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Kihon: hips rotation


The rotation of the hips in karate:

We often talk about hip rotation in karate but we should rather talk about rotation of the pelvis. Most of them refer to the hip by showing the iliac bone of the pelvis, in fact, the hip corresponds to the joint that connects the thigh and the pelvis.Hip rotation

In fact when we talk about hip rotation in karate, often, we mean a rotation of one hip relative to the other around the central axis of the basin.

But as these movements of rotation of the basin are only feasible thanks to a good hip mobility, the expression I put in the title is not completely aberrant (Whew, I'm doing well;))

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Hip rotations: Kihon sequence

So we go for this second sequence of Combinations Kihon, work the hip rotation. To do this I planned a very simple sequence:

1 - Shuto Uke en Kokutsu Dachi

2 - Gyaku-Zuki en Zenkutsu Dachi

Said like that, it seems simple. However this passage from Kokutsu Dachi to Zenkutsu Dachi is not always well done when we start because it mobilizes the hips as rotation of the pelvis and also as mobilization of the joint.

We will also see the sequence in the other direction. And there, the passage of Zenkutsu Dachi toward Kokutsu Dachi is even more difficult.

Moreover, it is found in kata only fromHeian Godan and in the last movements.

In this sense a bad placement of the center of gravity can quickly lose the balance, but we will see that further.

Kihon: chaining to soften the basin

As it is mainly hip and pelvic movements that interest us, I will not detail again Shuto Uke et Gyaku-Zuki.

We will therefore study only the changes of position in one direction then in the other and occupy us especially with the flexibility of the basin.

I - Hip rotation: Kokutsu Dachi followed by Zenkutsu Dachi:

You put yourself in the position Kokutsu Dachi. Your heels are aligned, feet 90 ° and the center of gravity slightly closer to the back leg.

In order to move into the Zenkutsu Dachi position, you will have to move your front leg out and pivot your back leg so that your foot is turned forward as much as possible.

In fact, the ideal is not to think of the legs (and so forget what I just wrote :-)), but you have to think hip rotation, or rather pool rotation et body placement and the feet will come to position themselves.

I explain to you : From the Kokutsu position, you will make a hip rotation to bring your rear hip as far forward as possible. In fact you close your two hips by contraction adductors.

To do this, you will automatically find that you have to rotate your back foot forward to stay connected to the ground and to avoid a twist in the knee.

If you have left your foot before where it was, you could not turn your pelvis to the maximum and you find yourself in Zenkutsu Dachi but with your feet almost aligned.

To correct this error, it is sufficient at the moment of the rotation of the pool of lift the front foot slightly then rest it at the end. It will be automatically shifted outward depending on your pelvis rotation. Do not shift it "consciously", let your hip guide the movement.

It's not easy to explain, and I hope you'll understand better about the video

II- Hip rotation: Zenkutsu Dachi followed by Kokutsu Dachi:

You are now in Zenkutsu Dachi both feet apart from hip width, both facing forward and 60 / 70% weight on front leg.

What is complicated in this sequence is that we will move from a position, where often beginners are stable, to a position, where it takes a lot of practice to remain stable.

But rest assured, we will try to see how to do it:

The movement will also be initiated by a rotation of the pelvis, but this time towards the back: you will open your hips.

Your back hip will recede and at the same time open to let the back leg rotate to 90 °.

As before, if you left your foot on the ground, you end up in Kokutsu Dachi, but with the front leg shifted on the outside, which is not good because you can not in this position sit on your center of gravity and you will be unbalanced.

So same principle, at the moment of rotation, we raise the front foot vertically and rest it at the end. It will be shifted according to the displacement of your pelvis.

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II The 4 errors often encountered in both cases:

1) You think too much about moving forward or backward:

In fact, your trip remains very light. You will notice that the center of gravity moves very little. There is mainly a rotation of the pelvis and an opening or closing of the hips.

So do not think displacement, but rotation ; Often we think of going on the front leg in the first case or on the back leg in the second and finally we accentuate the movement and we find ourselves too committed to the support leg and unbalanced.

2) You ride during the rotation of the hips:

This is a defect that occurs in almost all movements, which is often due to a lack of leg muscles and flexibility in the hips.

We then tend to get up, change position and then go down.

But we lose a lot of time and energy. It is imperative to leave the pool at the same level.

It's not always easy and comfortable but you have to train to improve your musculature and flexibility.

But do not worry, this is the goal of this blog, we will do targeted exercises on the video

3) Move your leg forward, "consciously":

You just have to lift it slightly and leave rotating your pelvis position the front leg.

As soon as you think about it, you risk either shifting this leg too early or shifting it too much.

Stay consistent with the placement of your pelvis and hips; Keep tension in the adductors and glutes so that the legs move with the hips.

4) Your rotation on the back foot is not good: heel or tip?

There is no not really wrong provided you stay consistent with the context of your technique. Remember that everything you do, you have to imagine with a combat partner.

