I had the dojo to myself last night. It was another one of "those" training sessions.
After a brief warm up training inevitably focused on kata. Namely, sanchin, kushanku and chinto.
I went through our "stance changing" exercise as a dynamic stretch, still working on the placement of the feet and getting knees in the correct alignment. During movement it's important to shift weight correctly to prevent wobbling about. Sanchin kata was very useful practice for this - the circular nature of the stepping and the constant stretching and softening.
"Move from the centre" becomes apparent - as you step you expand and contract from the hips joint and the core muscles using the interaction between hip, thigh and shifting weight (be careful not to load the knee joints with weight - ouch!!)
I decided to spend time on kushanku to practice "folding" from the hip joint. This meant doing the kata several times - slowly. I found that the changes in direction, stepping and weight shifting could be done better by opening and closing form the hips - for example instead of stepping the left leg to the left on the first move, rotate the entire leg from the hips. Do the same to open the right leg in order to root into the stance.
So we have opening and closing, stretching and sinking of the hip and thigh. Watch out for body alignment - shoulder, hip, knee, shin, feet and toes all in the same line. Combine this with developing a firm footing.
Again, chinto received the same treatment. Whilst kushanku takes you through all manner of angles, stances, depths and changes, chinto does the same thing, but in a more compact framework. The turns and shifts are similar, but kept on the tight line of chinto's embusen.
There was quite a significant difference with the tighter lines of chinto. It generated a different vibration up through the upper body than the effect of kushanku. I guess this gives rise to chinto's reputation of being a light, snappy kata. It has nothing to do with frantically flailing your arms about whilst wobbling around one one leg!
It was another fascinating night. Try this kind of training, working with the feet and centre. Next up is what happens in between, and how the whole lot relates to the upper body. It will be interesting to see how this works in naihanchi kata.
The training was quite intensive - it was (very!) hard work on the leg muscles.
Trouble is, I'm now feeling excess tension in my lower back. That means something's not right somewhere. Any kind of blockage like this takes you away from your most efficient (optimum) technique. This will require much further research. Back to sanchin...