Pages

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Kihon - basic form drills
Kumite - sparring practice
Kata - Kata practice

Kihon

We did the downward block (gedan barai) during Kihon today, for the first time I might add.  I once again felt foolish as I tried to do the combinations while moving backwards.  Ageuke -> chudan gyakuzuki, Shuto uke -> Nukite from rear stance, Shuto uke -> Nukite while changing to front stance, Soto uke ->gyakuzuki, Uchi uke -> gyakuzuki?  H didn't do any of the kihon except for the first two sets of straight punches.

Kumite

H joined us for kumite and Muto-sensei worked with her until we started what he calls kaeshi waza.  A got all dressed up for kumite and then decided he didn't want to do it.  But I got him out there and he did it.  We had an odd number and everyone had to take turns waiting to get back in the line.  While he was waiting, he was practicing kata and Muto-sensei praised him heavily for this.  That made him feel good.  ;-)

Once again Crown, NY and YY, all tried to give me advice. Once I was told not to hit hard, and to try and just barely touch with my strikes.  I was also encouraged to try and sweep the punches out of the way instead of trying to do a full Soto uke etc as trying to doge and sweep would be faster.  I can do it sometimes but I'm just not that light on my feet just yet (will I ever be?).

Kata

Kon-sensei worked with us on the kata taking us through the Heian kata and then we worked on Jion.


How many calories does an hour of Karate practice burn?

For me, a 77 kg male, it's about 1100 calories.  That's about 550 kcal per hour.  Not as much as a running, but still a pretty good amount.  I put the heart rate monitor on during practice last night to get an idea of how many calories were being burned.  It's a rough estimate for sure.  I was just curious.  My max heart rate was 165 and the average was 128.  Some people have mentioned that I look like I've lost weight and I think they are right.  I do look like I've lost weight, but I haven't.  I the full body exercise I'm getting from doing Karate is helping my get leaner.  At least, I hope it is.  We use pretty much all of the muscles when doing it.  You are pushing and pulling and swinging your arms in all different planes of movement.  It uses your shoulders, your triceps, your biceps, your forearms, your legs in the deep shotokan stances, jumps, lunges and kicks, and our core muscles as you twist and turn your body and quickly as you can.  The warm-ups get your heart rate up as well as the sparring and the kata.  It IS good exercise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painfully obvious

It is painfully obvious to me, that it is not going to take 1872 hours to get a black belt.  It seems as if I might be able to get my brown belt, level 3, before Christmas, which would a little more than a year after starting and would be after about 150+ hours of class/training. That amount of training should get one to Level 10 or 9, perhaps (Level 1 being the highest before shodan black belt).  I know my sensei really wants me to take the test and get my brown belt as soon as possible because he says, it takes a long time after getting your brown belt to get shodan.  He is 80 years-old and wants to see me get my black belt before he has to stop teaching.  I want to get it too, but I want to feel worthy of it, like I earned it.  I got my ass kicked so easily at the last (and only) tournament that I entered recently.  It made me feel a bit embarrassed that I was wearing a purple belt. If I remember correctly, there were a few white belts in my division (high school and up) but all the others were black belts. As the belt color doesn't matter for the tournaments, I might put on my old judo white belt for the next tournament.

When we have our belt tests, there are three or more instructors conducting and scoring the performance of the testees.  So my sensei says that it is not up to him whether or not we pass the test or what level we are given.  But I wonder, really, how much influence he has.  Is he pushing them to give me ranks I don't deserve or do they really feel I deserve it?  Or is there a separate standard for new adult learners?  Or perhaps for foreigners?

Sadly, the 24FightingChickens.com site is down for good.  It was closed.  But the owner made the site available for download, which I did, and here is a quote from that site.  The article title was Practical Karate Tests, by Rob Redmond. I like the idea here but it could take 10 years for me to get a black belt under his system if he required the 2000 hours of in dojo training.  The list of requirements, like for getting Boyscout badges, however could be used to allow a fast learner to rank up based on skill and not total hours only.
"Belt tests are loaded with all sorts of problems. I think in the future, should I choose to function as the lead instructor of a karate club, I would avoid testing students all together. Instead, I would prefer to set down a list of requirements that students must complete in order to qualify for their promotions instead of holding an examination. These requirements would include things like a particular number of hours training since the last promotion. I feel that the minimum number of hours spent in the dojo training for a shodan (black belt) is 2000. This means that each kyu rank would require around 125 hours of training before the student is allowed to receive the next rank. I prefer counting the hours of actual time spent training over the method of requiring three months of elapsed time because during a required interval of time between exams, some students hardly show up to train at all until the few days before the test. I would also institute other requirements, such as having the student demonstrate this skill or that skill to my satisfaction, and I would allow them to complete these requirements one at a time after class when they preferred. One of my requirements for them might be a day in which they were put under pressure and required to spar other students and succeed to some minimum standard. Once the requirements had all been signed off as complete, the student would be qualified to receive the rank."
I would think that the 2000 hour rule is too arbitrary and is likely just a way to get money from tests.  If the student has the skill, they should be allowed to move up in rank.  It seems that is what our dojo is like at the moment.  At least that is how sensei says it is.  If you work hard then you'll get the skill that will allow you to do well on the test and move up in rank.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kankudai, Jion, Kumite pointers

