Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kankusho and Gojushihosho

We did two new kata today.  New to me at least.  We did Kankusho and Gojushihosho.

My wife also came for the first time since we started over a year ago.  Thanks to her H and A both went through the whole practice with a better attitude than normal.

I was able to follow Crown as he led us through the two kata with out too much difficulty.  Kankusho was not so hard to follow but I had more trouble with Gojushihosho.  That was Saturday.  On Sunday I had the chance to spend a bit of time looking at Paul Walker's commentary video for Kankusho at  .

I need to find the opportunity soon to go over Gojushihosho before I forget it completely like Chinte and Empi.

Finding time and space to practice these is difficult.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

10,000 little details

I've been trying to tell myself that this is just a sport.  It is more than that. It is an art.

We had our first practice of the year yesterday.  I hadn't practiced or done anything at all related to karate since the Christmas practice.  It was only about a week and half that I had "rested" but I felt rusty and out of practice.

I went early and was getting instruction on how to improve my execution of Heian Yondan when I had the thought that there are thousands and thousands of little details to learn in karate. I titled this post "10,000 little details" and I am sure there are that many and more to absorb when learning karate.  Just in learning this one kata, there are over 20 "moves" and even more little details to get each move done right.  Of course by "right" I mean correct for our style.  I am also beginning to think that there are some movements that I may never be able to do well, if at all.  If I work hard to develop my hip strength and flexibility, I may be able to do that side snap kick better, but my deteriorating hip joints might not allow me to ever do it well.

Heian Yondan 平安四段

Muto-sensei, Kon-sensei

As always, the practice structure was divided up into three sections, basic drills of punches, blocks and kicks from various stances (kihon) followed by sparring practice (kumite) and ending with kata practice.

There were few members at this practice.  My own two kids were absent as were a few others as they were sick.  I went early.  The Y boys were there, as they always are, practicing.  I was working on Heian Yondan, since I haven't been able to get it right. YN came over to offer to help me with my kata so I had him help me with Heian Yondan.

Shotokan Heian Yondan Advice
1 - raise your hands up as if they were following a 45 degree(?) pillar, as if there were two lines they were following. Bring them up slowly then gradually decelerating and increasing tension and punctuate the stop.

2-Morote Uke (double arm block) - needs to be higher, I've been doing it too low.  Block as the foot settles in as the front foot of a right side back stance.

3- right fist above right hip, left fist on top. (YN was giving me some advice on hand position here but I guess I didn't understand it because I can't correctly recall it.

4 - look to the left, punch and kick at the same time. (tate uraken). The kick should snap back after kick, fist remains out stretched

5 - front stance, empi right elbow into left hand, KEEP rear leg straight and foot flat on floor.  Don't let your heel come up.

From this position, pull the left foot about halfway toward the right, and then raise the right foot to the left knee,

6 - keeping at the same level, keeping knees bent, left fist above left hip, right fist on top, repeat to right side, punch, side snap kick, foot snaps back, down into front stance, back leg heel on floor, leg straight, -> empi left elbow into right palm

7 - still in front stance to the right (south?), left hand downward block, open hand, palm down facing floor, right hand open, facing out, protecting head

8 - left open palm facing out protecting head, right hand ridge strike to neck level

8 -  stand on left leg bring right knee up for kick, snap front kick

9 - left hand open palm facing down, downward block, right hand into first bring back over your head, elbow about level with your eyes like this ->   ○>, but with your fist over your head.

10 - leap step forward following kick as far forward as you can while bringing fist from over top of head down into uraken and bringing left fist back over left hip in hikite and landing into kosadachi (cross feet stance) making sure to keep your body facing forward and KIAI

11 - (according to my JKA book, this is move 14) - turn on the spot, don't step back with back leg and turn ( this was YN's advice, however, the videos I've been provided and Shotokansensei Paul Walker, instruct you to step back with the left leg and turn into back stance. See Walker's instructional video on Heian Yondan at that point, two minutes and nine seconds into the video. Another JKA video does it differently. See that video.  After consulting two other sources, it looks like you turn on the spot while at the same time sliding your left foot out as the front foot in left back stance while quickly crossing your fists, left fist on the outside of the cross and bursting them apart and then with decelerating speed and increasing tension, moving them into kakiwake uke,

12 - Move 15, snap kick with right foot keeping hands where they are and then shoot right fist out directly from kakiwake uke into a punch as the right leg comes down into front stance, the first punch should be snap punched then the left fist punches out strongly,

13 - Turn to the right 90 degrees and repeat, left snap kick, left snap punch, strong right punch
!- "widen the angle of the wedge block back stances so that they are shallower. That is a subtle change that makes it easier to return to the starting point." -RR

14 - Morote uke (double arm block) with left fist, right fist supporting, make sure it is not too low, in back stance, repeat two more times for a total of three,

15 - pivot into front stance. Here I have conflicting advice.  YN and Paul Walker say to shift left leg to the left for a proper left leg front stance. Rob Redmond and JKA say to pivot on the spot, not shifting the left leg to the left, keeping it a very narrow front stance. This is easier than re-stepping to make it a proper front stance.

16 - hair grab, knee slam. YN says first pull into the body then push down to the knee.

17 - turn 180 degrees and dramatically move into back stance and perform a knife hand block, left handed, then take a step forward into right leg back stance and perform another knife hand block, right handed.

Muto-sensei says for the Heian Kata we must try hard to make sure our ending point is the same as our starting point.

YN's advice was a little different than my sources but good for the most part. One moves 22, through 23, where you do the ridge hand neck strike and front snap kick, he says to do downward open handed block just by pushing your hand down and then by bringing the right fist up over your head. JKA book and Paul Walker say to move hands in a circular motion, bringing the right fist down and under the left hand and then up over your head.  YN's advice is the same as Rob Redmond's. There is hardly any difference between the two ways. I would say YN/RR advice makes more sense and would be faster.