Submitted by Sensei Rick Cupoli, West Melbourne, FL
Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, Sempai and all Deshi,
The use of the hip is central to the execution of karate technique. It is the primary source of power when executing our technique after stepping first. There are many instances in kata where we learn to “save the hip”; particularly when executing combination techniques. We are first introduced to this concept of saving the hip in Fukyugata Ni (F2). After the elbow smash we perform a low block followed by a reverse punch. This particular technique is demonstrated carefully by Hanshi in the Kata Guide.
You will notice upon the completion of the elbow smash, the hip corresponding to the extended elbow is rotated forward. If the left elbow is delivering the elbow smash, as in the first time this technique is used in F2, the left hip is rotated forward. The technique that follows is a combination technique that incorporates a left low block followed by a right reverse punch. When the left block is delivered, the hip remains stationary. Immediately upon completing the left low block, the right hip rotates forward which triggers the throwing of the right reverse punch. The torque of the hip is saved while executing the low block so that it can be engaged in the reverse punch. Often times this detail is left out of the technique resulting in a very weak punch.
When we advance to Fukyugata San (F3), we are exposed to this concept of “saving the hip” throughout the kata. As an exercise see if you can identify where the horizontal rotation, or torque, of the hip is saved in F3. If you are having difficulty, ask your sensei for help. Then, be sure to practice this element of our techniques to incorporate power into your delivery.
One extra note. One could say that such combination moves set up, or, position, the hip to be used in culmination of the combination move. As I have trained, I have also noticed that this kind of setup also occurs when stepping first. Not only does the step root you down, leveraging your technique against the ground, but it also serves to torque your hip so it can be utilized in your technique. Stepping is a technique. So in a way, every time you step first you are saving your hip for the delivery of your technique.
Let's continue to explore this as we continue to train.
Domo Arigato, Sensei Rick Cupoli San-Dan Shihan West Melbourne Dojo