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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2014/04/30 Heian halfway - Back Stance

Muto_sensei, Kon_sensei
  • Kihon
  • Kumite
  • Kata

Very tired. I think I'm making progress with my form. I still have not gotten used to kokutsu-dachi (back stance).

Muto-sensei gave me a diagram today of it today.  That made me feel even more as if my form is lacking.   I practiced it yesterday while at the park. I feel like I  am getting better. I need some one-on-one instruction. Here is the diagram. It is all in Japanese of course.  Some of the characters are old and no longer in use as simpler forms have taken their place.  You should b e able to click on the diagram for a larger view.
The first thing I noticed is that I have had my back knee pointed out and slightly to the back.  In this diagram it looks like the back knee is bent slightly forward.  I guess this would be a better position to push your self forward.   One thing Muto-sensei told me before with front stance (zenkutsu-dachi) is to keep my front knee bent slightly in, and to draw my legs in with my inner thigh muscles.  He said this is better to defend against a kick to leg/knee.

Kumite

Not much to say here. Flower did the first two rounds. We did no free sparring today.  Muto-sensei told A to まじめにやりなさいよ (basically, "take it seriously", or "quit fooling around".)  This is the second time A has been told this.  A didn't even notice he was being spoken to as was confirmed with conversations with him later.  He seemed surprised when he realized Muto-sensei had told HIM to quit fooling around.

There are certainly plenty of young children from the ages of 3 to 8 who can train seriously and still have fun.  However, I am more and more convinced that for my children, starting at 4 and 6 was too early.  They are not ready to get "serious" about anything.  If it is not play then it is not worth doing.  Well, maybe that is not completely correct, but at least partially it is.  For Flower, who is now 5, she just wants to have fun.  She has no feelings of wanting to beat someone or of wanting to get a new belt.  She might find the prospect of getting a different color belt nice but only in the sense that she is interested in colors and clothes in general. And so I don't intend on starting our littlest one at least until she is 6 if not later.  Unlike wrestling from when I was a child, Karate can be much more expensive.  You don't need all the protective gear for wrestling and there are no ranking tests to take and thus pay money for.  You just train and compete.

Kata

Kon-sensei had us go slowly through the Heian kata concentrating on how our stance is halfway through steps like moving into gedan barai or stepping through kokutsu-dachi (back stance) when doing knife-hand block.

I was concentrating on keeping my balance and trying to keep my "axis" stable like Niida-sensei taught me.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014/04/26 New and refreshing

Niida-sensei

Today's practice was 4 hours long and I'm exhausted.  I hope the kids aren't too tired tomorrow for the tournament.

Today we had a young sensei come from the neighboring city about 2 hours away to teach us in place of Muto-sensei, who had to go judge a belt test at another sensei's dojo.

I am told he has won championships in Japan, England and America.  I think his name is Iida, but it might be Niida. His last name is Niida. 新井田

Kihon

Instead of the usual straight punch, he had us do jodan straight punch (punch to the chin).
Ido Kihon
We did gedan barai, 20 times.  I think he was watching us closely for ways he could give us advice.
He instructed us on how to do Kibadachi.
Kibadachi  - don't step with TOO wide a stance. He said not to bend the knees forward but to push the legs outward (bow legged?) and to make sure to keep our upper body straight and not to lean forward.
 How wide is too wide he didn't define.  He just showed us.  He had lots of advice but wasn't very eloquent. Kibadachi - yoko keage, yoko kekomi.  We did this about 20 times each.

