Small group, great training

Another week, and another small class. Wasn’t a bad thing though, as it gave Jyastin-kun and I plenty of time to work on basic techniques and combinations. I know it may sound a bit silly, but even going back to basics and concentrating on taking simplistic techniques but approaching them with an ever-increasing view to advance the technique has been really interesting. During training Sensei was getting us to perform simple punching or kicking drills/combinations. However, he was checking with us that we were showing signs of advanced principles to these basic motions.

Take a standard oitsuki (reverse punch). This time when doing it, aside from using linear motion and kinetc energy, we was looking at how we were distributing our weight as part of the technique, and taught us the importance of lowering our mid-section at the end of the technique. This achieved a stronger stance when the amount of outgoing energy is arguably at its most volatile, as it shifted the weight closer to the ground, which meant you didn’t wobble about as much if you were straight-up and created a stronger connection to the floor, ensuring greater efficiency (i.e. less loss) of kinetic energy as part of the technique. I’ve probably made it sound a bit long-winded, so sorry about that!

Aside from that, we also worked on controlling strength, balance and control with our kicking technique, with Sensei again emphasising the importance of a strong stance. Without it, the amount of energy expelled into the target will simply bounce back into the attacker and knock you off your feet or severely deplete the amount of energy being delivered into the strike. Control your stance and weight/balance, and you achieve not only great efficiency with the technique itself, you control the flow of kinetic energy so it doesn’t float back into your mid-section and throw you off balance. Rather, it forms a continuous line from the ground, up your leg connected to the ground, through your centre and your kicking leg, and into your opponent. Keep the stance strong, and the energy only flows along that path back and forth, or ultimately it travels between the ground and the opponent. While the target itself may not falter from the attack, by controlling yourself thus you ensure that you remain the conduit of the flow of kinetic energy, rather than the foundation it relies on to bounce back and forth.

Or at least that’s how I visualise it in my crazy brain 😛

Anywho, aside from that we also got into some basic drill-work, and after class Jyastin-kun and I had the chance to have a quick chat to Sensei before we left for the night. With class sizes shrinking the last couple of weeks, I hope I’m not going to curse the club and break it like I’ve blogged about before 😛 Hopefully we’ll be getting back up to normal sizes soon! In the meantime though, I’ll keep enjoying the excellent individual instruction we’ve been lucky enough to get!

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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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Hard training

Just wanted to add a quick post on this week’s training – in addition to the iron stomach conditioning, we also did some general arm conditioning as well, and some cool 2-person drills that eventually evolved into a continuous flow of blocks and strikes, with both sides playing the part of aggressor/defender with relative equality. The combination seemed like it would make for good application during sparring as well, which is ace.

What was interesting was how we started the lesson – after doing our warm-up routine, Sensei had us stand in a low kibadachi and practice standing continuous oitsuki (reverse punches). After doing this for a while, we then walked along the line, standing in front of each of us with a pad placed against his abdomen, which we were to strike with as much power as we could a certain number of times. After this, he then demonstrated the importance of the use of hips, thighs, knees and feet in executing an extremely powerful oitsuki in order to get us to improve our technique. From here’s where it gets interesting – to encourage better kibadachi, we all had to stand in a line, but so that the sides of our feet were pressed up against out neighbours to either side. This actually helped reinforce my stance, but overall it helped encourage all of us to dig lower in our stance and find greater strength, kept our feet straight and knees solid – the techniques that followed were apparently greatly improved, and I know I felt the difference as well.

We also went through kata (by the end of the session I’d gotten the basic pattern down reasonably well, so now it’s time to work on refining my technique, and I’m hoping that by the time we get to the end of the year I’ll be ready to grade again), some groundwork (which was a bit of light BJJ) and some other two-person drills/techniques.

It was a really exhausting session, half-way through I was already starting to feel it, but I dug deeper when I needed to in order to push forward. The end result was an extremely good workout for the mind and body!

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