Friday, 15 April 2016


Sensei seemed to be in a good mood today - which often means he gets mischievous and (let's face it) a bit cruel. Within 5 minutes he decided to prove to everybody in the class that they could do more than 60 push ups ("when you're tired, your brain refuses to carry on, but your body can do another 60%"), and gave us a target of 150. I was too busy doing the actual push-ups to notice, but I bet he had a massive smirk on his face watching us all toil. 

After that we carried on with the kekomi routines from last lesson, although that had to be stopped eventually because J's foot was bleeding. We then did some really interesting pair work. He began by giving us a lecture on how important it is to get in close to your opponent, because that is where you can do the most damage and use lethal techniques. We then put that into practice with a variety of different strikes at very close range. He also showed us a technique I'd never seen before, from goju-ryu, which was a strike with the inside of the wrist, taught to him by Higaonna. It's very useful at close range because you can hit hard without having to withdraw your fist to deliver a punch. If your wrist happens to be by your opponent's face, you can just drive it into his nose and smash it. This led to Sensei elaborating on one of his familiar themes, which is that being a good karateka is about being able to deliver damage with any part of your body at any distance - the last thing that you should be doing is moving your fist back to trying to give yourself power. Just punch from where your hand is. 

A very interesting session - at the end Sensei also took a few minutes to explain his philosophy of teaching, which all about getting the hands right first. Learning control of the hands is the most important and most difficult thing to get right - and also probably the most useful in a fight. Once the hands are sorted out, then he moves on to teaching all the kicking techniques in depth. 

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