Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

July 30th, 2017

This weeks technique is submitted by Sensei Larry Link, Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Use slow motion video to improve your kata

It has long been said the most important tool in the dojo for improving your kata is the mirror. After all, polishing anything to perfection requires us to identify all the flaws, so seeing those flaws is an important first step. The mirror remains an excellent tool for us to see and identify what we are doing right and wrong while performing kata.

However, technology has gifted us all with another incredible tool, an amazing type of "mirror" which most of you likely have in your pocket right now - a smart phone equipped with slow motion video. Accessing this tool is as simple as opening up your phone's camera and selecting the "slo-mo" option.

I recently experimented with this tool and was fascinated by the information it revealed. You can see the results of the experiment HERE. To make this video, I propped my phone on a small ladder out in the yard, but you could use a chair, a tripod, or better yet, your training partner so you can take turns filming kata.

Attached here are several still images grabbed from the videos. As you'll clearly see, the mirror doesn't lie. The video revealed several errors in the execution of my kata, including the following (with time stamps):

@ 0:43 - the covering hand in my down block was too high, swinging into my armpit instead of covering my ribs

@ 1:54 - my punching arm was winging out instead of traveling straight and tight against my side

@ 4:27 - my heel is clearly up on the chasing punch transition when it should be down and rotating closely against the deck

@ 5:06 - during the down block my blocking hand travelled past the knee when it should have stopped ON the knee

@ 5:47 - my shoulders are clearly rising and too involved in the technique when instead the shoulders should be relaxed and the technique executed from the hara

I hope each of you is inspired to get out and try this experiment for yourself. Perhaps we could each start a Youtube channel of our slow motion videos as recorded over time to document our progress in fixing mistakes, or maybe sharing with our Sensei to get his or her feedback. But I promise, if you invest the time and energy to use this excellent tool, you will learn and your kata will improve.



Arigato Gozaimasu Hanshi!

Sensei Larry Link, Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione