Tuesday, March 20, 2007

1 week later

It's hard to believe that my last posting was 7 days ago, it sure didn't feel like 7 days. I've been running around so much that each day overlapped with the next.

I've achieved a great many things this week. I learned CPR, and received certification. I attended my daughter's theatre performance. I solidified the Bassai Sho kata in my mind. I completed the "Respect in Sports" program, and received certification. I comforted my youngest son through a bout with the flu. I organized, and implemented a 25th Anniversary for my Kyokushin dojo.

Karate-wize.. I showed up to class last night to find out that my Sensei was still at seminar, and that I'd be teaching the beginner class. I can't explain the happy feeling that this gives within me. I really enjoy teaching. It doesn't matter what I'm teaching either. I love to teach. I'm just as happy teaching my daughter how to tie her shoes as I am teaching a young child how to do a front kick.

I decided to focus the class on the aspect of hip rotation.. and voila.. I put the students through a series of exercises to help them realize where their hips are when they move in front stance, and why. By the panting breathing, and smiles on their faces at the end of class, I assumed that they had learned something, and had enjoyed doing so. ( I could be kidding myself.. ha ha ha)

Perhaps the enjoyment that I receive when I teach comes from watching visual improvement in my student's understanding, and ability. I received much satisfaction as I saw a big difference in the classes hip rotation by the end of the class. Perhaps it's seeing that "AHA" look in their eyes, as a light of realization turns on, and they rejoice in a new found skill.

I know that I feel proud that I have contributed just a little bit into the future of the Martial art that I love. Who knows? Maybe one day, one of these students will be faced with a challenge that requires hip rotation to create power, and they will automatically do it.

Either way, It was nice to be able to teach the beginner's class. I know that I enjoyed myself. :-)


Becky said...

I'd be interested in those hip exercises. My sensei doesn't empahsize hip rotation, but I find it gives me so much more power in my punches.

supergroup7 said...

I was teaching a beginner's class, Becky, so these exercises aren't that fantastic.. but I'm more than willing to share them with you.

I had the kids go down into front stance, and place their hands on their hips. I then instructed them to make sure that their elbows came straight off of their hips, and that they pointed to the side walls. ( This would mean that their hips were square, and not angled.)

I then insisted that they keep their elbows pointing at the side walls the whole time that they moved forwards in front stance. We went across the floor a good number of times ( slowly, moderately, and quickly) always keeping our hips squared.

Then I repeated the same sequence but have their elbows point at an angle.. of course they had to move their hips at an angle to achieve this. By having the students focus on their hips, and elbows as they moved they became more aware of the sensations of "squared", and "angled".

Then, I had them move forwards doing a punch ( again insisting that the hips be squared.. so randomly, I would ask the students to bring both of their fists to their hips, and look at where their elbows are pointing. If they are angled, then adjust the hips so that they are square)

I repeated the sequence with a down block movement, and angled hips ( again asking the students to check their hip location.)

Now, I alerted them to the next step.. we would do a down block, reverse punch combination staying in one place, but I wanted them to really exagerate the hip rotation showing me angled, then square hips.

The last step was pulling all of this knowledge together. I had them step across the floor doing down block, reverse punch moving forwards in front stance. Randomly.. every 3 or 4 techniques.. I would ask them to check their hips.

The next 10 minutes was doing this combination back and forth in the dojo in full speed applying the hip rotation.

Throughout the whole class I did not correct anything but their hips. I ignored all of the other things because my goal was to wake them up to the fact that all movements in karate come from the "center" ( of which the hip comes in mighty loud!)

Colin Wee said...

My sensei doesn't empahsize hip rotation, but I find it gives me so much more power in my punches.

Re: rotation. Power is generated with shoulder rotation or hip rotation. If you're doing shotokan or a variation of shotokan, there are only two major ways to generate power: Hip rotation (or shoulder rotation) and a forward lunging strike.

Mir talked about hip vibration a little while ago. This is adequate for dojo practice, but for striking with real power, the hip vibration really needs to be a solid torquing/turning motion. Becky - if you think the hip rotation gives you so much power in your punches, it may mean that you're striking with too much shoulder rotation or arm power. If you're doing it with the hips and legs, all the arm has to do is to transmit that power into the target - there will be so much striking power that you'd think your bones are compressing during the strike!

The third picture of Funakoshi Sensei on my site shows how he's incorporating the hip rotation from a back balance in Heian Nidan. Check his left knee as it 'straightens' and his right leg as it rotates forward. This has become one of my favourite techniques.


supergroup7 said...

Yes Colin, many people will throw their shoulder forwards when they punch. This does give a greater reach, but then you do sacrifice your balance, lower the amount of body connection/power, and risk damaging your shoulder joint should you get a very strong impact. ( I find )

I find that hip vibration is one of those "last resort" actions.. when you've been caught in a bad position, and you just want to try to add in a little boost to a technique. It's similar to punching while backing up.. you know that you won't have the same effect as a full punch but it will buy you some time to set up for the next movement.

Colin Wee said...

Yes Colin, many people will throw their shoulder forwards when they punch.

No, I'm not talking about a poorly executed reverse punch. I'm talking about a separate technique where you are doing a roundhouse punch - generating power with the shoulder thrown in.

My preference of course is the hip rotation - the arm is kept tight to the body and the rotation drives it into the target. Reach is not so important as the immense power generated by proper hip rotation.

As for the hip vibration - I have seen very few karate or TKD schools that use an aggressive rotation of the hips. Have you seen anything like this?


supergroup7 said...

"As for the hip vibration - I have seen very few karate or TKD schools that use an aggressive rotation of the hips. Have you seen anything like this?"

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you when you say the term "hip rotation" or "hip vibration". As I look more deeply into the art of Shotokan, I'd have to tell you that every single block, strike, and kick starts with some sort of motion of the hip. You may not see the rotation, or vibration, but the hip is aggressively used with every technique. Gee.. even when we move forwards, sideways, or backwards we are told to send the hip in that direction and the legs will follow.

Colin Wee said...

No I don't think there's a misunderstanding. Hip vibration is a quick pulse of the hip forward and then pulling back just as the technique is initiated. I do that all the time. When I talk about hip rotation I'm talking the hip travels a much further way forward along with the technique, rather than only at the start of the technique. I have not seen a lot of schools emphasize that for strikes. Maybe for blocks and change of direction, but not for reverse punches.