Sunday, March 30, 2014

First belt test - still so much to learn

Today was a test to move up the ladder towards our blackbelts called shokyushinsa 昇級審査 in Japanese. It was the first time for both Aspen and I and we only had a small idea of what to expect.

It was held in a small community center with a half-size gym. There was no locker room or changing room so Aspen and I got into our karate gi using the space behind the gym stage. We got there a little early and when we came out after changing, the other members of our club were there too.

Some tables where set up in front of the gym for the judges.  There were four judges and one .... master judge??  Our main sensei, Muto-sensei was the shinpanin-cho. The room was partitioned off into two sections with a fence made from small hurdle sized movable partitions(?).  All of the people who were getting tested that day were called out by name and lined up by belt, white belts first, on the side of the partition facing the stage in front of which the judges sat.  The black belts and others who were not testing that day where on the other side of the partition getting instruction from Iida-sensei(?) who is apparently a world champion athlete who brought a large cup (trophy) home from Great Britain.  

First we were tested on Kihon, then Kumite, and finally Kata.


For each we were called out two or three at a time.  There was a man standing to the side of the judges holding a piece of paper who called out to us what we were supposed to do.  This is what we did:
  1. Gedan barai from Zenkutsu dachi  (I stepped back with my right leg from the start instead of stepping forward with my left)
  2. Ageuke 
  3. Sotouke
  4. Shutouke from Kokutsudachi 
  5. Maegeri from Zenkutsu dachi  
  6. Yokogeri from Kiba dachi
  7. (am I missing one?)
Unless I am reading the kanji wrong, I thought we were going to have to do yokokeage,  however we were told to do yokogeri.  Is there a difference?  I think there is.  How am I supposed to kick with yokogeri? I think I am supposed to kick with the edge of my foot, not the heel, when doing yokogeri, but I'm not sure. Also, as I had feared, it worked out so that I had to do yokogeri with my bad left leg.    

I had a hard time catching what the man was saying.  I mean, I could not hear him very well.  I'm not sure if this is because I just couldn't hear him very well or if it was because it was in Japanese and I wasn't accustomed to his voice.

I was marked down (減点)for:

  1. kiai - must have needed to be more verbal when doing kihon.  Mental note: review Takahashi Yoko DVD.  Probably didn't do kia on the last movement.  
  2. kokutsudachi - rear stance, I know I need to work on this.  
  3. kibadachi - horse stance, same as kokutsudachi
  4. waki no shime - ??? Do I need to keep my elbows in closer to my sides?
  5. koshi no antei - the stability of my hips/lower back??
  6. snap 
  7. sokuto - knife foot, apparently as a part of yokogeri
  8. ashikubi no shime - This might have something to do with the angle of your feet when standing in kiba dachi or zenkutsu dachi. I found a mention of it on someone's online diary.  He says: "「基本で締まった立ち方ができてこそ、組手で崩して構えても瞬時に締まる 。組手の構えは基本ができていることが前提。したがって、基本と形の立ち方は締まっていないといけない」 との師範のお言葉。 騎馬立の足首の内側への締めは、股間を即座に防御する体勢である。前屈立の前足と 後足を平行にするのも同じ。私は最近なってようやく三戦立や猫足立の意味が理解できるようになってきた。 どちらの立ち方も、最初から股間を防御するように内股を締めている。股間を含めた身体の中心軸、 すなわち正中線を守るのがどんな武道でも基本である。"
  9. Chikara zuyosa - power.  I needed to do it more powerfully.
  10. Unsoku - refers to how you move or "carry" your feet as you do the drills and kata.  
  11. Mokuhyo no seikakusa - accuracy of your punches and kicks. chin / solar plexus??


For kumite, again, we were called out two or three at a time. Luckily I was paired with one of my own club members who was my height.  We did sanbon yakusoku kumite.  There were three sets of  red and blue lines of tape on the floor.  One of us stood behind red and the other behind blue.  Red attacked first and blue defended and then we switched.  We were testing for our first belts so we only did jodan oitsuki (junzuki?) / age uke, chudan oitsuki / soto uke.

