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Lessons and Tips

INTRODUCTORY AND FUNDAMENTAL CLASS OF KARATE

 

This chapter discusses the relatively small collection of physical principles responsible for the numerous body techniques utilized in the karate.
Among which are “Forces and Stance”.

 FORCES AND STANCE

Karate techniques are designed to produce and deliver large impact forces to a potential target or targets. To attain such forces, the attacking body must posses a great momentum. the usual way to gain such momentum is to apply a force to a large mass and rapidly accelerate it to an extremely high” velocity”. In general” momentum” is defined as this mass multiplied by its velocity (F=MV2).The force required is approximately equal to the final momentum available, inversely weighted by the overall time interval. By applying this force to a relatively small target area, tremendous pressure is cr‎eated ; capable of producing ”shock” or even “breakage”.
At fist glance it seems that the human body is not well designed to accomplish this feat. But this is not true. In this state the body is too stiff to produce any “speed”. On the other hand, great speed may be attained by the arm or leg when propelled from the supported “torso and stance”, much as a stone is shot from a sling. Although ,this fast moving limb does not have a large mass on impact.
To have both mass and speed ,the arm or leg which has been just shot from the torso and stance can be contracted or tensed just before impact, then reconnected to the torso, and thus to the large mass of the lower body which in turn is connected to the ground by the stance legs. However ,while this technique attaches a large mass to the limb, it eventually slows the limb down. there is a compromise possible such that a large momentum is available upon impact with the target. Depending on the target and strategy, various proportion of mass and velocity may be se‎lected to contribute to produce large momentum.

 
THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF “FOCUS” (your first tip)
 

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The source of the power needed to generate techniques in karate can be trace to the proper use of the legs in a stance. ”Stance” is the term used to describe the legs when they are in tension and connected to each other by the continuation of this tension through the center of the body The two basic types of stance are:


Outside-tension stance
Inside-tension stance
 

The stance provides the forces required to move the torso, which in turn spins off the arm and the legs. A torque, which is produced by two or more forces acting in opposite directions at each end of the “lever”, is necessary to rotate the body about a given point in space The forces from the stance are important to accelerate the limbs.
The proper stance is also necessary to acquire a smooth quick start for most techniques. For example , in front stance, initiate a quick start forwards: Release the front leg of stance, allowing the back leg which is already driving forward to push the body directly and smoothly. If the front leg switches from pushing to pulling ,instead of merely releasing, additional force is generated to drive you forwards.


THE PROPER STANCE IS MANDATORY TO ACQUIRE A SMOOTH QUICK START (your second tip)

   

Figure 1.The side- stance (keeba dachi) is an outside-tension stance

Figure 2.The hour- glass stance is an inside- tension stance.

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 The general structure or form of any stance can be analyzed using three basic concepts:

 
BALANCE
POWER
MOBILITY

Maximum balance is obtained when the center of the gravity is low. However if a stance is too low, it might be extremely difficult to use the inside thigh muscles to move the body ,and power and mobility are lost .
 

 TO TAKE THE PROPER LONG DISTANCE FOR “FRONT STANCE”, PLACE YOUR FRONT FOOT ABOUT TWO AND HALF SHOULDER WIDTHS AHEAD OF YOUR BACK FOOT. (your third tip)

 
Figure 3.the proper front-stance has a long distance between the heels of about two and a half width.

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PROPER STANCE
  To determine the width of the (front-stance), along a line perpendicular to the one in which you are facing. consider balance. too narrow a stance make it difficult to maintain balance, and too wide a stance is not stable against recoil upon impact.

A GOOD ESTIMATE OF THE PROPER DISTANCE IS ONE SHOULDER-WIDTH BETWEEN YOUR FEET. (your fourth tip)

To best direct power from your back leg, turn your right ankle in towards center as much as possible(30-45 degrees); but still keep the entire sole touching the ground. The side edge of your front foot should be parallel to the line of motion, toes turned slightly in. If your ankle is turned in too much, mobility is lost. If it is turned out too much, your leg muscle is stretched out and can not develop the maximum power.
Your left knee must be positioned directly over your large toe. If your knee is not bent enough, the reaction force from a simple punch, for instance, will push your hips back. If your knee is bent too much, the sharp angle will become a weak point because tensing bridge shaped like a ”V” or an ”A” .The sharp corner would break under stress that could be comfortably accepted by a smooth arch.

 

Figure.4-The proper front stance has a lateral distance of a out one shoulders width.

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 The principle of providing smooth arches of tensed muscle to direct the flow of forces is utilized over the entire body. Many disciplines, for instance ”Aikido” stress the principle of smooth arches of tension as a necessary component towards developing a proper flow of “KI”, life-force, through the body and into the target or environment. More important than the outer appearance of the form are inner tension under the arm across the abdomen, and across the insides of the thighs to produce an unbroken connection of the smooth arches.
Your hip center must be properly tensed to transmit the forces and tensions between the legs. through the torso, and out to the external limbs. The “Iliopsoas”, ”internal oblique”, ”tansversus abdominis” and “sartorius” muscles must be tensed and well contracted so that the inside thigh muscles can bridge forces through the hip center to the torso and limbs.

SMOOTH ARCHES ARE NECESSARY COMPONENTS TOWARDS DEVELOPING A PROPER FLOW OF “ki”. (your fifth tip)

 

Figure 5.The counter punch (Giako tzuki) illustrates how a technique is constructed as a system of smoothly connected arches.

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  BREATHING

Breathing and proper hip feeling are fundamental to all techniques. For example, stand in natural stance, your feet about a shoulder width apart, body relaxed. To avoid tensing to form just an outer shell of hard muscle, put one hand on your ”rectus abdominis” muscle, and the other on your ”gluteus maximus” and tuck up the lower trunk by flexing the ”iliopsoas”, keeping the outside layers muscle rather relaxed. this movement necessitates the tensing of the inner muscles that you can feel, starting at a point projected midway along a line between your navel and your tailbone. Then gradually let this compression to expand radially outwards until the outer rectus abdominis and gluteus maximus muscles are also contracted. As you contract the diaphragm is slowly pushed up expelling air. Near the end of this “low“ breathing, the chest and ribs then compress, effecting a ”high” breathing finally forcing out all your air. When you release ,the diaphragm lowers and air is automatically taken in. At the peak compression you should notice a solid feeling of connection across the legs and through the torso.

BREATHING PLAYS A KEY FACTOR IN DEVELOPING A PROPER TECHNIQUE. (your sixth tip)

   
Figure 6.Just after inhaling, The body is in a relaxed position.  Figure 7.Just after exhaling ,the hips are tucked under and the  abdomen is contracted.

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  PRODUCING “MOMENTUM” WITH THE HIPS

Although the body typically works as an integral unit, it is convenient and helpful to consider how the stance acts on the central torso to further shape the power that is eventually directed to the target . We refer to the kinematics of this relay station as “hip power“.
 
A. BODY VIBRATION. The first mode of hip power to be considered is the production of vibration in the torso.
In side-stance( keeba-dachi), one hand, the pulling hand, pulls back and “pluck” this tension to produce  a body vibration. It requires many years of training to learn the large muscle groups of the body to spontaneously and correctly initiate powerful movements.

 

Figure 8. Side- stance punch (keeba-dachi,giako-tzuki) is cr‎eated by vibrating the tension across the hips and stance with the pulling hand.
 
 

 

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B. ROTATION. Another movement that takes advantage of stance force is hip rotation. A more complete discussion of rotation will be postponed until striking techniques.

 

Figure. 9. Just as the punch clears the hip, it begins a shearing rotation accompanied by a concomitant motion of the hip.

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