Yesterday in my kids’ class one of my junior white belt girls could not help dropping her hands while making mae geri (front kick).
When I corrected Jenny’s technique, I asked her what her hands were supposed to do, then explained and demonstrated how it should be done, and she was in complete agreement with me. Jenny clearly understood for traditional technique her hikite (pull back hand / pulling hand) was to remain above her hip on her side and not to fall away as she kicked…
However every time she kicked she dropped her hands faster than a naughty kid trying to hide something behind their back…
I asked if she knew what her hands were doing when she kicked and she thought they were staying right where they were. Though Jenny THOUGHT she was doing the technique correctly, it was clearly evident that she was completely unaware of her mistake.
So right at that moment I asked myself, “How can I help HER REALIZE that she is dropping her hands?
In the past I’ve used a digital camera to record a student’s movement and then play it back to them to provide “proof” of their action, but since I didn’t have my camera I came up with a simple idea to get the point across.
I grabbed a paper cup and a dime from reception. I placed the coin in the cup and had my student hold the cup with her hikite. Now my theory was if she was to drop her hand when she kicked, the coin should fall out onto the floor, providing overwhelming and undeniable proof to her that her hand was falling during the technique. In the absence of the camera, surely this would convince her!
So as suspected Jenny kicked and the coin fell out onto the floor. The look on her face was one of disbelief. Just to be sure it *really* happened, she kicked once more and again the coin fell to the floor. Though not yet 100% convinced, this was clearly her moment of realization that she may have been dropping her hands during her technique.
After a few more repetitions Jenny finally became aware of her body mechanics and within a few minutes she was able to kick without the coin dropping to the floor, as her pull back hand stayed secure in its position.
This was a simple and creative way to illustrate a point, rather than simply “telling and yelling” until the student got the technique right. I invite you to try this exercise out in your classes to help your students also.
Until next time…
P.S. In my 125 Dynamite Drills there are literally hundreds of drills and exercises, hints, tips and ideas to help both students improve their karate skills and for you to improve your teaching skills. Click here to learn more…