Kumite

We didn't do any san bon kumite or Ippon kumite.  We practiced doing straight punches to the chest from a bouncing stance with Kiai on every punch.  We practiced doing jabs (left foot left fist / then right foot right fist) from the bouncing stance.  We practiced counter punches/gyakuzuki to a jab from the bouncing stance.
We practiced kicking mawashigeri from this fighting stance.  One to jodan, one to chudan, and one ura-mawashi-geri.  I'm not sure what this kick is called.  I'm pretty sure he called it "ura", which means underside or backside.
From looking at Youtube videos, this looks like what it is called.
裏回し蹴り(uramawashigeri)- from a staggered stance, bring your knee up as if for a front kick then across your body and do a back roundhouse kick.
Unfortunately, I cannot yet do a high kick (jodan) so I just practiced chudan mawashigeri and ura mawashigeri.
We did ten of each on one side with the back leg (20 kicks) and then ten of each on the other side with the front leg (from a staggered stance).

Real Kumite

After sparring practice, the room was quickly set up for a "real" sparring match.  All of the kids were paired with another as opponents.  Tape was put down on the floor to mark the boundaries.  Chairs were brought out for corner judges (4 corner judges, 1 main judge), there was timer with a buzzer and the time was called out.  They sparred just like it would be for the tournament tomorrow.

Aspen went first.  It was his first time ever.  He got kicked in the head in the first few seconds and his opponent scored an ippon (3 points).  She chased him around the floor after that and he tried hard not to get kicked in the head again.  He tried kicking but wasn't anywhere near close to hitting her. He needs to get closer.  He needs practice making contact with his kicks and hits.  He tried to sneak a few punches in low but again was too far away to connect.  I bet it was a real eye opener for him.

Kata,
We practiced the Heian Kata with Kon-sensei.


Heian Nidan

I asked Niida-sensei to look at my Heian Nidan kata.  I told him I was often off balance, especially when turning around.  He advised me to keep my upper body axis always in the same plane and not to lean forward or back.  I also watched his footwork as he showed me how to do it.  He would bring his feet together once first before continuing into the full stance (zenkutsu dachi / kokutsu dachi) even when turning around backwards doing shuto uke.  I know I have a tendency to lean forward.  I need to concentrate on keeping an axis, a center from which to rotate around.

On the first movement in Heian Nidan he advised me on how to bring my fists up.  Left hand is a back hand block, blocking a straight punch to the head.  Right hand comes up doing a block kinda like age uke.
The next movement is to capture an arm or a punch in between the left and right arms as if you were going to try and break their arm or hurt their elbow.

Kon-sensei's understanding of the meaning of the movements is sometimes slightly different than other sensei's.  Actually, each of the three sensei's I've worked with now have given me different explanations.  With a fourth one in the book in bought.  I was advised by both Niida and Kon not to twist my body (like in the book) and just to move the arms (like in Shotokan sensei's video explanations of the kata. )





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014/04/23 - Kumite! Age uke to gyakuzuki koshin

武藤忠 師範 八段/Tadashi Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei (Wednesday/ 6:30pm)

Kihon
Kumite
Kata

Kihon  

(basic drills) was short today and we moved into Kumite fairly quickly.  Hannah sneaked away immediately and didn't do any kihon at all. Aspen did them all but he looks as if he is not trying to do them well.  With Aspen, it is hard to tell if he is purposely slacking off or if he just doesn't know any better.  I can rarely read his expressions correctly.  I need to think of some creative ways to get him to work hard and to help him improve his form.

Age uke / gyaku zuki koshin

This is one of those combinations sometimes done during kihon that I just haven't yet figured out.  I know it's simple, but I've never been taught it and haven't had the chance to or have forgotten to ask someone to show me how.  I think I got my head wrapped around it, now I just need to practice it before class.  I feel pretty silly not being able  to do it.  It's a rising upper block (not sure on the English terms) to a revers punch (gyaku zuki) while moving backwards (koshin).

Kumite

This was the main dish.  It was a Wednesday.  Next Saturday we will have one more practice with a different sensei before the tournament on Sunday (9:30 am ~ Obihiro Sogo Tai'ikukan).  Because the tournament is so close, we have been spending more time on sparring (kumite) and less time on basic drills.  Muto-sensei told the other members not to hold back.  He told them they could hit me as hard as they wanted to and to treat the free sparring as if it were a real match.  Nobody hit me hard but I did get hit.  Sometimes I didn't even see it coming, I just found myself with a fist in my face.

