Articles Blog


December 3, 2019

This drum right here, perfectly
illustrates how to use your hips in karate. Because we all know that it’s
important to use your hips in karate. However, most of us don’t really know why
or how to properly twist the hips – also known as “koshi wo hineru” in Japanese. In today’s video I want to explain more. Follow me. There are two main positions
that your hips can have in karate. The first is known as “shomen”.
Number one. S, H, O, M, E, N. Shomen is when you position your hips straight, square on
right to the front and that’s what the word shomen actually means; to the front.
The second way to position your hip is known as “hanmi” which means half facing
body, and that’s when you move this way instead of this way. H, A, oh sorry, N, M, I. Hanmi. Biomechanically speaking these two positions are nothing but internal
and external hip rotation. You see the hip is the primary mechanism through
which acceleration reaches its potential. In fact, in biomechanics we call it that
primary engine of the body – because it drives force and power throughout your
limbs. And so, if you don’t understand how to use your hip properly, your techniques
will be weak; like a car without an engine. Now check out this exercise to
understand how to use your hips. All right, so for this exercise all you need is a
stick, a short stick, and now we’re going to practice shomen and hanmi, the two hip
positions but instead of being in a unilateral stance trying to open and
close the hips we’re going to be standing parallel like this just to make
it easier. And now all I want, is for you to put the stick in front of you and
hold it firmly. And now from this position, try to twist your hips
but without moving the stick like this That’s a bad example. I want you to try
to isolate your hip but keep the stick still. This way. If you understand how to
properly do this exercise you will be able to then integrate your hip into any
movement to make it a natural part in the kinetic chain, that sequence of
timing whenever you do a technique – a block strike stance or kick. And that’s
it for today guys. I hope this video better helps you understand why the hips
are so important in karate, how to position them properly, shomen and hanmi,
and now finally how to practice that hip rotation using this stick exercise. But
remember, it’s all about being like the drum. Because these hips don’t lie.
Now leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions. Good luck,
train hard and have fun!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thanks for your great comments! Visit my website (http://www.karatebyjesse.com) to get my books, articles, videos, seminars, training programs and more. ARIGATO! 🙂

  2. The hip movement is important in kata like double movement and single where needed but i want some exercise to get the hip in use in shikodachi stance

  3. sensei…does the hip rotator (circular disk) have the same effect like the rotation on the stick….

  4. Hey Jesse please reply I'm 13 year old and I'm actually a orange belt now I will take the green because of you keep the hard work

  5. I'm 70 yrs. old as a young man I practiced judo, karate and TKD. As I aged I turned to lifting weights. But at 70 I am returning to martial arts as my exercise program. I am finding my muscles are tight and not flexible. You have reminded me of simple exercises for flexibility. Thank you for guiding me back to an old and familiar path of life.

  6. Thanks Jesse, My sensei has always instructed us to use our hips when either punching or blocking. I can't wait to try the exercise using the pole.

  7. Before i don't understand the importance of hip twisting. after how many years of practicing karate i know how to do the shomen and hanmi but i cn't find the right words on how to explain them until i saw this video. thanks a lot i can now explain briefly about the importance of shomen and hanmi.

  8. Dear Jesse,

    Great videos! Could you please tell me which is the most brutal, effective form of Karate from the following:


    The reason I ask is because I enjoy hurting my opponents and want to learn to be as vicious as possible.

    Thank you

  9. Congratulations for the vídeos! It's very good to see a martial artist knowing about biomechanical. I'm physic education professional in Brazil and I'm training goju-ryu karate for 2 years now. Your videos have been helping me in some details of karate.
    I've known about the seminary "karate to MMA" and it's very good to see masters going throw a way that isn't just the olympic!!
    Still in this way and we (me and my team) will still watching you =)

  10. Thanks Jessie, i always try to mix your advices with my every week training at the dojo. Keep on doing this awesome videos!

  11. Hello Yessay (Jesse) san, you did not mention why hip rotation is essential for punching/atemi. For the sake of novices, please explain it in anthr video or put up a link where it's already been demonstrated. Arigato, much appreciated.

  12. I always practice by using hip movement. But I never seen that stick routine you'd present it, interesting to give it a shot. Thank you my man Osu!

