Wednesday, September 30, 2015

So many new kata

Over the last couple of practices Muto-sensei keeps asking us to do new kata that I still haven't had the time to memorize yet.

Tekki Nidan

I have pretty much memorized Gankaku and I am still working on Hangetsu.  I still practice Tekki shodan and Kankudai the most.  I have practiced Gojushiho-sho (or is it dai?) and I'm really beginning to dislike it.  I'll keep it in memory but I don't want to ever do it for fun or competition.  I'm completely clueless on the others.  I haven't had the chance to work through them yet.  Although I think I have seen Meikyo-nidan enough that it will probably be the next one I work through.  I have instructions for all the others but none for Meikyo-nidan.  I did take a video of N.Y. performing it at full speed.  I need to get a new video of him performing it slow with commentary!  Yeah!  Let's do that.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Running 9.7km: slow

right hamstring soreness

I ran down to the park at night because I wanted to stay in town where there was light and because I wanted to stay close to home.  One circle around the park, library and welfare center, with a little dip into the pool parking lot, makes 1 km.

I did side stepping and carioca on the way to the park but didn't do line stepping, windmills, planks or hip thrusts.  

I felt OK during the run with no more pain than usual and stretched after the run.

Today, my right hamstring muscle is sore right around the middle of the muscle. I could feel the area around my sit-bone on both sides talking to me.  Telling me not to push it.  I also could feel the funniness that's going on around the inside of my left thigh.   My lower left abdomen area felt fine.

I'm going to keep running close to 10k and see if things get worse or stay the same.  I really should go see a doctor but I'm afraid what he might find.

I'm also thinking that I might have to take a break from running and karate both to recover.  The only problem with that is I just can't make strength training and stretching a habit.  It is difficult to do outside and my wife won't let me sweat in the house.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Run 3.56km Slow

Run 3.56 km, Slow

Did side stepping and carioca only.  Getting lazy.  Ran to the top of the ski slope and then tried to practice Kata at the top.  It was too slippery.  So I ran back down to the parking area and continued kata practice there.  I was not practicing hard.  Only going through the steps and thinking about my form.  Before I knew it, it was almost 6 am so I had to quit and hurry back home.  I did all the Heian kata, Tekki Shodan and Kankudai.

Pain check

  • lower left abdomen area
  • right hamstrings muscle mid area
  • right and left hamstrings where they attach to the sit bone. 座骨
  • lower back
  • right shoulder
  • right elbow
  • right and left hip joints

Should I go see a doctor?  Will the doctor just chastise me for waiting so long?  Will the doctor even be able to DO anything for me?  I need new hips.  

I've been thinking of stopping running completely after the Food Valley half marathon and just do strength training and stretching until spring.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, Run 4km, Slow

Running. 4km, Slow

I started running again. I ran about 4km very slowly on Wednesday. Felt fine. Hamstrings a bit tight and painful.  A few hours ?? later, a pain in the inside of my upper left thigh.

Ran again today. Slow. Did sidestepping, carioca , and line stepping first. Finished the run and felt fine.  Showered. Hamstrings started to feel tight and painful. Soreness increased throughout the day. Around lunch. New pain, or rather an old pain resurfaced. Lower left abdomen area. Hurts when stepping with left leg or raising left knee. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mini Gasshuku - More on Gojushiho-sho

Muto-sensei, Yanai-sensei, Kitamichi?-sensei

We had a sort of mini-gasshuku.  Muto-sensei said it would be fun but in reality, it wasn't much different than a regular practice.  It was pretty much the same, just twice as long.  Needless to say, the extra length gave us extra time to get instruction on basic skills and to get more detailed advice on kata etc.

I pretty much learned Gojushiho-sho during this time.  Pretty much.  Not completely.  I kind of forgot Kanku-dai and Tekki Shodan and Empi!!  Too many damn kata to remember and not enough time to practice them all.


Kitamichi?-sensei, (I'm not sure what her name was!) told us that the rising punch in Empi should be done like a regular Shotokan punch, just rising.  She said that your hand starts at your side with our fist in a palm up position and then you rotate it into the palm down position as you push out and up into the punch.

Also, after working with her right by my side, I learned to get lower when doing Empi.


There was a little confusion on moves 51 and 54.  Should the right hand push out and the left hand punch and then switch when doing the mirrored side?  Or should it be the other way around?  It may be that the left hand pushes out and the right hand punches on BOTH sides.

excerpt illustration from the kata gojushiho-sho
Illustration from "27 Shotokan Katas"

Instructions for 51a, "raise your left knee while performing left tateshuto-uke." and for 54a are "raise your right knee while performing left tateshuto-uke. 