Aspen still seems to be doing the sparring with his fists down.  I don't know why he does this.  It seems like his doesn't even notice how everyone else looks.  I have to keep reminding myself that, next to his little sister Hannah, he is the youngest person there.  He acts strange during kumite practice.  I can't tell why.  And of course he can't tell me why either.  Not that I've asked.  Patience.  I need to have patience.  He is only 7, and probably was too young to start anyway.  I kinda wish I would have started him a little later.  Maybe a year later.  But then again, I think, that he might have gotten caught up in some other sport and not have even wanted to start if I hadn't.

Kata

We did all the Heian kata and that was it.  We didn't do any other kata.  Muto-sensei spent some time trying to put some fire in the members.  Many of them are just too young I think.  Not to young to practice, but too young to have a passion for it.  He was trying to impress on them the importance of training on your own.  He said "Nobody ever became a black belt or a champion just by going to club practice alone."





武藤先生のHPはこちらです。Here is Muto-sensei's homepage and blog.  It is interesting, I never hear anyone call him Sensei or even by name in our small group.  He has not updated his HP for more than 6 months so his provider is inserting ads into the pages.
http://shibukan1.web.fc2.com/


Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014/04/19 Class - keep a level head, extra kumite, Jitte

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Warm-up

Class time is from 5 pm to 6:30pm but we always try and get there at least 30 minutes early, if not earlier to warm up.  The kids just play tag and other games to warm up.  I practice my basic punches and kicks by kicking up to the wall to try and practice hitting the wall with the ball of the foot for mae-geri or with the side of the foot for yoko-geri or sokuto.  I'll also do ido kihon for gedan barai, oituski, shutouke, concentrating on my stance and rotation of my hips and body from a front on stance to a half-body "hanmi" stance.  I've ready many times here and there that rotation of the hips is vital in producing speed and power with your blocks and other movements.

Kihon

As always these days, Kon-sensei worked with the upper belts and Muto-sensei worked with the rest of us.  Kihon was basic kicks and punches.  I still can't kick worth beans and I imagine that it will be years before I can, if I ever can, kick very high or very quickly. My body is just too stiff.   I was once again praised, this time by one of the other member's parents, on my straight punch.  This time for my straight punch in kibadachi stance.  That really makes me feel good and gives me confidence and encourages me to continue to work hard on improving it.  I haven't been practicing my straight punch at home lately.  Just getting our daily to-dos done each day takes up all of my free time, especially with my wife working hard at night studying.  She studies and I pick up the slack around the house.

Tips:  


  • Shutouke - keep your back hand over/protecting your solar plexus (Muto-sensei says "keep it over your heart".)
  • Shutouke - ido kihon - when stepping forward etc for ido kihon with shutouke (and with other moves as well), keep your head level at the same height throughout the movement.  Don't stand up and then get back down into Kokutsu dachi.  Keep your knees bent and try not to bob up and down through the movements. 

Kumite

Kumite was extra long this time.  H just went through one round and then ducked out.  I would have liked her to do more but I was happy to jump in and take her place.  She did san-bon yakusoku kumite and she did it well.

Like I said, kumite was extra long with a concentration on free sparring. Both Muto-sensei and Kon-sensei are giving us extra advice to try and get every ready for the upcoming tournament next weekend.  A and I won't be joining in the tournament but I plan on taking A and H with me to watch and cheer on our club members.  I also wanted to practice taking video with the DSLR.

I have gotten in the habit of blocking low punches to the side and then punching to the rib area.  I'd like to vary that but couldn't break the muscle memory of doing so.  I see that since I am taller than most, that I can probably block their punches down and out either with gedan barai or something and then punchng to the head or solar plexus.

