Almost all movement comes from the hips, goes through the hips or otherwise involves the hips. Bigger hip movements in your practice will mean better practice, so let's look at 10 ways to "put your hips into it".
1. Bend your knees
Here's the simplest way there is to improve your hipwork, just unlock those knees. If the knees are locked it actually prevents the hips from moving at all, try it, lock the knees and then try to move around. The jolting to the spine is shocking isn't it?
2. Train Training
Put a rope or a belt around your waist and have someone sit behind you holding it. Now pull them around the floor. This will not only strengthen your legs, it will also force you to move from your hips since it will be impossible to move from your torso.
3. Tighten your sphincter and bear down
Oh dear, that's the most polite way I can think of to say that. Perhaps another way would be to suggest that you shove your lower abdomen into your belt as you perform any movement.
4. Go skating
Walk down the floor pushing your feet without lifting them while punching, swinging or otherwise using your arms loosely. If you have a mirror look at it to make sure your head isn't rising and falling with each step. You should also make sure your torso isn't swaying forward and back, just keep it above the hips.
5. Hit with the hips
Place your elbow by your side and your fist pointed forward, now swing your hips to hit your partner's hands with your fist without letting the elbow leave your side. Don't lift the heels. This will force you to move the hips instead. You can try this from different standing positions, both feet close together, spread apart, and one in front of the other.
6. Arm whipping
Stand with your feet comfortably apart, then twist back and forth letting the arms whip around your body. Concentrate on keeping all tension out of your upper body and maintain a strong lower body.
7. Tighten your belt
Just having a bit of pressure on your lower belly will remind you to use your hips. You can also think to yourself HIPS every time you make a move.
8. Not Punching Walls
Line up so that a properly thrown punch or kick is almost but not quite far enough to hit a wall, then repeatedly throw punches or kicks toward the wall, if you break your posture and lean forward, you break a knuckle. Keeping your hips under your body will prevent that from happening.
9. The Shotokan Way
From Paul Ianuziello:
I've been training my hips for just over 10 years, Shotokan karate has been my primary focus. Karate has some good exercises to train the various body parts that are needed to form sharp, powerful techniques. Shotokan is a style that has very linear techniques and displays awesome power. This power emanates from a strong powerhouse of which the hips are the main turbine. The hips comprise only one major part of your powerhouse, the other parts are your abdominals and buttocks. In my training and teaching, I have referenced the teachings of Nakayama Sensei of the JKA and any credit for the benefits, if forthcoming, are to Nakayama Sensei solely.
Working on low stances and beginning hip rotation, take a front stance right leg forward and knee bent almost 90 degrees, hands on hips thumbs at back, press the hips forward - 60/40 weight distribution and the back leg is straight. The upper body is erect and facing directly forward. Shift the hips strongly to the left side, rotate the hips and the upper body smoothly so that you are in hanmi, half front facing, 45 degrees from the front. Keeping the upper body straight, rotate the hips back to front facing. Keep the motion smooth and even. At the end of the movement apply power fully by thrusting the back leg down into the floor very hard. Remove all power and slowly return to half front facing. Repeat 10 times and then shift to left leg forward front stance and perform 10 times. When shifting do not allow the hips to rise, slide smoothly from right front stance to left front stance. The important points to consider are as follows:
- in the front stance when looking down you do not see your toes
- keep hips level and rotate them smoothly
- keep the back straight making sure to keep the buttocks held in tight
- the stomach muscles should be tight, you should have a sense of pressing your
navel in through to your spine
- do not turn the shoulders only, let the hips turn the upper body at the same
- breath through the movements, make sure you breath in through the nose, out
through the mouth with a sense of circulating the air through the lungs not
- very important to remove all power at completion of technique
10. Mamie Eisenhower's Fudge(via Emily)
And finally from Emily (MLE), the best way I can think of to get "big hips".
I like very dark chocolate and espresso flavors, feel free to use something less potent if you want.
4.5 c sugar (pinch salt)
1 can evaporated milk
16 oz chocolate (I mix bittersweet and dark)
1 jar marshmallow creme
(1/4 cup strong coffee)
(1 cup walnuts, pecans, pistachios, whatever)
Open the jar of marshmallow creme and have a big spoon in warm water nearby. Have a big square cake tin near either well greased or covered in wax paper (I find it a drag to pick waxed paper off my fudge).
Melt butter in milk (with the coffee) in a large pot, then add sugar and salt, stirring constantly. Stir and heat slowly and steadily until it boils, then keep it barely at a boil for 6 mins, stirring constantly and keeping from scorching.
Scoop the marshmallow creme out of the jar with the wetted spoon and add it, stirring thoroughly and quickly. The mixture will start to crystallize immediately, you can pour it into the tin and add nuts or you can quickly stir them in before you pour it.
Pouring makes for a nicer surface. Don't smooth it with a spatula, it'll look funny.
Put the fudge somewhere safe and cool and lick all the utensils clean.
Score fudge with a sharp greased knife and share it with your friends or your jeans won't fit in a week.
There you have it, 10 ways to big hips.
See you next month.