Step back and do not retreat
Many of the drills that Sensei Cieplik has shared with us are to make us use our entire body when doing our techniques and to also make sure that we keep our faces from getting
Sensei had us start out with our normal kicking drills and knee strike, with front snap kick, with knee strike and front snap kick. The reason for the knee strike with the front snap kicks is to make sure that the hips are extending and retracting properly.
Step back but do not retreat….
For the next drill, Sensei had us start in a front stance, do a front snap kick, then hold it after the kick, then drop down on the stationary leg, put the kicking foot back behind. The idea was to keep the body in the same position and not move the upper body forward. This ensures that the hips are used to do the kick and to keep the face away from the attacker.
The next drill was what I consider a lesson is posture. We started standing, with our hands out in front, we dropped down, put one foot back while pulling our hands back to our side and then strike with both hands. Even though we stepped back, we didn’t retreat of give us ground. This concept is very important and can be applied to the first movement in Jion and a bunch of other kata movements where we step back but do not retreat.
Ten no kata….
We did ten no kata next and the drill was to start standing, step back with left leg and punch with right hand, then stand up again, step back with right leg and punch with left hand. These are awesome drills because you can do them in a small space.
Next, we worked on moving forward and back with rising block, inward block, outward block and downward block all with reverse punch. Again, trying to apply the same upright posture when moving.
The next drill was moving forward and back in a back stance with knife hand block. The idea here was to use the knife hand block in a downward motion to use the downward motion of the elbow to block. We then did the same drill but added the front snap kick.
The key takeaway today is even though you are stepping back, you are not retreating.