Thursday 17 March 2011

Keriwaza II: Form & strength first, flexibility second.

I was swamped by emails after my last post titled `keriwaza’ so rather than answer everyone individually, I thought I’d make post answering ‘the consistent inquisition’: “How can I improve my flexibility for kicking?” Originally I decided to post with a bit of humour… However I amended this, deciding to answer the `main question' sensibly. All the very best in your endeavours, Osu! André Bertel.

Too much focus on flexibility: Personally I believe this is where many people go wrong. My advice is to first and fore mostly develop form and strength, and SLOWLY build up flexibility to increase range of motion. Aim to have perfect gedan and chudan traditional keriwaza in slow motion and with maximum speed. If effective TRADITIONAL jodan techniques are not possible, just forget them! What I mean by `traditional keriwaza’ are kicks which travel a high path and smash upward, downward or directly into/onto the opponent with effective weapons i.e. – mawashi-geri coming down with josokutei (the ball of the foot) or sune (the shin); ushiromawashi-geri with kakato (the heel) etc.
Have no preferences: As you can see in my photos and videos, I can kick just as well with both legs, just like punching with either hand, or being 100% comfortable fighting either side forward. Anything less is not good enough, it shows poor training. This is not bragging, it is essential FOR EVERYONE WHO IS SERIOUS ABOUT THEIR KARATE.

If you are interested in actual stretching methods or ways to improve you kicks, please do some searches here on my blog via the search engine at the top left corner of the page.

© André Bertel, New Zealand 2011.

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