I was marked down for:

  1. reigi - respect/bowing??
  2. shisei - posture
  3. chakugan - eye contact ??
  4. chikarazuyosa - Power
  5. Hikite - drawing / pulling back / back arm
  6. Seikaku na uke - accurate blocking
  7. Kime - ?? finishing the punch? snap?
  8. Ashikubi no shime??? - what the hell?  No kicks done in our kumite. What is this all about?
I have many questions and much to learn.


Again, for kata we were called out in twos or threes to do the kata.  For kihon and kumite we were lined up so that we were facing one of the walls and moved across the room in front of the judges.  For kata, we were lined up across the room facing the judges.  Since this was our first test we had to do Heian Shodan.  I made not mistakes that I am aware of but I still have much to work on to improve my kata.  Aspen did fairly well but made three mistakes that I noticed.  One of his gedan barai looked the same as a chokuzuki and on the last set of shutouke he turned around in the wrong direction and did them with the opposite hands.  

I was marked down for:

  1. shisei - posture
  2. kiai - was my kiai not done with enough spirit?
  3. karada no shinshuku - ???
  4. waza no kankyu? 緩急 slowness / speed. Some moves are meant to be done quickly, some slowly. 
  5. seikakusa - accuracy
  6. hikite - your back arm/hand, the one you pull back when you strike or block with the other
  7. hikiashi - your back leg.  This is the first time I have heard mention of hikiashi.  I'll have to learn about this concept. 


The black belts who were there that day performed enbu after the testing was done.  Enbu, I guess, without looking it up, would probably be translated as exhibition.  They came out one by one and performed a kata.  As each one came out, Muto-sensei introduced the student.  We got so see many kata we have never seen and some we have never even heard of before.  


I'm not exactly sure what they called this but it was dantai something, or group kata.  They were told to perform it just as if it were a tournament.  Three people came out at once and stood in an inverted V formation.  One person was the leader and speaker for the group.  They all performed the same kata at the same time.  The object is to be synchronous with one another.  Muto-sensei said that being in sync is the most important thing.  Even if you do the kata wrong, as long as you all do it wrong in exactly the same way in sync with one another, then it is good.  


We got the results from the test after that.  I didn't realize that we could get the results right away.  We got the judging form back and if you had a borrowed belt from the club (Shibukan) it was exchanged for a new belt of a different color if you passed.  If you didn't pass, I'm assuming you just got your judging sheet back. Aspen, despite all of his quirks and mistakes was still promoted to 11-kyu and given a yellow belt.  I, despite all of MY quirks and mistakes, was promoted from mukyu (white belt) to 8-kyu and given a light-blue belt.   

Here are the judging sheets. If I am reading these correctly, the check marks show the things we were marked down for.  It looks like a perfect score would be 52 points.  


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rehab and Training

I did not do any rehab last night and was not able to go see my PT on Monday.  I have to call him to reschedule.  Last night after getting back from Karate and after putting the kids to bed I took a shower and washed my gear and set the clothes washer to get things clean by morning and was trying to get our new DVD player to play our US region 1 DVDs,  Which it wouldn't.  We *thought* we had orderded a region free DVD player.  We searched amazon for region free players and this one came up in the top 4.  Apparently the words "region free" are in the reviews of the player which make it show up in searches for "region free dvd players"!  I spent much time trying to figure out a way to make it play our DVDs and didn't have time to do Rehab.  Next time, I'll do rehab first!

I have not done much lunchtime training this week.  My wife keeps making me lunch and if I don't want to hurt her feelings, I have to eat it. It takes 10 - 15 minutes to eat the lunch which takes a big chunk of time from my allowed 60 minute lunch break and makes it difficult to get to the gym.

However, yesterday she slept in and didn't make me a lunch and I was able to hit the gym hard.

