Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Using a Book for Kata Practice

I don't do this so much anymore, but one thing that really helped me get my movement down was practicing with a book on my head. Specifically a hard bound Thesaurus. One thing it does really well is pointing out excessive movement and movement at cross purposes.

Excessive movement is moving past your balance point, unnecessary weight shifts, and lifting up and sinking down while trying to move. These are the easiest ways to knock the book off. It's not the movement that makes the book lose its perch it's too much movement in different directions. To get the most out of using your body weight, you need to learn how to focus it's energy in any one direction without wasted movement. A good example of this is trying to use the crescent step, which is common to many styles and kata. With this type of movement, your feet move in this quarter moon fashion, but your center of gravity should move along a center plane. Your center of gravity should not wobble from side to side as you step. People however want to try and step in a heel toe fashion and shift their weight into the step after posting their weight on one foot and then sink into their stance. All someone needs to do is tap them to knock them over. By keeping your mass moving along the center, a person needs to fight all of your body weight plus your momentum to knock you over.

The book points out all of your little wasted movements and shifts, which serve no purpose. It must be remembered that the kata is a best case scenario for movement. It's the maximum bang for your buck as far as structure, acceleration and mass are concerned, but you need to be able to apply this in the sloppy environment of a fight through feeling and this can help. If you don't know what this feels like you'll always be guessing and this is a good first step.

But most importantly, have fun.