Kata

We practiced all the Heian katas and Jitte and Wankan.  Muto-sensei told A he needed to work hard at the Katas and to follow ~san, because he was good at them.

  1. Heian Shodan
  2. Heian Nidan
  3. Heian Sandan
  4. Heian Yondan
  5. Heian Godan
  6. Wankan
  7. Jitte

Jitte - Muto-sensei gave us extra instruction on Jitte.  He said that not a lot of people do Jitte as a Kata at tournaments.  He also said that it was a good kata for bigger people.  

Tips: 

Jitte - keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor, actually, try to keep them slightly higher than perpendicular, when doing the move around the 10 th move where you have both fists up in the air.  You should also try and keep your fists pointing/rotated in.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1872 Hours to a black belt?

Somewhere I read, and I think it was on 24FightingChickens.com, that it generally takes 1872 hours to earn a black belt in Shotokan karate.  The author got this number from either asking someone or reading an interview with some famous Karate-ka... I can't remember and I can't find where I read this.

Thus I have added to the blog sidebar a graph of my training hours.

It is obvious to me now that if I go along with the pace my sensei sets for me, it will not take me 1872 hours to get a black belt.  We have only had about 35 hours of classes to date and Aspen was awarded a yellow belt (11 kyu) and I was awarded a light blue belt (8 kyu).  There are many reasons for this which he explained.

Personally, I am happy to take 5 years  or more to get a black belt and become a "yudansha".  We are now practicing about four hours a week.  If we continued at this pace without skipping, we would train about 200 hours a year. That would mean it would take close to 10 years to reach 1872 hours of training. I would be 50 then. Obviously, hours in "class" will not be enough to bring our skill up very quickly.

The same teacher teaches in a city two hours away and commutes twice a week to teach our small club.  He says that in the city, students can train six days a week if they want to.  Of course I would love to train more.  Five days a week would make me a happy and healthy martial arts student.  Unfortunately, that is unrealistic for our lifestyle right now.

With any luck, I'll be able to start getting my lazy ass out of bed in the morning and I can start training in the mornings again like I used to when I was running.  With any luck, I'll be able to start running again sometime in the future, hopefully, before the summer of 2014 comes to an end.

The challenge then, until I can start running, is to devise a training plan or method to help improve my fitness and improve my skill, strength and speed for karate.  There is not much that gets my heart rate up like running did.  Strength training with my friend Steve does.  We do a short training session with a minimum of two exercises and usually three or four, done in a circuit.  Our bread and butter workout right now comprises these two exercises:
  • Push press (squat to military press / Thrusters)
  • Pullups (or lat pull-downs / chin-ups)
We'll also do other things like bench press, bent over rows, leg press, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the stationary bikes, curls, lunges, sit-ups, what ever.  We try to do moves that involve as many muscles as possible.  Thus the lunges might include a twist or be done while holding a barbell overhead or done like the thrusters.  Chins might be done with a knee raise at the top.  Sit ups might be done on the decline while holding and throwing a medicine ball.

At the moment, I am only logging class hours in the spreadsheet for the graph.   It is rather a time sink to record all this stuff, but if I might start logging my karate specific training done outside of class as well, but only if they are done as a workout.  I do often practice my kata and do basic form drills at home for a few minutes at a time.  I know that all contributes to my improvement but it is hardly worth the time it takes to log it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

200 punches, 100 kicks - Jitte - Wankan

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei
  • Kihon
  • Kumite
  • Kata

Kihon

  • Sonoba chokuzuki 
  • Sonoba kibadachi chokuzuki (其の場 騎馬たち 直突き)
     - between these two we did about 200 punches.

