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The proper way to take the forward stroke is to rotate the torso rather than pushing and pulling the paddle with the arms. So rather than the arms having a pedaling motion the paddle stroke is powered by rotating of hips.
One way to ensure that the torso is driving the kayak rather than the arms is to watch the top hand of each stroke. While you rotate your hips to power the paddle blade through the water your top hand should remain level as it moves across your line of sight.
Keeping a level top hand while rotating the hips will ensure that you are getting the most efficient forward stroke motion while enabling you to paddle for longer before fatiguing.