Hip rotation may be described as regular or reverse. In a regular rotation, the direction of rotation and direction of the technique are the same, such as with a reverse punch, jab, or round kick. In reverse rotation, the rotation and the direction of the technique are opposite, such as with an inside-to-outside middle forearm block. Hip rotation may also be used with a lead punch but the lead hip must drive toward the target. The rotation occurs around the rear hip joint.You master hip rotation through regular and constant training. As you become more proficient with hip rotation, the movement develops into an even more powerful and quicker movement called hip snap.
Hip snap is hip rotation but with less movement and more "snap" and therefore, more power. Think of a technique as an arrow. To fire the arrow, the bowstring is pulled back and it bends the bow backward to store energy in it. When the string is released, the energy stored in the bow snaps the arrow forward. Firing a technique operates under the same principle. The hip is twisted backward to store energy that is snapped to apply the mass of the body into the technique.
To practice hip rotation, stand in a parallel ready stance and place both hands on the hips, elbows out to the sides. While looking straight ahead, rotate the hips so that one elbow is pointing forward and the other backward. Do not turn the head or move the feet. Keep the shoulders and hips aligned. Do not let the shoulders reach past the hips for this will result in a loss of power and stability. Now rotate the hips back the other way so the other elbow is pointing forward. Stay upright and do not lean. Ensure the hips rotate on a horizontal plane without any other extraneous movement. As you rotate, use the thighs and other body muscles to add power to the rotation. Tense the entire body, especially the abdomen, at the moment the elbow would be expected to make impact with a target. One way to cock the hip is to make a faking motion in that direction and then follow up with the twist and an attack in to opposite direction. To master the hip rotation, concentrate on using it with every technique.
To improve hip motion:
- Hip and ankle flexibility and strength must be improved so that proper posture can be maintained and proper angles are used at the ankles and hips.
- Notice which muscles in the hips and legs actually cause rotation to happen and learn to use them properly by stimulating them with high repetitions of simple movements.
- Train slowly at first while concentrating on large motions and proper form. Speed up after proper form is achieved.
When punching and blocking, use hip snap in conjunction with the simultaneous retraction of the trailing arm to gain extra power. The action-reaction force gained from retraction is discussed earlier in this topic. When kicking, the hip must rotate and "turn over" into the kick for the kick to attain maximum speed and penetration power.