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#132703 - 11/16/03 04:19 PM Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
I'm not being funny. Honestly. Just been doing some thinking, and would like answers to some questions. If anyone has a take please jump in.

Why do I train in bare feet?

Why do I train in a gi with a belt?

Why do I need to lock my stance?

Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi?

Why do I move into and hold static stances?

Do you ever feel that you are training control for the sake of it? (By that I mean the ability to put your body in an exact space and time. Not for improving your ability to strike more effectively, but just to exert more control over your body.)

Why do I move differently in sparring to how I move in kata and line work?

Do any of you spar flat footed, or with your heels on the ground?

Old karateka:

Is karate bad for your joints?

thanks

Alec.

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#132704 - 11/16/03 07:31 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
I may have some answers for you.

We train with bare feet traditionally because in okinawan culture it is disrespectful to dirty the dojo floor with shoes you use to walk around on everyday. This is why you should not walk around all day long on bare feet and then walk into the dojo without either washing them or putting shoes on first. I personally think that training without shoes on helps my techniques when I have my shoes on. I train with them both on and off. When they are off I have to worry about correct technique so that I will not break my toes. When they are on I don't have to worry about this as much, so I am able to maintain correct technique with my shoes on.

A gi and belt is worn simply because when karate came to japan they formalized its training by using a judo uniform. In my opinion as long as I wear clothing that gives me freedom of motion all of my techniques feel no different than they do in a gi. That is why when I try on clothes at the store I do punches and kicks in the dressing room. If it restricts my motion too much I do not buy it.

I don't know what you mean by "locking" you stance. I am not sure that anything is locked in karate. You should sink into your stance with your feet rooted your power focused in your abdomen and your back straight. It is all about using the structure of you skeleton to give your stances stability. But along with this stability they must have mobility and stamina.

I don't study Japanese karate, I study okinawan karate. I believe we have a similar kata called wanshu. When wanshu came to japan the japanese named it Enpi(Empi) because some of the postures "looked" like a swallow, but in its original form it is not meant to look that way, it merely resembles it. Don't get too caught up in what something is "supposed to be" rather focus on what it is. Go back to your basics and make sure you are doing everything fundamentally correct.

We move and hold a static stance only to train our bodies to maintain correct form while in these postures. In karate to move in and out of a stance while in constant motion it is easy to make mistakes when it comes to posture. It is easy to not completely sink your weight. It is easy to use only weight and momentum and forget about correct skeletal alignment while moving and not use the principles of motion as they are used in karate. When you stop it allows for a constant re-evaluation of stance so that you will always attempt to maintain proper technique. Along with this training you should also do techniques which are continous without pauses and with your stance constantly changing so that you can put what you are perfecting into practice with a pace that is fast and fluid. Try doing your kata as fast as possible while maintain proper form and structure, this will teach you alot about if you are really using proper technique.

Karate is about body control. In a fight all you can truly control is what your body does, therefore it is a cornerstone of karate. When you advance further in karate don't think of it as putting your body in an exact space at an exact time. This type of thinking is how a beginner is taught. When you first learn karate it is about points of execution. Meaning you are focusing on steping in a certain place at a certain moment and placing your arm in a certain position and ending your technique in a certain posture. In the intermediate level you are supposed to focus on either the block or strike itself. Here you must concentrate on the power that you are putting in your technique and the points at which you are going to either block or strike. Finally in the advanced level your focus should only be attack and driving you technique through and opponent with a penetrating force. This advanced level is about the principles of motion of the techniques that you are executing, not about the techniques themselves.

In actuality you should not be moving differently. In real fighting our approaching stance should be squared in a natural walking stance. When you advance you should sink your weight and drive through with you hips and shift you weight after you have established you foot placement. In kata we find ourselves in a wide array of stances and postures, all of which we will find ourselves in while fighting. On one foot, stepping back, stepping to the side, stepping forward. Kata and line work is not so much about exactly how and where you place you hands and feet, but the principles behind why you place your hands and feet there. Once you understand these principles of motion you will be able to easily apply them to no only fighting, but everyday life. When fighting everything is a transition into something, much like kata. Never stop until your opponent is defeated. If you punch and stop without your opponent on the ground defeated you are doing something wrong.

