Tradition and Pedagogy within Karate

Discussion in 'Karate' started by GaryWado, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Hi Fred,

    You just blew my world. I'd never really questioned the idea of making kime at the moment of impact, but you're dead right. We don't do breaking at the dojo I've trained at, but in college I did taekwondo, and we did a lot of breaking there. And you know what? You're absolutely right. There was no tenseness at the moment of impact. To break something, you go smoothly through it, as if it's not there at all. We were always taught not to even target the wood, but target something six inches behind the wood, and just have your course of motion carry you through the wood. If you tense at the moment of impact, it seems that you'd bounce off the surface, not travel through it.

    Now I've got to get myself a heavy bag or some boards and experiment...
  2. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    From the experience of regularly hitting people (moving targets) in full body armour, and supervising/teaching others doing the same I would agree that there is no tension on impact.

    In essence this is because when you are hitting something with combat intent the point of impact is not the point of focus. The focus of a powerful hit is through the other person, not on them. Thus, depending on whether the movement is linear (in and snap back) or circular (all the way through rotating back towards you) the tension comes at the end of the extension movement, as part of the change of direction (after the other person has doubled over or been knocked back). The tension marks the end of the flow of energy (ie force transference through the application of mass with speed through a surface area - not Ki),not its beginning. The tension merely exists to protect from hyper-extension before flexion.

    The tension is not desirable though. It represents a poor transition between movements. Tension is created by applying muscular force in the opposite direction and then holding it. Instead of being held this muscular action should really continue until the arm is in the next position that it needs to be. In essence what I am trying to say is that rather than a deliberate pause, the tension should be a fleeting moment of overlap between an extension movement ending and a flexion movement beginning. The faster the transition between the two, the smaller amount of tension there is, and the smoother the overall technique. Poor technique occurs when the muscle group that shouldn't be employed (such as flexor muscles on an extensor movement) is in use creating an isometric exercise which limits force transference. So in this sense those who talk about the need to be relaxed are both wrong and right. One set of muscles should be fully relaxed allowing the other to be fully employed.

    If you were hitting a target and subsequently leaving the arm extended, as opposed to retracting it, you should not need to apply tension (or rather hardly any tension) because the impact will have provided the counter force to slow the extension. Thus the danger of hyper-extension is removed. When hitting pads (or people) I never have the need to tense after the strike.

    Of course when practicing against thin air this dynamic is warped slightly. The choices are as follows:
    1. To protect the joints when moving at speed, artificially tense at the end of each fast movement before the next, so as to hold position and make the technique appearance clear. This makes the movements look precise, but what it actually trains people to do is limit force transference. From a strict coaching perspective this is bad practise that develops bad habits and (comparatively) a weaker technique.
    2. Rather than tense when moving at speed, keep the action flowing all the way through. The advantage of this is that the student practices the correct movement. The main disadvantage is that it can lead to joint hyper-extension. The second disadvantage is that it looks much sloppier than training method 1.
    3. Practise all the movements very slowly to remove the risk of injury through hyper-extension, keeping the action flowing all the way without a deliberate tense pause to freeze position. From a coaching perspective this is the best form of solo training as the slowness of the movement heightens awareness of muscle movement and allows the trainee to groove the correct movement. Physically this looks like Tai Chi practise.
  3. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    I find training with the likes of Ohgami and Arakawa sensei very reassuring - in terms of their natural approach to karate.

    Both are very approachable guys and more than happy to share their thoughts with you.

    John, you mention "tai chi" style practice - as a way to perform movement whilst minimising risk, but actually Ohgami's x,y axis graph of "kime" that I detailed earlier, features Tai Chi as the ultimate amount of energy, with the least amount of tension ie none. Before, during and after.

    No surprise purhaps, because as well as being one of the best Karateka in the world, he is also a skilled exponent and teacher of tai chi.

