Upper/Lower body synchronization

Post questions and tips on the ability to perform unrelated movements simultaneously, for example, punch with one arm while making large circles with the other while jogging.

Upper/Lower body synchronization

Postby mmeloon » Nov 28, 2005 02:17

For some time now I've been having problems getting the synchronization between my upper and lower body right. My instructor tells me that he can see that my hand techniques are "late". That is, my punch/block/strike doesn't lock out until after my legs and hips stop moving. Needless to say, this robs my upper body techniques of a lot of power. I've been aware of this problem for awhile but don't know how to fix this.

Sometimes I can feel the lateness but most of the other times I cannot. This makes it very difficult to correct the problem. Does anyone have any ideas of drills or other practice techniques that I can use to correct this problem? It's frustrating and I just don't know how to make progress on this.

-Mark
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Re: Upper/Lower body synchronization

Postby mat » Nov 28, 2005 05:41

mmeloon wrote:For some time now I've been having problems getting the synchronization between my upper and lower body right. My instructor tells me that he can see that my hand techniques are "late". That is, my punch/block/strike doesn't lock out until after my legs and hips stop moving. Needless to say, this robs my upper body techniques of a lot of power. I've been aware of this problem for awhile but don't know how to fix this.

Sometimes I can feel the lateness but most of the other times I cannot. This makes it very difficult to correct the problem. Does anyone have any ideas of drills or other practice techniques that I can use to correct this problem? It's frustrating and I just don't know how to make progress on this.

-Mark


Hi Mark,

I've found the best thing for myself and a lot of my students is just to regularly practise techniques more slowly. Repetitive practice of slow/medium speed techniques will help the body to "memorise" the movement and over time this carries over to full-speed execution.

A lot of my students have a tendency to go "full power" from the beginning to the end of the technique. Instead of this I try to encourage them to start techniques slowly and accelerate to the end of the technique. This makes it a lot easier to synchronise the whole body, and also encourages the student to focus on reaching maximum tension/power at the end of the technique rather than spread across the movement.

Another thing that I found helped a lot was to watch myself in the mirror!

Cheers,
Mat
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Postby Kit » Nov 28, 2005 19:28

Usually when the upper body is out of time with the lower body it is a sign that the power of the technique is coming from the wrong place - ie you are punching with your arm/shoulder, instead of your whole body, especially the waist.

Your punch should be thrown out by the power of your waist, not the power of your arm or shoulder. If it is thrown out by the waist, then your whole body should be in sync.

This is an important point that many martial artists skip over - even though they may be told 'the power comes from your waist' often people don't really know what that means, or are unable to properly apply it. A simple example of what it means can be demonstrated as follows.

Step 1: Stand up straight, letting your hands hang loosely by your sides. Now, without using any muscles in your arms at all(keep your arms totally relaxed and floppy), swing your upper body (by twisting at the waist) so that your arms start to swing backwards and forwards... In this movement, the 'power' that is moving your arms is coming solely from your waist. This is the power that you want to drive your techniques.

Step 2: Try some of your martial art techniques slowly. Do them with your arm muscles totally relaxed (again almost floppy). Focus on the driving power coming from your waist (ie only move your arm by the power from your waist - you may find that this will give you the opportunity to find that many techniques you think you know how to perform correctly, you are in fact performing incorrectly.. I again stress - make your arm move by the movement of your waist - not the muscles in your arm or shoulder)

Step 3: train slowly focusing on how you move and how your arm is thrust out by the waist - do techniques or patterns (kata) slowly and with each move concentrate on executing the technique with the power (ie the thrust that shoots your arm out) coming from your waist.

If the thrust (power) of your techniques comes from your waist, then your punch will have power - and your stances will be strong. This is because when you have true power in your techniques, your stances HAVE TO be strong -otherwise the imbalance of power in your upper body will be too much for your legs and you will be pulled off balance by your technique!

So in short - being out of sync means you are using the wrong source of power in your techniques. If you use your waist to drive your power, your body will be in sync and your stances will be strong.
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Postby dragon » Nov 29, 2005 06:23

I recall you passing your grading for 2nd degree black belt so you know how to execute techniques.My advice:-

1)Go to a boxing gym.The small details are taught alot more by experienced boxing coaches than martial arts instructors.

2)Use a bungee for punching(set up in the same way as on the Power High Kicks video).To start with you don't even have to throw the punch,just hold the bungee in your hand in guard position and practice executing the twist.From there,progress to punching.This way you will be able to tell a lot easier where the "weak link" is.

Dragon.
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Postby mmeloon » Dec 01, 2005 11:38

Thanks everyone for your replies. Dragon, yes, I'm not really a beginner even though this problem is one usually found in novices. I've gotten into some bad habits but been able to compensate so that my techniques are still quite powerful. I think I've been somehow using my lower back to make up for the sychronization problem but this causes my back to be sore after practice.

At yesterday's practice, I dropped back on my usual intensity and speed to focus more on sychronization. I notice that my back felt much better than it usually does both right after practice and this morning.

Kit, my instructor has actually suggested "Step 1" to me to help with my problem. I'll work more on that and start incorporating the other suggestions.

Thanks everyone. I suspect it will take me a long time to get out of these bad habits but I know that it's important for my future growth and improvement.

-Mark
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Postby Kit » Dec 01, 2005 19:47

I also used to have a problem in this area... only my power came from my shoulders. My shoulders are quite large (naturally - not from body building etc) and I wanted to give power to my techniques, so I would try to use the power of my shoulders. The result was I ended up putting my right shoulder right out of action.... one day there was a sharp pain (whilst at work) then the next day frozen shoulder set in. I couldn't movemy shoulder for a week. Finally some laser acu therapy got my shoulder moving again along with some Chinese herbal medicine and acuprssure.

I then was left wondering why I was injured, and it all came down to how i had been executing techniques. To work on it I followed the steps I outlined above. Surprisingly it didn't take too long to get used to the correct way to move. And as you say, the pain is gone!
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Re: Upper/Lower body synchronization

Postby Thomas Kurz » Dec 06, 2005 12:45

mmeloon wrote:For some time now I've been having problems getting the synchronization between my upper and lower body right. My instructor tells me that he can see that my hand techniques are "late". That is, my punch/block/strike doesn't lock out until after my legs and hips stop moving. Needless to say, this robs my upper body techniques of a lot of power. I've been aware of this problem for awhile but don't know how to fix this.


If you can make a short video of yourself punching I might find causes of your problem and ways of fixing them. I'd need to see front and side views of the whole body during 2-4 punches. If you make such video make it small (320x240) and short, upload it on your Web site/page, and post the link here.
Thomas Kurz
Madrej glowie dosc dwie slowie
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Postby mmeloon » Dec 06, 2005 14:45

Mr. Kurz, thanks for the offer. I'll see if I can borrow a camcorder from a friend and try to make some videos. It might take me a little while to secure one, but I think it is probably worthwhile.

-Mark
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Postby mmeloon » Dec 11, 2005 20:45

mmeloon wrote:Mr. Kurz, thanks for the offer. I'll see if I can borrow a camcorder from a friend and try to make some videos. It might take me a little while to secure one, but I think it is probably worthwhile.

-Mark


I've borrowed a camcorder from a work associate. Unfortunately, I'm really busy packing for my move next week into my first home so it'll be awhile before I can film myself and figure out how to transfer the video to my computer (my computer doesn't have a FireWire card). I was hoping to do it this weekend but I'm up to my eyeballs in boxes right now. I hope to have a video for critique online the week after Christmas.

-Mark
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