I did 5 sets of thrusters with extra weight.  Using plastic bags I was able to add 13 kg to the 25 kg barbell so I could do 41 kg thrusters.  I think that is the heaviest I have done but I'm not sure.  It was hard but doable.  I was surprised that my hands go so tired from doing it and I was barely able to do chins.   I did crunches and leg presses to give my hands a break.

41 x 12
41 x 12
41 x 12
25 x 20

Pull ups
5 x 2 sets
6 x 2 sets

Decline Oblique crunches
20 x 2 sets

Leg press - single leg
45 x 15

Today, I started doing push ups again.  Hopefully I can make it habit this time.
15 reps x 6 sets for 100 total reps.

I did several variations during my walk during lunch.  My legs are sore from thrusters yesterday as are my hands and arms and shoulders etc.  I did regular push ups, finger tip pushups, knuckle pushups, decline pushups, incline un-even pushups.  It's all good.  I'll be extra sore tomorrow.

I signed up for the SpartanRace #Spartan30 push up challenge.  I think it was just a way for them to take my email address.  30 push ups a day for 30 days.

2014/03/26 Class without energy

For some reason, no one had any energy today.  Sensei came in looking tired and his voice was without energy.  One of the members was still weak after having had the flu.  Another seemed tired and under stress and broke down towards the end during Kata practice.  Aspen made Hannah cry twice during practice and once on the way home in the car.  As for me?  I was very physically tired from my workout during lunch, but otherwise in good spirits.  This made me think of how important it is for me, as well as the others, to practice with as much positive energy as possible.  Our energy will effect the other members, for good or bad.

Kihon - kihon was short. Basic blocks and kicks.

Sensei had us white belts work on Heian Shodan through Heian Sandan.  Aspen seems not to remember any of the advice he is given.  His movements continue to be small.  This day he was standing at the yoi kamae (?) with his elbows pulled back and his palms/knuckles turned up.  I showed him how to stand properly but he wouldn't believe me and I had to go ask a black belt to show us the proper way so he would listen.  He seems to develop his own moves doing them the way HE thinks is best or cool.  He actually seemed to be doing poorer with Heian Shodan as time goes by.  I don't know if he'll be able to get it figured out by Sunday as I can't get him to practice at home and he won't listen and doesn't believe me when I show him the correct way to do the moves.

For this practice I tried to focus on taking larger and deeper steps and doing the movements with speed and power.  I don't feel like I am doing kokutsudachi well. I am hoping I will improve as my leg strength and flexibility improve.

My one fear going into our belt test on Sunday is that I will pass and Aspen will fail and that his failure will make him loose motivation and wish to quit.  My hope is that if he fails and I pass, that my success will help to motivate him. That is what some of the other adults have suggested will happen.  They suggested that I not push him and that I just continue to work hard and be a good example in the way I go about my karate training.

I think that he is just not ready for competition.  He is fiercely competitive at home, but has not bite when he is doing sports with others.  I am guessing that this is just the stage of development where he is at now.  I hope that he will find motivation to improve as he matures.

Yesterday I was reading a book about teaching English to children and the author introduces the "Questioning Cycle" where children Notice something and decide they Want it and then find it Challenging but doable and through Play (doing/enjoyment?) of the activity (language learning/game/sports) Succeed.  They have successes doing a challenging but not too challenging activity and through this are motivated to try more challenging levels.

I wouldn't be surprised if Aspen was given his yellow belt anyway just as  a form of motivation (success leads to more motivation).   We shall see.  Good luck Aspen! Let's get that kata figured out!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014/03/22 Class - get lower, take larger steps

"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants."-Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) 

武藤忠師先生, 昆先生



We did basic punches and kicks, middle and high levels. Muto-sensei said my punches are looking good. I think he tries hard to give us confidence.


  1. Shuto uke -Make sure you keep your hand and arm from the elbow out in a straight line, as if it were indeed a knife or a sword when doing shuto uke.
  2. Zenkutsu dachi - make sure your front knee is bent slightly inward (flex your leg muscles to pull your legs in) so that if you get kicked your leg can flex? in or your can easily move your knee in?


