that many others would agree with me when I say that every class I have taken with Sensei Cieplik, I have learned at least one new thing or how to do something better.  Sometimes, Sensei has to tell us how to do something more than once and even if it takes years for us to “get it” he never gives up.  Today was another one of those classes where he helped us with our kicks again.

Use all six joints to kick…

After our warm, Sensei told us, in order to kick, we need to use six joints to kick.  When kicking, you need to use your ankle, knee and hip joints on both legs to perform a kick correctly.  If you leave out one of those joints the kick will not have as much power, it will stress your body and make the kick come from joints where it is not supposed to.  For example, if the stationary leg is straight at the knee joint, your hip will not extend as far as it could and your ankle will cause you to lose your balance because both of those joints will have to make up for the lack of movement in the knee.  There are any other example for each joint but the key takeaway is to use all six of them when kicking.


For our basics, moving forward and back, we did rising block, inward block, outward block and downward block all with reverse punch. We then did outward block, job and reverse punch.  Next, we did shuffle up, front leg roundhouse kick, step down with reverse punch.  Then came shift forward and jab and shift forward with reverse punch.

Punch with some smack behind it….

The main idea here is to use loose power to make the punch more effective.  You start with your arm at your hip, angle your forearm up and then punch at a downward angle.  The angle of the forearm is about 45 degrees where our hand goes to shoulder level and then we angle it back down and hit to the solar plexus.  This allows the punch to move extremely fast and the downward motion makes it very powerful.

Kata with a tate punch….

We finished class with kata doing Heian 1 through Heian 5  and then Heian Shodan again three more time but using a tate (vertical) punch every time there was a punch the kata much like loose punch drill that did before.  Also, while doing the knife hand movements, when we did the reach with the draw hand and focused on attacking the eyes with those fingers before doing the knife hand block.

For those who have never use a tate punch, try it.  It aligns the bones on the arm and allows for a lot of power and it also minimizes the chance of rolling the wrist when punching very hard.

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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