July 26th , 2015
From Sensei Lorenzo Aguon Ueshiro Hawaii Karate Club
Aloha from Hawaii,
This weeks TOTW focuses on "Utilizing our best resources"
Simply put, we train our kata and techniques over and over through many repetitions. I really enjoy diving into technicalities of every move. Every once in a while we stop and deshi have questions about fine tuning our techniques. At this point I always "Utilize my best resource".....and that is sharing all my technique inquiries with Hanshi and the Kyoshis. Best Resources give you Best Results. Below is an actual email I sent to Hanshi and Kyoshi regarding questions from deshi on various techniques. I sent some pictures to try and clarify my questions. The questions were numbered and are in BLACK and the responses from Hanshi and Kyoshi are in RED
Could you please comment on the following techniques so that we can immediately address them with our deshi so that we are doing the proper techniques.
1. Zenkutsu Dachi Down Block. In the following two pictures: Do we want our backs in line with the back foot that is locked out? Perpendicular to the floor? or somewhere in the middle?
1. Somewhere in the middle. When in doubt, err on leaning forward FROM THE HIP, not the chin, and having 70% of the weight on the forward foot, not 60%. Common mistake is that students bend at the waist to lean forward, causing a top-heavy, off-balance stance. Please also note that the blocking hand in the photos is not high enough: should be at least two fists above the knee.
2. tate hiji ate (upper elbow smash): The strike hits right up the middle. Where is the finishing point of the closed fist? In front of the face? by the ear?
2. the second photo is closer to what were looking for, but try NOT to bring the fist back to the ear. Elbow must come up through the target.
3. Gedan Uke middle move: One hand is up and the other hand protecting the ribs: Is the bottom hand closer to the body almost like hugging around the waist? Is the lower hand more extended out away from the body as if punching in a downward motion?
3. The second photo is correct, fist protecting the ribs.
4. Chambered fist in the pocket. Fist is nice and closed ready for attack. Is the fist/arm touching the side of the ribs? or is the fist floating a bit away from the side not touching?
4. The first photo is correct, fist lightly touching the side of the gi.
5. First move Pinan Yondan (Or anytime we use the open hand upper block): Does the upper technique at all times have a straight wrist? or are there exceptions where this upper technique has a bent wrist?
5. The elbow is too far back (towards the ear) in both photographs, which is why the hand is out of position. Bring the elbow forward, line up the forearm (not wrist) with the mid-line of the body, identical to the high block in the first move of Fukyugata Ni. There can be a slight bend in the wrist for this technique, but very subtle.
6.Neko Ashi Dachi: Front toe: On the tips? or slightly on the balls of the foot?
6. Either is acceptable, including intermediate variations, provided the front foot remains in contact with the deck. I prefer the stance in the second photo because its slightly more rooted down.
7. Head block; Is the elbow of the upper block extended as high up as it can go for your body type? without making your shoulder lift? Is there a preferred distance between the forearm and the head?
7. No, the forearm should be on a slight downward angle, not parallel to the deck. Forearm is one fist distance from the head. (See the Red Book)
8. Jigotai Dachi: knees over the heels. 50/50 weight distribution. Where is the focus of weight on the feet? on the heels? on the side ridges of the feet?
9. Knees are back over the heels, not the toes, but the weight gets evenly distributed from heel to toe. Do NOT distribute excess weight on the side ridges. All parts of the feet gripping the deck. Study the chapter on Foundation in the Green Book.
Domo arigato for helping us move forward with our training. We strive to be 100% with the organization training and Hanshi's leadership.
Sensei Lorenzo Aguon
Ueshiro Hawaii Karate Club