Following our session on Monday night I have had several interesting conversations about what we covered. In one conversation it was expressed that the instruction to use the full range of motion for the technique was a contradiction of my usual approach to Karate, whereby I advise you should use ability and understanding to reduce the amount of movement of a particular limb as far as possible when defending yourself…. a good observation and a good point.
HOWEVER, we need to understand the difference between application and training. When in the dojo/training hall we are not always working towards performing everything as we would in real conflict (or even competition or grading). We train in order to improve our abilities, this means we do not always take the easier more comfortable option during a training session and personal practice. TRAIN HARD, FIGHT EASY should be the moto your karate training lives by.
Without pushing ourselves in training, even in very basic techniques that we think we are competant at, we may grow our knowledge and understanding to that of a Black Belt but the standard of our “karate” will stay at a basic level. For some people this may be ok dependant upon their aims and goals of their karate they will be happy to remain at this level. To gain a Black Belt within the Bushido Martial Arts Association, however, is an honour only bestowed following dedication and effort which therefore requires knowledge, understanding AND ability.
In closing, a gedan barai may well be used in its short form when utilising body movement to make it work, but this limits your options of use and will not develop further use, flexibility or conditioning of muscles that can be used for other things to improve your all-round karate. Practice the full move, if your can develop speed, strength and accuracy within this technique in its full variation so that it can beat a full speed/power kick then you have truely made a gedan barai work.
Put in the effort, push yourself and the benefits will be reaped… this I promise.