Monday, June 30, 2014

Different paces bring happy faces

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei,

We got there a little late and missed the basic drills.  Everyone was working on sparring drills when we got there.  I was going to sit back and watch to encourage my two young kids to work without me but Muto-sensei asked me to jump in to give some of the newer members extra practice with sparring as they were going to join in a tournament soon.

We went through sparring quickly and then through Kata quickly before Muto-sensei had to leave early.  From that point on Kon-sensei took over and we did some completely different drills.

First we did some new sparring drills.  It took forever for me to get my kids ready because they didn't really know what was going on and were tired of doing the same stuff that we always do.  They never pay attention and didn't listen to Muto-sensei when he left.

Jab, lunge punch.

We took turns doing 10 combination jab to lunge punches.
Then we made two lines in front of two black belts and took turns practicing this jab to lunge punch combination on them.

Kick the bag

We have a kicking "bag" of sorts.  It stands on the floor and is about 165 or 170 cm tall.  We lined up in front of the kicking bag and took turns kicking it, concentrating on doing high-level round house kicks (mawashi geri) but were allowed to practice whatever punches and kicks we wanted.

We all really enjoyed this and it was a drill that even the littlest of the members could easily participate in and there were smiles all the faces of all the members as they enjoyed doing this new activity.

UUghhg.  I hate this keyboard.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Heian Sandan and Heian Godan pointers

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

As always, we did the basic drills and sparring and then kata.

For Heian Sandan, there is a move where you start from heisoku dachi, with your feet together and your fists on our hips, and then kick forward (crescent moon kick??) and then stamp down and swing your elbow forward (fure-enpi) and then strike with a back hand fist.  Muto-sensei explained to us the meaning of this elbow swing and strike.  He said you swing your elbow to block a straight punch and then bring your first in close to your body with your elbow bent completely before the strike so that you can make sure your forearm gets clear of the other person's hand that you just blocked.  Make sense?  It made sense when he was showing it to us.  He also showed the backhand strike as hitting the opponent on the on the top of the forehead.

Heian Godan - On the eight fist movement you perform a lower level x-block and then perform and open-handed x-block to the upper level.  You then must immediately do the next movement where you rotate your hands as if you blocked a punch with the x-block and the opponent's fist was in between your two hands.... you rotate your hands so that your right hand rotates to the right as if to grab your opponent's arm and pull it down and to the side, then immediately perform the next two movements.  A left handed hand sweep(?) and a stepping front lunch punch with the right hand.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nukite height

Today we did some new drills. 

We did the regular set of 
  • straight punches, 
  • punches from horse stance, 
  • gedan barai, oizuki
  • ageuke
  • sotouke
  • uchiuke.

And after doing age-uke we did age-uke going back with gyaku-zuki.  Then we did shuto-uke with  nukite. Then it was uchi-uke with gyaku-zuki.  Then soto-uke and then soto-uke with gyaku-zuki????

We also did the regular sparring drills and free sparring at the end.  Of course, I am the only adult so things are a little awkward when I do these drills with the kids.  I am 178 cm tall, they are 130, 150, 160 cm tall.  One girl is probably 165 cm tall or taller.  But just because she is close to my height doesn't mean I'm going to hit hard.  She is still young and much lighter and weaker than I am.  She is better than I am.  No doubt about that.  Most of the kids are technically better and faster than I am.  And they probably always will be.  How fast and skilled can a 40 year old beginner get?

We did a practice test for kata. I had to do Heian Nidan. I learned that I need to watch the height of my nukite.  I know where it is supposed to go now so I'll keep that in mind from now on. I mean, I knew where it should be but I hadn't thought about that in regards to the kata.  You are aiming for the spot just under the solar plexus where there is a divide in the muscles.  Am I right?  I'll have to check and make sure.  

I think one of the only things that I have going for me over the kids despite my size and strength, is my experience.  I wrestled for 10 years and just having the experience of being an adult, I think it makes it easier to learn things faster. Most of the member give me advice once or twice during each practice, which helps too.   

