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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My First Gasshuku

Just some notes.

First Gasshuku for me and A.

Muto-sensei, Iida-sensei, Kon-sensei, Yanai-sensei, and others. Actually, I'm not sure if the adult black belts are instructors, or just adult black belts.  I think they are most likely just parents.  Regardless, they are black belts and they are adults, which is great for me.

Practice was about 4 hours on the first day and about 3 hours on the second day.

Front Kicks
Iida-sensei was the main instructor.  He gave us pointers on how to work on improving our front kicks (mae geri)
He outlined 5 points.
1, 100-ups, practice with one foot raised slightly off the floor,m bring your knee up sharply and return to starting position without touching the floor. Do ten reps then switch feet.
2, from front stance, when you raise your back foot/knee, raise it so your foot comes flat off of the floor (raise from the toe?) and not by raising your heel first.
3,
4,
5,
I can't remember the other three at the moment.  I'll have to find my notebook.  Even then, I could only remember 4.

I mentioned to one of the black belts that I never see anyone do front kicks in a kumite match.  He said maybe the is because the front kicks are too slow.  But I'm thinking that the front kick, while certainly not as powerful as a round house kick, might be faster and definitely an option to explore for me, especially since I am so handicapped by my poor flexibility.  I can imagine that a good front kick to the gut might slow someone down but that probably, I'd only have one chance to do it.

Kumite drills

Gyaku, Gyaku - start with a revers punch (gyaku zuki), then step forward with the back leg and do another reverse punch with the other arm
One, two - jab (kizami zuki) to a reverse punch
Step matching - try to step in for a counter (gyaku zuki) at the same moment your opponent starts to step in for a jab.  Ideally, your foot hits the floor as you step in at the same time as your opponent's (near impossible if your speed and reaction times are similar)
Advice, duck down? at the same time for a body blow. Can block with the left hand and strike with the right etc.
Grab and jab - grab your opponents front wrist and pull as you step in for a strike. A boy named Ryo did this to me several times during our kumite matches.  Good move.
Advice, practice keeping your guard up.  If you are going into a kumite match with other adults, the WILL try and knock you out with a roundhouse to the head.

Thoughts:
At the last belt test the guest instructor from Asahikawa told us to try and reach as far as we could when practicing our strikes.  He said that every little bit of distance you can get out of your strike counts.  I was really able to see this play out during the kumite bouts.  Watching the really good kids and even sparring with one of them, and even during the kumite drills, I could see how they really reached out as far as they could to try and get a point.  Your opponent is trying to get out of the way, trying not to get hit and so you have to get as much distance out of your strikes as possible.  The Grab and Jab is a good example, too.  I watched, indeed experienced first hand, as Ryo reached out and grabbed my front most wrist and pulled on it to try and close the distance between his fist and my body.

Be dramatic! - I suppose this would go for Kata too, but it was a point made.  When you get a strike in, you have to dramatically pull your arm back (hikite) and dramatically do your Kiai in a loud voice, if you want to get the points.  It would seem that Shotokan Karate tournaments are part show where the expression of your skill is as important as their effectiveness.

Get em' while their down!  We practiced dramatically punching an opponent while they are down on the ground.  Iida-sensei said to grab the collar of their sleeve, draw your striking elbow way back, do the punch (without actually hitting the person), and then draw our fist way back again and at the same time kiai and stand completely up while still holding your opponent's sleeve. He didn't specifically say it, but his intention was to impart the importance of dramatics in getting points from judges.

Kata

+Heian Yondan, what's the meaning of the hand movements before the Uraken strike. your Left Hand is blocking or pushing a opponent's hand down out of the way before a strike.
+Around step 13, after empi, your left hand is doing a downward (lower level) block (uke).

Remember, the blocks should be done in HANMI.

Heian Godan, step 10, after downward x block, and the upper x block (uke), the the next move, where you twist your hands and bring them down together, has two meanings.  One is to grab a hand and bring it down, the next meaning is the left hand is blocking so you don't need to bring it to your hip, just bring it straight down.

How to enter the kata competition area

We got instruction on how to enter the area for a Kata competition.

  1. Be ready at the edge of the area on the color/side you are assigned to (red or blue). 
  2. Your name will be called, answer with "Osu!" and walk out in line with your color line, red or blue, 
  3. turn and face the front, bow to the front, 
  4. turn and face your opponent, bow to your opponent,
  5.  turn again and face the front, 
  6. walk out to your line, stopping with your toes just in front of the line, don't step on the line. 
  7. The conducting official will call out Aka, Kata! At which point the red opponent would call out the kata they were going to perform.  Then Ao, kata! And then the blue opponent will do the same. 
  8. ??? Does the official say hajime?
  9. You do your kata and return to your line.
  10. ???When both opponents are finished????/ do you return to the back line on your own timing to wait for to see who won?  
  11. The official announces who won.
  12. You bow to each other
  13. You bow to the front,
  14. You turn and leave the area.
  15. ???Do you stop and bow at the edge of the area?? 

Hmm, there are still some points I am not sure about.  I'll have to look for videos on YouTube and review the video I took during Gasshuku.  I only took a few videos of the Kata.

A final note

I am still writing and thinking about this.  Mostly I learned a lot about kumite.  I also got very sore.  It is Wednesday and I am still sore here and there from the 6+ hours of practice done over last Saturday and Sunday.  My shins and calves are sore, my glutes are sore (???), my shoulders and upper back are sore and my forearm is sore.  I noticed my wrist not being able to keep straight and being forced over when hitting the other members, for example, when we both moved forward at the same time and I punched them with a body blow.  This tells me I need to do something to strengthen my wrists.  Hitting something like a punching bag would be ideal but I don't have access to one.  In the mean time I'll start doing my push-ups up on my firsts instead of on my palms.