In karate we do stand with our heels on the ground, but that does not mean that we are standing flat footed. In karate when you are standing with your foot flat on the ground your focus point should be the middle of your foot. The middle of you foot is an inch or so below the ball of your foot. Your weight is focused here so that you can push off and move forward very easily as well as push off and move backward. If you weight is back on you heels or on the entire surface of your foot you will be unable to move quickly. But this goes back to fundamentals of okinawan karate. Therefore when you step the foot that steps is hitting heel first and the heel of your back foot is not touching the ground. This is how lions(and all members of the cat family) move, and they are very quick, light on their feet, and also have the ability to strike with great power.

I am only 27 so I do not know about karate on the joints for really old folks, however, I do train with old karate people(most have over 25 years experience) and done correctly karate is actually good for the joints.

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#132705 - 11/17/03 01:04 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
Anonymous
Unregistered


Why do I train in bare feet?

Medulanet has already answered this but I would like to add that also, if you have bare feet your instructor can see whether you are making the correct shape and the student can see the shape of the instructors foot. I know a few instructors that teach karate in shoes and the majority of their students kick incorrectly. It may seem silly because we wear shoes when we are in situations when we are likely to be attacked, but I think it is useful for women. I always wear very high shoes and the first thing I would do at the first sign of trouble is take them off. 1) because I can't run in them and 2) because spiky heels make an excellent weapon [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] It is also useful for men if they are caught out and attacked whilst barefoot (at home, in the changing room, on the beach etc.) It means you will not break your toes.

Why do I train in a gi with a belt?

Again, Medulanet has answered this. It is not strictly necessary to wear one in order to be good at karate but they are comfortable and allow a lot of freedom of movement. I personally love wearing a gi.

Why do I need to lock my stance?

I know you know the answer to this already, but...Tensing all your muscles at the point of contact delivers power. Anything not locked in is a point of weakness. There is a good thread on this in the body mechanics section.


Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi?
Sorry I do not know this kata

Why do I move into and hold static stances?

To practice tensing and untensing your body, thereby being able to deliver a good technique at short notice.

Do you ever feel that you are training control for the sake of it? (By that I mean the ability to put your body in an exact space and time. Not for improving your ability to strike more effectively, but just to exert more control over your body.)

Sometimes, yes. But I don't see that as a bad thing.

Why do I move differently in sparring to how I move in kata and line work?

I don't know about moving differently, it is just all more exagerated in line work and kata to perfect stances/techniques.

Do any of you spar flat footed, or with your heels on the ground?

I usually have most weight on my back foot.

Old karateka:

Is karate bad for your joints?

I think that in the past this was true but now that we are better educated it is not harmful if done correctly. I am almost 40 and the only joint problems I have are in my fingers from breaking them several times (my fault, not karate's) and my right knee, again nothing to do with karate. I just put too much pressure on it for too long whilst recovering from an illness that weakened my left side.
Sharon

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#132706 - 11/17/03 06:23 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Thanks for replies, have read, will attempt to address in detail asap.

Thanks again

Alec.

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#132707 - 11/17/03 07:13 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
>>Why do I train in bare feet?<<

I don't. As I got older I found my energy drained out through my feet really quickly. My Tai Chi instructor insists that we train in shoes and examines them really carefully. I have been sent out in Hong Kong to go and buy a "proper" pair of shoes!

Why do I train in a gi with a belt?

Again I don't. All my students do and love wearing them. I think western people look strange in old (uncomfortable) oriental wear.

Why do I need to lock my stance?

You don't. You should "fix" your knee over the weght bearing foot to ensure that your bodyweight goes into the thigh muscle and down to the foot and not the knee.

Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi?

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] Now there's a thought! Is that possible?

Why do I move into and hold static stances?

We have to start somewhere. It's a bit like the "dots" in one of those "join up the dots" drawing books. There's a kind of yoga in finding the moment you transfer energy into the opponent and getting that position right first. Then you learn how to join up the dots so they don't exist, then colour it in and then hopefully work for a masterpiece!

>>Do you ever feel that you are training control for the sake of it? (By that I mean the ability to put your body in an exact space and time. Not for improving your ability to strike more effectively, but just to exert more control over your body.)<<

Real power only comes from exquisite control. You can clumsily "fall" on people with brute strength and ignorance but a good fighter will take you to pieces in nanoseconds.