This day's kumite wasn't as good as the last time. I felt distracted and couldn't concentrate.


Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan.

Muto-sensei had us white belts do extra work on Heian Shodan. We went over it 4 or five times. Hannah even had a chance to practice it as if it were a test but she couldn't remember any of it. She can somewhat follow someone when they do it though and learning the embusen (演武線) and how many steps there is is half the battle to being able to recall all of the moves.

Notes and Tips

Shuto uke in Heian Shodan is chudan. Must take much larger steps and be in a lower stance. The entire Kata should take about a minute or less to complete.

Aspen's moves are small and it looks as if he only has three moves. Gedan barai, oizuki, and uchi uke. Of course, we don't do uchi uke in Heian Shodan. I have since been helping him get his basic moves done right, or at least better.

First we worked on the tetsui (hammer fist strike?) done on the third step of Heian Shodan. I told him to make the movement big, to bring his arm in a big circle and stop as if you were hitting someone on top of the head (little bunny foo foo).

Next I have tried to instruct him how to do gedan barai and shuto uke. I told him to start both with his hand up by his ears and make the movement big.

He just wants to play and have fun, just like all the other kids. He is starting to listen to me better. Yesterday I had him go thru Heian Shodan once and asked him if it was ok if I were to give him advice. He did pretty well but forgot to do hammer fist strike. Next I asked him to watch me and give me advice. He said that I should keep my hands as fists when doing age uke. This was a good idea, I thought. He just told me another point where he is making a mistake. In our style of karate, during age uke you have to open your hand from a fist after the block so that it is easy for you to grab the attacker's hand after the block. I was able to tell him this but I doubt he'll be able to recall this and all the other points he needs to work on. 

The best thing about doing Karate is that little by little, Aspen and I are getting closer together and fighting less. The sensei we have are very patient and continue to help me and give me advice on being patient with the kids. Karate is helping me more than I ever thought it would.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014/03/19 Class - protect your solar plexus




For kihon (drills) we did the basics.  I felt it was a bit shorter than the last time.
I still don't feel comfortable doing kicks, especially mawashi geri.  I am feeling more comfortable with it but still not very.  My legs, indeed my whole body is just too inflexible.


Hannah went through most of the kumite all by herself, without me or Muto-sensei going around with her.  Aspen did really well, and even did a nidan geri during jiyu kumite, for which the sensei praised him repeatedly.  Aspen asked me if I had tried a nidan geri during kumite.  I am afraid to hit and especially afraid to kick the other members of our club.  The kids are much better than I am but I'm so much bigger than they.  If I accidentally connected with a poorly controlled hit or kick, I'm afraid they could get hurt.  One of the smaller kids, but a skilled and fast kid, hit me in the solar plexus, not as hard as he could, but I still felt it, even through the body protector I had on.

Before we got to jiyu kumite Hannah said she was tired and went to the side to take a break.  The next time I looked over, she was asleep!

During Kumite, I have no idea what I'm doing.  Especially during jiyu kumite.  I am getting good practice blocking anyway and I am starting to get used to it a little.  Some of the kids are really fast and I realize if they were adults that I would be dead or beat-up well anyway.  I am starting to be able to "see" better which is enabling me to block and counter better.  For the one member who is my height, I can see her kicks coming from a mile away.  But she is just a white belt like me.  For the better kids, I miss half of the punches and kicks they throw.

Tips: During kumite, keep your back hand where it can protect your chest (solar plexus?).


Heian Shodan thru Heian Godan

Sensei had all of us practice the Kata together and then we went through a practice Kata test.  I made a mistake on Heian shodan, doing shuto uke where I should have been doing gedan barai and oizuki.  Hopefully I won’t make any mistakes on the actual test coming up soon.

As for Chinte, I'm starting to remember the moves.  I was turning the wrong direction at the start but now I think I have that fixed. I also had a few mistakes in my text only description of Chinte. I used Shokotan Sensei's youtube video and a video of Hirokazu Kanazawa and a copy of a German? diagram of the kata that seems to be everywhere when I search for katas.

