Whilst practicing Nijushiho kata, I have been disappointed with my kekomi kicks. The fundamental issue can be traced back to my knee injury 2.5 years ago. However, I'm not going to use this as an excuse. I am determined to overcome this and make my kekomi kicks awesome (again - because they once were)!
I have gone back to the beginning. Practicing from Kiba Dachi moving sideways. I video'd this to try to isolate what was going wrong. By running the video's back on my digital camera in slow motion I realised that the first part of the kick, raising the knee into position, was OK. The problem was in the kick out.
I was not thrusting with the hips.
I was not kicking from the hips.
I was stopping my leg from extending fully.
All of the above 3 points were caused by an internal psychological barrier which didn't want me to thrust and extend my leg. Probably because my knee injury was caused by stamping down into fumikomi (Jion).
As a result of not practicing the kick properly, I have lost quite a bit of flexibility in my legs too.
So, going back to basics, I am training by doing gedan kekomi kicks. But, by doing this, I force myself to thrust the hips in; to kick from the hips; and, make sure my leg is fully extended!
I have also started using my old ankle weights. I put both weights on 1 leg (= ~2.2 kg) and do 3 sets of 20 knee raises. Then switch legs and do the same. I also do 3 sets of 10 leg extensions from a chair (because I can't afford a Gym membership and my wife won't let me put a home multi-gym in the house :-O).
I have been doing this training for 1 week and today I noticed an improvement in my kekomi kick during Nijushiho kata practice. Fantastic!
However, I must maintain the discipline to keep this practice up because it's not perfect. Just because I have seen a slight improvement does not mean I should slacken off this training programme.
Today, I am better than I was yesterday. Tomorrow I will be better than I am today.