Kinaesthesis and Proprioception 1 – describing the feeling

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proprioceptors Kinaesthesis and Proprioception 1 – describing the feeling


The present and two related posts are an expansion on one from last week. This post will briefly explain why kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception is important, but first a definition of these two key processes involved with human movement. The perception derived from various sensors (receptors) within the body allows

  1. Proprioception – an awareness of the position, location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts.

  1. Kinaesthesis – an awareness of the muscular movements of the limbs and body.

Largely unconscious kinaesthetic and proprioceptive awareness allows us to manage everyday tasks comfortably, without which we would be unable to control our movements. This awareness is at least partly responsible for enabling a driver to search for something on the passenger seat while still attending to the road, a magician can manipulate playing cards during a trick without looking at them, a person is able to adjust the level of force applied when lifting an object which is lighter (or heavier) than anticipated, or a fan can wriggle his way through a busy crowd to get to the front at a gig. Obviously, if this persecption needed to be consciously controlled there’d be little conscious capacity available for making any manner of important decisions. For instance when cooking dinner, we’d be too busy controlling the movements in the kitchen to be able to follow the recipe.

In a lot of Martial Arts there are training methodologies devoted to developing heightened kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception. Variously known as push hands, sticky hands, knocking hands, kakie etc. the aim of these activities is to develop sensitivity to another person’s movement, which can then be exploited. Heightened kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception of oneself when joined to an opponent allows us to sense the others movements. Clearly this sensitivity can be very useful in a clinch or when grappling, whereas a developed sense of kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception when not joined to another person can assist us when learning new skills or developing established ones.

Sean on Gisoku Budo managed to develop his walking ability through karate training. As an above knee amputee, to be able to manage many of the complicated kicking actions, for example, Sean has had to develop greater balance in his fake leg. In another post Sean says that continual minute adjustment in the striving for perfect form was a key ingredient in this process. By concentrating on minor adjustments Sean has achieved a heightened kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception enabling karate participation and learning in addition to improved walking.

Some people are kinaesthetic learners (are you Sean?), they favour learning by doing and so may already possess heightened kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception. Nevertheless, those that favour different learning styles could benefit from developing their kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception, as could natural kinaesthetic learners by developing their ability further. Potentially, Martial Arts training could facilitate this process, as it has done in Sean’s case, but the question is, whether this is a natural outcome of the training, or does the training have to be directed specifically to enable kinaesthetic and proprioceptive perception development? Then when developed how useful is this heightened sense in terms of the fight?

Originally posted 2009-04-03 09:00:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

(In)complete Control 2 – Kinaesthetics

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Despite my dislike for training to emphasise control and form there may be benefits derived from this type of training. Sean over on Gisoku Budo blog has been able to use the ‘Form Police’ approach to his advantage, in more ways than simply achieving good form and controlled technique. Sean’s blog records “training experiences and thoughts on martial arts from the perspective of an above-knee amputee”. Sean has a very inspiring post entitled Learning to walk again through karate and after reading the ‘Form Police’ post on here Sean responded.

It’s great that Sean has got so much from

Standing in funny stances with plenty of minute correction is …. (important)…. to understanding the inherent functions of my body, especially with regards to my physical disability

Put simply, emphasis on form in karate has benefited him immensely. By becoming aware of how his body is working (improving his kinaesthetic sense) he has been able to participate and succeed in karate and improve his general lifestyle. This is a wonderful outcome and his dedication is an example to all and gives credence to the insistence of emphasis on form.

I do wonder, however, whether the other students in his club have been so successful in understanding their inherent body functions as a result of minute corrections. Sean having to overcome the “free-swinging hinge in the middle of (his prosthesis)” to attain sufficient balance to kick from his artificial leg would surely enforce a high degree of kinaesthetic awareness to be successful. This confound the assumption that minute correction itself was responisbile for heightened boady awareness. Even if we accept that the insistance on correct form and minute correction leads to an advanced body awareness or kinaesthetic sense, which is hugely useful in martial arts training, the question is whether or not this emphasis on form provides the optimal method of attaining this?