For the rest of the kata, I now need to practice doing them with the right speed, with kiai, and making sure I'm looking where I'm supposed to be looking (chakugan).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Aspenとの空手稽古ごっこ and Chinte


I don't really know how this happened but for some reason Aspen and I ended up playing "karate practice" last night at home.

He was telling me what to do and I was doing it. Then we switched and I told him what to do and he did it.  The greatest thing about this was that he actually let me correct his movements a bit without getting upset or leaving.  :-)

He was having me do the Kata, "mugorei", without counting.  Usually the sensei leads us through the kata moves one step at a time once and then once without him counting.   I got all the way up to Heian godan before I got stuck.  And then he started asking me to do Kanku-dai, Chinte, Jitte, Wankan etc.  None of which I have remembered yet.    This gave me some practice at home.  Of course it is hard to do any more in our small apartment.  If I take one step I'm across the room and can't move any further.

The other day I spent the better part of a day watching a video of the Chinte kata and trying to write down a description of the moves.  I have been unable to find any such descriptions on line although I can find videos of course.  I found one list of the all the steps and of each name of each movement but it doesn't have direction information like "turn to the right" or "step forward with the left foot" etc.

Here is a live copy of the document as I work on it. You will have to change the speed of the video to catch some of the foot movements.  You can see that video here:
The document with the written instructions for the kata is here: Chinte 珍手 instructions

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014/03/15 Class

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei


  • sonoba chokuzuki (straight punch in place)
  • kibadachi sonoba chokuzuki (straight punch in place, in horse stance)
  • gedan barai 
  • ido shuto uke (knife hand block, moving)
  • yoko shuto uke, 4 times (knife hand block, the left, 2.45 degrees, 3. to the right, 4. 45 degrees )
  • maegeri, middle, upper, kekomi, kebanashi
  • yokogeri, middle, upper, kekomi, kebanashi
  • Nidan keri?? - right foot forward, kick with left foot then without bringing left foot down jump up and kick with right foot)
  • jump and spin


  1. yakusoku sanbon kumite (upper straight punch, middle straight punch, front kick) Uke (age uke, soto uke, gedan barai with gyakuzuki)
  2. ippon kumite - yakusoku (same moves as in sanbon but only one punch.)
    Remember to kiai on the punch and bring your punching hand back quickly.
  3. jiyu ippon kumite (I think with this, you can do any punch you like to give the other person practice blocking)
  4. Kashi waza (Do at least three quick successive punches or kicks to give the other person practice closer to that of a real match)
  5. Jiyu kumite (practice sparring. But while still pulling your punches.  I think.)

Kumite Progression

With the Kumite practice, the moves start out with the yakusoku or promised kumite, where both partners know how many times and to where you are going to attack for the purpose of blocking practice.  And gradually progresses to practice that gets closer and closer to real sparring.  Kaeshiwaza is maybe the last practice before free sparring.  


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


  • Make sure to pull your punch back quickly after the strike.  Make sure to Kiai!  
  • When doing yakusoku kumite maegeri, land with your hands down and out to your sides so the other person can punch.


I brought bandaids and put one on my left foot, Aspen's left foot, Hannah's left foot and one other member's left foot to help Aspen keep track of his left from his right.  He is always facing the other members instead of looking at their backs because he always has the wrong foot forward.

Good class! I was able to go through the entire class without having to miss parts to take care of Aspen or Hannah. Hannah decided she was too tired to do Kumite today. Since I usually have to help her go through Kumite, this gave me the chance to do it myself. Aspen and I had just gotten some new gear ($$) and so for the first time I had gloves for Kumite. Plus, it was the longest Kumite we have ever done. It was a good workout and it would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers my Wahoo Fitness heart rate monitor (iPhone 3Gs) would have given me.

