Many kicks and don’t forget the Heian katas
There does seem to be a pattern around exam time and that pattern seems to be focused heavily on kicks. Sensei Noia started class today with many kicks and that continued on for almost half the class.
Kicks around the clock
We started out with some of the standard testing kicks which includes stationary front snap kick to the front, side thrust kick to the side, back kick and roundhouse kick to the front with the same leg. This type of drill is more of balance drill and the key to doing it well is to collect your balance after each kick. If you try to execute the next kick before you have your balance, not only does it look bad, it takes away any chance of generating power.
Next came, slow motion side thrust kick where we hold the kick extended and then retract it as quickly as possible and then throw a front snap kick. Again, balance after the retraction, before the front snap kick is the key.
This next drill is one of my least favorites. This drill started with side thrust kicks and we them around the clock, doing each kick at the 12, 3, 6, 9 and back to 12 o’clock position. Again, this drills requires good balance and the ability to pivot smoothly, which is where I struggle. We then did a similar drill where we moved around the clock in 5 minute increments and then did the same with roundhouse kicks and hook kicks.
For the next kicking drills, we started in a front stance and moved forward after each group of kicks. Moving forward with front snap kick, side thrust kick, back kick and roundhouse kick was first. Second was moving forward with roundhouse kick and side thrust kick to the front. Last was side thrust kick with roundhouse kick to the front which ended our kicking for the day.
We moved on to moving forward with many different stances and hand techniques. For example, moving in a front stance with front punch, then a cat stance with low knife hand block, then a cross leg stance with x-block and a back stance with an assisted outward block just to name a few.
Don’t forget the Heian katas
We started working on kata and Sensei had us all do Heian Shodan, Heian Godan, Heian Yondan and Heian Nidan. After that, we worked on Hangetsu up to the 1st kiai three times, then we picked the kata of our choice and finally we finished class with Tekki Shodan.
I’m not sure how it works in other Karate clubs but, in my club, when you are testing for Shodan or above, you will be asked to do your own belt rank kata and one of the Heian katas or Tekki Shodan. This shows that you still remember those katas and that you can do them at your current rank level not at the same belt level that you learned them.
I’m not sure if any of you that help out in classes or are full time instructors notice this, but I have a tendency to do the lower level katas the same way that I show them when I teach them. This is something that I just recently realized and luckily I am making a lot progress correcting this problem. I found this out after watching a video of me doing Heian Shodan at a recent tournament and I saw that I this needs to be fixed.
Please leave me a comment below and let me know if you have found yourself doing this too.