>>Why do I move differently in sparring to how I move in kata and line work?<<

Because it's different. Line work is basic "floor exercises" to learn posture, body control and power sourcing. Kata is a highly condensed form of skill building and remembering with the body. I feel that most karate "sparring" is a waste of time and doesn't reflect real fighting at all.

>>Do any of you spar flat footed, or with your heels on the ground?<<

We don't spar.

>>Old karateka: <<

That's me [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

>>Is karate bad for your joints?<<

GOOD karate training should preserve your joints - the problem is that there isn't so much good Karate around. Also it's the accidents that tend to damage them most. Safety in the Dojo is an absolute must. I have seen far too many people crippled for life over really stupid accidents.

Hope it helps...

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#132708 - 11/17/03 10:07 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Wadowoman, you say that you lock and tense your muscles to deliver power. How does that work exactly? When punching one should only use muscular strength necessary to extend the arm and focus your energy to penetrate through the opponent. When punching in karate the tendons and muscles separate a little bit as you punch and extend fully. If you tense your muscles this is not able to happen. It is your skeletal structure that makes your punch strong and solid. If you muscles and tendons are strong and flexible you can use them to extend you arm, but never to the point that it is tensed and locked. Besides tensing and locking muscles prevents the energy of the punch from flowing from your body and transferring to that of your opponent. Have you ever punched someone and you felt your own body being knocked back. Although this can happen for many different reasons I have commonly seen this because people are tensing and not relaxing and penetrating. However this may just be the okinawan way of punching and the Japanese may in fact teach their students to tense and lock their muscles, but I think that is a whole different matter.

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#132709 - 11/17/03 02:06 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Right.

medulanet, much thanks for your detailed reply. I'm with you right up to the third paragraph, then I've got some more questions if you've got the patience.

"You should sink into your stance with your feet rooted your power focused in your abdomen and your back straight."

What do you mean when you say "feet rooted". I've been practicing Japanese karate with varying degrees of intensity for 6 years. I've heard this before and never understood it. How can the relationship I have with the ground change? i.e. how can I be rooted and then unrooted?

What do you mean "power focused in your abdomen".

Should I be aware of my centre of gravity?
Is this a reference to chi?
Or are you talking about mechanics and the use of hip rotation and torso twist in executing techniques in stance?

Plus, how deep do you think stances should be? why?

In your 5th, 6th and 7th paragraphs, you talk about 'principles of motion'. You refer to these important at the advanced level, and I am given to understand that you regard them almost as 'axioms of karate'. Beyond and above technique. Would you be willing to elaborate on what exactly these principles are?

Are you talking about relaxation and contraction of muscle? velocity?, mechanical power generation? visualisation of technique? appropriateness of response? Creating immediate reactions to stimuli that one is practiced at recieving? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

In sparring do you move in a similar way to practicing line basics, or at least the same way in which you practice line basics when you practice them with fluidity and speed?

You say: "When you advance you should sink your weight and drive through with your hips and shift your weight after you have established your foot placement."

Why do you believe that?

To me that seems like - we move into position A, hold it, throw strike B as we sit into the position fully, and then move on. The business of 'foot placement' seems slow to me. It seems static. Static fighters get hit.

I don't fully understand your comments on flat footedness or the lack there of. However maybe I can ask you if when sparring or simulating continuous combat with training partners, do you have both the heel and the ball of both feet on the ground?

With the greatest of respect, I am not a Lion. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] I am not built like one, I honestly can't comprehend how walking like a lion will make me strike with great power.

Also, how exactly is Karate good for the joints?

Many thanks for your detailed reply.

with respect

Alec.

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#132710 - 11/17/03 02:28 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Hi Sharon,

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

I appreciate your comments regarding training barefoot. I take the well made point.


*takes deep breath*

Consider a punch:

"tensing all your muscles at the point of contact delivers power."

I find myself disagreeing with my teacher. Tension, in the way in which I was taught to use it creates a brake on the acceleration of the fist. What I am doing is throwing my fist as quickly and as powerfully as I can. Then at the time of impact I contract the antagonistic muscle set in my arm and stop the punch. I have just thrown a punch as hard as I can and then tried to stop it as quickly as I can.