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Kihon
Kumite
Kata

There were few members this practice.  I don't know why. Maybe they were studying for tests.  Maybe they were sick.

H didn't do anything at all because she had gotten a flu shot earlier in the day and she said her arm hurt.  A did well up until the very end of Kumite when he got hit a little hard in the back of the neck.  I think it scared him more than hurt him.  He sat down at the side and didn't do any Kata practice.  He has a hard time recovering from mistakes or embarrassing situations or having gotten yelled at.  He will usually just quit and sit at the side.  I can understand the embarrassing situation part.  He cried.  He was embarrassed and didn't want to do any more.  I hope he can learn, sooner than later, that it is more embarrassing to quit because of the incident than to struggle on through it.  Although I think his reaction is not too odd for a young boy his age.

Muto-sensei is again having us do more combination punches during our kihon practice.  We never do combinations that include both punches and kicks.  Hmm...  I had actually practiced twice before practice and was able to do them without too much embarrassment.   I need to continue to practice combination punches moving forward and when moving backward.   I still haven't decided if we will go to the upcoming belt test, but if we do, then I think I'll need to be able to do these combinations well in order to move up to the next level. I think the next level will give me a brown belt.  Muto-sensei says that you might as well hurry up and get your brown belt because it won't be so easy after that to get your black belt. There are in our system, I believe, three levels of brown belt.  Muto-sensei is really encouraging me to take the test and I get the feeling that he is tailoring the practices somewhat to help me personally.  But then again, I'm not the only purple belt.  There are others, but most of them are a level or half-level below me.

Kumite

Most of the kids, the ones that started before me, are giving me advice during kumite.  They give me a lot of advice, sometimes the same advice over and over because I am not getting it done correctly.  I can feel that I am starting to improve during kumite.  I still don't think that I'll ever be able to win any matches if I compete and am likely to get my head knocked off.  Let's hope that never happens.

Tips: Don't hit too hard or you'll get a penalty.  But, if you can hit him hard enough to make him quit, then you win the match.  So, remember, this is not a "fight", it's a game of touché.  You are trying to get points so that you can win the match.  So reach in there quickly, touch and snap your whole arm and elbow back and even twist your body while you kiai loudly to appeal to the judges that you made a hit.  I got some other tips too, but to tell you the truth, they speak quietly and I have  a very hard time understanding them.

Clumsy
I stepped on the feet of two of the members last night.  Is this because I am clumsy and inexperienced? Or is it because they didn't get out of the way fast enough.  I can tell you something, though, after having run eight and a half km that morning and then after warm up and kihon, I wasn't feeling very light on my feet.  The kids are telling me to bounce around and keep moving to make it harder for your opponent to know where you'll be or from where or when you'll strike, but I'm too heavy and tired to do that.  I am no butterfly.  If I could loose the extra weight that I have and get down to around 70 kg, I wonder how much lighter on my feet I would get?   keep thinking that jumping rope would be good exercise for karate-ka.  Running is good, I'm sure, but jumping rope seems like it would help prepare you for the constant bouncing done during kumite.

Kata
We did the Heain Kata and then Kanku Dai and Jion.  I had forgotten them both a little bit.  It's not that I have forgotten Kankudai, but I have a hard time doing it with everyone.  I blank-out.  I guess it is a bit of performance fear.  I have about 10 Kata now that I need to find time to practice so I can keep polishing them.



Monday, November 3, 2014

Kanku Dai, Bassai Dai and Jion

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

Kihon
Kumite
Kata

I have been too busy to write down what we have done in practice lately. I think we have had two practices since I last wrote.  Muto-sensei has moved me into the other group to practice Kata with Kon-sensei.  There are two black belts, two brown belts and two purple belts.  Muto-sensei is pretty confident that I can get my brown belt soon.  I'm not so confident.  At the very least, I don't think I deserve a brown belt yet.  I'm not even sure I deserve a purple belt.  Recently I feel as if I have been falling behind.  That young blue belt is going to pass me up soon if I'm not careful.  He kicks fairly well.  Especially his front kick.  He really gets his hips into it and thus his kick has reach.  He is very flexible too and could already do an upper level roundhouse kick when he started.  I am getting better with my kicks but am still far away from being effective with anything I do.

