So on Saturday, my instructor, Ronny Kokert was holding a master class at my dojo in Vienna’s 22nd district. Additionally to being OpenTKD World Champion an god-knows how many times state champion in olympic TKD, this is the guy who brought the idea of Shinergy to live and created the system I’ve devoted myself to over the last decade. That being said, Ronny was always more to me than just an instructor – I consider him a teacher, mentor, role-model and great friend all at once. Therefore, it’s always a pleasure having him at my dojo.
Generally, I think that mixing things up from time to time and getting new/different input from someone else than their regular instructor can greatly benefit trainees from all walks of live. It’s not really like there was a lot of new information, but the way it was presented was just superb.
Basically, the class was all about making basic techniques work out better, biomechanics-wise. In short, the essence was:
- Stay relaxed. You need strength and power when striking and kicking, but think about the proper timing. For example: When punching, you don’t want to „push“ your punch all the way to the target. You want to generate an impulse that catapults your fist to the target. Only if your arm is relaxed can your fist gain speed. So basically all the force you need is produced at moment 0. Well, not exactly. When you made contact, you need to contract your whole body and start retracting that fist of yours. So here’s „control point“ 2. Those are the moments when you actively need to produce force.
- Imagine „falling into“ your techniques rather than pushing yourself into them. So, when looking at a roundhouse kick, you need to manipulate your centerof gravity to lift your foot and twist the body. Rather than shifting all your weight to your supporting leg and pushing yourself up from there, imagine falling down a couple of centimeters. This will loosen your ground-contact and set your center of gravity in motion. Now you’re free to kick with much lessof an effort. Granted, you’ll be robbed of reactive force (i.e. the force you „draw from the ground“ when pushing yourself forward/upward), but then chances are you don’t need that anyways. Power of impact comes down to acceleration, which will benefit greatly from not having to waste power on unnecessary tension.
- Execute your technique as effortless as possible. „Reduce to the max“. Use the rule of 80%, meaning you never strike or kick at full power – this will only get you unnecessarily tense and get muscles firing that have nothing to do with your actual technique. By keeping things „easy“ and shooting for about 80% of your max speed and power, you might end up reaching 120% of the effect.
Those points seem like simple, however, truly mastering the art of effortless technique might just take a lifetime but looking at those who truly excel at their art – due to a high level of what you might call „effortlessness“ – should convince you it’s well worth the time (and effort, to draw a taoist conclusion) you put in.