Working on my mawashi geri technique

So last month I whinged about my crap mawashi geri technique, and while I haven’t been to training in a two weeks due to all sorts happening, I’m pleased to say that I haven’t put my training completely out of my mind.

Much as Wifey loves it, I do have the habit of doing karate around the house. Over the last couple of weeks, this has been divided between 2-3 techniques – strong, whipping, flexible and smooth oitsuki (reverse punches), Maegeri (front snapping kicks) and mawashi geri (roundhouse kicks). With the last of those, I’ve been really pissed with my technique of late, so taking into account my belated realisation that I’d already worked out the trick to doing it with one leg, I’ve been practicing to try and get it to work correctly. At first I was constantly over-compensating with the technique and was having trouble retracting my leg fast enough for a graceful landing. It was an improvement, but the overbalance was killing it a bit, too.

So, with a bit more practice, and while far from perfect, I’m managing to snap the technique out and back in again and landing back on my foot without so much of a stumble. I’m also working on utilising my hips more as well – in fact, this lead to something quite interesting that happened only an hour ago – the hips!!!!

I was working up and down the corridor in the house earlier in attempts to be useful (having some issues with the server, and in getting an old IDE hard drive for McAdam that was inaccessible due to an old Norton Ghost/Type 44 partition — doing both at the same time also meant it took abnormally long to get either fixed :P), and I thought I’d try something different with my front kicks… I’ve always read and watched those with two legs perform snapping or normal front kicks and utilise their hips, but I’ve always really struggled as utilising your hips relies on a degree of muscular and body symmetry… and lacking a limb, naturally there are some issues with this 😉 So I thought – bugger it, give it a crack and hopefully you won’t fall over 😀

… and it worked!

I mean, it looked a bit stupid and I couldn’t kick anywhere near as fast as I would with an ordinary snap kick, but I think there was considerable more power in there.

And the trick? Same as with the mawashi geri, use your arms/shoulders/upper torso to take over and assist the hips.

Hopefully in time I’ll get more coordinated at it!!

Oh, and something else has been fun as well lately – I’ve always loved the kicking demonstrations where the martial artist performs multiple kicks with one leg, kinda like foot-boxing or something 🙂 Anywho, I’ve been trying for years now to pull off doing two proper kicks with my real leg (and therefore balancing on the left or the prosthesis, which is where it gets tricky 😉 ), and note that I said proper kicks, not stupid little kicks that look more like leg lifts than kicks 😀 Anywho, I think I’m finally making progress on this – granted there’s not a lot of utility with with this one, it’s there for fun and training balance. Again, getting control to actually start making the two kicks look like actual kicks has come down to greater mastery and control with my hips, so I figure I’m on the way 😀 If it actually starts becoming decent, I’ll let you know.

Hmmm, should sign this one off for some awesome tomfoolery 😀 Stay tuned 🙂

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Maegeri, redux

I had one of those lightbulb moments last night. After doing maegeri’s (front kicks) for years, something finally clicked last night. It was definitely one of those weird, frustrating but ultimately refreshing training moments you get every once in a while.

Let me give some background – maegeri’s are front kicks. The execution is simple – raise knee, leg goes out to strike with the ball of the foot, retract leg back, leg goes down. Simple. Once you get beyond elementary skills, you start perfecting your technique – grounding yourself better, make the kick faster, pull the toes back every time to ensure your striking with the ball of the foot, use your hips, perfect a “whipping” motion, dynamic extension, etc. The one problem I’ve had is that there have been numerous times practicing my kicks on vertical striking pads or on a boxing bag where I’ve mangled my little toe. I always thought it was because my little toe is somewhat demented, in that I can pull back all my other toes, but my little toe refuses to move, so if I strike, there’s an extremely good chance my toe will be bent back or to the side, which is annoying and painful. My theory is that all the abuse I’ve exposed it to over the years of having only one leg malformed it in some way, and that there wasn’t much I could do to improve the quality of my front kicks with the stupid little thing. Until last night!

I’ve found that by adjusting the horizontal angle of my foot a fraction to the right, I’m now not only kicking more prominently with the ball of my foot, but my little toe is no longer getting in the way! The extra bonus is that the slight change in angle has also re-enforced the kick, as it has brought all the bones and muscles into tighter alignment. The stupid thing is that I should have realised this ages ago, as it follows the same precepts behind any standard punch in karate – align the bones, lock them in at the point of impact and focus the strike on the two knuckles nearest the thumb. Obviously in the case of the maegeri, exchange “knuckles” for the area of the ball of the foot around your big toe.

So yes, hooray for me and my lightbulb moment. I didn’t go too full on with my kicks on the bag last night since I hadn’t warmed up my knee enough (and I was conscious of the time I had available to fit in my usual workout), but hopefully I’ll be able to get in some additional practice with my kicks from now on to improve them.

Mind, I also intended to squeeze in some additional kata before tonight’s training, so I should have done that as well. I blame it on my nerdy score-burger over the long weekend just gone, as its more convenient to place the blame on an inanimate object than myself. And because I’m so proud of my nerd achievement, I’ll also pollute the blog with a post about it in the near future 🙂

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