It is great to be back to Thursday class since I had to miss to last weeks class because of the nasty snow storm. Sensei Cieplik took us back to basic basics. Just when you think you are doing the most simple movement perfectly, Sensei shows you otherwise. At least, that is how it turned out for me today.
Start out with kicks…
Sensei had us spend a lot of time working on our kicks today. We did the normal warm up kicks but then we moved into more kicking drills. We did stationary knee strike with front snap kick. The key to this is to retract the hips after the knee strike but before the front snap kick.
Get your hips under those heels….
Sensei had us spend a lot of time working on some simple drills that we have been doing since the first or second Karate class for most of us. When we learned to step forward as beginners, we started in a front stance, we were told to step though and bring our feet together and then apart into a front stance. The problem with that movement is it make us raise up when we bring our feet together. Instead, Sensei wants us to bring our knees together to protect our groin but keep our feet apart about a foot apart. This keeps us from raising up and down when moving and still protects the groin.
We also worked on the five parts of a front stance with front punch. The five parts, are guarded back leg, shin clash, knee sweep, draw hand pull and the punch.
Next, we spent time working on the shin clash and throwing our front leg forward. The idea is to throw that front leg forward, forcing the knee up and keeping our hips under our heels. This keeps your tailbone tucked under and forward. If the hips are pointing down, you cannot get your hips under your heels.
We also work on front kick with front punch. This time, Sensei had us break the movement into parts. We did the front snap kick and then set our foot down in a blocking leg stance, then we push the front leg forward and punched. Sensei had us also pay extra attention to the draw hand instead of the punching hand.
Sensei said that if we practice these basic movements, he guarantees that our kata would improve. He also said that great basics make great kata.
Get a partner….
For the next drill, we got a partner. Our partner stood in a front stance, we stepped in did a skin clash with our foot on the outside of theirs and then we moved our knee to the outside and knee swept our partner. The shin class almost looks like a sweeping movement at the start. It’s a powerful movement but it can be rough on your partners knees.
We finished up working on kata. We did Heian 1 through Heian 5 and then Kanku Dai, Bassai Dai and Jion. I was really disappointed in my Jion. I guess the great basics part is something that I really need to work to improve my kata.
It was a great class but walking afterward was not easy.
After the testing session ends, Sensei Noia has us spend the next three months focusing on kumite and today was the start.
Back to kumite basics….
Sensei has us start working some simple attacking drills with our partner. One partner stood in a fighting stance while the other shifted in and out attacking five times. We started with either jab or reverse punch to the face. After a few times, Sensei had us rate each others attacks. Was the punch close, did we move in and out quickly and did we keep our focus were a few of the criteria that we used to grade our partner.
Next, we did a similar drill but our partner could block our attacks. We also did the same sparring drill but moving down the line to a new partner after each attack. Also, between most of these drills we did push ups for total of somewhere upwards of a hundred.
Time for free sparring….
After the basic kumite drills, we were able to do some free sparring. We started with our partner and then switched and got a different partner two more times. We did a couple of sparring matches were would could only use our upper body to attach and then again but only using kicks for attacks.
Even though I felt that my kumite skills were pretty good at my exam, today made me feel that I still have long way to go.