Random thoughts on hitting things
Frequently, after a good karate class, I'll send an email off to my instructor with my take on the evening's events. It is one of many little arrogances of mine, but he doesn't seem to mind. (This is especially good as there are many classes that I attend given by his instructors that I am expected to attend for my own progress. That's the way it is in my system.) Here's my somewhat expurgated version:
Sorry I didn't send you anything after Monday's class; I was pretty wired and actually, oddly enough, couldn't type. My fingers just did not want to work. I'm sure you went to sleep perplexed and unfulfilled.
Just for weirdness's sake: class was lightly attended. The trip up was through horrible rain, but it didn't much matter, because when we got up there, the power was out to most of the block. Class began at 9:20 thereafter.
$INSTRUCTOR gave us his usual excellent instruction--by and large our corrections were "you must work on your kicks".Some personal material deleted, and then:
We did Heian 4, and we received interesting corrections. One: to pull the fists all the way behind the kidneys when doing the final grab-and-smash-into-knee. (Yes, yes I know you do it differently; when in $HONBUDOJO do as the $HEADHONCHO.) The other is that, in the immediately following move, the right arm goes straight up in the air (not back at an angle) before the turn and knife hand block. This is not something I've noticed much before, maybe my eyes are just not seeing it. When I see you next week, could you go over it?More personal stuff deleted.
One thing we did spend time on up there was bag work -- about 25-30 minutes of practicing it. It is something we REALLY need to work on, in my arrogant opinion, since it taught me a few really important lessons. One, I'm not forming the fist as tightly as I can and I'm letting my second knuckles (i.e. my proximal interphalangeal joints) hit as well and my first knuckles (i.e. my metacarpophalangeal joints) . Two, my wrist isn't locked all the time: sometimes I lose focus and it collapses. Three, hitting something feels very different than hitting nothing (e.g. air): you feel whether or not your body alignment is correct or not, and it becomes much more apparent whether or not you're leaning, or locking the rear leg, or even whether you're throwing a punch with your whole body, rather than just your shoulder muscles. (Maybe when I'm a yondan I'll feel alignment as well hitting nothing as I do when hitting something, but for now, I need the גשמיות not the רוחניות.) Since we don't spend that much time on breaking in our dojo, it becomes even more important (to me) to hit something.
For what it's worth, I also see this a lot when I'm helping teach at $KIDSINSTRUCTOR's class: the kids' form is GREAT when there's nothing in front of them, but put a focus mitt or a pad in front of them and *poof* all the strength goes away. They realize fast that it HURTS when they don't lock their wrists, and they hit a bag, and it doesn't happen when they hit the air; they realize fast that they FALL OVER if they don't bend their supporting leg when they kick a bag, and it (usually) doesn't happen when they kick the air.Of course, we've got to get some bags for our local dojo, so I mention that to him...