Thursday, 12 May 2016
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.
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
Friday, 15 April 2016
It got me thinking about teaching styles. B is young, and clearly feels a bit insecure, and this manifests in her trying to impose herself on the group through being unnecessarily harsh and strict. She also trots out a lot of Sensei's sayings ("In a real fight you'll be this tired after 30 seconds!" etc.) which don't have a great deal of credibility coming from her. Being a good teacher is in large part about being yourself - I think she would get a lot more enthusiasm out of us if she dropped the headmistress act.
The most useful part of the class was practicing kekomi. I seriously need to get more flexible.
Friday, 1 April 2016
Thursday, 24 March 2016
B took the lesson today because Sensei was away and it was tough going, as it always is with her. She has no concept of a warm-up - complaint A - and a real arrogant streak that comes out when put in charge - complaint B. What I dislike most is her authoritarian attitude to exercise: she demands a heck of a lot, but she is far from the fittest of us and I suspect wouldn't be able to keep up with the routines she dreams up if she had to do them. I think it's poor form for a teacher to demand of students something that she wouldn't be able to do herself.
On the other hand, J and D both came back to the club after long absences, coincidentally on the same night. So in that respect it was like old times and was a good evening overall. I just wish B would have a more mature attitude as a teacher.
Thursday, 17 March 2016
I missed three sessions with flu so it was good to be back today - and a really enjoyable session. A new student from Greece came along and he said he left with a big smile on his face because the club has such a positive vibe and it's true. It really does, and you notice when you've been away and come back.
I wasn't quite top of my game and definitely felt weak. But on the other hand I think a week of illness has made me healthier - I've lost weight and look and feel leaner. Maybe periodic sickness is a bit like a forest fire. You need it to rejuvenate.
Thursday, 3 March 2016
A lot of leg work, today. I have a feeling Sensei is gearing up for boosting our kicks. For the first time in a while I am seriously aching.
He showed us how to do a powerful mawashigeri. The secret is not to twist the front foot until delivering the kick. Just rotate the hips and torso and then the front foot as the leg is in mid-flight. This definitely does generate more power, but my mawashigeri is pretty pathetic in the first place...
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Interesting class today. I think Sensei deliberately decided to mess with our heads, so he had the whole group working through Bassai Dai repeatedly, move by move. That's one of the things I like about how he teaches - the attitude that you're going to have to learn how to do high level stuff sooner or later so may as well start early.
We also did a lot of back stance practice, with gedan barai and then front leg maegeri with shuto combos. That was tough, although the hardest thing as always was having to do repeated maegeri practice directly after 60 push ups with no breather. I always find that unbelievably exhausting.
Friday, 26 February 2016
I did, however, manage to do something to my second toe (index tow?) on my left foot when sparring with P. I only noticed after the class that I had lost all feeling in it, and it was sort of skewed to the left. It still looks wrong. If it was dislocated or broken presumably it would be a lot more painful, so I'm ignoring it for the time being, but I can feel that there is definitely something odd about it as I walk around.
Getting a good punch in on the counter is a great feeling. There is something immensely satisfying about putting your fist into an opponent's midriff as he comes hurtling towards you. This is one of many reasons for preferring bare-fisted sparring.
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
I was expecting a tough class today as it was after the exam, but in actuality it was just moderately so. We did plenty of Sensei's patented leg-torture strengthening exercises, but I am growing to have a strange enjoyment of those, and the hard work only lasted half an hour. Then it was mostly ground work - practicing arm locks with the legs. Some of those moves are very effective, although they need a lot of practice and repetition (like everything, I suppose).
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Afterwards as we were sitting around talking he got talking about how good karate is inseparable from a good group. That's easy to say, but I get what he means. The club has a good atmosphere and good people, and that feels like it's conducive for good karate. And that's a lot of 'goods'.
Thursday, 11 February 2016
After half an hour hard exercise we spent a lot of the rest of the time doing ground work. After practicing kata, I think ground work is my favourite aspect of karate training. There's just something fun about wrestling around on the floor. I like the combination of physical and mental exertion: it's like the world's toughest game of chess. You constantly have to think.
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
We had a new student today - a young American kid who is a master in a Korean martial art called Tang Soo Do. It was interesting to watch somebody of Dan grade in a different art struggling to keep up with our fitness. It's easy to get a big head, but the kid could barely do 20 press-ups and simply couldn't sustain doing repeated techniques in the fashion we normally do it. We're pretty tough. We finished off doing 40 burpees and even our orange belts were able to keep going longer than him. It will be interesting to see if his ego can take coming back.
That said, he clearly had good technique and was very fast. I had a bit of sparring and practice with the lad, and I was obviously nowhere near his technical level. It's just hard to escape the conclusion, as Sensei says from time to time, that martial arts in other clubs are going soft.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
One area to improve on: getting a punch in immediately after I block. I have a tendency to block a punch or whatever and then feel self-satisfied and pause briefly, allowing my opponent to step back from my counter. I need to get my retaliation in early.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Thursday, 28 January 2016
Primary focus was on kata, particularly heian yondan. We also practiced some throat punches. Naturally everyone pulls those punches when practicing but it's astonishing how even a light tap causes pain. It makes you realise how seriously powerful a proper karate punch is and how much damage one does in the right place.
Friday, 22 January 2016
Hard and technical. We focuse on perfecting gyakutsuki and oitsuki technique, with the late twist and stretching the stance.
Sensei showed us how the late twist keeps the punch parallel to the ground, whereas twisting early tends to pull the punch upwards at an angle, reducing the force.
I like that kind of lesson. You can feel your technique improving from start to finish. Sometimes variety comes at a cost.
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
It was good to see J and there was a nice atmosphere in class, but I do have to confess that I miss having a really tough workout - never thought I'd say that, but pain and torment can be addictive in the right doses, it seems.
Thursday, 7 January 2016
The second session was still rigorous but much more of a 'karate' session - repeated practice of shuto uke and maegeri, and then numerous runs-through of the first four heian kata. About 45 minutes in there was a power failure at the gym, so we spent the last 15 minutes doing heian shodan over and over again in the darkness with our white dogis glowing slightly. Fun times.