Today’s class involved a lot of pad work doing various strikes with as much power as possible. I would like to think that whenever we do pad drills like these, I am hitting the pad as hard as possible but today, Sensei Noia said something that made the techniques more powerful.
Hit with intent
We started out with a partner holding a pad or two while one of us punched the pad. We did punches from standing and front stances and after a little warm-up Sensei had us ask our partner if we were hitting hard. He also asked us if we felt we were hitting as hard as possible and most of us replied with a maybe not. The point he was trying to get across was if you are not hitting hard enough to hurt your partner if they weren’t holding the pad, you are aren’t hitting hard enough.
After some more punches, Sensei explained hitting with intent. The intention of our punches and strikes is simple, to stop an attacker with your one punch or strike. We often punch just to train but today he wanted us to punch with the intent to break ribs or incapacitate our partner if they didn’t have the pads between them and your strike.
I know this sounds simple and most students will say that always punch all out with intention but I can honestly say, I often do not punch my hardest unless I have a reminder. It’s not that I am lazy but for some reason, my punches go on autopilot and that’s not the best way to train.
We followed the punches with some roundhouse kicks with the same intention. I have had issues with my roundhouse kicks since I started training almost 15 years ago but Sensei Noia gave me some instruction today that changed my kicks. I have always focused on the correct technique for my roundhouse kick and that made them, for lack of better words, weak.
After a few kicks, Sensei told me to just throw my leg. He held the pad low, a little above thigh level, and had me do my rear leg roundhouse by just throwing my leg at the pad. This made a world of difference. It wasn’t textbook correct as far as technique is concerned but the power and speed was better than I ever had in the past. Throwing the kicks this way aren’t for tournaments or exams but the height of the kick and the power behind it would certainly stop someone from walking away after getting hit with it.
We did a few more pad drills with any hand techniques of our choice using the same intent as before. If you want to have some fun do some hammer fists or back fists with all out power. I have no doubt that those techniques, at least for me, would drop someone easily.
We finished class doing a couple of katas but again doing each technique with the same intent of strikes we did before.