Here I will occasionally upload what I think to be a special lesson at our dojo. This will be a personal statement and will reflect something that caused a "light bulb moment" for me. It does not mean it had the same effect on the entire class. Or that it will mean the same to you.
I'm having fun, after many years training, learning (or re-learning) things that make my karate better. Everyone is different. What I learned today (and probably I just did not pay attention years ago) is not necessarily what you will find mind boggling. It is my journey and what I experienced in my regular three times a week training at the dojo and daily training at home.
I will try to upload videos or stills once in a while to help make my point.
Brush the Knees August 2011
Learned this probably my first year of practicing karate (1978) like everyone else. But through the years I've become sloppy, therefore effectiveness of this powerful kick has suffered. I'm talking about the ushiro geri (back kick). Sensei Brewer at the Pekin dojo was kind enough to re-enlighten me and lately I have been having fun catching my training partners with it.
When practicing the kick, be sure to spin (either clockwise or counterclockwise-depending on which leg is kicking) quickly and without coming up in your stance, pivoting on the non-kicking foot. At the end of the spin around, your feet should be together, making your knees touch as you thrust out with the kicking leg. If your knees touch before the kick, the kick will be on target and will not miss off to one side or the other. Conversely, if the knees do not touch, the kick can easily be off to the side of the target, at best allowing for a glancing blow to the target. At worst missing the target completely.
It is important also to try to look at your target before executing the spin. It is not necessary to see clearly but to just know where the target is. If you catch a view of the target and brush your knees during the delivery, the kick will find its mark quite easily.
Remember, the heel is the part of the foot that should make contact with the target, NOT THE BALL OF THE FOOT OR THE TOES! And try not to bend forward (away from the target) too much. Think entering the target.
Please practice the above on your heavy bag (you do have one, right?).
Keep a tight fist! December 2010
First of all-for beginners-here is how to make a fist.
1) Start with open hand. 2) Curl the fingers inward, starting with the little finger. The intent is to have the tip of each finger end up just about where the callous usually forms. You may have to push the finger tips to make this happen at first. 3) Roll the rest of the hand a bit and then "lock" the fingers with the thumb at a point close to the first knuckles of the index and middle fingers. 4) You should now have a 90 degree angle formed by the top of the hand and the first knuckle to second knuckle expanse. It is with this "square" surface that you make contact with a target (and only the index & middle finger surface, not the ring & little finger surface). Notice the position of the wrist. It is also straight, not bent upwards or downwards. 5) When opening the hand, you should clearly see marks near the callous points where the finger tips have been "locked down". This indicates correct fist formation.
Keep it tight... .
Learned a long time ago (maybe my first lesson?) to make a tight fist. What I relearned recently is to always keep it tight (a heavy fist), even when relaxing the rest of the body. This makes it much easier & faster to attack when necessary than if the hands were relaxed or open. It also helps form muscle memory in the hands, creating a more automatic fist when needed if the hands are open or relaxed (which should only be advanced students, right?).
If you practice keeping the fist tight, you will soon notice a difference in your state of readiness. Keeping your fist tight requires many of the arm and wrist muscles to become stronger and more toned, making your entire fist, arm extension a better weapon. I noticed it after just a few hours of training.