The last time I had a few students test for their next belt, my Sensei pointed out that one of my students had “no drive” in her stances.
I looked at him with one eyebrow raised.
“What do you mean?” I’m thinking to myself “she is so strong I can hardly block her punches! I think she has lots of drive.”
Seeing the unbeliving look on my face,
Sensei repeated “No drive! No drive!”
And I’m thinking… “?”
Finally I say, “Sensei, I’m coming to the main Dojo to train for a few days. If she doesn’t have drive, and I don’t know it – then I must not have drive in my stances. ” (Sensei nods to confirm) I continue “When I come to train, could you run through a few practice drills to help me work on creating drive in my stance?”
Zoom forward two weeks. I’m in the home dojo.
Sensei had us stand in front stance with reverse punch out.
We repeated a basic combination:
Kizame Zuki, Gyaku Zuki
Age Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Soto Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Uchi Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Gedan Barrai, Gyaku Zuki
For the jab punch, Sensei had us check the pressure on our back leg to be sure we were pushing maximum, then for the first reverse punch, Sensei told us to push a bit harder with the back leg – as though we were pushing a car. The rising block required an extra strong push from the back leg to provide support against a strong attack – then push a bit harder with the back leg for the reverse punch…
For each successive block and punch, Sensei reminded us of how the back leg should feel as it supported the rest of the body and stance. After a few repetitions – my butt muscles were screaming! Just the fact that my gluteous muscles became so fatigued so quickly is evidence that I’ve not been creating drive correctly or powerfully enough.