Ball- or heel turn in karate

#HeelTurn #Technique
Now and then, I get this question from a student: “Which part of the foot should we use as a pivoting point when we turn?” “Should we pivot on the heel or the ball of the foot?”

Before I come up with my opinion, and what I do, there is just one topic we need to get around, namely the center of gravity, which of course has an impact on the balance, and therefore how we move. Balance and center of gravity are essential when turning.

In short, you have to move your center of gravity to maintain balance.

You might not think about it; when you are walking, your center of gravity is changing every time you take a step forward. You also have to change the center of gravity when you crawl out of bed in the morning, or when you get up from a chair.
The example with the chair is good. When you get up from the chair, you will move your upper body forward and possibly move your feet backward. Without doing that, it is not possible to get up from the chair.

(If you can, I would like to see a movie about it! It would be fun).

Back to the question! What I do depends on the situation; therefore, I use the heel, the ball, or the center of the foot while turning. That way I can turn best while maintaining my good balance.

What I did! I chose to film myself while performing Kata. Subsequently, I reviewed my recordings. I saw them at normal speed, slow motion, and frame by frame. And guess what! I use every part of the foot, be it the heel, ball, or the center of the foot for turning.
Sometimes I start by turning on the heel, to subsequently finishing the turn on the ball of the foot. To me, it feels natural, and therefore it should be this way for me.

To keep the balance, I have to use the whole foot, since my center of gravity is shifting, whether I need to turn on the heel, the ball, or the center of the foot does not matter.

This is an example from Pinan Sandan starting from Nukite Chudan, following up with the backward turn.

Ball- or heel turn in karate

Picture 1, 2 and 3, turning on the heel.

Ball- or heel turn in karate

In picture 4, the whole foot is on the ground, and the ball of the foot takes over in pictures 5 and 6.

I would like to know how YOU turn in connection with Kata, do you use the heel, ball, or the center of the foot. Maybe you can post a video or some images.

After all, there is no wrong or right way to turn, or is it?

Take a look at Hirokazu Kanazawa turn

Tsumasaki-geri

#Technique #Tsumasaki-geri

Tsumasaki front kick
Tsumasaki front kick

Tsumasaki-geri is a kick with the tip of the toes. Some would argue that this is the right way to kick (the old way of Okinawan kicking), compared to our ordinary Mae-geri, where we generally kick with Koshi.

Tsumasaki
Tsumasaki
Koshi
Koshi

Personally, I do not think there is a new or old way of kicking. Nowadays, Mae-geri, where kicking with Koshi, is the preferred way to kick. Most of all, to protect our toes so they do not break. We are simply not trained to  kick with the tip of the toes.

Tsumasaki-fist
Tsumasaki-fist

Of course, both methods are fully usable, and if you prefer to kick with the toe tips, it might be a good idea to make a small fist with your toes. In that way, you will achieve better stability, and the possibility of broken toes is lesser.

Take a look at the picture from Greek Pankration, which was introduced about 648 BC in the 33rd Olympiad. The use of Koshi.

Pankration front kick
Pankration front kick

Good kicking to all

Tsuki – The way I do it

#Technique #Tsuki

Gert TsukiOnce I was asked, why I do my Punch the way I do. Most often, my Tsuki (Punch) resembles a combination between a vertical and a horizontal punch.

The answer is quite simple, it feels natural.

 

The best way to explain it is to compare my Tsuki with push-ups!

Yes, you read right, push-ups.

Try taking push-ups on the knuckles. Most people will perform them as shown in the picture below.

Pushups on knuckles
Pushups on knuckles

That said, it feels natural.

The use of Hikite

#Technique #Hikite

To achieve full power of a punch, it is essential that both arm cooperate, that is usual what you will hear in the Dojo. One arm (fist) is thrown out, while the other arm is pulled in to the side of the body (Hikite). Both arms perform the same movement, understood in the sense that, if the right arm comes out in a straight line, then the left must be retracted in a straight line. If the movement is circular to the right then it is also circular to the left.

But !!!! You will often hear that Hikite is for generating a powerful punch only. However, this is not quite right. Hikite is much more than just a hand pulled back to the side of the body for generating a powerful punch.

Funakoshi Gyaku-zuki
Funakoshi Gyaku-zuki

If somebody attacks you, it will be normal to take up your arms to protect yourself; it is a question of reflex.
I think that Hikite function already starts here. Hikite first task is to block (reflex). If possible, you will grab the opponents arm (or something else) and pull back, that is the use of Hikite. The opposite arm (fist) is offensive and attacks.

Hikite is not just for block and grab. It also acts as a control arm where you try to control the opponent’s arm and movements.