Surely what I want to do is allow my target to absorb all the power (and not my muscles) in stopping the punch. A good punch then becomes a very very fast very very powerful push, which is then pulled back as quickly as possible into a guard position.

18 months ago I would hit the heavy bag to little effect. I would lock the muscles up and sit into the stance. Now I am completely relaxed and I don't try and lock into stance. I hit a hell of a lot harder. I simply throw my fist at it as hard and as fast as I can and let it deal with the impact.

Do you ever use your feet to get yourself out of trouble in sparring? By that I mean:

consider a blitz attack and three possible options open to you:

1) You stand your ground and smash the opponent back.

2) You move your body out of the way by leaning out of the way. i.e. the upper body leads and you 'slip' out of the way of the oncomming.

3) You tansport your body with your feet out of the way. Left, right or back. Very very quickly.

How often can you/ do you choose 3?

Thanks

Alec.



[This message has been edited by Yoseikan Student (edited 11-18-2003).]

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#132711 - 11/17/03 02:40 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Hi Bossman, I appreciate your reply. I wonder if you would be good enought to clarify a few things.

"I found my energy drained out through my feet really quickly".

I'm afraid I don't understand

What does that mean?
Did you feel physically tired?
Did you loose the ability to command and utilise chi?

"There is a kind of yoga in finding the moment you transfer energy into the opponent and getting that position right first"

I understand the bit about getting the position right, but I've never felt the need to make sure I'm in a correct forward stance before giving someone a clout. Should I?

What do you mean by your use of the word yoga? What is its contextual meaning?

My mum is a BWY instuctor, she teaches me occasionally. I've never read anything or been taught anything that would associate yoga with giving someone a smack in the mouth. Not trying to be sarky, just not clear what your saying.

What do you train/teach that for the want of another word (damn you Kogas!), encorporates the concept of 'aliveness'.

How does karate training preserve your joints?

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Thanks for your time.

Alec.

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#132712 - 11/17/03 03:39 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
Hi

>>"I found my energy drained out through my feet really quickly".<<

Actually I meant it in the usual English sense, my body would be hot and my feet still cold and I would feel drained much more quickly.

>>"There is a kind of yoga in finding the moment you transfer energy into the opponent and getting that position right first"

I understand the bit about getting the position right, but I've never felt the need to make sure I'm in a correct forward stance before giving someone a clout. Should I?<<

You would need to have transferred your weight into the punch which usually (but not exclusively) would be into the forward leg.

>>What do you mean by your use of the word yoga? What is its contextual meaning?
My mum is a BWY instuctor, she teaches me occasionally. I've never read anything or been taught anything that would associate yoga with giving someone a smack in the mouth. Not trying to be sarky, just not clear what your saying. <<

You need the correct balance, postural alignment, breath control, mental alertness and concentration to obtain a free passage and focus of energy - very similar to yoga..

>>What do you train/teach that for the want of another word (damn you Kogas!), encorporates the concept of 'aliveness'.<<

Not quite sure what you mean there but I train/teach Wado Ryu Karate, Yeung Family Tai Chi, Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido and Jodo. All are very much "alive" in the "Kogas" mould...

How does karate training preserve your joints?

Good Karate training should ensure that during movement and the delivery of power no joint is taken out of natural alignemnt, that the control of technique means that you don't hyperextend any of the joints. The tendons around the joints with good training will become much stronger.

Thanks for your time.

UR welcome.... hope it helps...

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#132713 - 11/17/03 04:16 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Alec [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

We will have to agree to disagree about whether ornot to tense as we punch whilst I consider what you have said.

In answer to your question; I do use all three but these days prefer 1 and 2 because I am older and more knackered than I used to be [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]
Sharon

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#132714 - 11/17/03 05:24 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
I'm no expert and barely a teacher, but I will share with you my understanding of these principles from 14 years of study, which I am still trying to perfect myself. I will try to answer each question, but the things you mention overlap so if I miss anything please make note of it.

