September 3rd 2012
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and Deshi,
Rip Through It: A useful image for practicing striking techniques
When striking an object, if we are trying to achieve the maximum disruption to the structural integrity of that object, then we need to attain speed as well as power. However, some of the ways we tend to talk about the moment of impact emphasize power over speed. For example, we commonly talk about smashing objects. One way to highlight the role of speed is to visualize ripping through objects. For example, when practicing strikes such as the open hand strike in Fukyugata Ni and the opened hand reinforced chest block from Wankan, it helps to focus on getting enough speed to rip through the (real or imagined) object. This also applies to kicks. If deliver a kicking strike to a door with intense, accelerating speed, the kick will likely result in ripping through the door; without speed, the result might just be the forcible pushing open of the door. To borrow from the sport of baseball to give another application of this concept, I remember my struggle to hit the ball out of the infield. What helped me get past this limitation was being told to hit the ball as though I was trying to rip open its seams. Of course I was little back then (maybe 2 or 3 years old!!), but this powerful idea has stayed with me and helped with my karate training as well.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi Matt Kaplan
Shihan, Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA