Sensei Cieplik had us spend some extra time on our kicks again but tonight he had us work on a drill that we haven’t done too often.
Make those kicks better….
We started with our normal kicking warm up doing 20 front snap kicks to the front, then 10 front snap kick and back kick combination, then front snap kick and side thrust kick to the front followed by front kick, back kick, roundhouse kick and front kick. After that, we did stationary rear leg knee strike with front snap kick. Sensei gave me some more advice on my front snap kicks in general, when I am putting my leg back down behind me, I am snapping my foot too far back on the retraction and pointing my toes down at the floor. I need to keep the bottom of my foot even with the ground and keep my toes up until my foot is down behind me. I also need to be mindful of this when doing any of my front snap kicks, moving forward or back.
Next, we started in a front stance and did front leg front snap kick followed with a rear leg front snap kick moving forward. Sensei gave me some really good advice on this kick. He said, after the front leg kick, step forward and down instead of just down. If you miss the target with the front leg front snap kick, stepping forward and down allows a follow up attack with a shin strike. It also helps to make the in-between stance lower and the second kick higher. After that we did moving forward double front snap kick but paying attention to the shin strike in between the kicking movements. We followed that up with double roundhouse kick. Sensei said that if you turn your hip too far sideways the kick can easily be avoided.
Shuffle up and kick…..
For the next drill, Sensei had us shuffle our back foot up to our front foot and throw a front leg roundhouse kick. This is certainly not my kick but Sensei told me to throw a cutting kick instead. The idea is to make the back foot drive the front foot when kicking and the front foot drive the back foot when pulling it back. In order for this move to be effective, it needs to be done quickly. I can see nothing but improvements in my kicks, I do this drill outside of class too. I just need to make sure that I don’t sweep myself in the process.
A few more basics and some kata….
We also did moving forward and with downward block, rising block, inward block, outward block and reverse punch. Next, we did a single Heian Shodan. We then did backstance with knife hand block, front snap kick and spear hand strike moving forward and back.
The next kata we did was Bassai Dai and after that, everyone else continued doing kata while Sensei asked me to assist one my fellow Karateka on the side.
It was an awesome class!
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I didn’t go to class yesterday since both my wife and I weren’t feeling well. Her back was really sore and my hip was so sore that walking hurt a great deal. I was really looking forward to Thursday class but I don’t like to take class when I cannot put everything into it.
Both my wife and I went to our chiropractor, Dr. Pusateri, today and luckily, he was able to fix both of us. My wife’s back was messed up and my right hip bone was pointing down, causing most of the muscles in my right leg to turn off. It was really making front stances very painful and most of my front kicks were way off because of it. Dr. Pusateri got everything back in place and working again so things are good.
Today was an excellent class. Sensei Noia asked who wanted to do kumite and who wanted to do kata. I choose kata again since my body was put back together this morning. We went off to one side with Sensei Plocharczyk and he took us through a different kata workout that I never recall doing in the past. Sensei started us off with Heian Godan but instead of just doing the kata, he told us to squeeze the floor with our feet and legs. As we did each move, Sensei walked around and checked to make sure that we were squeezing the right muscles. He would try to push us out of our stance and then check to make sure that our core was tightened. This doesn’t sound too hard, right, but it was torture. We would hold a stance for at least 15 seconds and sometimes up to one minute if he had to correct one of us. We did the same for Tekki Shodan and Jion too.
When working on Jion, Sensei gave me some things to work on. When I go from the first move into the second move, I am coming up out of my stance. When going into the horse stance with palm strike, I am turning on the ball of my foot instead of the heel. When moving into the first outward block, before the front punch, I am locking my back leg after my block is executed. Going from the front punch into the downward block, before the three stomps, I am raising up.
Sensei also had us do an interesting drill where we sit on a swiss ball and punch a pad that our partner is holding. I had an extremely hard time sitting on the ball with my feet behind me. My hips were screaming. I think I need to start sitting on the swiss ball again while I am typing on the computer here. Maybe it will help my flexibility. We did another drill where Sensei had us sit on the swiss ball, hold a pad and twist from side to side while our partner held our feet. It is a great core exercise and I could really feel it.
I plan on spending the next six months working on making all of my stances in my kata and basics like they were tonight. I walked through my moves for such as long, it is too bad that it took me almost four years to finally get it right. It wasn’t that I didn’t here this in the past but it just didn’t sink in until now.
I have to admit a funny thing. Every time I change rank, I learn something or realize something new that I have to work on. I know that there is no magic in rank advances but it always seems to make me understand something better each time my rank changes. Maybe my mind is clearer since the exam is over and there won’t be another one for at least six months now.