Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

January 14th, 2018

This weeks technique is submitted by Sensei Bob Dobrow, Yon-Dan

Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Practice Slow

It may seem counter-intuitive, but in order to develop explosive power,
precise focus, and lightning speed, we should train slowly!

In "The Traditional Class," contained in our 50th Anniversary
Commemorative Journal, it is written that "Hanshi Scaglione has passed
down that the class should be 50% to 60% kata practice. Optimal training
includes performing at least 10 kata: five at half speed focusing on
technique, followed by three with snap focusing on speed, and two at full
speed and power. While it is impossible to include every exercise in each
class, we never compromise on the time or effort spent in training kata."

Thus, a full half of our all-important kata practice should be done slowly!

Practicing slowly is absolutely necessary to learn, develop and correct
our technique. Years ago, an instructor told me that when training imagine
you are immersed in jello! I love this imagery which has stayed with me
over the years. The intent is to emphasize slowness and fluidity.

Train your kata slowly and with intention - focus on breathing, isolate
the different muscle groups, feel the shoulders and back stretch as the
arm and elbow come back for an effective wind-up, relax the shoulders,
heels into the ground, knees relaxed and loose, energy in the hara/center,
body aligned, visualize, and SAVOR the movement and the moment!

Consider the following two videos on slow practice.

The first is by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. In the first 90 seconds of
the video Perlman discusses the importance of practicing slowly.

Perlman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3xEHigWShM

The second video shows golfer Ben Hogan (1912-1997), considered one of the
greatest players in the history of the game. Watch him practice his
super-slow golf swing. (It looks like the film is slowed down, but it is
not as you can see in the background.)

Hogan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5vTfi0gtZ8

Hogan was known to practice more than any other golfer of his
contemporaries and is said to have "invented practice." Hogan himself
said, "You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but...
I was enjoying myself. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning so I could
hit balls. When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it's
a joy that very few people experience."

Find the joy in practicing slow!

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Sensei Bob Dobrow, Yon-Dan