In this weeks Monday Black Belt class, we started the class out with our typical reverse punch routine. Every class we start out with reverse punch, and I have to agree with that old Bruce Lee quote in regards to our typical punching routine:
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Every black belt class there is something new to refine out skills with, though. I was sick for the previous week and now this week I come back and I seen that our dojo had picked up a new piece of training equipment – these Century numbered shields pictured above. As skimpy as they look, they proved to be an extremely versatile piece of training equipment!
Everyone in class partnerered up and one person would hold the pad. The person hitting had to turn around so they wouldn’t see the order of numbers on the pad, this made for a nice mental challenge behind the drill that we had to quickly analyze our targets. Shihan started the drill out basic. He had us just try punching the targets first. Surprisingly it’s harder than it looks and it’s a little awkward because sometimes the numbers get stuck in the pads.
Punching wise, this wasn’t too effective of a piece of training equipment in my opinion. However, for kicks and spear hands this I ended up love training with this thing. After punching we tried doing snap kicks. Number one, this equipment can help you develop precise kicking. To kick such a small target with the ball of your foot, it is the level of accuracy we should all strive for. After all if you don’t have control over you techniques, what good are they?
Second, to make the targets effectively get knocked out of the pads, you had to focus your snap kick PAST the targets. So instead of just hitting the targets, you had to think go through them. This is an important concept in the principals behind karate. Whether it comes to hitting a bag or a person, the true power and focus comes when you think of going through that person. I find many of my sparring techniques are cut short because I often think of holding back and not following through with techinques.
Overall this was an effect and differnet way to train. It’s not the greatest piece of training equipment in the world but I give it props for developing quick mental focus and learning to follow through with strikes. Later on, we alternated with different moves per target and even did a spear hand strike for one. This was a nice way to practice spear hand techniques on something without breaking your fingers. Unless you already have the monk-like abilities to strike your fingers through a watermelon and cut it in half!
We finished class with kata. We did Jion, Bassai Dai, Heian Nidan, and (to my surpise) Bassai Sho at the end of class in that order. Bassai Sho is definitely one of my weaker kata, as the ending moves are difficult and for moves near the end with the low kicks and double striking hands, I find it difficult to get the right power on the moves. believe the hips and power should come once the kicking foot hits the ground. Perhaps this will be our next kata to clean up in black belt class (I hope).