    Likes a beer too ;)
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I have rarely found a good karateka who didn't like a good beer. :)

    'Tai Chi' style solo performance is definitely the best way to develop the best technique. So long as you do practise contact as well.
  5. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    When it comes to contact, his long standing senpai/uke Thomas will be the first to tell you that he well and truly practices contact ;)


    [edit] changed suffering for standing as it seems more appropriate.
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  6. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    I don't think anyone's pointed out yet, but when you hit someone in karate, you don't hit them at the end of the technique's travel. Therefore the kind of kime that you see when someone tenses a technique at full extension isn't really what you get when you're striking a real target. I would say it's more to protect the joints when practicing against air and to encourage striking as though the technique is going to travel to the end of its extension - i.e. through the target.

    Most of the strikes in the karate I've learned are based around a fairly small number of basic movements - e.g. ura tsuki, tate tsuki, choku tsuki are more or less the same technique but used at different ranges from the target and therefore they make contact at different points in the travel of the arm.
  7. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    agreed with moosey. it's also one of the main reasons for traditional makiwara training: to create the correct technique for a penetration punch, using not only the fist, but whole body connection and a good root at the moment of impact to really make the punuch go through the target. in that respect it's said that a good tsuki with enough training behind it should be felt in the back as much as in the point of impact.
  8. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Re-read post 82 my boy. Specifically the first and second sentence of paragraph 2 and Paragraph 5. And don't forget to read Fred and Mitlov's posts on breaking. :Angel:

    I would almost agree with you on Choku Zuki and tate zuki, although in my opinion, whatever the point of contact impact in Choku zuki should always be made palm upwards with the fist rotating through the target to palm almost fully downwards, whereas in tate zuki, no matter when the impact, the fist contacts with the palm sideways (little finger down). Ura Zuki however has a tremendously different line of movement and contact should be made palm sideways, rotating through to palm upwards. In other words the hand rotates the other way. The other crucial difference is that in Ura zuki, far from being relaxed, the flexors are actually used to mantain the arm at its 90+ degree angle, and as impact is made, the flexors are actively employed to increase the flow of the movement up through the other person, whereas in the other two punches it is the extensors that provide the majority of the power. In Ura zuki the extensor muscles of the arm form only a tiny part of the movement - it is flexion of the leg and dropping of the knee that carries the hip round and flexion of the arm that drives the punch up. In Kata and kihon a lot of people are encouraged to hinder this movement (primarily by grounding the heel), which is why they don't get quite the same power with this as a boxer does.

    This is partly why I said 'hitting something with combat intent'. The problem I found with the Makiwara was that it did encourage me to self limit and tense about 2 - 5 cm into the target. The plane of movement of the tool was also very unlike the human body. That said, a bag also has similar disadvantages. Ultimately for me I would say that my Makiwara enabled me to develop stronger knuckles and the rope toughened the skin of my knuckles, but it trained me to 'pull' my punches slightly, and also only punch at a particular distance, and that is essentially bad practice.

    Ultimately I believe that the practise of tensing at the end of technique, while it makes it appear sharper, trains a less desirable habit. If memory serves - I don't think Harada's Shotokai do this.

    A key point, is that kime should not be interpreted as tension. It is as Gary stated, in essence, the 'eye of the spirit'. Kime is not necessarily one single moment in a technique, it is the technique. It is the combination of good movement with intent. Thus kime, like kamae should be present throughout your movements, whether you are making contact or not, until in essence there is no kime, there is no kamae. Because, on a philosophical level, once something pervades you, how can it be identified and set apart?
    Last edited: May 2, 2009
  9. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    @ jwt: on the makiwara thing, there we have a divergence, since i hit the makiwara differently; i don't pull the punch, but i try to make it go as far as i can. i also stand really close to it so that contact is made at around 80% extension, since, as the force of a punch starts diminishing at that point, it forces me to keep applying force all the way through it order to bend the makiwara; the goal isn't just to deliver the punch with strength, as it would be on a regular punching bag drill, for example, on the makiwara the goal is to hit it in such a way that it goes all the way back, using whole body connection to withstand the resistance from the flexible post without taking it all on the wrist joints or jarring the brain (this is easily noticeable on elbows: if you hit a makiwara with, say, a mawashi empi, and don't drive it in, you'll feel the "recoil" all the way to your head, and it's a very nasty sensation).

    the main difference might be that you have, iirc, a pure shotokan base while i use a more naha-te oriented focus on my training, since i do ****o-ryu, and the makiwara training in shuri-te and naha-te is a little different, afaik.
  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi Fish,

