Here's some video footage taken yesterday evening during one of our closed dojo sessions. It features a brief recap of the content we covered in class so that members could see how all the topics we explored connected together.
We began by looking at a fundamental movement pattern and then exaggerated its associated mechanics using a short stick. This is a popular tool in our dojo and is used to help draw out particular aspects of technique so that they may be more easily developed. We began by focusing solely on the limb and sequencing from the shoulder, to elbow and then to wrist. After this, we then added the hip and finally, the legs to achieve integration from the ground to the hand.
These mechanics were then taken to the focus mitts, where we could emphasise the development of percussive shock and minimise the external motion, whilst still maintaining the kimochi (feeling) of the technique. We looked at changing angles with this and incorporating the 'retraction' of the limb as either a second strike, or to facilitate an index to set up the next strike.
To understand better how these dynamics could be functionally used in self-defence, we then spent some time with a partner and explored a variety of applications including strikes, take-downs, clinch strategies and joint attacks etc. These applications were all based on the fundamental movements patterns in karate and aimed (in this particular example) to gain a reference point to the outside of the attacker, either through reactive or pre-emptive action.
Finally, we took the principle of gaining the outside line into two variations of the arm drag (a simple application of gedan-barai) and looked at how this reference position could be achieved during a basic push-hands drill, allowing us to emphasise attributes associated with sensitivity and the requirement to flow.
The objective of the session was to show how the different 'jigsaw pieces' of karate training may connect together and to cement the importance of mastering the fundamental movement pathways as expressed during kihon practice.
Quite often, the desire to quickly increase skill level drives karate practitioners to seek to collect more 'advanced looking' techniques, whereas in truth, I would suggest that the core mechanics of karate are actually very few. Thus, a more worthwhile advancement would be to more deeply explore the fundamentals from which everything else may be derived.
Hope you enjoy the video!
Chris Denwood has been studying martial arts since childhood and specialises in the practical application of karate's traditional principles for civilian self-defence, personal development, life integration and discovery.