Kata is an expression of perfect form in karate, or at least it’s an attempt. Kata performance, of course, varies in it’s execution, although there is generally a striving for it to be performed ‘just so’. The kata arena is a good example of when ‘minute correction’ in karate is rife. I can watch a lot of kata on you tube or in dojo’s, but I don’t often see very much in the way of heightened kinaesthetic sense. Quite the opposite, usually there’s very little evident, and as such the performance is rather ‘empty’. So while kata training provides plenty of emphasis on form perhaps it is not the optimal method of attaining body awareness,  it all depends on how the kata is trained I guess. When emphasising form and control throughout technique execution during kata or elasewhere, there is not necessarily any body awareness training going on. However, if the emphasis switches to focusing on feeling how we move to perform these techniques there may well be kinaesthetic training occurring.

Some people are biased to learning through body awareness, this is natural to them, others may acquire this awareness by concentrating on form and control when learning to punch, kick or whatever. If the goal involves  in transferring significant force into a target concentrating on form/control does not achieve this in an optimal manner. It’s all very well being aware of whats happening kinaesthetically, but if whats happening is of little value there’s little point in attending to it.

The question is how transferable is any body awareness knowledge gleaned from training emphasising form/control to self-protection training? But thats another post…..

Originally posted 2009-03-29 08:19:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Tabata Method and Intensity

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An essential component of the Tabata method is high intensity. The effort segments of the protocol simply have to be flat out. Intially, someone trying the Tabata method may not truly understand what flat out actually is. That may sound a bit daft but cruising through the numerous examples of Tabata workout’s available on youtube, people often don’t really ‘get’ high intensity as it is intended in this workout. Furthermore, it seems that those involved at the high end of the UFC don’t get it either!

Now, I know that it gets to be hard work and you’re gasping for breath but with the Tabata method intervals have to be flat out, they have to be intense. So it is clearly better to do one single Tabata cycle at full intensity rather than try two or three cycles where you end up saving yourself at some point during the middle of the workout. Personally, if I am trying for three complete Tabata cycles I will have a one minute rest between them. I’m a long way off perfect Tabata-wise but I do push it when I am doing them. I like to vary the exercises within the Tabata workout so that I am able to really push out the reps without local muscle fatigue being a problem.

This is not always the case as I’ll use the exercise bike for up to 3 cycles, with one minute breaks, will sledgehammer the tyre for a full cycle or even up to two when I’m rocking. One thing I have noticed is that some of the strength rather than cardio based exercises are difficult to get the full anaerobic intensity wihtin the 20 seconds. It’s a good idea to choose the exercises carefully.

tabata method 300x218 Tabata Method and Intensity

So that’s two important factors to ensure you get the most from Tabata’s; ensure you choose sufficiently anaerobically taxing exercises and you work flat out throughout.


A great example of the intensity required for Tabata’s is Cris Cyborg who fights like how a Tabata should be performed! That’s all backwards of course because she actually fights like she trains; and that is flat out! Perfect Tabata Method! The preceding video illustrates this intensity, it’s a bit of a daft ‘investigative’ journalism effort but whatever ciruit she’s doing, it’s not actually a Tabata, she does it flat out. This is exactly how you should perform a Tabata in order to get the full benefit.

Aim High for High Intensity Tabata Method Workouts

Now if you think that is a little bit too much to aim for, think again. It is possible to train like a Cyborg but you have to go for it, clear your mind and go for it! One way to ‘get’ this is to ‘watch and create an impression’ of Cyborg training and to use the impression you create to reinact the intensity in the Tabata. It’s a little abstract, perhaps, but it is an effective tool, think of it as an advanced form of imagery training.

Another consideration is that the Tabata method requires careful timing during the workout. If you’re consciously clock-watching  it will detract from the intensity of your movements, whatever they maybe. It’s simply a distraction you do not want. In fact any distraction is unwelcome. The timing is easily taken care of with the fantastic
Gymboss Interval Timer
which can handle that side of things easily. It has a vibration feature which helps in a loud environment. It’s a great piece of kit.

The impression work should help you get a handle on the intensity required for the Tabata method, which was after all designed to stress the anaerobic system and did so at a massive 170% of VO2 max! That’s flat out in anyones book. While the Gymboss Interval Timer will take care of the timing. A great way to get the most out of your training!

Originally posted 2010-12-28 07:36:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Primal in Birmingham

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primal black Primal in Birmingham

Steve Morris delivered the first Primal session for a few months in a new venue in Kings Heath, Birmingham. The session is the first of regular sessions to be held at Bishop Challenor School Sports Centre. This is the same venue as when we had the first session with Morris.