I bought myself some shin guards, instep guards, and two sets of gloves (red and blue) so that I could compete in a tournament.  However, I decided not to go to the tournament because, Aspen is not ready and because a certain someone in my family needs me to help them so they can have time to study.

I also bought Aspen some shin and instep guards.  As for the other equipment, we are borrowing helmets and chest? guards from the club.  Aspen and I also need to get athletic cups before we go to a tournament.

I am also thinking of getting some sort of hand held punching bag for use with Aspen and Hannah and anyone else who wants to hit it.   I figure I can spend my money on my computer and other gadgets for myself, or I can spend it on Karate goods.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thursday Workout


  • Bike - 3.0 kpw until HR reach 130 bpm
  • Thrusters - 25 kg, 5 sets, 15 reps each
  • Pulldowns - 45 kg, 5 sets, 15 reps each
  • pushups - 5 sets, 5 reps each, various angles
  • Leg presses - single leg, 3 sets, 45 kg


  • hurdler stretch
  • iliopsoas stretch
  • gluteus maximus stretch
  • gluteus minimus stretch
  • hip abductions
  • sing leg eccentric bridges

36 minutes total, 388 kcal according to Wahoo HRM iPhone app.
Max HR 169 bpm
Avg HR 124 bpm

Did about half of my daily rehab.  Will do the remaining tonight.

Rehab day 2 (Wed)


Today my sore spot is a bit more sore than it was yesterday.   Yesterday I had my first day of Rehab and then went to the gym that night.

At the gym I brought plastic bags to use to add weight to the 25 kg barbell at the gym.  S and I were able to then use a "35 kg" barbell with the added weight along with the 8 kg backpack for our thrusters (front barbell squat to press).

That night I finished my rehab work.

So my sore leg is extra sore now and I have no way of telling if it is from exercise ( I also did a 20 minute HIIT on the stationary cycle) or from stretching.

2014/03/12 Class

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei


I spent almost the entire class doing other stuff.  I signed Aspen and I up for our test at the end of the month and ordered the minimum stuff the two of us need to compete in a tournament if we do.

So I missed Kihon practice completely.  But I got to watch Aspen and Hannah and decided to spend most of my time then watching Aspen.

He does most of the moves in a mirrored state.  He doesn't realize that if he is facing someone, that he is doing it with the wrong foot.  The teacher never said anything. So perhaps it is OK if he does the moves starting out on the wrong foot.  He is still getting the practice of doing the motions.

Kata - However, he needs to do the Kata correctly or he will fail his test.  Maybe.  I have an idea to bring some tape or stickers and put one on his left foot and one on the left foot of one or two other members.  This way he can check and see if he has the correct foot forward.  I have some small colored stickers that might work for this.

Kumite - I helped Hannah go through  kumite.  She did much better than the last time.  She went through san-bon kumite and ippon kumite and ....?  One more set of kumite before she petered out and quit.

For one of the drills he had them doing five movements.

  1. jyoudan chokutuki, 上段直突き
  2. chudan chokutsuki (junzuki), 中段直突き
  3. maegeri, 前蹴り
  4. mawashi geri, 回し蹴り
  5. sokuto.足刀
Kata - I got to jump in towards the end for kata practice.
Heian Godan, Jitte, Chinte, Wankan

After class I grabbed a black belt member and asked her some questions and had he help me with a few things.  One was Yoko keage.  I feel I'm doing yoko keage much better now.  She said to practice your yoko keage up against a wall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rehab work for High Hamstring Tendinopathy

Introducing a set of stretches and two movements for me to do as prescribed by the doctor to treat my pain in the butt. He seems to have come to the same conclusion as I, that it is High Hamstring Tendinopathy. He sent me to the PT and asked that I go to PT once a week and then come back to him once a month. The PT showed me how to do the stretches and said I needed to do them EVERYDAY! 30 second static stretch for each stretch for each leg for 5 sets each. That's 5 minutes per stretch. It should take 25 ~ 30 minutes to do the entire routine.

