Last week I was teaching the kata Seienchin to some of my junior students.
If you’re not familiar with the kata, you can see several versions on YouTube – one of which is below.
Anyhow, I was trying to explain the “feeling” one should have when making the 3rd movement in shiko dachi (when the hands are clenched into fists and pulled down to the sides, just before the block and capture).
I explained there should be tension in the technique and to imagine pulling the fists apart and squeezing the shoulder blades together…
But it seemed my perfectly logical explanation just wasn’t getting through. Then I asked the juniors to imagine that after their fists separate, they were tearing something apart with their bare hands….
But still I was having trouble getting them to develop the tension and correct posture.
Then, ding! I had a light bulb moment!
We use bicycle inner tubes a lot during training to develop dynamic technique for punching and kicking. So I thought, “What if my students practiced the exact movement we were working on while stretching the tube apart?”
So I gave them each an inner tube and asked them to hold in in front of their body with both hands. Then they practiced the 3rd movement pulling their arms down and apart while stretching the tube.
Pretty soon they were making the movement perfectly. Shoulders down, tension in the arms and squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Of course this idea isn’t just limited to this particular movement. You could come up with similar ideas for other kata that require tension in the movements…
What kata do you know with tension techniques? How do you think you might be able to apply this method for developing strength and tension?
Until next time…