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Back stance? Front stance?

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Basic Drills - Kihon
Sparring - Kumite

We did the basic drills as always.  Not much variation with our instructor.  Hannah counted during the first set of straight punch drills, where we all stand in a neutral (natural?) stance and practice straight punching and then get down in horse stance and do the same.  Each member takes turns counting to ten and we all do ten punches per member and then the instructor does it one more time and we all kiai on each of the final ten punches.  Well, Hannah usually doesn't get a turn calling out the punches but this time she did.  She did a great job.  Most new members have to be told how to do it but Hannah did it perfectly the first time.  After that she kind of fizzled out and didn't want to practice anymore.


Hannah did half a round of the first drill and then quit.  She quit after I touched her to move her into place when everyone was supposed to switch to a new partner. Whenever I go around with her, she falls back on me, literally, and then doesn't practice.  If she goes around by herself, or on the rare occasion that the instructor will go around with her, she does a good job.  After she got out of line I sat with her for most of the rest of the sparring drills trying to talk to her and get her to get back to it or to find out why she doesn't want to do it.  My bad.  It's just not fun perhaps.  Or perhaps it is just too awkward for a small 5 year-old to do sparring drills with 12 and 15 year-olds.


We split into two groups and then came together at the end to practice tournament style kata.  Hannah, jumped in with the other two white belts and tried Heian Shodan.  She has never practiced it.  She doesn't want to, but for some reason that practice looked like something she wanted to do.

Aspen did a fairly good job of Heian Nidan and I did Heian Nidan as well.  After a few weeks of no practice I was a little rusty.  I went out on the next Friday early in the morning and practice my Kata during my run.

Back Stance?  Front Stance? 

I am having a hard time remembering when I need to do morote uke (augmented block?) in front stance and when I need to do it in back stance.  If you are just starting like I am, are having the same problem? Are you doing it in the right stance?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014/06/4 Facing forward back fist strike

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei


  1. Kihon - basic drills
  2. Kumite - sparring
  3. Kata


We did the same basic drills he always has us do.  It would be nice to have something different thrown in there from time to time.  Actually, it is very nice whenever Muto-sensei can't come and we have Kon-sensei, or another sensei come, because the other teachers do it a bit differently.   There is one drill I need to practice at home so I don't feel like such a fool during class and that is adding gyakuzuki after age-uke while going backwards. I had it figured out once, but I need to go over it again because we did it and I couldn't do it.  My position in he room makes it so I can't watch anyone else doing the move.

Hannah and Aspen both made a point of standing behind me where I couldn't see them and after a short while of doing the basic drills, both were gone running around laughing and playing while the rest of the club did drills.  Admittedly, the drilling is not fun.  It is important, but it would be more interesting if it were changed from time to time and if we had a smiling sensei. ;-)


We did

  • san-bon kumite (jodan tsuki / age-uke, chudan tsuki / chudan soto uke, mae geri / gedan barai, , 
  • ippon kumite (jodan tsuki / chudan tsuki / mae geri - and you can block and counter anyway you want)
  • ippon jiyu kumite (attacker takes three steps forward, receiver stepping back, then does the same attacks with free blocking and counters just like in ippon kumite)
  • kaeshi waza (Do three strikes or kicks that you want concentrated to upper level / middle level / mae geri.  So you can do three jodan tsuki, or some other strike, I think.  Or three chudan tsuki or some other strike and you can mix in kicks to the same level. When you do the front kick (mae geri) you should do at least one front kick and then two other attacks, either strikes or kicks. The receiver blocks and counters on the last strike/kick)
  • jiyu kumite  - free sparring

Hannah did san-bon-kumite with about four people and then quit.  Aspen can't tolerate her attitude and speaks harshly to her, which doesn't help.  And he doesn't understand that and doesn't care.  Actually, he might understand it, but probably doesn't want her around.  He has a very low tolerance for people who don't follow the rules.   Aspen would not try and spar seriously with me.  I think the size difference makes it difficult for the kids to spar with me, if not intimidating.  The Yamada brothers as well as Krau, always give me lots of advice.  Actually, most of the members are giving me advice.

