Saturday, January 9, 2016

Karate, 1/9/16

After warming up, my teacher introduced me to something he's trying with all his students this year. He's noticed that when students perform kata, they aim for meticulous technique, but are more lazy about it when doing kihon. In order to encourage more care during kihon, he's come up with a few "micro kata".

They all begin in a front stance and are done on both sides. So, assuming a left-foot forward front stance, the kata run as follows:

  • Left rising block, right rising block, left punch to the face, right punch to the body
  • Left outside block, right outside block, left punch to the face, right punch to the body
  • Left downward block, right downward block, left punch to the face, right punch to the body
  • Left forearm block, right forearm block, left punch to the face, right punch to the body
  • Finally, perform all of them end to end
All of these are done with a hip switch for every technique, and it is quite a hip workout!

The kicking microkata are also performed on both sides, and assuming a left foot forward front stance, go like this:

  • Right front snap kick, landing in a right foot forward front stance
  • Step backward into the original left foot forward front stance, then left front (lead leg) snap kick
  • Bring feet together and do a right side snap kick 90 degrees to your right, and land in a right foot forward front stance, facing that same 90 degrees to the right of the original direction
  • Execute a right roundhouse kick toward the original direction you were facing, landing in a right foot forward front stance
  • Execute a right back kick, landing in your original left foot forward front stance
Whew! I hope all that made sense. I'm going to try to get a lot of reps in over the next week.

Next we worked on heian nidan some more. We did some fine tuning on my side snap kick toward the beginning. I still need to increase my speed when moving from one step to the next (we figure I'm thinking about it too much). I need more kime in my techniques in general, and I need to punctuate the kiai techniques more. 

This karate experience, in traditional Shotokan, has proven to be a much more precise approach than either judo or aikido. That's a mixed bag to me; I can see the drawbacks, but there's also something in me that loves it. Even if it can be frustrating at times. Sensei is constantly fine tuning my karate. While I do enjoy it, and know it will make me better, I can relate to a quote from Funakoshi from Karate-do, My Way of Life:  "This constant repetition of a single kata was grueling, often exasperating, and on occasion humiliating."   Ha! You said it, Gichin. 

We ended the class looking at some sparring applications. Kind of a triple punch designed to cover a lot of distance and overwhelm an opponent. I am always amazed how my teacher can seem almost to teleport, haha. He will be way too far away to do anything to me, and next thing I know, he just lightly tapped me in the throat. I really look forward to getting better!  Now that I'm not doing judo two nights per week, I hope to practice more at home.

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