I am using Redy Gym on Android because it syncs with Runkeeper and has a timer. Redy Gym is for strength training so it doesn't have a built in method for recording stretching.  I record each 30 second stretch on a leg as one repetition so I can use the 30 second rest timer to time the stretches. Since the PT guy said I don't have to do all 5 sets at once and that it is OK to, for example, do 3 sets in the morning and then do 2 sets in the evening, Redy Gym helps by keeping a record of how many sets I've done that day of each exercise.

 I had to look up all the names of these muscles so here they are so I don't forget.

大臀筋 だいでんきん Gluteus maximus stretch
中臀筋 ちゅうでんきん Gluteus minimus stretch
腸腰筋 ちょうようきん Iliopsoas (dorsal hip flexors?) stretch
ハムストリングス Hamstring stretch
ドローイン+マーチング Draw in with marching.
ヒップアブダクション Hip abduction exercise

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2014/03/08 Class - Jitte, Wankan

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Kata - Heian Sho thru Godan, Jitte, Wankan.

Hmm, nothing too special to report this day.  Muto-sensei advised Aspen on his maegeri.  Hannah did some of the kumite but then quit and I jumped in in her place.  I have no gear but a chest protector.  Kon-sensei gave me one of his daughter's training gloves.  Next time I will ask Kikuchi-san to order me a pair of gloves I can use at tournaments.  Also, the club brought a face protector(?), called メンホー in Japanese, that is large enough for me to use.  So I will use that.  Aspen and Hannah still complain that their menho are too hot.  I told him that the other boys used the same one until they were in 4th grade.  He just likes to complain.  He is still young.  I have to keep reminding myself that.

I did not kiai very much.  I need to make sure I kiai when I am supposed to, and I need to do it well.  Sensei grades you not only on your performance at the test, but also on your performances at each practice.  I need to impress this on Aspen as well.

We didn't have a car and were waiting for Ryo to come pick us up.  She forgot us!  I texted her.  While I was waiting for her to reply I took Hannah upstairs to see the weight room.  She had wanted to see it earlier.  No-one was there.  I did three sets of thrusters with the 25kg bar bell at 15 reps and one set of pull ups and two sets of chins.  Hannah also wanted me to do this and that on various machines.  So I did a set of military press and a set of single leg leg press and a set of triceps extensions.  Then we went downstairs and I called Ryo to come pick us up.  I might do this from now on on Saturdays.  Go upstairs and do some lifting before going home.

On Sunday, Ryo went to the library and Aspen and Noelle went to an event for elementary school kids.  I put on the Fitnessblender 45 minute HIIT and total body tabata workout and did that in the living room with the windows open.  Nicola wanted me to hold her while I was trying to work out.  While this works for some of the exercises, it doesn't work for all of them and she did a lot of crying while I made her wait. But thanks to Nicola and Hannah I was able to add weight for lunges, squats, kettle ball (kids sat on a towel) swings and pushups.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014/3/5 Class - Jitte chinte

6:30 to 8:00pm

We got there a little early.  Ran around and played with Hannah to warm-up.  Aspen played with the other kids.  The black belts were doing a bit of physical training.  Sit ups and push-ups.  I did some push-ups with Hannah on my back.  Hannah did 10 push-ups herself, too.  I've learned that, apparently, with Kyokushin karate, and Gojyu Karate, they place a lot of importance on physical strength and so in those styles, one important part of the training sessions includes strength and agility training in the form of push-ups, situps, walking on hands etc.   Perhaps I should walk on my hands more before /after practice.  I often do jumps across the gym with Hannah  on my back.  That makes my legs fairly fatigued for a bit.

Basic punches in place (sonoba)
自然立ち Shizen dachi punching.  10 punches / 10 people = 100 punches
騎馬立ち Kibadachi punching, 10 x 10 = 100 ,
*Muto-sensei told me and the others to make sure our mid-level punches where not straight out in line with the shoulder, but slightly angled down.  I'm guessing, so that you hit towards the middle of the chest.
Shuto Uke knife hand blocks.
 *make sure to bring your hand all the way from you ear out.  Your drawing hand (hikite) should come to just below your heart in front of your chest.