In fact everything will depend on your goal and your technique, and especially on your distance from your opponent:

Passage from Ko to Zenkutsu:

  • If you turn on tiptoe, you will stay almost in the same place (no distance gain), you do Nigebut your front foot will spread a little less. Your center of gravity will not move much. If your opponent is very close to you it may be better.
  • If you turn on the heelyour front foot will move a little further out and will also move forward. You will gain a little distance and as your center of gravity will move a little more in the direction of your technique, you will gain in efficiency.

Passage from Zen to Kokutsu:

  • If you turn on tiptoeyou will also stay almost on the spot and your front foot will move very little. There will be no recoil, so if the goal and block an attack, this block will be very engaged and face the opponent.
  • If you turn on the heel, your front foot will have to come in a lot more to come in line with the back heel, your center of gravity will go back slightly and it will shift inwards, which may allow you to shift in relation to the attack. If we consider that the technique is forward (ex: Shuto Uke) you also do Nige.

As you can see, nothing is really good or bad. The important thing is that you are aware of what you are doing and that you really imagine an opponent.

There would probably be more errors than that to dissect, but if you are already careful not to commit these you have already done a big step in the placement of your body and especially your pelvis and your center of gravity during all your travels.

We will now move on to the practical exercises you all expect: the video

On the video, I added in the sequence of Kihon some Mae Geri to better understand how a bad placement of your center of gravity can block your hips and prevent you from properly chaining.

Before you start, do not forget your warm-ups using of course my free download method: " the ABC of warm-ups".

I find you, immediately after, for your kihon: Your hips will love

>>> Download the video

That's it, I hope you enjoyed it. You can now relax by doing special stretching exercises for the hips.

Do not forget to tell me what you think about this article and the video by making a comment below.

See you soon,

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  1. A very big thank you Bruno,
    at 41 years I started karate
    A desire since adolescence.
    I practice since early September 2014 Karate in a club and do not frequent the dojo 01h30 per week
    My brain is getting confused, it's going very fast.
    The classes go by and I think, "Hey, am I naughty or what? "
    No!! thanks to you I realize that perseverance and training in everyday life made the difference.
    The club of my city practices the "goju ryu" and I confess I am sometimes a little lost.
    I hold on.
    I try to put into practice the similarities by having understood that the "Base" remains the same.
    What do you think?
    In any case I am admiring of your work.
    It's more than a motivation or a passion.Respectfully. Sebastian

    • Hello,

      I am 57 years old and I started karate shotokan this year. Unfortunately I have osteoarthritis, especially at the hips (hence some pain right with some kicks in height). I would like to know if it would not be wiser to go Goju Ryu that does not, if I read that kind of kick.

  2. Hello Bruno,

    I just watched the video on hip work. Personally I will not have explained it in the same way even if the background is correct.
    Indeed, the rear leg must remain absolutely perpendicular to the ground to prevent internal flexion of the knee on which the weight of the body rests and thus prevent the risk of damage due to pressure caused by the lateral movement of the knee in the movement and in the realization of Mae-geri.
    On the other hand, the support leg must retain the weight of the body until the contact of the koshi of the front leg and only then suggest the action of propulsion of the hip to transfer the weight of the back leg on the front leg.
    On the other hand, the extension of the knee joint during the realization of the Mae geri causes serious consequences in the repetition so it is preferable to take care to maintain a knee flexed with an extension of the ankle and a flexion of the knees. toes. Ideally, the mae geri is realized on Pao.

    • Hello, I spoke about the knee joint and the harmfulness of maegeri "full pot" to a teacher, who told me that in STAPS they learn that the joint is locked and it is better to do kekomi, etc ... Personally, I do kihons at home in addition to courses in dojo and I do high keage series by letting die energy and prevent the knee bute.For the maegeris I make series 2 x 20 each Listed since 30 years, ditto for hunted and mawashis I took classes with Japanese one student and the other forty: they make whipped very fast, slamming and very .. ugly. because they make them maegeri and not according to academic standards.This said with a high position the maegeri had to be more whipping at the origin if we look at Me Funakoshi on the photos of Karate Kyohon 1935 version:

  3. Hello bruno, I managed to connect myself. I want to congratulate you for your blog. I find it really good, the explanations are very simple is well formulated

    a small suggestion, is not it possible to put Bunkais for example from time to time?

    but I still want to congratulate you your site is really very good

    thanks again

  4. Not only is it clear and useful for beginners or for the confirmed but it is also through your pedagogy, and playful examples and your simplicity, a very good support for teachers or those who pass a BE or a DIF

  5. Hello Shukokai,
    Welcome to the Blog. What do you call "rooting of the hip".
    For me in ZenKutsu, the pelvis has to make a slight retroversion and one "pushes" downwards by a contraction of the transverse which comes to create a pressure on the pelvic floor and thus "to sit" the position downwards.
    I think that's what you want to talk about.

  6. Hello everyone,
    thank you Bruno for your rubrics and the time you devote to it because it is not just the time of the video but a real preparation upstream for each.

    On the Zen-kutsu position, we could talk about rooting of the hip because in your ki-hon it is a decisive technique that requires gravity and kime whereas ko-kutsu must remain mobile especially if one performs shut-off. uke, to be ready to warp on another opponent's attack.

    The sequence is simple and educational.

    See you soon.

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