September 17th 2012
From Sensei Mary McKitrick, San-dan
Northampton Ueshiro Pine Forest Karate
Positioning The Hands
During the workouts at our 50th anniversary celebration, Hanshi focussed often on the hands. He admonished us to keep our hands in the shuto position, or in tight fists, as appropriate to the move or stance. This came up again and again and at the time, I simply did it as directed. Reflection came later, when I realized that this technique is absolutely fundamental to our karate.
Students learning nekoashi dachi have many details to absorb; this is a stance that is markedly different from what they have been doing in the earlier kata. They are lucky if they can even remember where to position the hands. As a result, the hands themselves often become floppy and this is carried forward and becomes a bad habit. The hands may even develop a cupped position, from which they will never achieve the knife-like strike they are meant to do. Remembering to hold the shuto position will result in saltational improvement to the student?s nekoashi dachi stance. As Hanshi suggested, incorporate the shuto hand and the tight fist into your introductory stretches, as well as kata and other exercises. These changes alone will markedly strengthen your foundation.
Domo arigato gozaimasu
Mary McKitrick, San-dan