Sensei Judy has designed a 90-day challenge starting Oct 1 for FKU students that is designed to increase strength and flexibility in ways that will directly translate to karate practice. The challenge is to do a specific set of exercises at home every day, or as close to every day as possible. It requires no equipment, should take about 20 minutes a day, and requires no special karate skills. We’ll have a party on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the challenge and all particpants.
There are lots of details, so read to the end or dig up the email that Sensei Judy sent on 9/8.
Some of the exercises require demonstration before they can be done properly. You can get this training through the end of September in any of Sensei Judy’s classes, during or after Karate 101 on Thursday, or during or after Saturday karate. If you can’t make any of these times and want to participate in the challenge, talk to one of your senseis.
Perform the following exercises in any order:
Do as many proper push-ups as you can in one shot, without a break. This means you should be on your toes (not your knees), with your hands (either flat or on fists) directly below your shoulders, neck neutral (looking at the floor 6-12 inches in front of you through the entire push-up), rubbing elbows against ribs on the way down and the way up, belt knot touching the floor on every push-up. If you cannot complete one, that is ok – try again tomorrow, and count your effort as “1/2 push-up”
Choose a part of your body that needs improvement in flexibility (e.g., shoulders, hamstrings, abductors (side split), etc.). Set a timer for 5 minutes and stretch that part of your body (with any stretches that you choose), reaching the point of discomfort but not pain. The body region may change from day to day.
Side kick drill
Slow side-kicks using the wall for support, with a 5-second hold at full extension. This is the same drill we do in class: Lift, turn, extend and hold, back, and down. The standing foot must pivot completely away from the kicking target on the turn. The hold must be counted as: 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi for each kick. The foot must be in the proper side-kick position, with the blade edge of the foot forward and toes pointed down. Proper positioning for the lift, turn, and extension should be done for each kick. 10 kicks on each side.
Moving properly in stances
Rotate through the following exercises, choosing one of the following exercises per day (If you do not have a stance listed, then rotate through the stances that you do have):
- Front stance: 10 stances moving forward, 10 stances moving backward. Perform this twice. Start in a good front stance, making sure the back leg is locked and front knee is bent so that the knee is just forward of the ankle. Look down to make sure you cannot see your toes. If you can see your toes, your knee is not bent enough. Keep your weight over center (don’t lean forward) as you step forward and backward into stance. Stay low (do not come up as you transition from one stance to the next). Do not move your front toes before stepping forward and do not left your back heel before stepping back.
- Cat stance: Start in proper cat stance, with 90% of your weight on your back foot, and back hip and shoulder pulled. The weight on your front foot should be concentrated on the ball of the foot behind the first two toes only. Turn your front foot on an angle, put your heel down, and step into your next cat stance, again, pulling the back hip and shoulder. 10 forward, 10 back. Repeat.
- Front stance to cat stance transition: Starting in a good front stance, pull back into cat stance without getting taller. Shift back into a front stance. Do this 10x. Then do the other side. Repeat for a total of 20x on each side.
- Shico stance: Start in a good shico stance, with the goal of getting and keeping your quads parallel with the ground. Step into stance using your hips to whip the back knee into position. Keep your weight over center (shoulders over hips, don’t lean) as you step forward into shico 10x, and then backward 10x. Repeat.
- Back stance: First, do the back stance drill against the wall to remind yourself of proper positioning. Sit in a good back stance for 5-10 seconds, then stand up without moving the position of your feet. Repeat 2-3 times per side. Then do 10 stances moving forward and 10 stances moving back. Each step should be an attempt to get right into a good backstance position without fidgeting or adjusting.
- Shico to back stance transition: Start in a proper shico stance, then without sliding your front foot, shift into proper back stance. Step into your next shico, and shift into back stance. 10 steps forward, 10 steps back, then repeat.
Sitting in a proper Shico stance
- 30 seconds (days 1-7)
- 60 seconds (days 8-15)
- 90 seconds (days 16-30).
- Shico basics to the front (days 31-60)
- All Shico basics, iincluding breaking stance (days 61-90)
Something specific to each student
For example, 180 and 270-degree turns into a good (wide) front stance. Or stepping in in front stance, punching at solar plexus level with shoulders square (versus wherever their punch ends up), or dynamic hip movement exercises for purple belt and higher. Ask one of your senseis what you need to work on if you don’t have an idea for yourself
- Students need to inform Sensei Judy that they are participating.
- Students will be required to keep a log of their participation and bring the log to the dojo when the challenge ends, and possibly over the course of the challenge. The log is available in the email from 9/8, or ask a friend or one of your senseis to send you the file.
- The challenge must be done outside of class – students may come to the dojo before class to complete the exercises
- Students will need to demonstrate some level of improvement over the 90 days.
- Students do not have to do this every day, and they can make up for a day that they missed within 24 hours (either the day before if they know they won’t have time the next day, or the day after). However, this means that students will end up doing this twice in one day if they want to get credit for both days.
Free Pass: There are actually 92 days between Oct 1 and Dec 31, which means you get 2 free passes to use at any time. No need to do your challenge on the days you choose to use your free pass. Just enter “Free Pass” on the appropriate days in your log.
The Prize: There will be a raffle at the end, and a prize. The number of raffle chances a student gets will be linked with the amount of effort the student puts in (i.e., how many days they complete the challenge) and the improvement that they demonstrate. If a student performs the challenge properly and with some consistency, then improvements should be apparent.