The Primal sessions are open to everyone wanting to improve their ‘game’, standing or on the ground, regardless of style or Matial Arts background. For the traditionalist Morris will give you the information to not only make sense of the ambiguous in your style but also how to use it in real terms, i.e. fighting. For the MMA or kickboxing fighter Morris will give you scientifically valid and tested information and principles to take all areas of your game forward.

This first session included new drills to improve peripheral awareness, prepping the CNS for power shots and learning ground skills. Training is hard and realistic but safety is emphasised.

Morris is in the process of developing an instructors program based on his method, leading to accreditation, which will allow people learn the fundamentals, access to information and use it and adapt it to produce constructive martial arts lessons.

Primal will be held from 1-4pm on the first and third Sunday of every month, i.e. the 3rd and 17th of May. The fee is £25 each or £40 for two training together, cash on the day.  Bring your equipment if you have it.

Bishop Challenor School Sports Centre
Institute Road
Kings Heath
B14 7EG

Google map link

Any questions can be directed to Steve via email

Originally posted 2009-04-26 08:35:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Physiological Arousal and Mushin

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mushin1 Physiological Arousal and Mushin


Often in UFC fights the commentators mention the class of fighters post fight. When the match is over they tend show each other respect. For a sport that is so brutal at times, this is always good to see, in terms of sportsmanship. This post-fight show of respect also highlights another concept, namely control of physiological arousal, as often a fighter can switch from a highly aroused state to a much calmer state, just like that. From a Sport Psychology perspective physiological arousal can, hypothetically, be thought of as on a continuum ranging from comatose to raging, or something along those lines anyway. Meditation or chess would be firmly placed toward the comatose end, while sprinting would be toward the raging end. It’s interesting to speculate what the optimal arousal for fighting or MMA would be.

In Japanese arts they talk about mushin, that state of no mindedness in combat when the mind is unconcerned with thoughts or emotions and so open to everything. In Wikipedia mushin is described thus

“There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation. At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intentions, plans or direction.”

Clearly, this would be desirable to a fighter, mind absent of thoughts of failure, fear etc and free to tactically respond to the opponent while being sufficiently aroused to strike effectively. Often in Japanese arts they also strive for mushin during kata performance, again from Wiki

“Many martial artists, particularly those practising Japanese martial arts such as aikido or aikijutsu, train to achieve this state of mind during Kata so that a flawless execution of moves is accomplished — that they may be achieved during combat or at any other time”

All very good in theory, but there is potential for trouble when the mushin is achieved in kata but not applied to fighting. The mindset required for kata performance is fundamentally different to that required in a fight or MMA match. During kata performance an open mind while the striving for perfection allows the practitioner to concentrate on the execution of technique, or, preferably, the underlying principles (see Kinaesthesis and Proprioception 2). During a fight or MMA match a person’s physiological arousal has to be further toward the raging end than if he were practising kata. That’s pretty obvious, but the point is that the state of mushin derived from kata practice is not synonymous with a state of mind required for fighting. It may very well be better than a fearful, anxiety ridden state but it is not optimal. Although, while a highly aroused state is desirable, it is possible to be overly aroused. The following clip shows examples of highly aroused MMA fighters, many of whom show none of the class I refer to at the start of this post but definitely plenty of arousal.


A couple of things spring to mind, firstly a kata mushin would be of limited value if faced with any of the fighters in the clip, most of whom seem to be close to the raging extreme of the arousal continuum. Secondly, these fighters seem over-aroused, they are so close to raging that they are unable to stop once the fight is clearly over. This may very well seem like an appropriate mindset for fighting or MMA, although successful in the examples in the clip, there is a danger of a fighter gassing if the opponent survives the storm. Alternatively, the raging fighter might end up losing quickly as in the following clip.


To me it’s obvious that Thompson was overly aroused, while Fedor’s brother Alex had a more appropriate mindset. The Emelianenko brothers and Cro Cop amongst others have a calm exterior which belies vicious explosive action when required. These highlights of Fedor and Cro Cop clearly illustrate this. Sure they are highly aroused, you can’t strike like those fighters without being so, but, importantly, they are not overly aroused. This state of highly aroused yet calm seems to me to be very close to that described in the first Wiki quote, which while being toward the raging end of the continuum its not too close.

