It's amazing how sometimes a concept can be explained to you 5,318 times (give or take) without it really clicking, but one simple comment can make it all clear. After that moment, it's difficult to see how you you ever failed to understand it. Today, Sifu Grant said something that explained the side kick so well that it actually made me stare at the ground for several seconds like a hippy on acid; my mouth hanging open, nearly drooling with idiotic bliss.
We were working on techniques that incorporate kicks today. After some roundhouse drills with a kicking shield and several rounds of Trick 6, we started working on Grab 7. Although the technique originally incorporated a roundhouse kick, Sifu Grant modified this technique to use a sidekick. After a few rounds of Grab 7, another student and I weren't delivering the power that Sifu Grant expected from the side kick. It turns out, we were essentially doing a leg extension from the knee. This means that the power is generated entirely from the quadriceps, which aren't sufficiently strong to drive through your opponent. This failing was not because of a lack of instruction from Sifu Grant; he had demonstrated and explained the kick many times in the past. We had done many kicking drills and had broken down the kick step by step.
For some unknown reason, I just didn't "get it." It seemed like I was doing it correctly when broken down, but when I tried to put it all together something was missing. I just couldn't connect the dots. Today Sifu Grant presented the analogy that brought it all together for me.
"It's like stomping a bug. The bug is just on the other guy's body."
It's a simple analogy that got my mind whirling. All of a sudden, images of everything we had worked on in the past flew through my head. It just made sense. Drive from the hamstring and the butt, not the knee and quad.
In retrospect, I can see exactly how the instruction I had received should have produced the proper technique. Sifu Grant had taught me everything I needed to know to do it correctly. I'm still reeling from the fact that I didn't get it before. All the pieces were there, I just failed to recognize how they fit together. It's kind of like watching a murder mystery. It isn't until the big a-ha moment when the detective points his finger and tells you that the butler did it that you're able to put the puzzle together. You're left thinking, "Well, no kidding. Of course he did."
So if you're not delivering power with your side kick despite the instruction you've been given, just remember to stomp the bug.