Thursday, 12 May 2016


After the warm-up Sensei split us purple belts off together and spent some time going over heian godan and tekki shodan with us. I was quite pleased with how things are going there - I've got both kata more or less down in terms of the sequence. It's now just perfecting the moves.

We then did kumite - just the volunteers, which was Jh, D, Ja and I. It was great. Proper good old-fashioned bare-fisted full contact, and we learned a couple of new techniques. One thing Sensei was keen to have us all doing was pushing forward to restrict the opponent's space during a counter - and also doing repeated punches when doing so rather than just the usual gyakutsuki. I got a couple of really nice hits in, but I think probably took more in return. I took quite a sweet punch to my upper forearm, which is starting to swell up good and proper. The other students I was sparring with are a good 10 years younger than me at least, and it shows in the speed they have. I don't particularly mind: it's just a great feeling to actually fight.


A hard workout focusing on basics (uchi-uke, age-uke, soto-uke, maegeri, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth....), which is the kind of session I really enjoy. People who don't do karate - and people who do it but don't go to serious clubs - don't appreciate how fit it makes you and the rigour it puts your body through.

A real rarity: after about 40 minutes of this Sensei gave us an extended rest while people of each belt colour did their respective kata. He even said that because we worked hard we deserved a break. I have never heard him say that before.


For the first time in a while, Sensei got genuinely pissed off with the class today - mainly because we kept forgetting to kiai during practice of Tekki Shodan. He made us do 150 pushups as punishment, and actually left the dojo while we did it, which means he must have been properly annoyed. But when he came back he carried on as normal; reading between the lines, I think this was probably a deliberate thing - apply the punishment, then forget about it once that's done. 

It was a hard session generally. Something about the heat wave that was sweeping the North East of England at the time, I think. We all felt it - a sort of sleepy malaise brought on by the temperature. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


Today we did a heck of a lot of shuto uke practice - back and forth, perfecting the hip rotation. You almost have to twist so that you are side on to the target before delivering the blow. I pretty much perfected this (I think) but a consequence was that I kept finding my front foot straying out of position when in back stance after making the block.

After that we practiced Tekki Shodan. I spent both Saturday and Sunday practicing that and Heian Godan, so I have the sequence down - it's just a matter of perfecting the techniques now. Remembering which fist goes where during Teķki is really difficult for some reason. I'm not sure why, but my brain can't quite seem to process which order to move the hands in. Age?

Monday, 2 May 2016


Today's novelty was a lot of practice using the hips to increase power when delivering gedanbarai. We also did repeated kekomi practice and I was humiliated at my pathetic flexibility enough to resolve to do 30 on each leg at home each evening. We'll see how that goes.

At the end Sensei showed us a self defence technique which I think may be the most painful I've yet experienced: pressing down on the collar bone with the knuckles. It is insane how something so simple can be so devastating.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


A very detailed technical session focusing on keeping the knee still during gyaku-tsuki, perfecting maegeri technique, and so forth... until about half way through when I think Sensei got bored and started teaching us some of the moves from the kushanku kata. As is often the case the randomness sort of worked; he doesn't so much make things up as he goes along as he just follows his intuition, and I suppose he has just been doing it long enough that he knows to trust where his intuition is leading him. That really has to be the aim of anybody hoping to perfect a practice - but this blog isn't really the place to talk about Michael Oakeshott.


This was very much a kumite-centric class. We started off practising gyaku-tsuki and various uke techniques, then put them into practice in very careful and strictly controlled kumite before finally working on them in freestyle sparring. Fun, but very exhausting. I was paired up with C initially and was able to beat him pretty effectively - but he is in his 50s and hasn't had a great deal of sparring experience, despite being a kyu up from me. Then I was with J, who is 19 years old and as fast as a whip. This was much tougher and I was aware there were quite a few occasions when he could have socked me good and proper but didn't do so because we were only focusing on a certain technique. I have to work more on lateral movement.