Ido Kihon 移動基本

  • Gedan barai kamaete - oizuki 5-hon
    • Mawatte Gedan barai kamaete - oizuki 5-hon
  • Ageuke
  • Going backwards - Ageuke - gyakuzuki combination
  • Soto uke
  • Uchi uke
  • Maegeri x 3
    • Kebanashi x3
    • Jodan maegeri x 3
      • Kebanashi x 3 
  • Mawashigeri x 3
    • jodan mawashigeri x 3
  • Kibadachi yokogeri x 3
    • Kebanashi x 3
    • Jodan yokogeri x3 
    • Kebanashi x 3

For most of the kicks Muto-sensei has us do chudan (mid level kicks / body kicks?), jodan (upper level kicks), kebanashi (kicks focussing on quickly bringing your foot back from the kick) versions.  So we'll do chudan maegeri, chudan maegeri kebanashi, jodan maegeri, jodan maegeri kebanashi.  Sometimes he tells us to do "kekomi", which is to kick concentrating on kicking forward out and into the opponent. We usually do 3 kicks across, turn around and do 3 kicks back.  So we do around 60 to 100 kicks. I really would like more drill work and instruction on kicks.

I think one point where our practice is lacking is there is not enough time for reflection or for asking questions.  I think we COULD ask questions more during the drilling and he would be happy to answer.  However, we have 90 minutes or 120 minutes only per session.  Physically, that's enough, but mentally, we need more time to think about and talk about what we are doing.  I have many questions that come to mind during practices.  Maybe I should start asking them? 

Tips

  • Take big steps
  • Make sure you are keeping your feet shoulder width apart

Kumite

  • Sanbon kumite (This is "yakusoku kumite")
    • Jodan tsuki (ageuke), chudan tsuki (soto uke)
  • Ippon Jiyu Kumite (single strike free yakusoku kumite - you can receive the attacks anyway you want.
    • Jodan, chudan , maegeri, mawashi geri( )
  • Jiyu Ippon Kumite (yakusoku)
    • Take two steps then attack on the third step, then three steps back, keeping fists up and eye on your opponent/partner
  • Kaeshi waza (make three quick strikes or kicks. This is faster and you are given more freedom.  It is the last type of practice before completely free kumite)
  • Jiyu Kumite (free sparring)

I would like more time and a partner my size, to ask questions and experiment with moves during jiyu kumite.  I do a lot of visualization  after practice as I think about and recall how each member attacked or blocked when I worked with them.  Most people are too slow to hit me very often.  Some members are so fast my block comes up only after they have already hit me and retracted their foot/fist. Sometimes I read their body movement wrong.  Sensei says to kick with the ball of your foot during mawashi geri, but perhaps that is too dangerous to do in practice.

I feel as if I should be blocking those front kicks with a much stronger downward block (gedan barai), but I'm afraid of hurting the other members.  Actually, there is only one member who is close to my size who frequently uses maegeri.  I'll have to ask some of the members and maybe Kon-sensei to see if it is alright to block those kicks with more power.  It's the same for the punches too.  If I don't block them with more power they just get past my block.

Since we don't have anyone close to my size I think I'll have to test many things for the first time at a tournament.  ぶつけ本番

Kata

  • Heian Shodan
  • Heian Nidan
  • Heian Sandan
  • Heian Yondan
  • Heian Godan
  • Jitte
  • Wankan



Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014/04/09 Class - Take it slow - Kankudai

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Kihon - basic drills
Kumite - sparring drills
Kata

As always Muto-sensei worked with us lower belts and Kon-sensei worked with the upper belts.

Kihon

I feel like I am doing better with Kihon.  Aspen gets bored with it I think.  He doesn't do them as hard as he could.  I am beginning to think that he was too young to start and we should have waited.  However I am afraid to have him and his sister quit with the intention of starting up again when they are older.  In all likelihood, they will be too busy with something else and not be interested.  So, in the mean time, we will not push them too hard. Or at least, I wont.

I still can't get my legs up very high for the kicks. And I'm slow. Sensei assures me that I don't have to be able to kick high, I can just kick low to middle.

I had forgotten with which part of the foot you strike when doing mawashi geri and I asked M-sensei.  He reminded me that we hit with the ball of our foot. In my book on Karate, there is a special word for ball of the foot: 虎趾(こし).

