Up to the 1st degree black belt level, we're focusing on producing maximum force by maximum body action. You have to remember, however, that maximum action is not same as "exaggerated action", "disconnected movement" or "making a pre (back)-motion". A lot of Shotokan karate practitioners misunderstand this point and as a result they keep on developing bad habits and often they lack control of their body/technique.
I'll be in Chile for a week, competing at the Pan American Traditional Karate Championships. Wish me luck by keep on training! Less than 4 more weeks until the next exam (or the party, if you're not testing)!