In the previous parts of this series on the subject of jump training (Jump Training Part 1 / Jump Training Part 2), particular emphasis was placed on the physical aspects such as strength, power, speed, explosive power and maximum power in order to improve, among other things, the jumping height and jumping distance. Once you have incorporated the above or similar exercises into your training plan, you will notice an improvement in performance relatively quickly. Now I would like to talk more about the technical aspects of jumping, respectively during the flight phase and landing, because height and possibly distance of the jump is not everything! 😉
Hint: Before starting the exercises, warm up well as always! Some running, rope skipping, light dynamic stretching, step lunge left and right in rotation, and loose stepping would be variations to get the circulation going. Furthermore, the following exercises and jumps should be done on a soft floor mat or similar to reduce the risk of injury.
One more personal note: Also at the risk of repeating myself, but of course it is not absolutely necessary to practice jump training and especially kata jumps or Tobi-Geris (jumped-in kicks) separately or to exhaust their execution to perfection. These are (at least in Shotokan) not relevant for the examination (Kyu-/Dan-examination) to reach the next level of graduation. And even for competitors there are enough Kata, which do not contain any jumps, so that one gets along finally also without quite well.
2nd jump in Shotokan-Kata - Kanku-Sho
At this point I decided to take the second jump (Ushiro-Tobi-Geri) from the Kata Kanku-Sho. It is a jump with 360 degrees turn and half screw, where you land on all fours. Before starting the jump you stand with your right leg forward in Zenkutsu-Dachi.
Depending on the variant, the upper body tilts forward by up to 45 degrees towards the supporting leg and looks back towards the outstretched hand. In old versions of well-known masters like Kanazawa or Kagawa the upper body does not tilt at all or only slightly. Now jump off to the left and after turning completely, step the Ushiro-Tobi-Geri backwards and land primarily on the front right leg and hands. The left leg with which you kicked remains stretched out and you should keep a slight flexion as with any technique. This allows the muscles to absorb what would otherwise go to the bones and joints.
At first you should get a feeling for the jump and the turn. So just jump off a few times and try to get the rotation in. For this it is necessary, as described in the previous parts of this series, that you make yourself 'tight' (knees and arms pulled to the chest). This can be practiced well by leaving out the screw and thus the body tilt when jumping. It is important to get the coordination of arms and legs after the jump towards the chest and to land cleanly on the legs after the 360 degree turn (see also part 1 of this series).
If the knee-arm-to-breast problem is no longer a problem, you can slowly dare to turn as well as tilt or screw. Here, the mental aspect plays a big role, because you jump, and when you reach the highest point, your body is standing parallel to it with your face towards the ground. At the beginning most of the pilots will open their arms reflexively and already during the flight phase they will try to protect themselves from an impending fall and to catch it. In my opinion this is one of the most difficult parts of the jump. First of all you should practice on a soft floor mat or similar to lose the fear of falling. The aim should be to stay closed for as long as possible. Only when the left leg is kicked do the arms also move towards the floor.
If one has also taken this hurdle, one could still take care to look forward immediately after landing, otherwise there is only a little routine missing to get security in what one has learned. There are also still enough forms of improvement. For example, you could kick a Mikazuki-Geri in the outstretched hand with your right leg while jumping off before you make yourself small. Or you could even kick a Yoko-Tobi-Geri (Jump Training - Yoko-Tobi-Geri from the Kata Kanku Sho) with your right leg and change legs to the Ushiro-Tobi-Geri in the air. All nice and feasible variations, which however require a lot of training. As with everything else in life, only practice makes perfect, i.e. constant practice, analysis, practice and improvement. And maybe the most important: Never give up! 😉
I myself include jumps and related exercises 1-2 times a week in my training plan, and I am still far from being where I would like to be when it comes to coordination, dynamics and jumping power. The nice thing about training is that there is always something to improve and it never gets boring!
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