I spent over 2 hours last night learning how to punch. And I mean really learning. Starting from the draw arm back, and going through the complete cycle of the punch. How you make the technique, what timing to use, how the rest of the body is behaving. We did straight punches, reverse punches, rising punches, roundhouse punches, hook punches, back punches, tate punches, and nukite (spear hand).
To state the blatently obvious, my arms and shoulders and back are a little tired today.
Sensei Yaguchi felt that though our minds had grown, our physical technique had not grown as he wished. So we are going to spend the next 3 months of Instructor Training doing intensive reviews of all the basics. Starting with punches. Next month will be blocks.
This is indisputably good for me, and probably good for all of us. Going back to basics periodically ensures that you don't get sloppy or lose your foundation.
On another level, though, this isn't really back to the beginning. These are basics that in some ways I've never visited before. When you first are teaching a beginner, you almost certainly do not dissect their punching technique inch by inch and make them do it properly. If you did, you'd end up with a very discouraged student who did nothing but try to learn punching for the first 6 months in the dojo! Instead you stick with "pull your draw arm back", "don't let your elbow escape", etc. You encourage their progress, and fix the big problems first. Sooner or later you will get down to the picky details.
We already know how to punch. Overall, our technique is pretty good. This process is to go back and revisit that which we think we know, and remove the weaknesses. Before last night, I thought I punched pretty well. Now I know how much better it could really be, and have been given the tools to make it so.
This ought to be an interesting 3 months!