    That's not really different from how I used to hit it. My post was pretty solid - the classic 7ft long with about 3.5 to 4 foot buried in the ground (I only left it behind at my last house as I could not be bothered with a 4th dig up and relocation) - 1.5 cm thick at the top and about 15 at the bottom. As a result - there was a limit to how far you could push through it (not like the cheap ply ones that bolt into the ground with the rubber pad). When I say pull - I mean come to a deliberate stop before maximum extension limits movement but without retraction. However - the strength of the post meant that you couldn't hit it at less than 90% extension (or rather you could only push through it to about 15 cm maximum) unless you wanted to either break it or force your arm into an odd position (you couldn't hit this sort of post and have it spring away and back at you - too solid). You also couldn't twist on and twist off in a punch and retract movement unless you wanted the rope to clean the skin off your knuckles.

    I can't see how you could hit anything and have it jar your brain unless you had really bad posture?

    Actually I've spent more hours 'on the mat' solo than training with any instructor. But, I've spent more hours training with Aikido instructors in Aikido classes than I ever spent training with Karate instructors in Karate classes.
  11. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i think that might be a factor, i always worked under the assumption that a makiwara was supposed to be strong, but still relatively flexible (anyways, since i live in an apartment i'm forced to use one of the cheap wall ones, with the hard rubber squares instead of padding, although i've used a traditional one a couple of times)

    aha, i get what you mean now, you meant "pulling the punch" instead of a pullback, right?. what i do is still a bit different, because i try to retract only as soon as i feel that the blow has gone through, and, as mentioned previously, i speak under the assumption of a more flexible post.

    what i do on my makiwara (although i don't use it that much, the damn rubber square is too abrasive, same kind they use on competition tatamis, and i've actually skinned my knuckles a couple days ago, so i'm gonna let it be for a week or two), is similar to what michiko onaga does in this video, only i keep driving forwards into the punch instead of concentrating on the spring like hikite action: [ame=""]YouTube - Makiwara Demonstration (Subtitles)[/ame]

    it's also similar to what gustavo tata does here at the start: [ame=""]YouTube - Goju-Ryu Makiwara Gustavo Tata IOGKF Marzo 2007[/ame]
    , but i do it from a closer range and with bigger intervals between punches, aiming to make contact between 60 and 80% extension, leading with the index knuckle, and going for full "kihon" style tsuki extension (not full arm extension, mind you :p), THEN retracting, meaning, i don't let the makiwara's springing action push me back, but instead i resist the makiwara's "ballistic" return to it's normal position, using a slight forearm tension (the normal tension resulting from making a tight fist) to conserve alignment and prevent my joints going to hell(which is the one of the two reasons i can see for it, more on a later post addressing kime since i've already spent like three hours on this one and don't feel like posting more at the moment). if i'm losing alignment or start feeling shock in my joints it means i'm hitting with excessive force relative to my resistance and technique, so i stop, rest (possibly for a few days) then go at it with less intensity to build those up.

    [/QUOTE]I can't see how you could hit anything and have it jar your brain unless you had really bad posture?[/QUOTE]

    it's basically impossible with punches, yeah, but with elbows it's painfully obvious, it's because of the recoil of the post, but it teaches you to correctly use your "stance" to drive your bodyweight into a strike. then again, some people DO have horrendous posture.

    in this video: [ame=""]YouTube - Makiwara demonstration[/ame] you can see what i mean about driving into the elbows at around 0:45. if you hit then stop, you get hit with all the recoil, while if you throw a strike aiming for penetration, you negate it with your own forwards pressure. it also shows another way of punching the makiwara, also similar to the technique i try to develop when i punch it, where the guy punches, and "rides" the makiwara's springing motion back to it's starting point to absorb the recoil.

    fair enough, that's cool, i was referring to the karate specific training.

    ok, after three hours of writing, modifying and rewriting this i don't even know if it makes sense, so i'll be off for a while and try to explain myself better with a clearer head
  12. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    These are nice vids. It doesn't help that everyone seems to be practicing snapping withdrawal rather than full energy penetration. I suppose that's one reason why I prefer uke technique, where most of the movement roll into another.