To reiterate, the ideal state would be highly aroused but not too close to raging, free from thought and emotion allowing intuitive action; feeling not thinking. Mushin, if you like, but fight mushin NOT kata mushin! I’m not suggesting that a mushin man would always beat a raging bull in a China shop (to quote the commentator in the last clip), that would be absurd. Rather, I’m suggesting that raging is not optimal, a calmer yet highly aroused state, possibly synonymous with mushin, would be more appropriate both during the fight, so strikes can be delivered with optimal power, but also afterwards, so an opponent can be shown respect, unlike some of the fighters in the first clip.

Originally posted 2009-04-10 08:39:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot

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There’s only so many ways to skin a cat is a phrase that springs to mind when discussing power punching in martial arts. As such the same stuff crops up time after time. The relationship between the floor and the punch, involving ground reaction force, is often misunderstood but can only play a part if the parts between the foot and the fist are connected.

Power Punching Tips – Ground reaction force

Ground reaction force is derived from pressing into the floor, which being solid fails to give so sends the force back in the opposite direction. This, of course, is in accordance with Newtons third law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If the surface pressed against is not solid at least some of the opposite force returned will be reduced due to the compressing action. This is why running on soft sand is harder work than running on solid ground.

hatton 300x196 Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot

Hattons punching power

In punching when standing, the feet are usually in contact with the ground and so are able to take advantage of ground reaction force. Of course, the body has to be aligned to the target and connected efficiently for the force to be delivered to the target.

If there is a weak spot in the body it is not connected correctly and power is lost at this point. If you imagine the ball of the foot in contact with the ground but there is some give in the foot when you press into the floor to begin the drive from the foot some power is lost, similar to pressing against a surface that is not solid. This should not be confused with a plyometric action at the foot, which helps produce power but has zero floppiness. This very useful action is described in Priming the Muay Thai Stance.

Ali v Frazier 300x225 Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot

Fraziers power punch evaded by Ali

Floppiness is the enemy of connecting the body parts when punching and will result in the loss of power. Loose is one thing floppiness quite another. Loose is good because stiffness prevents you from moving correctly.

Another part of the body which is often guilty of disconnecting is at the hip, or more accurately where the top and bottom parts of the body join, or connect. If you stick your bum out as you punch power is lost in the direction of your bum. I have witnessed all manner of strange goings on at the hip region, which presumably are intended to help with power but often do the opposite, often because it is floppy.

All the parts involved with a punch should be connected in some way. Some travel the opposite direction to the punch but contribute, the pulling arm opposite to the punching arm for instance, but everything needs to contribute to achieve full punching power potential.

Power Punching Tips – Gaining a good connection
A good way to find out if you are connected or not is to stand next to a wall in your fighting posture with your punching fist pushing into it. As you push the punch out hard maintain your usual position, if you have a disconnect anywhere you will feel the wall pushing back at this point (the equivalent of ground reaction force as there is no give in a wall!). You should feel a very strong connection between the point of contact with the wall and the driving foot, this increases the harder you push.

By learning to keep a similar connection when punching, or kicking for that matter you will improve your power in your punch or kick and be able to deliver that force to the target more effectively.

Originally posted 2011-02-22 03:09:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

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kata kick Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Static karate stance

The importance allotted to historical tradition by karate, and similar arts, results in something similar to the historical weapons used in battle re-enactments such as those of the sealed knot, i.e. sub-optimal in modern times. This post shows how karate’s emphasis on form over function results in a ‘flat’ inactive ‘fighting’ stance which is in stark contrast to the activated, primed posture of the Muay Thai stance.

The irony is that while traditional karate generally favours historically accurate technique, form, it fails to do so accurately. Karate progressed from the secret training in the back gardens of Okinawan masters to the universities of Japan where training methods were altered. In a nation preparing for war there was an emphasis for militaristic precision in technique.

mt stance Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Dynamic Muay Thai stance

Over time performance of the kata, which supposedly contain the essence of the karate fighting systems, was (and is) emphasised over the useful elements of the movements. The outcome is an emphasis of form over function and a perfection of that form. This is clearly a drifting of purpose from the martial to the art, with effectiveness being compromised for the sake of form.

In contrast the progression of Muay Thai technique reflects the requirements of the contest; damage your opponent or get damaged! These requirements ensure that essential elements, or function, are retained, at least potentially, rather than superseded by the need for perfect form.