When I say that that your feet must be rooted it is not just the connection of your feet with the ground, but it is more of a state of standing. First your back must be straight. Imagine a pole from the top of you skull that travels down your spine into the ground. This is your axis of rotation. When you turn you don't lean forward or backward. You don't stick your butt backwards or thrust your pelvis out forward. You should always rotate on this axis. You do not hold yourself up on your legs, you sink down into you stance. First everything must be totally relaxed. Don't hold you stomach muscles tight, let them sink down into your abdomen. When you breathe do so with your stomach and not your chest. Your chest should never rise and fall when you breathe, only your stomach. When you stand in your stance let your entire abdomen sink down until the skeletal structure of your pelvis stops its decent. Don't "raise up" in your stance. By doing these things I can relax and "sink." My upper body is supported by my lower body, but my stance should not take a lot of muscular strenght to maintain. Just as I stand I should be able to maintain my stance. When we stand we use the small muscles in our legs to support our posture. Stances in karate are the same way. If your structure is correct and you relax and sink into your stance you will have great stamina because you will use the small muscles which require less blood and oxygen. When doing these things you must focus your weight on the midpoint of your feet which is an inch or so below the ball of your foot. By doing these things it will be more difficult for your opponent to remove you from the place in which you stand. Not that your body is rigid and you are resisting with muscular strength, you stance is mobile and flexible like bamboo. You may bend, but it will be hard to break you. The grounding comes in to play practically because of physics. When some one exterts force on your body instead of resisting that force in the opposite direction you simply direct the force directed on you straight to the ground. This deals with vectors and physics, which I got a D in in college, which is why I switched from engineering to psychology. But it is easy to see that I can only resist a force with my muscular strength for only so long against a force that is only so strong. However, if I use correct posture when performing a stance I can direct any force on my body straight to the ground and have a resisting force which I alone would never be able to produce. This is what I mean when I say you must be rooted or grounded.

When I talk about focusing the power in the abdomen it has a lot to do with this notion of sinking and the way you are standing in you stance. Like you said it is realizing that your center of gravity is you abdomen. A lot of people in karate lead with their chest and lean into their techniques, but this is not correct in okinawan karate. When stepping in karate you should be able to move easily in and out of the rooted stance that I mentioned before. This is achieved because with no force being exerted on your body although you are sinking you should be able to easily shift you weight. Weight shifting is a key in karate. if I stand in a horse stance or front stance I should be able to focus my weight more or less on either of my feet so that I can lift the other foot to move. When doing this it is imperative that you focus on your abdomen when shifting weight. If you play around with it you will begin to see that if you don't you will have to lean dramitically and use the momentum of your weight to move rather than shifting weight so that you can push off of the ground to move. I guarantee that moving by pushing off of the ground is more stable, powerful, and faster than simply using the momentum of you weight to move. Just watch how western people walk. Are they balanced, rooted, and push off of the ground, or do they simply lean to get moving and just fall over their own feet?

Once you understand this you are ready to move in your stance. The purpose of the weight shifting is to be perfectly balanced in all points of you steps so that there is no point of weakness. If I am stepping and someone hits me will I be rooted enough so I will not be knocked to the ground? If the answer is yes then you must ask yourself an I launch powerful techniques from any point in my step. When we learn kata we are taught to step and then punch when we have a solid base. This is necessary to teach beginners so that they will learn to fight with a solid foundation, which is ideal. But in theory if I am perfectly balanced in all points in my steps I should be able to strike an opponent at any point and have at least one foot firmly planted on the ground and not lose any power. Once I am able to master stepping I no longer have to do this one technique per step thing. I can stand and launch techniques or I can step and launch techniques, but it is not dependent on my steps, but on the attacks that I am recieving. Therefore as I step into an opponent in one step that may be percieved as relatively slow I can defend and attack against four or five attacks from my opponent. My hands will always be faster than my feet, so if I fight and want to step into, away from, or to the side of my opponent I must have a way to always be perfectly balanced so I can deal with all incoming attacks and launch my own. This may seem strange because although my lower and upper bodies are in perfect harmony on some levels they are completely unrelated. My steps are simply designed to put me in position to attack while putting me in a position so that my opponent cannot attack me with 100% power. My upper body is simply attacking my opponent.

