Critique my basics! (Shotokan WKF)

ThatOneSyrian

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Hello! I'm a Shotokan brown belt and I need some serious critique on my kihon. I have compiled myself doing the bare basic hand techniques into a short video:


https://www. dailymotion .com/video/x81tj60

(remove spaces)

Password is "kihon" (no quotes).

What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong? Feel free to tear me apart as harshly as you want, because it's for my own good.

Two things to note:
-I have been doing Karate for 5 years but Shotokan for only 2 of those 5 (first 3 were Tang Soo Do). My understanding of how techniques are executed is therefore somewhat inconsistent, as the body mechanics of each art are different. In other words, I still have some bad habits from Tang Soo Do.
-I am currently 90% recovered from a left knee dislocation. There might be some asymmetry in my movements because of this.

I hope those don't sound like excuses, because I'm not here to receive praise; I'm prepared to be heavily critiqued or criticized on every single aspect of my basics. I'm ready to hear the worst, even if that means everything I'm doing is wrong. :)
 
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Tez3

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I can't get it to play even with password, sorry.
 

Ivan

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I practiced Shitō Ryu for a couple of years when I was younger, and I did a small amount of Shotokan. I am not sure what the correct manner of the stance is, but the one thing I do notice is that your rear leg in Zenkutsu Dachi is sometimes fully locked, and other times, slightly bent. I think that’s the one thing I could pick out.
Hello! I'm a Shotokan brown belt and I need some serious critique on my kihon. I have compiled myself doing the bare basic hand techniques into a short video:


https://www. dailymotion .com/video/x81tj60

(remove spaces)

Password is "kihon" (no quotes).

What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong? Feel free to tear me apart as harshly as you want, because it's for my own good.

Two things to note:
-I have been doing Karate for 5 years but Shotokan for only 2 of those 5 (first 3 were Tang Soo Do). My understanding of how techniques are executed is therefore somewhat inconsistent, as the body mechanics of each art are different. In other words, I still have some bad habits from Tang Soo Do.
-I am currently 90% recovered from a left knee dislocation. There might be some asymmetry in my movements because of this.

I hope those don't sound like excuses, because I'm not here to receive praise; I'm prepared to be heavily critiqued or criticized on every single aspect of my basics. I'm ready to hear the worst, even if that means everything I'm doing is wrong. :)
 

Yokozuna514

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Osu, good on you for putting together a video for feedback. I have a few comments for you:

- Your stance "Zenkutsu Dachi" is not deep enough. It should be a shoulder width wide and 2 shoulder widths long. From your standpoint, try getting your upper leg to be more parallel to the ground (as in you shouldn't be able to see your toes while in the stance). Your back foot should be angled 45 degrees forward, back knee locked. The english name for this stance is forward leaning stance so you should have the feeling that your momentum is moving you forward when you move (ie: not neutral). Currently your stance is high and a little wide so when you move forward you have a tendency to sway from side to side. You also have a tendency to move the toes of your leading foot before you move forward (ie: slight pivot on the heels). This is actually not good and breaks form. Toes should grip the floor and it is a simultaneous push-pull of your legs that brings you forward. These corrections should fix that.

- Your blocks -
- Mae Gedan Barai - it's too high but that is probably because of your stance. The fist should be one fist length from your knee and the block should end one fist length beside your knee. Your elbows should come closer together in the middle of the block as well.
- Age Uke - Look at your stance when you are doing this movement. Your lead foot turns inward which causes your upper body to torque around. Not ideal. The lead foot should be straight. Your blocking arm also "swings" upward meaning that it slightly goes down before it goes up. This might be a stylistic choice but it doesn't seem correct. The blocking arm motion should only be travelling upwards and forwards like you are driving your forearm towards someone's face.
- Uchi Uke - Your elbows need to come together to get the full range of motion and your feet are again causing you body alignment issues.
- Soto Uke - There might be some stylistic differences here but we train this block with our blocking hand coming to the ear (almost) before performing the block in kihon. Your foot placement is better here but you are still lifting your toes before you move.
- Shuto Uke - Oddly enough your elbows come together in this block (which is good) but you are also leaning backwards (not so good). I can't tell what your stance is supposed to be but we typically do this block in Kokutsu dachi. If you are supposed to be in Kokutsu dachi, the foot placement is not correct. I would go back to your Sensei and ask him for clarifications to do this stance better. From what I can see the foot placement is off, which causes the body to be off which leads to what I would consider misalignment of kimae.

- Your punches -
- Oi Tsuki - Your stance is off for the reasons I already mentioned. It's too wide and and not long enough. The punch itself is, I would think, Chudan so your target currently is too high.
- Gyaku Tsuki - Apart from the stance, the punch is too high for Chudan. Think about it as if I put a ball on your shoulder. The ball should roll downwards from shoulder height if you are punching Chudan.

Those are the corrections I would start to work on. Again, good on you for making a video for feedback. That is a good way to learn but the best way is to speak with your Sensei and have him give you real time feedback you can work on every day. Good luck.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I can't offer any advice or criticism because I am not a practitioner of your style. I just wanted to say that I like your power and focus, and I recognize all the kihon you were doing even if Isshinryu does them a different way. Very cool.
 
