It’s been a long time since I updated this website, and even though I haven’t been typing, I never stopped training. I learned a lot about Karate over the last two years. I’ll detail more about what I have learned, but I thought it would be useful to share the training classes that I do.
These classes combine what I have done with Noia Sensei, Ceiplik Sensei, and Hotton Sensei.
After a simple warm-up, it was time to get to it.
Starting from a hip-width standing stance with the legs lose but not weak, 10 light front punches focusing on punching from the hip, not just moving the arms, and ensuring that the elbows are rubbing on the sides of the body and moving from the center. After those came a few more sets adding more power for a total of three sets.
The next movement was front punches again but from a horse stance and still keeping the same concepts when doing them standing. The key here is to punch with the arms and have the hip movement throw the punch, not the shoulders and chest.
This next movement helps to warm up the hips, and it has become one of my favorites. Starting in a horse stance, reach to the left and pivot on the heels into a front stance, reverse punch, then reach to the front, pivot on the heels into a horse stance and double front punch, then repeat on the right. Keeping low while moving from horse stance to front stance and back is key, along with punching from the hips and driving the front knee forward while moving into the front stance.
Since small space training is important now, the next moves started in a front stance, moving forward and backward with a front punch. Pulling with the front leg moving forward and pulling from the back leg, allowing the body weight to transfer, is key, along with rubbing the elbows and still punching from the center. This movement and the similar movements to follow are done in separate sets, first starting with the left leg forward and the second set starting with the right leg forward.
I like to change up some of the combination arm movements to keep the mind working. Even though they aren’t tough, it keeps the training fresh. The next movement was moving forward with a rising block and moving backward with a front punch. Normally, the front punch would come first moving forward and the rising block would be moving backward but if someone was attacking you and you step in to block, with good timing, you could then return the counter-attack or front punch moving backward. It sounds a little counterintuitive but it makes sense in my mind.
The next movement was moving forward with a front punch and moving backward with a downward block. All of these movements are done for eight to 10 repetitions with each leg in front.
Next were some simple Kumite drills. They consist of a short shift with a jab, reverse punch, or both. Starting in a fighting stance, to get the hip action correct, move the front foot the length of your foot forward and then pull it back to the starting point while keeping your back foot in the same place. Keeping the back heel off the ground and using the bent back leg’s spring tension is key.
The next drill is moving the same way as above but throwing a jab. When throwing the jab, try to keep your front leg foot/knee and your elbow moving together. As you move your foot forward, at the end range, your punch should end at the same time, and as the foot moves back, the hand comes back to your guard position.
Using the same footwork, instead of throwing a jab, keep the front hand up to guard your face and reverse punch. This movement is particularly good at building strength in the legs and forcing hip rotation for the punch. After the punch, pull back to the guard position.
The next Kumite drill is a combination of jab and reverse punch. The key to this drill, make the jab strong. Many people throw the jab as a feint, but the jab can be a powerful attack if done correctly. Most people will say the jab will stun, and the reverse punch will finish, but I would rather have the jab finish and only have to use to reverse punch as a follow-up if needed.
The rest of the class was kata. I try to finish all my classes with at least one kata, and when I am training basics, like above, I go back to the roots and do Taikyoku Shodan or Heian Shodan. These are the most basic katas in the Shotokan syllabus, but many hidden complexities can be found if we examine the katas more closely. Trying to remove the robotics action that I learned all those years ago is much harder than it sounds, and these are always a good way to finish up a training session.