Technique of the Week (January 28th, 2007)
Warm-ups and kata - wait for the count.
The following error is often observed during warm-ups and kata. The students on the deck begin moving before the next count is heard.
While observing kata this can be seen clearly in F1. Immediately after the 2nd head block the students are already launching the chest punch ( kiai technique ) before they hear the next count. This can be seen again after the 3rd punch in this sequence. Many students rush into the 225 degree turn into the down block. The instructor will often observe students dropping and covering in preparation for this turn before the count.
To practice reacting to the count:
1. turn off all tension at the completion of each technique.
2. imagine the opponent - but wait - the opponent has not moved yet.
3. concentrate on listening for the count without tension.
4. When the count is heard envision this is the precise moment that the opponent is attacking. This is the time to move.
Instructors, slow motion kata will make it easier for the student to train the mind to react to the count. Once the student can react to the count confidently in slow motion, then go to full speed. Remind the student that reacting to the count when performing the kata in full speed means exploding the technique. But they must wait for the count.
Another exercise for reacting to the count - stagger the count upon occasion to observe how well the students can remain in control.
Waiting for the count also applies to the warm-ups. Instructors, watch the students carefully when conducting the warm-ups. Be certain that the students wait for the count before moving. The warm-ups are an exercise not only for warming up the body but in addition they are an excellent training tool for reacting to the count.