I train full time at Petchrungruang, which is my “home gym,” but I also have a short session at WKO for pads in the afternoons and will return after all my training for Karate classes with Sifu. There are aspects of Karate which are totally alien to me (tumbling, for example) but the lessons in balance and focusing the mind on movements which aren’t easy for me are something I find very valuable. But mostly, I just like learning from Kancho Sifu McInnes. He breaks technique down to the bones and then fleshes it back out as you progress. It’s beautiful.
You can see my private with Sifu Here: Bare Fisted Training and Fight Balance
This video (above) is an excerpt from something we filmed after class the other day. We’d spent the whole class working on connecting strikes based on weight transfer and the twisting from the hips, which generates power. Basically, how to combine strikes which complement one another rather than sucking power out of one or the other because they are at odds with balance and torque. You can see the longer, full video, but this excerpt is the part where I got to be the example, which is quite an honor as I’m pretty low-grade on a Karate scale. But striking is striking and what I learn from Sifu has been translating into the ring and that’s wonderful. After a recent fight in which I threw hooks and landed several times I immediately contacted him on Twitter to share my excitement. He said he’d already seen it on the live stream!
In this video Sifu was using me as an example for how properly transfer weight, which is especially important for smaller fighters. That power comes from weight transfer and is centered around the hips – he first corrects my stance so that my back foot isn’t pointed at 45 degrees, but rather a “sprint” position on the ball of the foot and the knee more or less facing forward. From that position, I can really rotate the hips to generate the most power. With my foot sideways, my hips are already a bit sideways and I’ve lost part of the torque already. He wants the end of the turn for the hook to have my knuckles turning down as well, so you’re basically digging in with just your index and middle finger knuckles. This comes from the arm being all one piece and the hip twist driving the power instead of the arm – it causes my elbow to come up quite a bit to get that angle on the knuckles, but you don’t need to swing the elbow out; it can, and should, come right up from the ribs and then turn over at the top before hitting the target. When he changes to the cross to the body initiating the punch, I have to come from low down for that hook. Since I’ve already stepped forward for the cross, the way I generate power is in popping up from the crouched position. Sifu asks me to hop, which I don’t really do in this video, but hopping and/or coming up from that low position generates power the same way a step forward does, without having to come forward.
On the body punch you really want to be guarded, which is easy enough if you just lock the striking arm, turn the knuckles down so that the power is coming out of your triceps and lats and the shoulder is up by your chin to keep you protected. Lastly he has me really rotate on the left hook, almost beyond the hook, in order to have a recoil for the leg kick as I come back. If you watch the extended video you’ll see Junior (Sifu’s son) demonstrating this beautifully off of the hook.