When I speak about principles of motion I am talking about the whole a punch is not a punch and a block is not a block, they are all simply attacks. Essentially no matter what I do if I use correct technique and focus my blocks and or strikes to the midline of my opponent I will get a relatively good result. Everything that I do in karate are simply movements. We should not just focus on the end result. Don't just worry about the block actually snapping out or the final extension of a punch. Although these things are important there is a lot more there. When I cross my arms before I execute a block there are several key techniques in what some may refer to as the set up for a block. The principles of motion that I speak of are very broad and is truly up to you to interpret. The key is to use proper technique and analyze the bunkai to make the motion of your technqiue work for you. One thing that works for me is I try to work on may be one technqiue a week to really focus on. I practice my kata and basics and think about what it can be used for, an arm lock, a leg lock, a deflection, and attack to the face, or ribs, or solar plexus, a neck crank, a choke, what ever. Then I go to a class and get a black belt and I say lets spar. I tell them to attack me and fight me and keep the pressure coming. If I don't feel that they are fighting hard enough I tell them to try to take me out. I tell them to try to put me on the ground or make me submit or even knock me out. I then use the technique that I was working on, along with the others that I know, to see if I can get these technqiues to work and to try to discover all of the application I can. Some things only work when some one is attacking, some work when some one is retreating, some work when someone is standing still.

The bood the Essensce of Okinawan Karate Do is and excellent resource for the length of your stances. It was also written by the founder of my style of karate. To measure walking stance simply kneel down without moving your feet and touch your knee to the ground. Your knee and big toe of the other foot should be even. In front stance kneel down without moving your feet and touch your knee to the ground. There should be the length of your fist betwee the heel of you other foot and your knee. In horse stance the distance is the same as in front stance, but you will have to pivot to either the right or the left to measure it. The distance in naihanchi stance is the same as horse stance.

Next a thing about lions. But first a side note I like to live my life striving to be a man among boys and a lion among men. Although we are not lions in body structure(however some of us may be in heart), we can learn something from how they generate power when striking. Like I said earlier you must push off of the ground to move instead of leaning and using the momentum you have created with your weight. When you step if you step with the ball of your foot it is easy to slip and not have solid footing. However, if you step with the heel and roll your foot to its mid point then you have a natural break. This is how lions and all members of the cat family step when striking. With this method you can have great power when stepping and maintain great control over your body.

Finally when I spar I attempt to put all of these principles to use. It is not good to focus on each point of execution of these techniques when free fighting. That is why I said earlier that this way of thinking is for beginners. You must practice until you no longer think, you simply automatically move in this manner. I have met some highly ranked practitioners (5th dan and above) who when asked a question about a kata must actually do the technique to answer the question. They no longer think it, they just do it. I am getting to that point, but have many years of practice a head of me. But at the same time there is always an analysis of one's technique.

I hope I have explained myself. I didn't explain everything as I would have liked becasue sadly we would actually have to train together for me to completely explain myself.

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#132715 - 11/18/03 12:32 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Thanks for the reply medulant. I've read it carefully. I can't say I followed everthing, but I believe I appreciate your 'gist'.

Alec.

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#132716 - 11/18/03 01:02 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Hi Sharon, been thinking a bit more about the punch. I'll try and explain myself more thoroughly.

In punching the air, we have no resistance. So if we don't simultaneously contract the antagonistic muscle set, namely the bicep and tricep, we have no brake or stopping mechanism for the punch. The arm will lock out and the elbow joint suffers.

Or else the movement has to be reversed rapidly and recovered into the guard position.

Hit the bag and this no longer matters because the bag stops the arm from locking out completely as it absorbs the power of the punch and hinders its forward movement.

I'm struggling with the explanation of my thoughts, but please bear with me......

Consider a low Thai roundhouse/shin kick. Take your leg, swing it like a bat, big hip rotation and smash your shin into your opponent.

Now imagine there is nothing there to make impact with - no bag, no opponent. Imagine throwing that air kick, make it a big one. The imagery in my head is of spinning around past the impact point, continuing 360 degrees, losing my balance and landing on my arse. The kick has so much in it that in order to stop it in mid air, I have to apply the brakes and rob it of its power.

Thats what happens when you stop the punch by tensing the muscles.

The tension is necessary in an air punch, it allows you to stop the punch having shown how fast you are and how you generate the power for it. But you have to stop the forward momentum of it because otherwise your elbow joint will explode. The tension is used so you can demonstrate punching attributes to the air. The 'full' punch should not be stopped in this way IMHO.

