Keep your face intact
In this class, Sensei Cieplik shared how to keep our posture when moving forward in a back stance while keeping our face intact and some help for our Kyu rank students.
Salad bowls and draw hand
After our normal kicking warm up we moved into our kihon. Moving forward and back we did downward block, inward block and rising block all with reverse punch. We then did inward block, elbow strike and back fist making sure to use the entire body and not just the arm to do the elbow strike. Sensei told us to focus on making sure to drop our body in a salad bowl motion when doing this move. The draw hand also pays an important role in making power for both the elbow strike and the back fist. If the draw hand is loose, I feel you will lose at least half your power when doing your techniques.
Next, we worked on back stance with knife hand block and then the same move but we added the front snap kick. Sensei saw something here that he wanted us to improve upon so the next drill was moving forward in a back stance with a partner.
Keep your face intact
Sensei had us work with our partner to help us improve our back stances. The idea was to have one partner stand with their hand out in front at head level and the other partner was to step forward, into a back stance, without getting hit in the face. The idea here is to move in but keep your head back forcing you to move from your hips, not your upper body. As you can imagine, if you step forward with your upper body you get hit in the face. This is one of those drills that you learn very quickly or you learn the hard way.
Step and punch but keep your posture
For the next drill, we did some simple pad drills, stepping in with front punches. The key was to keep our posture and our body upright while using our hips to punch and not our chest and shoulders. I am sure that many of you have seen a pattern here over years about punching with your body and the drill above is the exact point that Sensei has been making for all that time. Let the lower body throw the punch. The lower body creates the power, the power is transfered through the core to the upper body and then out the end of the fist. It seems easy to explain but difficult to execute.
Help your fellow Karate students
We finished class watching our Kyu rank students do kata and giving them advice on what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. One thing about doing this that I truly is everyone learns something when helping others learn. You learn to interact with people and share your skills and you also might find things that someone else does that you want to do in your kata. The key is help others not as an authority figure but as a fellow student who was at the same rank at one time too.
Keep you teeth in your mouth
The main takeaway for all of us is to keep our face intact. I know that I am not the best looking Karate student but I would rather keep my teeth in my mouth and my nose from getting any bigger and I think you do too, so keep your face away from your opponents fist.