Kyoshi's Technique of the Week
September 18th 2000 

The Lower Body Powers The Technique

Shorin-ryu is a natural style. It is efficient. It uses the large lower body 
muscles to supply the power regardless of whether the technique is a lower or upper body technique.

To illustrate how this works, let's look at the sports that utilize a power 
technique of the upper body. It is how a baseball batter hits the ball for 
power. It is how a golfer drives the ball off the tee. It is how a basketball player shoots a three point shot. It is how virtually all athletes use their lower body to power an upper body technique.

To further illustrate the action, let's contrast it to an opposite example 
where the lower body purposely remains static during an upper body action. This is how a body builder lifts weights. (And, pointedly, how a power lifter does not lift weights.) 

When a body builder does an exercise, he isolates the 
muscle being targeted. He locks his knees to do a standing bicep curl so that the bicep and only the bicep works. How much easier would it be if he flexed his knees before the lift and then straightened them to throw the weight upward for the curl? The weight would move much faster and he could do a lot more "curls" doing it that way than if he isolated the biceps by locking his knees, because the large quadriceps would be doing the exercise rather than the small biceps. But that wouldn't build his bicep muscle which is what the body builder is trying to accomplish. He wants to do the exercise as inefficiently as possible in order to build the individual muscles.

But that's not what we're trying to accomplish in a block or punch. We're trying to visit the maximum power possible to the target of that specific arm technique. To punch as powerfully as we can or to block as powerfully as we can. 

Further, since Newton's Second Law of Motion states that net force is equal to mass times acceleration, we want to get as much body mass behind the technique as we can while remaining balanced. That requires moving our entire body in the technique rather than just pushing out the punch, for instance, with the triceps.

When first learning to use the lower body efficiently you probably will want to make the motion of the hip fairly large so that the upper body has a sufficient interval of time to be affected by the motion of the lower body. Exaggerate it a little if you wish to feel the upper body be "thrown" by the legs and midsection. 

Once you've learned to power the upper body by the motion of the lower body, you should begin to cut back on the degree of lower body motion. Make it more graceful, more fluid. Think of a Mark McGwire homerun or a Tiger Woods tee shot or a Michael Jordan jumper. 

Without a slow motion playback of their shot you'd probably never notice that their legs and hips moved before their hands. You'd only notice the result.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
David Baker,
Midtown Karate Dojo

ROBERT SCAGLIONE, Kyoshi, began his karate training 30 years ago in 1967. This is his 25th anniversary as a Blackbelt under Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro-Hanshi of the Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A. system. Kyoshi Scaglione is the Chief Administrator of the original style in the United States. He has traveled with Hanshi throughout the U.S.A. and as his representative worldwide.  Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1938, Kyoshi served in the U.S. Navy and in 1961 became a NYC Police Officer. He voluntarily worked exclusively in high crime/ high hazard areas during his entire 20 year tenure with the NYPD. He served in many assignments in all five boroughs of New York City including uniformed street cop, undercover officer and as a Detective in the elite Special Investigating Unit featured in the film "The French Connection." He led the NYPD in felony arrests many times and has numerous awards, citations and letters of commendation from Police Department officials, Federal Agencies, District Attorneys, Grand jurors and the civilian community. He retired from police service in 1981 in order to devote himself full time to the art of karate.

Kyoshi began his karate training in the NYPD. He continued his training under Sensei Terry Maccarrone-Shihan of the Hegashi Karate Dojo on Long Island, New York. He was Senior Instructor at the St. James Dojo for five years. Hanshi Ueshiro, wanting a dojo in Manhattan, asked Kyoshi to open a dojo in New York City. He founded the NYC dojo in 1977, which became the headquarters of Shorin-Ryu Karate USA several years later. After ten years, in 1987, Kyoshi relocated to Merritt Island, Florida and founded the Okinawan Karate Dojo leaving his senior student David Baker, San Dan to continue operation of the NYC dojo.

Over 125 students began their training directly under Kyoshi Scaglione and have attained blackbelt level. He continues to work closely with all his blackbelts, including the ten who have opened dojo on the mainland US, Hawaii, and in Israel. Among his students are many professionals, doctors, lawyers, military officers, police officers, business executives, artists, writers, housewives, students and children.

Kyoshi is the co-author with artist Bill Cummins, Ni Dan of "The Shorin-Ryu Karate Question and Answer Book" and has written another entitled "Building Warrior Spirit." His student David Seeger, Yon Dan, an Emmy Award winner, has produced several karate videos with Kyoshi. Kyoshi is the Editor-at-large of this 30th Anniversary journal. He has written and assisted his students in writing newspaper and magazine articles, film scripts on varied subjects, novels, and stage plays. He has appeared on national T.V. and radio, in stage productions, and at Universities and schools giving karate demonstrations and lectures on self-defense and assault prevention.  Kyoshi's four sons, Sal, Robert Jr., Dion, and Shane are all Ni Dan blackbelts.