Match your breath with the movement
Time to hit the pads. Today, Sensei Noia had us start class doing pad drills. We also spent a lot of time working on trying to get our breath to match the moves in our katas.
Hit the pads
We started class working on some pad drills with a partner. The first drill was the punch block combination movement that is in Bassai Dai. This move is a standing straight punch, then you pivot on the heels to the left with an outward block, then you pivot back to standing with a straight punch, then pivot again to the right with an outward block. Our partner held the pad for the punching parts of this movement. The first punch can be strong but the second punch has a lot of hip behind it so it feels much stronger to me.
Next came the more standard pad drills such as hitting your partner with single and double punches while they hold the pad in a horse stance. After that, we started in a front stance, did and outward block and then a double punched the pad. The reason for outward block first was to make us perform the techniques using our hips.
At times, I know that I do not hold as solid of a stance as I could when doing kihon but getting hit while holding a stance forces me to make that stance as solid as possible.
Match the breath with the timing
We spent the rest of the class working on some kata details. We started with Kanku Dai, doing it slowly while Sensei counted out each movement. We then did it twice, once at medium speed and then full speed and power.
A good amount of the kata training was spent working on making the slow moves slow and not rushing them and making sure that the breath matched the moves. For example, there is a move in Kanku Dai where you do a reach with your left hand and then do the punch block, punch block combination. The reach should end with the breath.
We worked on the kata of our choice next, using the same principles from above. I worked on Gojushiho Sho and there are many places in the beginning of the kata where matching the breath with the movement should be applied. This really brings out the feeling in the kata. Each move should have a purpose and not just be a move.
This concept can be applied easily to Heian Godan in the section where you do the reach with left hand before the crescent kick. That breath and hand timing have a purpose instead of looking like you are searching for a doorknob in a dark room.
Give this a try and leave me a comment below if you can feel the difference.