You begin with light striking and as you progress with your partner you strike harder and even harder, as far as each of you can go.
To someone outside of the traditions is appears brutal, but it is based on several underlying principles.
1. You don’t really remember pain, the mind doesn’t work that way, instead you remember you were in pain, and if there is subsequent damage you experience those pains, but the actual pain is gone once the practice subsides.
2. Teaching that pain (of the non-damaging sort) is something you can bear through to move beyond.
3. Kotekitae instructs how to train your body to strike back with itself when you’re hit, blunting that force a bit.
4. It also instructs how to hit the shape of the body before you. Both partners share impact with each other, learning how to read the impact of their strike into another body. It is possible this is the most important aspect to Kotekitae, later to be bolstered by the advancing study of the use of karate technique. Learning how to fit a space with the correct strike shape and power is very important.
When I was a beginner, a group of us really worked on taking and giving those strikes. That drilling really was a real part of pre-class practice, and as the months progressed we understood how we could go toe to toe with the drills.
The body and arm pounding isn't to toughen up the body and arms, IMVHO. Instead it's to condition them to strike back by tightening at the moment of impact, creating a counter force to lesson a strike.
There are still striking methods that can go through that body counter force, and methods of striking that use that conditioning to set one up for follow-up strikes. But those specifics aside, Kotekitae has is uses.
While I’ve seen various arm pounding and body striking drills I've never seen the combination of techniques from our dojo anywhere else.
The two person drill, with both people facing each other in horse stance, hands in chamber on both hips,. Both partners are simultaneously executing this pattern.
[note the area to strike on the opponent is as you are looking at them. The direction 'right pec or right pectoral' refers to their left pectoral from the opponents point of view, and the right is from your point of view.]
The Kotekitae Drill
1. Right mid-inside strike to your opponents mid-inside strike (as in block) to your opponents right mid-inside strike.
2. continuing with the right, right lower strike (as in block) to your opponents right lower strike
3. continuing with the right, right mid-outer strike (as in block) to your opponents right outer strike
4. now continue with the Left mid-inside strike (as in block)
5. continuing with the Left , Left lower strike (as in block) to your opponents left lower strike.
6. continuing with the Left , Left mid-outer strike (as in block) to your opponent left mid-outer strike.
7. Then right vertical standing punch to the opponents upper right pec.
8. left vertical standing punch to the opponents upper left pec.
9. right flat knuckle slap using the standing fist (with the palm side of the knuckles) tothe side of the opponents abdomen.
10. left flat knuckle slap using the standing fist (with the palm side of the knuckles) to theside of the opponents abdomen.
11. right vertical standing punch to the opponents lower right abdomen.
12. left vertical standing punch to the opponents lower left abdomen.
- ** Repeat again
Training with a partner, start off soft and up the power each time through, till you and/or your partner reach their limit. In time you'll be surprised how far that limit extends.
Striking into the large muscle groups of the pectorals, the sides or the front of the abdominals you focus on how breathing and tightening those muscle groups at the moment of impact lessens the damage of the strike. Timing is critical. If you tighten too early, the force of their strike will cut straight through that tightened muscle mass. If you tighten too late, the force of their strike will cut through those soft tissues. Learning how to tighten at the moment of impact with correct breathing develops the bodies ability to strike into a strike countering that force.
Another two person practice associated with this drill was to condition the abdomen to take roundhouse strikes, and the side of the body to take side kick strikes. Each with specific practices in those drills for safety, but using gradual increase in striking power for the same purpose.
1. The purpose of karate training is not to take strikes, especially if your attackers is holding a weapon. Kotekitae is a subsidiary training that may be useful and most probably has more to do with learning proper striking ability.
2. Always strike (as in block) with the meat of the arm (inner or outer) and never the wrists.
3. Never strike on the opponent’s centerline. Your body strikes are to the large muscle masses of the pectorals, the side of the abdomen or the lower abdomen.
4. This is inappropriate training for those younger than 15, or those who are reaching mature years. When in doubt of the students needs, always err on the side of caution.
5. This is a committed practice, not a part time exercise. Without long term practice, the true value of Kotekitae is lost. The level of Kotekitae for the individual student depends a great deal on what they want the shape of their own study to become.
Karate practice is multi-dimensional. Kotekitae is not necessarily a life time training practice, but studied hard for a few years in adult training can offer long term understanding how striking works. Deep study into kata application builds upon the base Kotekitae provides and there the power levels grow more intense, but the same underlying principles remain intact.
Two of my students, John Dinger and Tom Chan demonstrate several of the Kotekitae techniques.
John was a great karate-ka, his passing in 2003 remains a great loss.
Disclaimer: I am aging and quite decrepit these days. This was my past but even as time’s ravages are felt, that former basis still provides a lot to work with.
Future related topics:
1, Single person Kotekitae.
2. Two person impact kicking drills to condition against kicks..
3. Striking practices to strike through kotekitae conditioning using multiple and layered striking.
4. Breathing practices to counter the counter striking