Here are the areas I'd like you to work on for this week:
1. Stand in front of the mirror and work on your inside blocks, outside blocks, high blocks, inside knives, outside knives and double knives. Do 5 sets of each with your eyes open watching yourself in the mirror - are your chambers level with no wrist curl? are your thumbs tucked in on your knives? is the hand above your belt pulled back tight and flat? are you symmetrical? Now close your eyes and do a set - are you able to maintain the correct position without looking? This should take about 10 minutes after you brush your teeth to do this in the mirror twice each day.
2. Make sure your punches are coming to the center and not directly off your shoulder (if you drew an imaginary line from the end of your fist to your body it would land right at the middle of your chest). Check your wrist placement - can you roll a marble off your forearm and have it roll between your two front knuckles? Are your shoulders straight and in line with your hips?
3. Spotting - remember why spotting is so important! Not only will it help keep you from running into other people it will also allow you the time needed to set yourself into a good position to start the next leg of the form. Don't rush through your forms - make sure your technique is solid.
4. Striking with your hands. If you are unsure exactly what this means - how it feels in your body when you are striking versus placing then ask one of the instructors to watch you do a leg of a Taeguek form this week to check for striking.
5. Lockouts. You need them to get forms checked off and the best way of working on them is to always practice your forms with lockouts AND work extra hard on strengthening your core. All your lockouts come from your core muscles so keep up with those crunches 5 ways and your bridges.
6. Stretching. Today we focused on the Hamstring stretch so we can get our Ax kicks off with a straight leg. Below is an image of a good hamstring stretch - remember to keep your knee as straight as possible for a 6-10 count then push against the belt flexing your quads for a 6-10 count and then pulling the leg higher. Make sure your knee stays perfectly straight - don't fudge technique. After you've done straight up, take your leg across your body and to the floor for 30 second and then to the outside of your body and to the floor for 30 seconds.
The intense training required during the Black Belt journey often results in our muscles getting tight and losing some of our flexibility. It is important to keep up with a good stretching routine to keep the flexibility and keep from getting injured. Stretching is one of the biggest keys to injury prevention so find a routine you like and stick with it.
You can find good guides to stretching on the internet - here are two I found - if you are under 18 years, please have your parents go out to these sites with you!
The following people have committed to crossing the rope next week on Saturday, 1 December:
Mr. Aidan B.
Mr. William B.
If they make it across the rope after committing up front, they will receive a prize for sticking with their training this week. As always, the ultimate prize for your hard work, perseverance and dedication to this art is your Black Belt. I firmly believe you ALL can make it by using your resources which are all the current Black Belts, buddy training at the dojo, keeping up with the dates for check off, following the training suggestions given here and getting privates when you need them.
I'll post next week's One-Step questions on Tuesday but you know some of the things I'll be asking - forms 3 times, pushups, crunches, running, board breaks, weapons form, etc. Start with those and you'll be well on your way to crossing the rope.
Keep up the good work!