Kihon

At the last practice we did a lot of combinations.  I really need to try and recreate and practice these at home.  A needs instruction on the basic motions for the basic moves like downward block, upward rising block, knife hand block, inside block, outside block.  It wouldn't hurt to have one practice where we spent a third of the time going over how to perform these basic blocks.

三本突?? (sanbon zuki) 追い突きの連突き - If I remember correctly, 上段突き, 中段逆突き、中段突き
後進、上げ受けから中段逆突き。
後進、手刀受けから貫手(逆突きの貫手 や 前屈立ちの貫手)

*下段払い、前屈立ちヨリ、前進、上段突き、逆突き、中段突き (I'm guessing the timing would be 1,23.

I can't remember exactly what we did for Kihon.  But, with a belt test available in December, I'm looking at what might be on the test for me.  It might look something like the two columns below. I'm not sure what 三本突 is.  It is so hard to find information on the Internet because there are so many different styles of karate, and even those in the same "style", still teach things differently.  It's crazy un-centralized.  Back to Sanbonzuki.  I know it is a three punch combination.  But what are those three punches?  Upper-level chasing punch, followed by a mid-level chasing punch?, or is that a on the spot mid-level punch?, finished off with a reverse punch.  I found a link but I have no guarantee that it is the same as what I'll be asked to do. See the link here: http://xn--wbtq4a97au6gztehz5b.com/entry21.html


 5級~4級
  1. 前屈立下段払ヨリ 
    中段追突
    前進
  2. 廻って下段払
    逆突
    前進
  3. 下段払ヨリ
    揚受,逆突
    後進
  4. 前屈立,下段払ヨリ
    外受,逆突
    前進
  5. 廻って下段払
    前蹴り
    前進
  6. 騎馬立ヨリ
    横蹴上
    前進
  7. 騎馬立ヨリ
    横蹴込
    前進
  8. 前屈立ヨリ
    廻蹴り
    前進

 3級

  1. 前屈立,下段払ヨリ
    中段追突
    前進
  2. 廻って下段払
    三本突
    前進
  3. 下段払ヨリ
    揚受、逆突
    前進
  4. 手刀受、逆突
    後屈ヨリ,前屈
    前進
  5. 前屈立下段払ヨリ
    外受、逆突
    前進
  6. 廻って下段払
    前蹴り
    前進
  7. 騎馬立ヨリ
    横蹴上
    前進



Kumite

I have many things I need to work on as I will always.  One of those many things is Hikite.  I need to pull my limbs back dramatically and quickly and even in a bit of an over-exaggerated way if I want to get the points.  Make contact with a 上段突きじょうだんづき? Make sure you pull your fist back hard and fast to your hip and turn your body into hanmi and pull you elbow back far so it sticks out behind you far. Or something like that.

Kicks

There is something that just doesn't click with Kihon kicks and real-life kicks done during sparring (kumite).  The just don't seem like the same thing.  For one, either I'm understanding how do to the kihon kicks wrong (probably) or I'm just not physically flexible nor strong enough to do them (also of high probability).

Kata

I am still working with the upper level belts.  We are working with Kon-sensei (sandan).  We worked on Kankudai the last time and this time we worked on Bassai Dai and Jion.

I got the feeling that none of the members have Bassai Dai memorized well.  I tried to get help from one of them but he kind of gave me a quick half-answer and then skirted away.  That's OK.  I've got materials that I can refer to and THE INTERNET!  I just don't have the freedom or the space and time to practice.

I caught a glimpse of the other members practicing with Muto-sensei.  They had one last Kata to do and A had wandered off to the side because he wanted to stop doing kata when Muto-sensei called him back over and told him there was only one more to do and to buck up and finish it out.

I am having a hard time deciding what to do about the next test.  Do we take it or not?  If we don't and the others do, then it is likely that many people will move up a belt and A and I won't.  If we DO take it, then there is the chance that I will move up a level to become a brown belt (3-kyu).  After the last tournament (my very first tournament), I really don't want to put on a brown belt and enter into a tournament.  I don't feel I am at that level.

My new plan, assuming I can make myself do it, is to get up early most mornings and walk or run to the ski slope and then practice karate in the parking lot there.  I need to improve my speed, strength and coordination and a 40-year-old man like  myself is not going to be able to do that with two practices a week.