    As far as I was always concerned, my Aiki practice was always Karate specific training. :)

    I don't actually tense my fist fully any more. Enough to bring the knuckles in, but no more. I like to keep some shock absorbing slack in the hand, and it helps keep flexor relaxation further up the arm (because muscle recruitment means that you can't tense the fist fully without operating the linked flexor groups further up the arm) . That said, when I do punch, I'm usually doing so from an open handed position any way, so my fist closes enroute to impact. But - these days I almost never punch. If I do use the hands to strike at all its a palm strike with the hand in line with the upper forearm, a finger rake, finger jab, or a hammer fist.
  13. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    yeah, i know what you mean. i tense enough to keep the fist as closed as needed to effectively use the seiken and keep the wrist firm so it doesn't bend, which varies depending an who or what i'm punching. as long as the tension is restricted to the forearm, and the fist alignment correlates to the punch trajectory, it's enough, as far as i'm concerned.
  14. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Hi fish, good vids.

    Tbh, I am no expert in makiwara training, as it sort of sits outside of the Wado spectrum of training - for most of the reasons that John detailed in his earlier post.

    That said, I thought the lass in the first vid was fantastic. Her timing, hand speed and mechanical alignment was sublime as far as I could see.

    The second clip was a bit pony if I am being honest, but then as I say I don't really know what I am looking for I guess.


    Getting back on to the topic of traditional karate and the way it is taught by most of the major groups (including the use of kata, kumite and equipment (makiwara etc.)), do you feel that if you had started karate at another source you would have perhaps been able to extrapolate what you needed from it?

    I only say this as I get the feeling that outside of your own studies, due diligence, and application, you seem to draw as much (if not more), of your traditional ma inspiration from Aikido as you do karate.

    Or have I get that wrong :)

    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  15. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi Gary,

    That's an interesting question.

    The nature of my Karate background has always been mobile. My first club was at a school away from home (and as a military child, home moved every few years) which meant that I would train with a different instructor, in a different association of the same style in the holidays. That from the start meant seeing things from different perspectives. Subsequent training at home, going to different local dojos in different associations, driving reasonably long distances to see my original Chief Instructor, train and grade, meant exposure to different emphases. And that was merely my Shotokan training.

    Looking at the other styles - would I have still looked at other styles? Would I have been able to extrapolate what I needed?

    I don't think so. The reason for this was that my original intention was not to get 'the best' out of Karate. I have a questioning mind. I've always been one to ask questions, and that trait in me was refined and strengthened at Uni in a school of history where we were taught to continually challenge orthodox thought and theory to provide proof to back it up. I went the way I did because
    1. I wasn't satisfied with the applications and use of pretty much everything other than punches and kicks that were being put forward in class. They would only work generally in extreme pre-arranged situations.
    2. There were lots of things that were not explained at all - and I dont like that. I like to know the 'why' for everything.
    3. I couldn't believe that the majority of what we did was of no use (and it was of no use in kumite).
    So, at the start of my journey I wasn't looking for repertoire per se, I was looking for answers.

    Now in other styles of Karate, bits of what I've gradually found out over time are taught. But I've yet to find another Karate system where practical applications of each position, each movement, are explained.

    Now over time my focus has changed. Having found answers to my original questions that satisfied my curiosity (not that I'm not open to seeing other ways of using the same things), the next question was could these be taught? How might they be taught? And eventually - how can we best prepare people to defend themselves and achieve a high standard of physical and mental proficiency in as little time as possible? And somewhere along the line teaching Shotokan karate Do became Shotokan Karate Jutsu, became AoDenkou Jitsu, became Practical karate, became DART Practical karate. Only to an experienced eye is the last recognisable as karate, even though to my mind it is very traditional Karate. I've had comparisons to Krav Maga made, and yesterday KFM.

    Your Aikido statement is pretty much on the button. Firstly my style of teaching is taken precisely from the Aikido I experienced with Pierre Chassang, Mike Narey, Bernard Harding, George Forbes, Alan Prescott and John Tidder. I warm up the class, and then I set them to different tasks, walk around them, switch their tasks, instruct and coach.

