Two to tango, or two to teach?

So after a good first session me and a female karateka were asked to teach three sub sections of the next class.  I was a little nervous, but surprisingly I was quite confident, with teaching kids and my day job I am more at ease with the idea of teaching, if I come across as being an idiot well that is hard luck as we all come across as idiots now and then, and usually it accidentally becomes a nice ice breaker and gets everyone at ease. Well anyway the female karateka isn’t use to teaching at all and felt very tongue twisted about it. So after we were told to have an idea for pad drills within in 5 mins, we went to the little corner for our time out talk.

We decided to focus on reaction and awareness. We realised we couldn’t separate the two so had them become the theme for our first mini lesson. We first did a drill where they had to react to one pad firing up to hit, not sure which pad would be their target. We emphasised the idea of focusing on their eyes or chest to practice their peripheral vision. Then we adapted the drill so that the partner may faint a shoulder, so that they had to be wary of which pad (the left or the right) may come up. Then we moved onto a punching pad drill where the one holding the pads may fire a punch or hook now and then, and the attacker would have to duck and weave and counter punch. Then we did the full pad drill of punching, kicking etc but with a small difference. The pad holder may kick or punch the attacker at his whim. Specifically when they think the attackers focus would be too focused elsewhere. For instance they might be focused on punching, so the pad holder would give them some thigh or rib kicks and vice versa. We noticed that they ended up moving around the pads far more than before and it was a good way to train so that the attackers had to be aware of their opponent without just trying to smash into him.

They seem to like it and we had developed a cool way to train reaction and awareness, especially for any up and coming grading’s.  Next we did one about kihon (basics) we explained the importance of technique, grounding and why it is so important, in that it trains reaction, speed, power, muscle mechanics, muscle memory, I even attempted a Bruce lee quote. The idea for this section was the female karateka’s and we wanted to demonstrate the importance of technique by comparing to bad ways of doing a technique. It was very fun to watch, and this was the one section where we made it up as we went along.

The third section we got to do kakie. I ended up skipping across the room. People find it strange that I love kakie. Kakie is sticky hands and you can train it as a strength training, sensitivity drill, body mechanics and how to use them to overcome a stronger force, and through these means we can feel out applications we can apply to them in the right point, such as wrist locks, strikes, throws etc. I decided to keep the theme from the first section reaction and awareness and take out the strength portion and focus on the sensitivity aspect. This is where my creativity came at hand a gain, I applied to games I made up with two different karate friends. The first game: my friend and me were drinking at the time (I believe it was my birthday at the time) and we were using the first kakie drill to test each other out, and try and punch the other ones chest, and to stop them from hitting yours. You have to keep yours arms together or it doesn’t count!

You end up learning to deflect strikes, but also use their own momentum to hit them back! We do love hitting each other.  I almost like to think of it as striking with rappiers, or trying to do a Bruce lee or a jimmy! (the jimmy is a in the dojo reference). We found that people with more speed and reaction did far better than those of heavier strikes, but that they were harder to stop. I found it helped develop good speed and awareness of their strikes, and when you need to counterstrike. The next drill (I have written this in a previous post, but I will quickly sum it up) We did the first kakie drill but with eyes closed, and focused on sensitivity. The partner with eyes open will fire a random punch (whilst sticking to kakie!) and we learnt how to sense the strike through our arms, with them automatically reacting to it. I won’t say too much as I have written  about this new drill before but it was really interesting comparing people, especially the kyu and blackbelts. The kyu grades tend to use more of their shoulders to strike with, and it was far easier to read the punch and redirect it. It was also a lot easier to hit them. It was really impressive against the blackbelts, for although they had never done this drill (well my version of it), their ability to detect the strike coming was immense, they read it so much quicker than anyone else, especially the sempai who originally taught me, his kakie has always been strong, it was almost impenetrable!

Suffice to say that teaching with someone else puts a lot of pressure off your back, and I am really starting to enjoy it, I love the fact that I get to show people all these mad ideas that me and others come up with.

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