Activated Muay Thai Stance

An example of this contrast, form v. function, can be seen in karate stances and Muay Thai fighting postures. While karate stances undoubtedly provide a solid base from which to fire off strikes they tend to hamper rather than support movement, while Muay Thai fighting stances deliver on both counts.

In addition, any decent Muay Thai fighter is activated in his fighting stance whereas the karate fighter in his traditional stance is not. This difference can be thought of as the difference between being ‘on your toes’ and ‘on your heels’. One is actively engaging the muscles while the other is rather flat footed.

cycling good poor Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Pedalling foot position

The traditional karate stances such as zenkutsu dachi and neko ashi dachi are like cycling with the saddle too low and the centre of your feet pressing into the pedals. To optimally transfer the force generated from the whole of the lower limb the saddle should be high enough to allow the leg and foot to extend with the ball of the foot pressing into the pedal. Try this on a bike and you will notice the difference immediately.

Humans tend to stand ‘lazily’ with body weight supported by bones rather than anti-gravity muscles. By standing back on the heels with the legs straight the thighs are soft and inactive, analogous to waiting at the bus stop. However, if the bus is in and you need to get on, you shift your body weight, bend the legs and activate the leg muscles to move.

Karate v MT stance Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Karate Stance v Muay Thai stance

Karate stances such as zenkutsu dachi and neko ashi dachi are not active in nature, like you’re waiting for the bus, while Muay Thai fighting stances are active and similar to getting on the bus. The anti gravity muscles in the legs are firm, ‘sprung’ and ready to produce force, as a runners would be at the start of a race, ready for the gun.

The structure of the Muay Thai stance is set up with the muscles activated, or spring loaded and primed for action,  while traditional Karate stances are somewhat flat-footed and static in comparison. This observation is clearly illustrated in the picture from the UFC fight between Machida and Shogun

Originally posted 2010-10-02 00:18:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch

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Following the recent one inch punch post I found a short documentary on the wing chung approach, which, of course, was Bruce Lee’s approach at least initially. I know very little about Wing Chung so I found it an interesting seven minutes or so.


Interestingly, the one bloke in the video said that on it’s own it offers little value, other than a great party trick of course. The value comes in applying the one inch punch movement. He said when you learn it you discover “invaluable lessons”.

If you manage to learn how to one inch punch successfully, that’s all well and good. The value comes in applying the same power movement in other ways. If you can do so in one context you must be able to do so in another.

Furthermore, it surely opens the door to further discoveries regarding the generation and application of short range power, without having to rely on “centering the chi” or whatever. One bloke in the video intimates using the one inch punch from a combat perspective, firing it from a blocking move without pulling the arm back first. Another mentions the importance of getting the mass into the target. Some sensible stuff here.

 Bruce Lees One Inch Punch

Lee's one inch punch

Right at the end of the video the last bloke to speak says that the one inch punch “keeps opening doors”. That’s the take home point, referred to above, learn it and apply it!

When we look at getting power over a short range we try to take what we know to work and condense it. So to get the mass into a short range strike you can use the same, or almost the same, body movement that powers a longer range punch to power a shorter movement. Add the explosive finish and you’ve got something to work with.

That would be one approach that may prove successful or may not depending on the context. Of course, if you manage to develop a new short range power generation movement, it only has value if it can be applied in a fight. If not it’s just a party trick.

Originally posted 2010-05-07 13:39:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

UFC Fight Night 24: 10th Planet Ju Jitsu with the Korean Zombie

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For a while I had a bit of an obsession with the Twister and I do mean the one made famous by Eddie Bravo of 10th Planet Ju jitsu rather than the party game! When we were set the submission challenge at Primal there was a lot of twister stuff going on. I always had trouble with it but it did inspire me to work my way up to the 100 required. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of but forces the other person to tap out if caught in it. The spine is locked and twisted with the head section of the spine (cervical spine) turning in the opposite direction to the hip section (lumbar spine). It’s a pretty tough place to be.

I’m not sure I have ever fully understood this move and haven’t thought about it for some time, until someone was discussing the UFC Fight Night 24 (thanks Rams). The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, managed to finish his contest with Leonard Garcia by Twister. It’s a great fight the highlights of which can be seen online but only on forums, it seems. It’s even mentioned on the Eddie Bravo wiki page! If you go to the second ‘box’ on the mmafv forum page you can watch the full fight. The twister finish itself is up on Youtube and is below.