    Although a large amount of what I do has 'force on force' clashes, because of the nature and position of the attacks, where possible students use their Karate to avoid, redirect, unbalance and open. But although I may have found much of what I teach in Aikido, I always identified the movement in Aikido as 'we do this in Karate, but we don't teach it that way - this is a better way of applying the same physical movement - it works'. However, I have friends who look at everything I demonstrate and call it Tai Chi Chuan.
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    @jwt: you should look into hayashi-ha ****o-ryu if you want to see a flexible style that is big on applications, it's a very nice system.

    @gary: yeah, there's a big difference in quality between the two, although it's understandable, since the girl in the first video is the daughter of the current style head, while the guy in the second one is just the local iogkf sensei.

    k, gonna take a bath (just woke up) and post a bit more later.
  17. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    ok, on the kime thing that was being discussed a while back:
    IMO, one thing that a lot of people forget when discussing the finer points of most movements, is that the whole point of a strike or hard block, is to cause blunt trauma, and the movement itself is simply a method of causing said blunt trauma. if the punch does not land, there is no trauma, hence the distinction between using straight punches, which are faster, and round punches, which are stronger but slower.

    now, round punches, by virtue of being a circular movement with a circular alignment, basically support themselves, however, a straight punch starts with a bent arm and straightens out as it goes forward, with three joints between the body and the fist, these being the wrist, elbow and shoulder, each serving a different purpose for the purpose of the punch. this, i believe is where kime comes in. before elaborating further, i'd like to try and create a coherent definition of kime as I see it, at least for the purposes of this post.

    kime, considering both its usual translation as "focus", and its literal translation of "spirit-eye" (thanks gary :p) could be interpreted many ways; however both translations have their merit: although, for example, a tai chi form performance is completely relaxed, even in moments of explosiveness (the much debated "fa jing"), it is undeniable that a skilled practitioner will not have any wobbliness or awkwardness visible in his movements, and that his limbs go exactly where he wants them to go; this can be called kime. the same can be seen in karate, where a movement must be precise, fast and strong; excessive tension negates speed, excessive focus on speed distorts technique, and concentrating too much on accuracy means that you can't apply your full strength on a blow or it will go off the mark; hence, when all these requirements for a movement are fulfilled, and the technique follows its correct path, it can be said to have kime. thus the concept of kime could be defined as the state in which all the physical aspects of a technique are in harmony.


    karate: Matsumura no Bassai Kata by Hisami Yokoyama
    [ame=""]YouTube - Matsumura Bassai (Shihan Minoru Kanazawa) This Video crested by Aniket Gupta[/ame]
    [ame=""]YouTube - Yahara Kata: Unsu[/ame]

    tai chi: [ame=""]YouTube - Chen Xiaowang Explosive Demo from 2003[/ame]
    [ame=""]YouTube - Chen Xiaowang -fajin[/ame]
    [ame=""]YouTube - Chen Style Taichi (Taiji) - Paochui (Cannon Fist)[/ame]

    on the subject of kime as tension: in the above kata videos, it is observable that tension is, most of the time, only used as needed to ensure stability for techniques, except in those movements which by their nature require a strong movement to be useful (such as the high open handed uke waza in unsu), yet i would say that they can all considered to have a respectable amount of "kime". on the open handed blocking techniques, the block is done to the outside, which, if done purely with the rotation of the arm, is useless, thus the back muscles must be engaged to assist, especially the latissimus dorsi, which causes a momentary contraction that provides the burst of strength needed to redirect a strong blow, while hand tension prevents the wrist from bending if the impact is made with it or with the back of the hand, not only protecting the joint, but also providing a sort of mini-whole body power, allowing the arm to be used as a unit instead of having the joints flop around. the tension itself is part of the movement's own kime, while the mistake lies in holding it for longer than necessary; if i deflect a punch, i'm not going to keep pushing the arm unless i want to go for a joint lock or other manipulation technique; in fact, the sudden release of tension in the arm is the point of maximum force in such a movement, a sort of whiplash that is just that little bit faster, and is what sends the attacking limb off target. if you just keep pushing, this never happens. this is also what's done on the harder blocks through the rotation of the forearm.

