Often, when we train, we stick to many of what I consider standard techniques.Â These techniques, such as front punch, reverse punch, front snap kicks and the group of standard blocks make up much of the Shotokan kihon.Â These powerful techniques work well in kumite and on the street but there are some other effective techniques that aren’t done on a regular basis.Â The hammer fist, ridge hand and knee strike isn’t seen in kumite competition and if it is, chances are it’s followed with a warning or a disqualification as your opponent hits the floor.Â Needless to say, today’s class had us visit some of those techniques and it shows that there are more options to add to your arsenal of Karate skills.Â Sensei Noia was away coaching at an international tournament and Sensei Plocharczyk filled in and gave us a tough class that not only worked our bodies but also made us think about some other techniques.
Warm up the legs
To make sure the legs were warm, we started with stationary front stance with front snap kick.Â After the kick, bring the kicking back behind with intention as if it is a low back kick.
Next came a group of drills that we used to with Sensei Cieplik where we start with a knee strike front snap kick, making sure that the hip extends and retracts each time.Â We added another front kick, doing front snap kick, knee strike and front snap kick.Â Another knee strike was added doing a front snap kick, knee strike, front snap kick and knee strike.Â This got the legs and hips warmed up well.Â Even though it sounds like an easy drill overall, it’s not if you get the hips moving correctly.
We continued the kicks with a partner, doing alternating front snap kick, roundhouse kick, side thrust kick, hook kick and spinning back kick for 30 seconds with each leg.
Focus on the less obvious
Sensei had us work on some techniques that we don’t normally work on.Â We stayed with our partner and got a focus mitt.Â We worked on back fist, doing the set fast with a light touch and a fast retraction.Â The second group was hard driving through the focus mitt. We did the same drills with hammer fist but hard and strong.Â Then came ridge hand making sure to keep the fingers tight or deal with the pain caused if they are not.
We went back to some kicks doing side thrust kicks to the focus mitt with our heel hitting the same spot each time.Â We did it again but this time going loose and fast for maximum speed.
We finished up with a drill that I almost forgot about.Â We start facing our partner, we throw a reaching jab short of our partners face, our partner blocks and then we shift in and jab on the outside of their block using the same hand.Â We did the same drill again but this time, after the reach and jab, when our partner blocks, we follow up with a shift and back fist.Â Â This is a very simple drill but sometimes the most effective techniques are simple.
- Warm up the legs with intention
- Continue with more kicks
- Focus on the less obvious techniques
- Reach, jab and attack again