You have to say he sets it up very neatly moving from a failed attempt at RNC from back control. The other bloke’s ground game is a lot less sophisticated, enabling the Korean Zombie the opportunity to pull it off. Joe Rogan certainly seemed to enjoy it!

Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu

Bravo bases his entire 10th Planet ‘top game’ around this spectacular move. I’ve watched a peculiar video where Bravo narrates you through many BJJ fights where he continually attempts and generally gets the Twister. The clips are great but the entire video has an odd feel about it as Bravo is pretending to have a luxurious ‘crib’ and presents the clips from there….. I think you need to see it to appreciate the oddness. In a similar vein of oddness Bravo presents a breakdown of the Twister as done by the Korean Zombie and shows how to get past various defensive efforts. It’s pretty good.


And more coverage of him twisting in competition, a real time illustration of some of the previous breakdown


To keep up to date with all things Eddie you could subscribe to his Youtube channel or get his book Mastering the Twister: Jiu-Jitsu for Mixed Martial Arts Competition UFC Fight Night 24: 10th Planet Ju Jitsu with the Korean Zombie. It’s great, although I found it a bit difficult to follow initially. However, in conjunction with these videos it’s getting a lot easier, to follow at least. I’m looking forward to seeing more from the Zombie and more of the Twister in MMA!

Originally posted 2011-03-31 02:01:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Goju Ryu Karate Stances or Dachi

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After years of training in Goju Ryu Karate I needed more than what I was getting, I went out and got it. One of the things that really used to niggle was the insistence on inch perfect stances or dachi in Japanese. All the moving basics that served as stance practice was also irritating and detracting from the good stuff. This involved shuffling around as forcefully as possible from one stance to the next. The upshot was a completely unnatural, sub-optimal mode of moving between strictly defined standing positions or stances.

Now don’t get me wrong, at the time I enjoyed a good session of bashing out rep after rep of kicks and punching combinations up and down the dojo, it was always a good workout. But you do wonder about the value of such training. Sure your technique is good, or form rather, which is not the same thing. The trouble is while you can hit hard it’s all very effortful, whereas others are able to hit harder without so much effort, this becomes bothersome.

3 Karate Dachi Goju Ryu Karate Stances or Dachi

Anyone with any experience of karate or watching it will be aware of the nonsensical movements of practices such as 3 step sparring and it’s spin offs. I’m not a fan and really time could be much more constructively spent.

I came across a site the other day which exemplifies Karate’s over-insistance on strict form over function. This site has clear illustrations of ‘perfecft’ Goju Ryu Dachi, there are so many and they are so precise it’s all a bit of a shame. Confusing for a beginner and irritating for the more experienced, the real shame is that the act of moving between positions is, of course, necesarry and can be used in the development of power.

For instance, moving from a long stance to a short stance, say zenkutsu to sanchin, creates force through momentum. Furthermore, moving from the short cat stance, neko ashi dachi, which opens the hip slightly into a long stance such as zenkutsu dachi allows a greater potential for opening and closing at the hip and therfore potential to produce more power.

While there is potential within these movements for power to be produced, the trouble is so much credence is given to the actual structure, or form of the stances and feet placement that so much of the ‘internal’ aspect is lost. All the focus is on the feet when really it would be better used elsewhere in the body where the real power can be actioned from the opening and closing.

Karate training such as moving basics has potential to teach people to produce power, and some people naturally can do so, but it is in spite of the training rather than because of it. Stringently emphasising foot placement over other practises is getting it all inside out.

three stanes Goju Ryu Karate Stances or Dachi

It would be much better to have someone practise opening and closing the waist at the hip and doing so while moving forward by taking a long-to-short shuffle step. By concentrating on these movements rather than correct stance, constructed of foot position and rigidly defined posture, the learner’s feet and posture will gradually take care of itself. Sure they will need pointers but what they don’t need is an idealised form forced onto them. Then of course you would need to practice this movement in sparring or partner work.

Put simply, people are built differently, those with short legs will struggle to have a long enough zenkutsu dachi or low enough neko ashi dachi for some Goju Ryu Karate teachers, no matter how hard they try.

Originally posted 2011-06-12 17:20:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter