The 3 Ts, Timing, Technique and Target:
Basic touching and tasting. The “Prime Directive” in such a situation is to sustain life and restart breathing. The difference that 3 inches can make in the accuracy of the delivery of a technique is the difference between success and failure. Pay careful attention to the target being attacked and ensure your technique is accurate.
The timing at which a technique is delivered is crucial. If the technique is delivered too early it is without adequate balance. If it is delivered too late it has no power. Take Junzuki for example. The technique is simple enough, Step And Punch. However, if you start the punch the same time you start the step, the fist will finish before the foot. (The hands move much more quickly than the feet). Consequently, if your foot has not yet touched the floor when your punch lands, you will be punching on one leg. Try to stand on one leg for a while. Difficult isn’t it? But this is how we sometimes punch, standing on one leg! So instead, wait until the leg has landed.
Leave it there until it feels comfortable, until you are in a solid stance. Now punch. What happens? The punch is delivered purely by the strength in the arms. The technique has no body weight in it and would not be effective at all. In order to be a truly effective, efficient technique, the hands must finish at the precise moment the foot lands. This is the only way that the technique will encompass both body weight and balance. All too often people try to perform the technique as fast as possible. This results in the fist finishing far before the foot. Whilst the student feels happy because the technique has been delivered very, very quickly, the effect is minimal.
If we look at another technique, a defensive blocking technique (Uke), the effects of timing are even more profound. Lets say you can move faster than your opponent. You see your opponent delivering a chudan Gyakuzuki. Consequently you perform a chudan Soto Uke (Outer arm block). But, because you are panicking and relying on the way you have trained, you do it as fast as you can. Your block is finished before your opponents attack has reached you. Your block sails past and your opponents strikes home after it. Result? One very fast, very hurt Karateka! Timing is more important than speed.
Technique! How can I describe in words what has taken years to realise? Technique covers all the physical aspects of target, timing, stance, body weight distribution, what leg to put where, what arm to use, when to breathe along with all the mental aspects, Kime (focus), Shin (spirit), Zanshin (Awareness).
For those of us that are really trying to master the Martial Arts, the mental aspects are the ones we strive to produce at every session. The attitude and commitment we put in to each and every technique is what Karate is all about. The student that says they are bored with doing Junzuki, tired of doing Pinan Nidan, fed up with Ippon Kumite – Chudan Soto Uke doesn’t know what they are trying to achieve. They are trying to perform a technique with perfect delivery, balance and commitment every time. Good technique is the foundation of good karate. Under this heading we learn a single punch, a single kick or a single block. We study the detail of how the technique is performed giving consideration to target, timing, technique.
In performing a basic technique, care must be taken to ensure that the defence or strike would be effective were an opponent in front of you. Stomach level (Chudan) punches are meant to be delivered at stomach level. This is the solar plexus. The solar plexus is a nerve centre governing the breathing. It has impulses passing through it that control the diaphragm, the muscle that instigates breathing. If this muscle does not receive messages from the brain, it cannot function properly. If your opponent cannot breathe, how long will it take you to defeat him? The body’s natural defence from a shot “On The Button” (in the solar plexus) is to shut down all non essential bodily functions. In contrast while techniques are taught at a given height their target may be different as the opponent may not be standing upright when the technique is applied. i.e. The first punch in Pinan Godan is at the height of the performers stomach but is a head punch, as the imaginary attacker has been pulled down by the first ‘block’. These applications are taught as individual applications and short drills at DKC.
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