I got confused on the time and we showed up almost 30 minutes late, but this turned out to be a good thing. Since we missed the basic punching and kicking drills, we weren't tired for the sparring and kata. Both A and H finished all of the sparring drills and H went through free sparring for the first time, which is really just play for her. A also did most if not all of the kata, I can't remember. The kids have always had a hard time completing a whole practice and I guess the reason was that they have just been too physically tired to do so.
Perhaps we need to do something more during the week to help build up their endurance. A does soccer once a week, so he is doing three things each week. I have been to many of his soccer practices. They are not very physically demanding. The kids have started doing early morning radio exercises, as is the custom for elementary school kids to do during summer vacation here in Japan. The exercises themselves are only good enough to serve as a light warm-up, but then in our neighborhood, after the exercises, they all run around the block once before they are finished. They collect stamps on a stamp card and at the end of summer vacation they usually get a little paper bag of goodies for their efforts. I wish I could keep the kids going after summer break is over. I know big N would never do it. A might, but it is so hard to get them to do anything. Once you get them started with any activity, they are fine, but it is so hard to get them to break their inertia (sitting on the couch reading a book etc).
I think that I may have been doing Heian Nidan wrong. I think I was doing oizuki when I should have been doing gyakuzuki. Kon-sensei was leading us this day and he spends more time explaining the details than Muto-sensei and I think this change of pace got me goofed up. I hope that is all it was and that I haven't been practising it wrong. We have a belt test in 6 days and I'm pretty sure Heian Nidan is the kata I will have to perform.
I asked a young instructor once for advice. I told him I would get off balance when doing the 270 degree turns in the kata. He suggested I do half steps and to bring my feet together first and then to step out into the stance. That is the way I have been practicing it for months now. At the last practice, however, Kon-sensei showed us how we need to just practice stepping into the stance directly, and that we have to practice it until we get a feel for where to put our feet. So I started reviewing videos again and sure enough, none of those guys are taking half steps.
Here's a question. Is the uraken done with the fist vertical or horizontal? And is that a stupid question? It looks like it is done vertical, with the thumb knuckle pointing up. Also, I think that I might be doing the mid-level knife hand block with my hand up too high. I must remember the mid-level means, and correct me if I'm wrong, in line with the solar plexus.