Whether to swing or to stomp - that's the question. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Experimenting and exchanging the swing for more of a stomping motion(requires knee to be much higher)I find it much easier to focus more power into the target.I also find that target distance doesn't have to be as percise.Is this changing the technique too much? It is somewhat slower,but I feel,more effective.
Now I've never been shy with words or opinions, and I won't start now. My initial comment is "Right on target, nosib!" You have properly assessed this technique. You are doing what we teachers want you to do with the motions you train in your kata - try them out and see what happens.
I've used the analogy about designing cars before. If you don't have a wind tunnel, you come up with all kinds of bizarre looking (albeit neat) designs. But put that car body in a 120 mph wind (160 kph for you metric types) and you suddenly decide you'd rather have the body look a bit different. The same goes for a karate technique. First...make sure you know what the thing is supposed to be used for. Sometimes the function isn't what you think it is. Sometimes it's just a generalized motion that has many applications which operate on the same set of principles. But form and function must go hand in hand.
Rick - in my opinion - is right on the money with the most practical (albeit not the only) use of that technique. Mayamiya - a former Okinawan champion - demonstrated this at one of the Thompson Island Uechi camps in the 1980s. It looked like something right out of the hojoundo. Basically he would grab his opponent, stomp in the femoral crease, and then bash the guy's head as he folded forward.
Let's start with an anatomy lesson. I've sometimes heard folks refer to this as the inguinal area. I think this isn't quite right (Ian may correct me if I'm wrong here. I'm a systems physiologist - not an anatomist). The inguinal canal is a little lower, and where the testicles drop through the abdominal wall when the fetus is developing from asexual being to a male. What I'm talking about is the fold between the leg and the abdomen. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
The position of the hip set in sanchin limits the amount of rotation we can put to the leg and foot which leaves the toes higher than the heel.
Excellent observation! Now...take a look at the angle of the femoral crease, and compare it to the angle of the blade of the foot when an opponent is opposite, and kicking with the same side (left foot to left crease of opponent; right foot to right crease of opponent). By George, they are the same!
Now let's switch a bit from anatomy to physiology. Ever had a doctor sit you on a table and hit your patellar tendon with a rubber hammer? What happens? Foot pops out, doesn't it? Now take your own body. Start by standing straight up. Using a loose hammer fist, drop it right into your femoral crease with dead weight. If you hit the right spot, your body will buckle. It's the exact same reflex. They are all over the body, and can be triggered if you find the right spot (generally right where the tendon of a major muscle attaches to the bone). What Mayamiya was doing was triggering this reflex to break his opponent's center. Once he had his opponent (firmly in grasp) with butt out and head forward, it was all over except for the ippon
As for the "swing" mentality of this kick, I remind you of the fundamentals of physics. They tell us that the force trajectory is tangential to the path of motion. What I'm saying is that the only
time you should be swinging this kick (resulting in an arc-like path of the foot) is if you want to ring those two bells between the fellow's legs. Otherwise all you are doing is wrecking your knee. Sure...you can make your gi snap really neat if you snap your leg like that. But you aren't in battle with your gi.
I also agree that the top of opponent's foot is a great alternate location. So is the back of the knee (another reflex point) if you are behind the person.
Another good application of the technique is to grab the person (up close), pull their weight on their front leg, and then kick just slightly under the line of their front leg. If you do it right, you can dump them, and they are ready to be finished.