Thought For The Week

Thought for the Week (February 16th, 2004)

From Sensei Dale Adamson, San Dan

Mohawk Valley Karate Club, Little Falls, New York



Ok, I am not referring to Chubby Checkers, ( for those too young to remember,
he wrote the song the " Do the Twist", early 1960's). For Shorin ryu Karate,
the twist has a different meaning. As white belts we learn the basics.
Blocking is taught using a blunt movement, ie with children I would teach the chest
block by having the student reach to opposite side, imagine grabbing a sword
and pulling it to chest level. Head blocks were raising the forearm over your
head, etc.

As we advance in training, the twist is introduced. For reference, the sides
of the forearm are the ulnar side or the little finger, the side striking with
the open hand. The other side is known as the radial side or thumb side. Ulna
and radius are the names of the forearm bones. When you make tight fist the
forearm muscles tighten, helping to protect the bones- but remember the bones
are approx. 40 times stronger than concrete ( see the red book). We develop the
twist as we punch; head block exposing the ulnar surface, chest block either
side or downblock with the ulnar side. The twist of the forearm first deflects
the attacking punch or strike and then moves it away. Whether it is a kick,
strike or punch, the deflection is the first defensive step in the block. I
first learned this with pre -arranged fighting #1, the 3rd step in the defense
side we twist or turn the forearm when punch, but it also deflects the
attacking punch. Twisting is seen with punching- Seeger Kyoshi would demonstrate the
punch by throwing his hip with punch just following. All the power of the punch
comes from the hip, the twist. Once learned correctly, most students do not
even think about deflection or twist, it becomes the natural move. This why my
5'4" daughter can defend herself against her 6'4" brother- she just quickly
deflects the attack and counter- attacks.

Practice the "twist" with a partner.

Arigato, Dale Adamson, San dan