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ThatOneSyrian

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Osu, good on you for putting together a video for feedback. I have a few comments for you:

- Your stance "Zenkutsu Dachi" is not deep enough. It should be a shoulder width wide and 2 shoulder widths long. From your standpoint, try getting your upper leg to be more parallel to the ground (as in you shouldn't be able to see your toes while in the stance). Your back foot should be angled 45 degrees forward, back knee locked. The english name for this stance is forward leaning stance so you should have the feeling that your momentum is moving you forward when you move (ie: not neutral). Currently your stance is high and a little wide so when you move forward you have a tendency to sway from side to side. You also have a tendency to move the toes of your leading foot before you move forward (ie: slight pivot on the heels). This is actually not good and breaks form. Toes should grip the floor and it is a simultaneous push-pull of your legs that brings you forward. These corrections should fix that.

- Your blocks -
- Mae Gedan Barai - it's too high but that is probably because of your stance. The fist should be one fist length from your knee and the block should end one fist length beside your knee. Your elbows should come closer together in the middle of the block as well.
- Age Uke - Look at your stance when you are doing this movement. Your lead foot turns inward which causes your upper body to torque around. Not ideal. The lead foot should be straight. Your blocking arm also "swings" upward meaning that it slightly goes down before it goes up. This might be a stylistic choice but it doesn't seem correct. The blocking arm motion should only be travelling upwards and forwards like you are driving your forearm towards someone's face.
- Uchi Uke - Your elbows need to come together to get the full range of motion and your feet are again causing you body alignment issues.
- Soto Uke - There might be some stylistic differences here but we train this block with our blocking hand coming to the ear (almost) before performing the block in kihon. Your foot placement is better here but you are still lifting your toes before you move.
- Shuto Uke - Oddly enough your elbows come together in this block (which is good) but you are also leaning backwards (not so good). I can't tell what your stance is supposed to be but we typically do this block in Kokutsu dachi. If you are supposed to be in Kokutsu dachi, the foot placement is not correct. I would go back to your Sensei and ask him for clarifications to do this stance better. From what I can see the foot placement is off, which causes the body to be off which leads to what I would consider misalignment of kimae.

- Your punches -
- Oi Tsuki - Your stance is off for the reasons I already mentioned. It's too wide and and not long enough. The punch itself is, I would think, Chudan so your target currently is too high.
- Gyaku Tsuki - Apart from the stance, the punch is too high for Chudan. Think about it as if I put a ball on your shoulder. The ball should roll downwards from shoulder height if you are punching Chudan.

Those are the corrections I would start to work on. Again, good on you for making a video for feedback. That is a good way to learn but the best way is to speak with your Sensei and have him give you real time feedback you can work on every day. Good luck.
I'm seeing a running theme here: incorrect foot placement.

You mention that pivoting on the heel is bad. I tried not doing this and it put a lot of torque on my knee. How do I avoid this?
 

Yokozuna514

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I'm seeing a running theme here: incorrect foot placement.

You mention that pivoting on the heel is bad. I tried not doing this and it put a lot of torque on my knee. How do I avoid this?
Incorrect foot placement, stance being too wide at times and not long enough for Zenkutsu dachi. All of those things will contribute to the issues I mentioned. It is true that lifting your toes relieves the pressure on your knees when moving forward but it isn't proper form for this working stance. It also betrays intention (ie: like a 'tell') when you are about to move. The lead foot should be rooted as you pull gripping with the toes while your back leg pushes you forward. If you are having difficulty moving this way, I would also look at your head placement. If it is back or neutral, you will have a more difficult time moving. The head should be bent slightly forward so that your posture is 1 degree forward. In this manner you can launch from one Zenkutsu dachi to another. It's a working stance meant to strengthen your legs in training but the form has to be correct or you will not progress.
 

wab25

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I'm seeing a running theme here: incorrect foot placement.

You mention that pivoting on the heel is bad. I tried not doing this and it put a lot of torque on my knee. How do I avoid this?
I had the same issue. (I like to say "had"... it feels better than saying "have"... but "have" is probably more accurate...)

For me, I could get the feet right, when in the stance. But when it came time to move forward, that lead leg felt in the way. I felt knee and ankle pressure as I tried to push past the obstacle. Pivoting on my heel made things "easier" and relieved that pressure.

My Sensei always said you should be coiled like a spring. So that when you move forward all you are doing is releasing the spring. When you pivot your foot to release the tension, you are uncoiling the spring. This means that to move forward, you are slower as you first have to coil the spring. This explanation sort of worked for me... in that I could feel the tension let off when pivoting the foot.

Yokozuna keeps saying to grip with your toes and pull. To me this was the trick. We all want to push off that back leg to drive forward. But, in a proper front stance, your back leg is straight, with the knee locked. There really is not much push you can get from that. When going forward in your front stance, don't think of pushing forward or driving forward... think of pulling yourself forward with your front foot. What I find is that, if I let my foot pivot, to release the tension, it can not pull me forward. If I leave my foot in the right position, and pull myself forward with it, as I should, I don't feel the pressure on my knee or on my ankle.

I think that this is one of the things that a deep front stance teaches... how to pull yourself forward with your lead foot.
 
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