    on more circular and non-snapping or smashing movements, you also need this slight tension to be able to actually move the attacking limb, which is going to resist you due to inertia; just touching it is not going to change its vector. the catch is that said movements are where whole body connection is taken advantage of the most, since it minimizes the strength that needs to be applied by the defending limb itself, although then again, you need tension ("firmness" would probably be a better term, since tension usually implies maximum contraction) in order to correctly transmit power instead of losing it through one of the middle joints.

    back to the subject of punching: any correctly done movement which utilizes whole body connection must start from the ground; your feet are what anchors you to the ground, and through the flexibility of your ankles you can use your legs to push in many directions. i've talked here about how stances work with regards to karate punching, so i'll expound upon it by talking about how kime affects this.

    as i said previously, a punch is just a way of causing blunt trauma, ergo, something (in this case, your fist) moves and crashes into something else, transferring force over an area wide enough to cause stress deformation without any cutting or piercing effect. now, a fist by itself is a small thing, it weights little compared to a torso or a head, which are what it would theoretically be hitting; thus, to cause trauma, a fist has to be dense, which is achieved by closing it correctly, it must concentrate force, which is done by hitting with the knuckles, and it must move very, very fast, which is done by propelling it with your whole body. now, since a body weights more than a fist, it's logical that the fist is going to stop a little while after hitting, and whatever it's dragging behind it is going to keep going if the joint is floppy, that's how people break their wrists punching. since the joint can be stabilized through muscle tension, you can make sure that your wrist doesn't go kaput. now, your elbow is the joint through which the arm is extended and flexed, so, if the elbow is lax, none of your bodyweight gets behind the punch, and the effect is negligible. keep the elbow stable, contract the triceps, and the arm supports itself; linear movement == linear alignment. the last joint is the shoulder, stabilized by the latissimus dorsi and moved by the deltoids and pectorals, among other smaller muscle i never remember; if you hit with a properly supported arm, but your lats are relaxed and your chest and deltoids are not supporting your shoulder, it moves back, pushed by the extending arm, and the force of the blow is dissipated. use the lats to affirm the shoulder against the torso, and the deltoids and pecs to bring it forward, and you effectively affirm the whole arm against the torso, thereby permitting the strength generated by the stance (again, explained in the previous link) to properly "exit" through the arm and into the target. contact is, as we know, not made at full extension, thus, if one is properly grounded and has good firmness and technique, all the energy from the end of the extension (the point of maximum force) is directed forward, creating the "penetration" effect of the tsuki. this, i believe, is what kime represents; not "tension" per se, but firmness arising from the conjunction of all the pointers for a correct technique, that allows movements to be correctly applied against resistance. the problems on kime thus arise when there is a lack of balance in these pointers, the most usual of which is excessive tension, derived from believing that because tensed techniques have a lot of strength, they are better than more relaxed but faster more precise ones.

    this article also has some interesting stuff about kinetic energy transference during punches:
  18. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Wow, fantastic post, Fish of Doom, it's give me some real food for thought :cool:
  19. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    thanks! that was kind of the idea :p
  20. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Nice thorough post Fish.

    Though re-reading my posts and yours I'd prefer to get away from the word tension. Tension implies a lot of things that aren't actually going on, both in terms of biomechanical action and in terms of kime.

    I think if we're talking about muscle types, or even muscle groups, then relaxation and contraction are better terms. Of course that in itself can cause difficulty because it can sometimes be hard to think of an extensor movement (like a push or a punch) as a contraction. :)

    In the same vein I wouldn't use tension as any interpretation of kime.

    What I would like to point out is that there is a huge difference between kime and power. Something can be tremendously powerful, but have no kime, and something can be very light but be full of kime.

    The biggest weakness of beginners in Karate that I have observed is lack of understanding where contraction and relaxation need to be, leading to lack stability, control and focus. The biggest weakness I have observed in higher Kyu grades and Dan grades is overly isometric action in techniques, resulting in increased effort and reduced power. This often comes about because they have been mislead to believe that tension equates greater stability + control and therefore power in the technique. As a result they contract groups that should be relaxed to allow a smoother movement - they fight against themselves.

    Guthrie (1952) defines a skill as the ability to bring about some end result with maximum certainty and minimum outlay of energy or of time and energy.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009

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