Take it slow

I'm still getting used to kumite and I'm feeling that I DO NOT want to get my black belt too fast.  We most definitely need to slowly build up our skill, speed and strength so that it matches the belt we deserve.

Kata

Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan - I still have not memorized this one.
Kankudai - for the first time

This was the first time I have been introduced to the kata Kankudai.  Muto-sensei tells us that the Heian kata were made after Kankudai as easier kata to learn first.  He said that before the Heian kata were made, people just had to try and learn Kankukdai.  Kankudai is longer than the Heian kata but has almost all of the elements you learn in the Heian kata so there is not much new to learn as far as moves are concerned.  However it is a bit long.  I don't think it will be difficult to memorize the basic sequence of moves for it.  But first I have to memorize the Heian kata, Jitte, Chinte, and Wankan, with an emphasis on improving as much as possible Heian Nidan and Heian Sandan. Last week we were also introduced to Tekki shodan.  Muto-sensei says, that with such a small group, it is good to introduce and practice many kata, even if we don't need to learn them for out next grading.  His reasoning is that it helps keep the students from getting bored.
Notes:
I did a strength training workout on this day during lunch and my body was still tired and my  left hamstring still painful from doing leg swings on Saturday.  I might decide not to do such hard strength workouts like that during lunch again on days before Karate practice.

24FightingChickens
I have been reading a website called 24FightingChickens.  It claims to be one of the first Shotokan Karate sites on the Internet.  The author has a lot to say and lots of ideas and advice.  He seems very practical and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of getting started with Karate because he gives much advice in the beginning on how to CHOOSE a DOJO.

Shotokan Sensei

There is a karate instructor named Paul Walker who has a website and a YouTube channel called Shotokan Sensei. He has "commentary" versions of many of the Shotokan kata uploaded to YouTube.  These are step-by-step with him explaining how to do the kata.  One of the great things about these videos is that he explains it using the words Left and Right!  It is hard to follow a video to learn a kata because almost always, the person in the video is facing the camera, which means, that their right and left sides are opposite yours.  A good video would not only have full speed and slow, step by step versions of the kata, but would also have from the side versions and from behind versions as well.

A good book helps.  The book I bought comes with a DVD that has three versions of the moves and in the book itself there are photos of all the moves from the different angles as well.  The descriptions on how to do each move are detailed, however, they still do use a lot of karate slang.  Most of the slang is introduced as well.  Like the word 虎趾 for ball of the foot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014/04/05 Class - lots of advice, notes on practice structure

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei
Kon sensei took the upper belts and Muto sensei worked worth us lower belts, as is usually the case.

As always we did Kihon, Kumite and Kata. We practice for about 2 hours twice a week for a total of around 4 hours a week.

Tips:

Heian shodan - on the first movement into zenkutsu dachi for gedan barai , make sure to step so that your stance is still shoulder-width apart to keep stable.

When stepping forward for oizuki (straight lunge punch?) into zenkutsu dachi with the right foot forward, again, keep your feet shoulder-width apart.  

Look at the illustration below  :-).  From Left to Right, the first set of two black dots with a circle with a nose on it.  That is the yoi / kamae or ready position.  Feet are shoulder-width apart.

The next set of two black dots is zenkutsu dachi for gedan barai, and the first movement of Heian Shodan.  You turn to the Left into zenkutsu dachi but, look at the lines, your feet are still shoulder-width apart.  You do oizuki and then turn around to the right into zenkutsu dachi and then hammer fist strike.  Here, too, your feet remain shoulder-width apart (on the lines).  Notice how you are now two shoulder-widths BACK from where you started.  Then when you turn to the left for Gedan barai, and since your zenkutsu dachi stance is roughly twice as long as your shizen dachi (ie shoulder-width apart), your front foot is back on the line from which you started.