Advice: When doing a back spin kick, do it as quickly as you can to minimize the amount of time your back is facing your opponent (duh ) .  I still have very little control and although I probably could move a little faster, I might end up on the ground.

Kata - for us lower ranking belts, we beginners (white through green)

Heian Shoda
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan

Tips: The back fist strike (uraken) used in Heian Yondan and Heian Godan are done in a slightly different stance. In Heian Yondan you do the back fist strike while facing forward, shoulders square forward, and with your knees slightly bent in a cross legged stance (kosa-dachi), with your left foot crossed behind your right. Let's look closer at the two.
Actually, this should be pretty close as he is a black belt and this snapshot was taken from a PDF on the Kata.
And here is a snapshot taken from a pdf file for Heian Godan.
Wait a minute!  That's not a back fist strike! It's not uraken at all! That's morote-uke!  It's a block, not a strike.

I still have much to learn.

I put a bandage on my toe and wrapped it with athletic tape to keep it on and it was OK.  I didn't get stepped on and it didn't bother me much.  I guess I don't use my big toe as much as I thought I would.  Mostly it gets pressure put on it when I am trying to do a pretty front stance.

I am very much out of shape,though.  After three weeks of rest this night's class was a good workout.  I was very tired.  Most of the kids complained about it being too hot but that wasn't a problem for me.  I just sweat a lot and then I'm cool.

My left hamstring injury seems to be getting better.  I cautiously did a few front kicks with it last night and it doesn't seem worse off for it.  I am still going to hang back on doing front kicks with that leg.  I would like to start jogging soon.  I just have to figure out how to jog, do my rehab strength training, and do my rehab stretches too.  It takes over an hour a day just to do the rehab work.  When am I going to run?  In the morning of course.  I just have to get up early enough to get out, run a little, and then do some rehab.  Then I can try and finish rehab at night before bed.  I'll have to do strength training in the morning because it makes me hot and I sweat and then my wife gets mad because we've already had our baths/showers for the night and she says I'm stinky! ;-)

The PDF files from which I took the above snapshots can be found at the Kissai-Kai Karate website here:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rehab - lying hip abduction KICKS!

I am feeling like my hamstring is getting better, maybe. But to tell you the truth, I really don't think it will ever get better.  I think the only thing I'll be able to do is to give it more support by strengthening the muscles around it.  Plus, my toe, which I had a fibroma taken off of from the bottom, is healing up well.  I think I'll be able to start Karate practice again tomorrow.  The only part I really worry about is doing front stance, jumping and free sparring.  And I think start running again.  Even though doctors and physical therapists on the Internet say you should not run until the pain goes away, my doctor and physical therapist doesn't seem to think so.  So I'll start running.  My weight has gone up to 79 kg, I have to do something since I can't stop putting food in my mouth.

I am working with renewed "will" at my rehab exercises.  They have given me so many different things to do that I can't find the time and the place to do them all.  It takes 30 minutes for stretching and at least 30 minutes or more to do the strength exercises.  That leaves no time to do karate specific exercises.

However, I did discover this morning that I can do my lying hip abductions as a karate exercise as well.   While lying on your side on the floor with your arm folded as a pillow for you head and with your body tilted slightly forward, lift your top leg up and bring it down slowly and repeat.  You can make this more karate specific by bringing your leg up to your knee as you would to practice a good side snap kick, and then kicking up, holding it for a second and bringing your foot back to your knee.

This exercise works your hip flexors and your gluteus medius muscles and probably some others as well.

I am using Redy Gym log still but have hopes for a Gym Hero app for Android appearing in the future. will be releasing an app for Android soon.  I have started using their site more.  I have used DailyBurn tracker for along time, which I really like.  If it had more love from DailyBurn it would be even better. still is my favorite.  As long as lives, I'm sure I'll still be using it.

Speak of the Devil, it looks like I can't access again!