The air punch is or should be a different punch to the punch that makes impact.

I think that because you personally as a karateka can stop the punch so efficiently, and by that I mean you tense up at the very last moment and stop the punch in a very short space and period of time, (due to hours of practice) you can use the same punch to the air as to the bag, and still get excellent results. I assume the punch is still traveling when you impact the bag, and you only brake the punch when you have penetrated the bag somewhat. So you still get a good result.

My point is that in tensing the muscles you stop the punch. You stop it moving forward. I don't think that a good punch should be stopped like this. You either pull it back or you allow all the energy to travel into the object you are punching.

Maybe you could try throwing punches into a kick shield or a heavy bag, and trying to just 'throw the punches away'. Do everything the same as before, just don't try and stop it or 'tense'?

Tell me if you think I'm talking bull.

Thanks

Alec

[This message has been edited by Yoseikan Student (edited 11-18-2003).]

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#132717 - 11/18/03 01:43 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Actually if you don't mind I would like to address a portion of this question. In okinawan karate you want the extension and seperation of the joint, tendons, and muscles. This is part of what gives the okinawan punch its penetrating power. However, there are certain basic conditioning exercises that you must do to condition the elbow joint so that you do not damage it. If you stop it you will never be able to recreate this effect. This is one point that the okinawans are very clear on.

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#132718 - 11/18/03 03:39 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
You aime the focus of the punch (as a general but not exclusive rule) to the centre of the target that you are striking to. So in your "aliveness" training you have to picture the target if you are doing solitary practise and send the energy to the centre.

The usual point to hit the opponent is as the "hikite" (withdrawing) hand pulls the opponent to the point where your elbow is one fists distance from the body, the punching arm is equidistant and the fist just turning vertical. You then "stab" him by utilising the hammer motion of the fist and "screw" the punch in linking the feet hips and wrist .

I think the problem is that you are confusing the types of punch.

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#132719 - 03/08/04 03:27 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Here it is!

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#132720 - 03/10/04 07:34 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
mark Offline
sword of magnamity

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 1284
Loc: uk
Damed Uperty 2nd kyu!! keep you place!

You KNOW the reason why you do all these things....BECAUSE WE DAMN WELL TELL YOU TOO!!!

You are reduced in grade by 27 belts.

When are you coming back to Essex, so we can teach you the error of your ways!?

I promise not to drink so much this time!

Only thing I do wonder about is the definiation and time in a "locked stance" you do "lock in boxing" it is just the isometric contraction of the bodies muscles.

Mark

PS: "Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi?" YOU FOOL ..........
Because it is better than looking like a hippopotamus......

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#132721 - 03/10/04 08:45 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Yoseikan Student Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Damed Uperty 2nd kyu!! keep you place!

Sorry!

You KNOW the reason why you do all these things....BECAUSE WE DAMN WELL TELL YOU TOO!!!

Right

You are reduced in grade by 27 belts.

Thats a lot of belts. Owch.

When are you coming back to Essex, so we can teach you the error of your ways!?

Next Wednesday. (probably)

I promise not to drink so much this time!

Well that no fun then is it.

Only thing I do wonder about is the definiation and time in a locked stance you do lock in boxing it is just the isometric contraction of the bodies muscles.

Frankly, I just concentrate on twatting him as hard as I can as often as I can without getting twatted back. Looking forward to long protracted discussion about it resulting in 'Bollocks!'.

Mark

PS: Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi? YOU FOOL ..........
Because it is better than looking like a hippopotamus......

Yes..............right..............erm........cool.

Alec [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#132722 - 04/25/04 06:53 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
Goju-Ryu Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/04
Posts: 54
Loc: canada
I would like to answer your questions, but some questions you have to answer yourself.

there are many answers to your many questions.

Good luck to you.

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#132723 - 05/28/04 08:31 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm not being funny.

Why do I train

Why do I train

Why do I need

Why do I need

Why do I move

Do you ever feel

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#132724 - 05/28/04 05:45 PM Re: Questions for Karateka
mikelw Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1031
Loc: Bothell, Washington (not DC), ...
Do I feel like i train for the sake of it?

Yes, all the time. Every single time I do kata in fact.

Am i going to quit as soon as I can?

Yes i am.

