The Need for Speed Part III

Welcome to part three of “The need for speed series” In the first part of the continuing series we described basic drills to work with the right distance and direction and how to use it successfully. In the next chapter we worked on the the technique Gyaku Tsuki to improve reaction and good timing.

Now we finish the series by presenting training- situations which help us to succeed the Gyaku Tsuki de-ai during the Kumite- Shiai. We also show you some ideas, how to train if you have to work with this technique under stress and instable conditions.
Counter Gyaku Zuki in a fight scenario:
a) Direct Counter against half techniques and complete attacks:


Start from a standing position and progress up to free movement. The aim of this exercise is to counter the forward movement of the opponent. Importantly, intercept the attacker before he can finish his technique. In the beginning, the partner should attack with a big movement (obvious push) while opening up the target area, i.e. he has to help his partner to hit him properly. Progress systematically with single attacks (jabs, back fists, combinations), and increasing speed and momentum.

Technique and timing first. Aspects relevant for competition should be built up later. Otherwise fear of injury and hesitation could be the results. Therefore, always start relaxed and slow before you go ballistic.

b) Adding stress to the counter training scenario (counter-lines):


Several partners form a line by standing behind each other in a kamae position. One partner is facing the line. One after the other is attacking with a push first, later on with a single attack, finally with a combination.

Speed and intensity should be increased after each round. This is a pretty good exercise at the end of a training session and a great way to boost motivation and fighting spirit.

Opposite stance (mirror stance) is recommended for counter striking. The front foot always moves to the outside in order to avoid being swept and as a possible set up for further attacks (kicks with the front foot). The front hand checks the front hand of the partner.

The person doing the counter determines distance!!! If the distance is too short, reaction time is automatically too short since the attacker has the advantage of the forward drive.

Remember, moving forward is always faster than moving backward, otherwise everybody would walk backwards. If the distance is too big, the counter falls too short and you are open to counter hits of the attacker.

The front hand should always be held up high to guard the head, ideally in front of the head. Very important fort he striking itself is the initial push from the hips and the back leg similar to the starting movement of an Olympic sprinter. Always strike with full hip rotation and directly forward into the target keeping the elbow tight at the body. Remember, the fastest way from A to B is straight.

The authors:

Christian Gruener
is World University Karate Champion 2004. He studied at sports at the
Friedrich Schiller University, Jena Germany and is now professional Karate trainer in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He has won several national and international titles.

Ken Oesterreich is New Zealand University Games Silver Medallist Winner 2004.

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