鳥瞰図 (ちょうかんず) / a birds-eye view.

I need to remember to keep my feet from getting too close together for some stances.  I am often off balance.  This is not just for Heian Shodan.

Heian nidan - First movement, your Left fist should be higher than your right fist. Right fist should be past your face.  You are in kokutsu dachi. When performing the punch with your right hand, remember to twist your torso so your body is facing the direction of the punch, then move back into hanmi? when pulling your right hand back into hikite position.  On the first movement, bring your hands straight up, taking the shortest distance up into the blocks.  Don't swing your hands out and up or around and up.  Bring them straight up into the block.

Notes: We line up for kihon based on our belts.  With the upper belts on the Left (sensei's right / West).    For kumite also, the upper belts lined up on the South and the lower belts lined up on the North facing the upper belts and in belt order, with the lower belts on the West.  The directions are based on the front of the Gym where we hang the flag as North.

Thoughts

I thought he had given us a lot of advice but I am having a hard time recalling it all. Sensei said that since I passed 8 kyu, it is alright if I make a mistake on Heian Shodan, but that I need to master Heian Nidan and Heian Sandan to move up to the next level.  However, I still don't feel like I can do Heian Shodan well.  I will, of course continue to work on it as I work on the others.  I have the basic movement memorized, now I have to work on refining them.

Through kumite, I am beginning to see places where I can attempt to try some of the basic moves we practice through kihon drills and through learning kata.  



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Energy renewed! - Tekki shodan

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

As always, the practice was structured like this:
  • Kihon
  • Kumite 
  • Kata
However, today, at the start, after doing our bows, Muto-sensei called out the members who had moved up a level and presented each with a certificate of their new level.  Many of us had new belts for this practice and there was a different energy, more energy, than usual.  People practiced with more concentration and things were more "karate" like.  Muto-sensei took this opportunity to praise us for our new energy and to instruct us a little on some of the finer points of practice etiquette?

Tips: 

  • Naotte - When sensei says, Naore!, you should quickly and in one movement, cross your arms in front of you and bring them down and out to your sides.
  • Shuto uke, again someone was reminded that your forearm and hand should be straight  like a knife or a sword.  
  • Do the movements like you mean business.  You are practicing for a fight. Don't do the moves with spaghetti arms!
  • Mawatte - When sensei says "Mawatte!", you should turn around quickly, as if sensei just told you to look out, you're being attacked! 

Kumite


Hannah did well today, doing kumite from 3 bon kumite, ippon kumite, kaeshi waza, and then ducked out.  When she left sensei had us start jiyu kumite.  Some of the kids perhaps don't like to or feel uncomfortable sparring with me.  Maybe because of my relative size or poor skill and awkwardness.  I really enjoy the jiyu kumite (free sparring).  I still have no idea what I'm doing.

Kata

Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan
Jitte
Wankan
Teki Shodan

This was the first time that we have done Tekki Shodan since I started. I have never tried it and the other non-black belts could not do it well.  I am still learning Heian Godan, Jitte and Wankan, although they are getting more familiar to me now.

Wam-up

I had taken the day off of work this day and so we were able to go to the gym early.  The kids ran around and played.  We also did two sets of dirty (half) dozens. A workout I did as a kid for wrestling practice.  You run across the gym and then get down and do a push-up.  Then run back and do two push-ups.  Then run back and do three push-ups, etc, until you reach a dozen.  We only went to 6.  Then Aspen decided we should do the same thing with 6 second side planks.   After the other members arrived we did some push-ups and sit-ups too.  Hannah rode on my back for my push-ups.

Leg swings and flexibility

I did some leg swings as part of my warm-up based on a post on the Fighting Chicken's blog you can find here: http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2008/09/08/30-days-to-greater-flexibility/. Today is Friday and my legs and other parts of my body are still sore.

After that I was able to grill one of the parents on the meaning of the various things on the judging sheet we got back from our belt test.