Ido Kihon 移動基本
Gedan barai 5 x 5
Age uke
Soto uke  *make sure fist comes from behind ear, and elbow is up high
Sotouke + Gyakuzuki
Shuto Uke
Shutouke + Nukite
*Nukite - finger are not hitting straight on, but fingers are slightly curved in and the hit is somewhat like a "slap" rather than a jab.

maegeri - chudan / jodan / kekomi / kebanashi
Yokogeri - chudan / jodan / kekomi / kebanashi
mawashi geri
*keep your pivot/anchor foot flat on the ground, don't come up on your toes

Muto-sensei took Hannah through Kumite for me and Y.N. invited me in to practice yakusoku sanbon kumite and yakusoku ippon kumite.  I got to stand on the end and the other members rotated around me.  I was very happy to get a chance to practice this.  I need to get some gloves.  Kikuchi-san said I could borrow a menho (face protector?) for tournaments if I join in one.

Hannah got tired (and so was sensei) after going through all the yakusoku kumite and she dropped out and so I had to drop out to take care of her while the other members practiced jiyu kumite (free kumite / sparring?)

They did
jodan / chudan / maegeri
jiyu ippon kumite
kaeshi waza (three rapid punches or kicks meant to make an opponent go back)

Aspen went through all the kumite.  He is doing better and better.  However, he still doesn't get his guard up much, if at all.  He goofs around a lot.  The teacher, for the most part, doesn't scold him or Hannah for goofing off.  Aspen however, still doesn't do the kihon very well and I wasn't able to watch him do Kata because for some reason, he stood far behind me and the others on the judo mats.    Hannah was floating around like a soap bubble without a goal.  Spacing out?  She didn't practice anything  very well and if it wasn't for the sensei forcefully taking her hands and running her through the motions, she wouldn't have done the kumite.  The last time she did really well.  She has a hard time with this sort of thing now that I think about it.  She does not do very well with song and dance for the Kindergarten plays either.

Kiai.  I need to kiai.  I always forget or just don't feel confident enough to do it.


  1. Heian shodan
  2. Heian nidan
  3. Heian sandan
  4. Heian yondan
  5. Heian godan
  6. Wankan
  7. Jitte
  8. Chinte

7 Days until 昇給審査, Aspen and my first belt test.

To  tell you the truth, I think it is too early for Aspen.  He might not even pass his test.  I might not even pass, but I think I will.  I have a hard time with Yokokeage, and Sotouke.  I'm not coordinated enough for sotouke, and my legs are too inflexible to do Yokokeage well.  That is not something that I'll be able to do in a month.

Stretching- I need to stretch! Everyday!

High Hamstring tendinopothy?
I need to do my glute bridges every night.  I will go to the doctor next month and get started trying to figure this injury out.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I bought a book!

高橋優子の[DVDで学ぶ空手道 めざせ黒帯! 昇級審査対策の完璧マニュアル (DVDブック)]です。写真がたっくさん載っていて、DVDもついています。そして、昇給審査と同じようなビデオが流れます。これは優しい。または本やDVDの説明がきめ細かく、助かります。

空手には子供たちはがかなか食いつきが甘いというか、家では練習したがらない。というか、家では練習してもらえません。まだ早いか?でも、Ryo doesn't want to pay for the lessons if the kids aren't going to work hard at it.  She threatens to make them quit if they don't at least practice hard at the lessons.  As for me, I don't want to force them to practice and I don't ever want to threaten to take Karate away from them.  I do a lot of tongue biting to keep myself from pushing them. The kids do listen to Ryo better than they do me.  And you know what?  A little threatening seemed to work the last time!  I haven't yet shown the DVD to the kids.  I tried showing the book to Aspen but he wasn't interested.  I know you are supposed to catch them when they are free and not engaged in something else, but there is never a time when my kids look free.  I must be creative!