Sensei Noia shared an important lesson with some of us tonight.Â Everyone wants to strike hard but forcing yourself to strike hard and striking hard are two different things.Â I went to class more stressed then usual and it had an adverse impact on my training.Â My punches, even though they were strong, felt like I was punching through clay.Â My hips were tight and even though they were working, they just weren’t giving my punches the power that I normally hit with.Â The lesson is, don’t force your strikes, if they are forced, turn down the power and just let the hand or foot fly.Â Enough talking about my problems…
Kata with some extra stuff added
We started out with Taikyoku Shodan.Â Even though I enjoy doing the higher rank katas, I often find myself doing this kata.Â It is all basics and even though it is a very basic beginner kata, the movements are good training no matter what rank you hold.Â After the first kata, Sensei has us do each move with a rear leg kick.Â For example, step into downward block to the left add a front snap kick and put the kicking foot back down behind and do then step into the next move with front punch and added kick for the entire kata.
We did the same kata again and added a spinning back kick to each move, putting the kicking foot behind again.Â I wasn’t watching everyone else do it but I am certain that my kata was ugly.Â It felt ugly and I am pretty sure it looked ugly but I made it through it as did everyone else.
Same kata again but this was a mental challenge.Â We did each movement with an added punch.Â For example, step into downward block to the left add a reverse punch and then a downward block again.
Doing things like this is what makes Karate so interesting and proves that you will never learn everything about it.Â You can take the most basic kata and change it into something harder or more advanced.
Relax and hit hard
We spent a good amount of time punching the pads today.Â We started out with doing reverses to the pads using as much hip engagement as possible.Â This is pretty much were my problems began but I digress.
After that, came knife but not the standard knife hand that we find in many katas.Â We did the knife hand strike with our palm up.Â Again, the hip should throw the hand not the shoulder.Â The move is done much like the same moves in Heian Yondan, Kanku Dai and Gojushiho Sho.
We did the reverse punches again but with a little different leg position in a fudo dachi or rooted stance instead of the standard front stance.Â The back hip is a little more open than in the front stance and your upper body is near ninety degrees open compared to around 45 degrees when in a front stance.Â This is the leg and hip postilion from the reach with reach, double punch, kick punch from Gojushiho Sho.
Next came front snap kicks.Â I was able to somewhat redeem myself with the front snap kicks.Â They didn’t start out too well but after some help from Sensei Noia telling me to square my hips and relax, they got progressively better and stronger.
Adjust your kata to your current ability
We finished up class with one kata of your choice.Â Some final words from Sensei as class was ending, don’t go through the motions, do your kata with a mental picture of what you are actually doing in each technique.Â If you are tired or stress, do your kata a different way.Â You can go for speed instead of power or clean technique but no matter how you do it, adjust it to what you have available at the moment.
- Taikyoku Shodan with back leg kick
- Taikyoku Shodan with spinning back kick
- Taikyoku Shodan with punches
- Hit the pads hard, don’t force the strikes and relax
- Do your kata to your ability at that moment in time