Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

April 7th, 2013

From Sensei Larry Link, Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo

Stimulate Your Mind and Body with Alternative Training Techniques

The 19 kata of Shorin-Ryu Karate USA offer us all a rich treasure of continued learning opportunities ("Gold" as Hanshi calls it....), pushing our minds and bodies into action and filling our spirits with Karate-do. Just by continuing to train and show up, we are assured of learning new techniques and knowledge. But how can we push forward our learning when performing many repetitions of the same kata?

Here are some simple techniques you can use to keep things fresh and interesting, while continuing to challenge the body and mind in the execution of each technique:

Performing all the moves of a kata in one direction
Keeping an open hand (or fist) all the way through the kata
Performing kata blind-folded, eyes closed, or in a dark room (focus on senses other than sight)
Kata in water, a swimmimng pool, lake or ocean at various speed and power
Reverse or mirror image kata
"Extreme" step first (highly exaggerated stepping and rooting down)
Kata with weights in each hand
Kata on uneven or alternative ground (ice, hills, or on a concrete wall for Naihanchi)
Performing all the moves of a kata against a punching bag or Makiwara
Isolation of just upper body (without stepping) or just lower body (feet stepping but hands at the side holding buckets)
Extra fast or super slow motion kata

Teachers - pick one or two techniques from the list and open your students eyes (and your's!) to a new way of performing the kata. Reinforce the idea that these techniques are for training purposes ONLY. When on the spot, we always perform kata as the masters intended - stepping first, with a two-second pause between techniques and execution at full-speed and power.

Arigato Gozaimasu Hanshi!

Sensei Larry Link