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#132725 - 07/22/04 11:35 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Good Morning Yoseikan Student:

Ever see how much dirt, gunk and germs that are brought in onto the floor by shoes (on a hardwood floor)? A better reason than most for bare feet... Also bare footed you can get a close look at ankle positioning and toe positioning... in shoes, you cannot see that and could build anatomically bad habits in your technique. Hense shoes off...

Gis are shapeless unisex clothing which equalizes everybody. Old, young, executive or vagrent in a gi everybody is "neutral" and ther is no distinction.

Belts, that is simply a visual aid for a teacher to tell instantly what skills are available to build the lesson plan around. Without them and its much harder to do so, and especially for rotating instructors, or assistants assisting. Its a visual aid.

Stance training helps examine and explore the correct body mechanics of a technique. Random or haphazard and you'd be getting different results from the folks on either side of you. All starting from the IDENTICAL place (same stance mechanics) and you explore how power can be maximally generated from a seemingly "bad" position.


Flat footed or heel up, depends on what you are doing and attempting. Flat footed is my standard, but not "dead weight".

Karate done correctly is not bad for the joints. Only done INCORRECTLY is it bad...

And finally yup, the many arts of -te ARE about personal control. Command over your physical actions and exploring how to control the thought processes which trigger them. Figure out how to control either so that you cannot be forced into a situation, and you've learnt well...

Learn to control ourselves, so we AVOID the stupid and avoidable situations and we've learned correctly & well... IMHO-fwiw

Jeff

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#132726 - 08/04/04 06:14 AM Re: Questions for Karateka
ken harding Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 721
Loc: UK
Yoseikan
Here goes with another set of answers in addition to the very good posts thus far.

Why do I train in bare feet?
Primarily I think because it was a tradition not to wear shoes in houses in Okinawa/ Japan and its' been carried over. On a practical level shoes hide feet positions, angles of toes and so on. It really is a help to see this even though in practise, if you have to fight for real you'll be wearing shoes.

Why do I train in a gi with a belt?

Up to you mate. I enjoy wearing a gi, it is comfortable and reasonably practical. Some clubs demand it others don't.

Why do I need to lock my stance?

You don't. I think of a "stance" merely as the position one assumes at the end of a technique. It may "lock" as you tense for a split second to deliver the power when hitting someone but only for an instant. No one in their right mind would assume Junzuki stance at the start of a fight in the street. However, if you move forward fast and hit someone you will end up weight forwards on one leg same leg and arm to the opponent. Likewise throw a cross (gyakuzuki) and the body position will end up something like the normal gyaku stance. You'll not stay there though will you? You will continue to move/attack/defend/evade and thus the way you stand will change all the time. Hope this makes sense!!! The training in these positions is only really to show what they are, it's not suggesting one move in a robotlike fashion, more that fluidly one changes from one to the other. Try to treat stances as transitional positions.

Why do I need to look like a swallow in Enpi?

Not a kata I'm familiar with but just as I don't look like a crane on a rock in Chinto (more like an ugly duck slipping off a slippery seaweed covered stone actually) It is just a descriptive.
Why do I move into and hold static stances?

To learn positions....see above

Do you ever feel that you are training control for the sake of it? (By that I mean the ability to put your body in an exact space and time. Not for improving your ability to strike more effectively, but just to exert more control over your body.)

Frequently but this is no bad thing. Interestingly onece you have that control you'll find applications taught for kata especially which will surprise you. All those years of "do this to improve balance" gets blown away when you get shown a throw/ takedown from what you once perceived as a very odd turn in Kushanku for example!

Why do I move differently in sparring to how I move in kata and line work?
Line work = basic positions and basic technique. Kata is a level above. Kumite is simply applying all this with someone trying to make it hard for you to do this!

Do any of you spar flat footed, or with your heels on the ground?
I'll fight flat footed or on my toes. You have to vary it.

Old karateka:

Is karate bad for your joints?
Hmm am 39 and don't feel a day over 16/60 (take your pick). I think training is a little more sesible now so no it's not. The days of bunny hops round and round the dojo are not lamented by me.
Most of my big injuries have been from other sports. I actually think Karate has helped me be in better nick now than I would have been without it.

All IMHO of course.

Regards

Ken

[This message has been edited by ken harding (edited 08-06-2004).]

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