  13. Personally I think the hip rotation is a fake technique in the sense that it is an automatic body response or procedure that come out by itself when you try to give out a kick or a block from a still posture ie without adding the body weight when you move forward in zenktsu stance for example. When you try to kick or block from a stand still position hip rotation comes out unintentionally from our body without any need to force it out…oss..!

  14. My sifu sees this as being too rigid and not relaxed enough. (I'm kenpo, but I really like the scientific application of the Karate hip movement in with strikes and blocks; however, my sifu (and his grandmaster) both dislike it saying that, "You need to be more relaxed," and when I DON'T do the hip rotation with my strikes… they're happy. Which is better… Hip rotation… or relaxation? LMK Thxs Jesse

  15. Hey Jesse, awesome breakdown of the hip technique. I've got a similar technique that involves a baseball batters stance. As you swing the bat, concentrate on turning your hip out with the swing.

  16. Hej Jesse. Would the effect of this be the same, if l fx hold a big object that does not move, instead of the jo??
    Would you be doing a video on your way of conditioning your arms?? Thanks.

  17. i at the same time than i learn more tecnics, I Also learn english you explain perfectly. thank and good job. Oss

  18. I practice my hip rotation with hula-hoop trying to move forward in zenkutsu dachi. To make it more challenging I take a flex bar swing hula-hoop in zenkutsu. This is really challenging!

  19. Jesse Sensei, excellent video as always! A comment and a question: I also use a stick while teaching hips, I like to put it across the back of the shoulders/neck and sling the arms over the top, stepping through with zenkutsu-dachi and rotating the hips without allowing the stick to move offline (staying parallel with shomen)
    In regards to hips, I'd also been taught hips could have an up position (very well seen in Sanchin-dachi) as well as a down position (potentially seen in cat and sumo stance, with an arch in the back)
    What do you have to say about the "down" position? With my recent work with Physical therapists most of what they're having me do involves hips in the neutral or "up" positions – is it healthy to hold stances with hips down? What is the difference biomechanically? I feel I am able to project weight forward and root myself better with my hips up but I don't know biomechanically why this is, and what difference hips down make.
    Arigatou Sensei!!

  20. Wow what a great video! As a beginner, my instructor constantly says use your hips use your hips. I had no idea what a hip was untill I watched this video thank you so much!

  21. That's really special training ! I'll have to give it a whirl. Im trying to improve more and more with my martial arts too!

  22. I thought that drum thing was just from Karate Kid II ! Of course, when I think about it, it makes complete and utter sense that it'd be a real thing…

  23. It's a good exercise for Taekwondoins as well. I had always trouble with my hip rotation. Maybe i should try this. Many thanks! Regards from Germany 🙂

  24. Lo que es espectacular es que lo hayáis traducido a español para mayor expansión, gran vídeo y os animo a continuar con los subtítulos

  25. I think in left zenkutso dachi left hip must fixed and right hip driven forward and back ward by thrusting the right leg against the floor..moving your torso like window or door while left hip as pivot.
    with regards from IRAQ

  26. Extra tip for those having difficulty isolating. Do not rotate the body by trying to control the position of the pelvis. Focus on the V area around the ground where the hips connect to the leg on the inner leg. Squeeze together in this area to help identify the sensation of twisting.

    Keep in mind the hips are not what makes the power, they simply are a part of the engine and the point of reference. The stick helps you isolate the motion, because the hips turning like that actually makes the spine turn. That is where the power comes from. Don't focus in a direction, just focus on rotating on the axis of your own spine, by focusing on the twist through the V area of the hips/lower abdomen.

    Good video all in all. Almost no one teaches anyone how to use the hips, almost everyone just says use the hips.

    Although application of this mechanic is just ever so slightly different. You need a directional intent with the twist to apply force in a specific direction. So you would kind of focus the rotation forward for a punch, or to the side for a block. It's kind of hard to explain that part without visually demonstrating and even then it'd probably be hard to understand.

  27. I am a table tennis player .I think this will help me in my game as power in Table tennis is generated by hip movement

  28. Cool idea with the stick! 👍How would you train hip rotation to make faster turns in kata? Hope you’ll read this comment even if the video is from last year 😅. Thx in advance!!

  29. You’re a fantastic speaker Jesse! And it’s not in your native tongue, is it? I practice more because of you. Thank you!

  30. I just subscribed because this video.. This is the stuff that most senseis demand in karate but only few show the details to get improvement. Cheers!

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