Thursday, October 23, 2014

Working on Kankudai

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei


Nothing new with Kihon.
Same old Kumite.  Everyone is getting better.  The AB brothers are improving quickly, especially the older brother.  He seems to be holding back recently when working with me.  A decided he had a headache and would skip Kumite, but he said he would do Kata.  H did a little Kumite and and don't know if she did any kata.  A did Kata but tried to leave the formation and hide behind a pillar. Muto-sensei got him to join the group again.

This time, Muto-sensei told Kon-sensei to take me with him so I could work with the brown and black belts.  We worked on Kanku Dai, only.

We only worked on Kanku Dai.  Which was great, because we usually don't spend a lot of time on one thing so it is hard to learn the details.

There are, depending on how you count them, 65 separate movements in Kanku Dai.

Advice I was given:
Keep your body upright, don't lean forward.  (This is a constant problem of mine.
I don't realize that I am bending forward so it is hard for me to fix the problem).

Somewhere around movement 44, the lower level knife hand block, when you do the mid-level knife hand block, I was doing it at a 45 degree angle, and it should be done straight ahead, directly to the back (south).

Be careful to keep in mind the half-way-point when moving from one movement to the next.  For example, when moving from the elbow strike into the knife hand block, keep in mind to first get your body pointed in the right direction, to get your mark hand out and then to perform the block.

Make sure your rear stance (kokutsu dachi) looks good and make sure your other stances (rear, front, horse stances) are good and low. This is SHOTOKAN Karate, not some other style. Make it look like Shotokan.

I noticed after looking at an illustration of the kata, that I had my hands in fists, when preparing for the ridge hand strike to the neck when they should have been open. For move 16 and 36, it's an open hand, for move 18 and 25, it's a closed fist.  For 16 and 36 you are preparing for the ridge hand strike to the neck.

For 18 and 25 you are blocking after grabbing the hakama between your opponent's legs and pulling hard and possibly flipping him?  At least that's my interpretation.  Is that right?

Also notice the angle of the back arm in these two prep-motions.  When in the fist as a block, the fist should not be leaning in towards your head, but should be pointing straight up to the ceiling.  When in an open hand when getting ready for the strike to the neck, the forearm is leaning forward toward the head.

When doing the back fist strike, hammer fist strike, elbow strike combination around move 55~57, keep in good horse stance and shuffle your feet towards your opponent 6 inches for back fist strike (uraken) and then perform a hammer fist strike (tessui). There should be no pause between the two strikes. Perform an elbow strike into the left hand, bring the two hands down to the left waist in a cup and saucer position, then look to the right and perform a downward block to the right with your right hand while still in horse stance.  

Hmm, I'm trying to remember all the things that I learned during this last practice.

I'm planning on getting a new video camera and a tripod so that I can take video of myself and the kids practicing and at tournaments and tests.  It will be a useful tool for evaluating our form.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei


A, for some reason, decided just before we left for practice, that he wanted to quit Karate?  We half forced him to get into the car, and before we had reached the dojo, he was already in a good mood.  And he had a good time during practice and came home happy and in a good mood.   Strange.  During practice Muto-sensei praised him for his improvement in kumite.

H did really well at the last practice and I was able to watch her because I had to watch over our 3-year-old and couldn't practice myself.  I wasn't able to watch her this time because I was practicing myself, but, I think she does a better job when I'm not going around with her.  She tried to talk to me several times during yaku soku kumite, but I kind of half ignored her, and she just kept at it.  She often tries to tell me that she is hot, or sweaty, or itchy, or wants to take off her menho. Then when I stop to hear her say, she inevitably uses that to quit.  She ducked out halfway through kumite practice and that's OK.  Just as long as she goes through 3 bon kumite at least, I'm happy with that.    She can't follow us through kata practice.  She needs special attention but she wont take it.  I guess I'll just have to wait until she is ready, or think of a creative way to get her to practice.

Kata - we went through the Heian kata and then did Wankan, Kankudai and Bassai Dai.  It's about time I find some time and space to go through Bassai Dai on my own.  I also need to practice Kankudai more so I can do it without counting.   Actually, all of my kata suck and they all need to be worked on constantly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our first tournament

Training for anything hasn't been going well. Bad weather, bad colds, busy schedules.  

The last couple of practices I had to bring our littlest one and so couldn't practice much. I did do a bit of Kata practice with everyone, though.  

H on the other hand, did really well during the last practice.  She did san-bon kumite really well.  She keeps asking me when she will get a colored belt and I keep telling her "When you can do san-bon-kumite and when you have learned Heian Shodan, then you can get a colored belt."  In reality, she probably could get one now, but I'd like to be a bit more strict with their advancement.   I'd love to give A and H individualized practice but I can't figure out how to get them to do it.  I can't hold their attention long enough to do it.  The other kids in the club, too, aren't very serious about practice.  

A and I participated in our first tournament over the weekend.  H came along, too. Kata was done in the morning and Kumite after lunch. A and I both did terribly on our Kata.  A could have a chance if he would practice, but he won't.  I blanked out half way through and even if I wouldn't have, I was so far outclassed it wasn't even funny.  I'm sure it must have been painful to watch.  It's painful to recall, for sure.

A won his first match, winning, I think, 3 to 0, with lunge punches.  Mr. Y cheered him on well, and was a good example for me.  His cheering seemed to spur A on and give him confidence. His success, probably gave him confidence as well. He lost his second match quickly, receiving two swift kicks to the head and losing 6 - 0. I had to wait all day for my match and thus had plenty of time to be nervous.   I lost my first match 6 - 0 to a guy whose black belt was faded and worn.  It was my first match ever against an adult.  Again, I was so outclassed it wasn't even funny.  I can't kick.  I probably look like white belt first grader when I do.  It was so embarrassing.  I was told by a ref before the match, in English, "No contact."  I knew the rules already.  You are supposed to pull your punches.  I'm not sure if my opponent was pulling his punches and kicks or not, but he hit me pretty hard several times.  It was a shock.  I lost a lot of confidence, not that I had any to begin with.  My division was for High School, College and Adult men.  There were only two adult men, I think, me and my first and last opponent.  They were all big and tall and fast.  I can't imagine I'll ever be that fast.  

Lookin on the brighter side of this experience, I got to sit at the edge of the matt after loosing in Kata and loosing in Kumite and thus got to watch, at very close range, the big boys do their stuff.  It was eye-opening.  

For Kata, I did Heian Nidan.  It is the one I feel the most comfortable with, and I blew it.  Everyone looked at me with disbelief when I pronounced it.   All the others were doing Jion, Kankudai, Bassaidai, Empi and other kata I hadn't even heard of.  No one did Jitte, which was what I was thinking of doing in the first place.  Now I'm thinking that I will have to practice Jitte more and perhaps try it at a tournament sometime in the future.  Definitely not in the near future.  No one did Wankan or Chinte either.