Kon-sensei and his two kids were missing, as were a few other members so it was a small contingent for Christmas Eve practice. I was wondering if we really WOULD have a practice. Muto-sensei said it would be a short practice but, either because he lost track of time, or because he really WAS impressed with our effort, it ended up being a regular length practice. He said it was his Christmas present to us.
We finished Kihon quickly and moved into Kumite practice. A went through Kihon and Kumite well and was praised several times throughout the practice. H said her throat hurt at the start and sat off at the side and didn't do anything. She did however play pretty hard for the 45 minutes before official practice started. My wife says I'm a push-over and that I should take the effort to MAKE her practice . I want to, but I don't know how to do it without getting angry. I don't have the finesse my wife possesses.
It was the first time that I had done kumite in a while. A and H have been quitting after kihon or we have had to miss several practices. It really got my heart rate up. The Abe brothers are really improving quickly, with the older brother really doing well. He is flexible and can really kick well. He will do well when he starts going to tournaments. My kicking is not improving so quickly, but it IS improving. Little by little.
I learned this year after going through 6 months of rehab for a torn muscle in my left hamstring that my hips are falling apart. We found many other problems. In particular, the bones around my hip sockets are jagged and worn which makes kicking, especially the powerful round-house kicks and side kicks, very painful and difficult to do.
Kata - Since Kon-sensei was gone, we all did Kata together and Muto-sensei led. He had us do one Heian Kata, and then one other kata. So we did Heian Shodan, and then Kanku-dai. Then we did Heian Nidan, and then Bassai-dai, then Heian Yondan and Jion, etc. Muto-sensei gave us extra instruction on some of the Heian Kata where it was needed and on Bassai-dai. He said we all had Kanku-dai learned fairly well.
Among that we also did Empi. Only the black belts and brown belts have learned and practiced Empi so far so the rest of us really had no idea. We didn't do it step-by-step so I still have hardly any idea of how to do it. I need to study some videos and diagrams and take some time to learn it on my own. Generally, I can learn the basic steps in a kata after three or four sessions of studying it on my own. And then I forget it a little and relearn it a little and forget it a little and so on.
Heian Yondan - I have a hard time returning to the starting spot doing Heian Yondan but I am getting better. Kon-sensei game me some advice that seemed to conflict with the traditional way to do it so I took it with a grain of salt. Then Muto-sensei said that I just needed to take a bigger step during the first Kiai. I have been trying to do that and it is working well. I am much closer if not right on the spot now.
I always try and find a spot on the floor that I can use a visual marker when I practice kata. When I practice outside in the street I try to do the same. A crack in the road or a manhole or something. By the way, when practicing outside on the street, I practice at around 5:00 am when it is still dark and there is nobody around. I practice kata as a full body warm-up done before I go on for a run.
I can't recall which one it was now, but one of the other Katas we did I found that I was way off the mark at the end. I don't think it was one of the Heian kata. Bassai-dai maybe.
Bassai-Dai - I am finally starting to get the hang of it. Muto-sensei keeps giving me/us little tips that make it easier to remember. One of the Y boys gave me lots of help and advice during Kata practice too. Soto uke, uchi uke, soto uke, uchi uke. Sweep the leg and then do Uraken. That move is one that I think I could do during Kumite. I have never seen anyone do Uraken at the two tournaments I've been to but it looks possible. I wonder if the refs would catch it and actually give me a point for it??
So much stuff to learn.