How do I help stiffnessin karate?

I’ve been doing karate for a long time, but whenever I practice kata and then make the transition to practicing kumite, I am very stiff and the stiffness in my stance and punches results in me being slow. How can I help this?

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9 Responses to How do I help stiffnessin karate?

  1. Sensei says:

    Hi Flubber…

    Here’s the thing… your kata practice should be as loose as your kumite practice because kata is kumite.

    Of course you must also control your movement but it should flow like kumite.

    There has to be a balance between relaxation and tension whether kumite or kata.

    This “stiffness” you talk about is not a karate thing… it is a Japanese and American thing.

    In Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate, all the practitioners execute this balance.

    I guess some people don’t have the insight to see that the man is not referring to something physiological….

    or maybe I misunderstood? Please asker… correct me if I am wrong!

  2. normfactor says:

    Stretch more , do strength and flexibility exercises. Work on your endurance and the first things I mentioned with a good kettlebell routine. Also about an hour prior to class, try taking an anti-inflamatory medication, like ibuprofen(800 mg tabs by script only) or naproxen. It will help keep your muscles a little more loose.

  3. blutic11 says:

    By practicing more kumite. Most people tend to tense when sparring because it’s not an activity they are used to. The more you do something, the more natural it becomes.

  4. jon s says:

    the guy that rote in about taking anti inflamtorys and streching is the only answer for you ….,not some cr#@ about ITS an american or Japan thing?duh…what is that guy on…..?

  5. BUSHIDO says:

    you say you’ve been doing karate for a long time so i would assume that you are physically fit and stretching etc?sounds to me like you just need to relax and loosen up a bit.

  6. Reaper says:

    In Kata, most amateurs stiffens because they think too much about making it look good.

    Just relax and think that you’re against somebody who’s trying to take your life away. If you become nervous, stiffen up, you’ll lose your life.

    When you punch, think only about your fist. Grip as tight as you can and relax the rest of muscles in your arm and then throw the punch. Make sure your power comes from your stomach if you know what I mean.

  7. jc says:

    tiger balm, go get mri

  8. Apollo says:

    Increasing your flexibility is going to help. Maybe developing a meditation practice will have the most effect. Kumite is basically sparring. You don’t want to be stiff or tight in a self defense situation because you are absorbing the impact of every strike thrown at you and every strike that you throw.

    Other examples with the same principle- Swinging a baseball bat or a golf club. You can also look at the stats of auto accidents where sometimes a drunk person will escape injury simply because he reflexes were too slow to contract.

    Of course any instructor worth his salt ought ot be able to address this situation for you.

  9. DEREK E says:

    This will sound funny but you need to force yourself to relax. The muscle tension and anticipation is a primary cause for slow reaction time. Trust what you know and allow yourself to react.

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