In "The Kata Book" (R. Redmond) he writes 
51. Vertical Sword Hand Block (Hidari Tate Shuto Uke). Raise the left knee into the chest, and block with an inhalation at about half force with a right side vertical sword hand block.
52. Middle Level Punch (Migi Chudan Jun Zuki). As the foot stomps into the floor, punch strongly with the right fist to the middle level with a sharp exhale at full power.
53. Double Open Hand Low Level Block (Morote Kaishu Gedan Uke). Look to the right, and double open hand block to the right side without raise the arms from their current position. Exhale sharply and focus quickly.
54. Cross Your Feet - Step the left foot over the right foot so that the outside edges of both feet are touching each other. Step speedily at first, then slow the step greatly and pause somewhat as the stepping foot reaches the floor. Produce a long inhalation during the step, and remove any existing muscle tension in the previous technique.
55. Left Vertical Sword Hand Block (Hidari Tate Shuto Uke). Raising the right knee into the chest strongly, block with a vertical sword hand at half power while inhaling.
56. Right Middle Level Punch (Migi Chudan Jun Zuki). As the right foot stomps into the floor, focus a right middle level punch with a sharp exhale.
55 and 56 can be performed in reverse with the right and then the left hand. The same is true for this kata as it is for Gojushiho-Dai. Why these techniques are performed left-right and then left-right again is a mystery that no one seems to have the answer to.
His instructions for 51 say "hidari tate shuto uke" in the title but then "right side vertical sword hand block."  Then at the end he writes that "55 and 56 can be performed in reverse."   So perhaps you can do it left-right, left-right or left-right, right-left.  However, the Kanazawa videos (Labeled Gojushiho-dai, not sho) show him performing it as it is in the "27 Shotokan Katas" book with two left vertical sword hand blocks.

We also went over Meikyo nidan, jion and kankudai.  I also practiced Tekki shodan a little.  We didn't have enough time to actually learn Meikyo-nidan.  This is maybe the second or third time we have touched on this.  We never spend enough time for me to learn it.

Ross learned Jitte for the first time and pretty much memorized all of the moves. Mary worked more on Heian Shodan and Nidan.  She was looking pretty good.

Kumite for Ross and Mary

We had a mini mock kumite bout and I was sub judge.  I don't have much confidence. Maybe there is some directions in the handbook I was given about scoring.  Or maybe I just need to ask more about it.    Mary was very timid about hitting her opponent until Muto-sensei urged them to hit each other harder and she finally did and got in a good solid hit and got a point.  Ross did really well against an older kid.  He blocks and dodges really well and got a good square punch in.  He wasn't able to land any kicks, though.  I didn't have the opportunity as there were only younger kids there on the second day when we did this.

I went all out during the first day of gasshuku and made the bottom of my feet very sore.  I also got sore muscles all over and was without power on the second day.  Hopefully the sore muscles I have now will go away soon and I won't be left with more injury.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Class notes: Get closer


  • Kihon
  • Kumite
  • Kata


We worked on Jiin, Empi and Gojushiho-sho.  Or rather, we worked on Jiin and Empi and I worked on Gojushiho-sho after practice. I discovered that, the old videos of Kanazawa-sensei are marked wrong. In those videos Gojushiho-sho and Gojushiho-dai are backwards.  Crown confirmed that for me. Gojushiho-sho is a long kata. I get to about step 30 and then I forget what's next.


N.Y. is always trying to give me advice.  The problem with that is I usually can hardly hear him or understand him.  And it is always during kumite practice when we only have about 30 seconds with each partner.  It just isn't working.  I appreciate his efforts, but what I really need is more kumite practice and less talking.   I need longer practices.  I need training in some basic punch and kick combinations.  Once I get some basic combinations mastered and can start to figure out my own.

Advice: We do a three step kumite.  This is not sanbon kumite.  It is a three-step kumite.  You get your fists up as if you were ready to spar. You announce your strike (jodan!/ jodan ikimasu! / jodan mairimasu! trans: upper level=head strike). Then you take two steps toward your partner while your partner takes two steps back and on the third step you throw your strike and your partner practices receiving it. I was told to strike ON the third step.  Not to step and then strike.  I think Muto-sensei told me this before.  I really am so clumsy and uncoordinated when it comes to kumite.

The new kids, three siblings, are doing well.  The girl is afraid of hitting or of being hit I feel.  But it is hard for me to tell because I am not watching, I am working with her.  She is maybe 9 or 10 years old and it might just be that me being so much bigger than her makes it seems as if she is afraid of hitting me. She did however, hit me.  Several times when we were doing free kumite practice.  Her timing was great.  She would wait till I started to jab and then slip a jab of her own in and hit me in the stomach.  She was getting points.

Still, most of the kids are better than I.  By better I mean more skilled, with more knowledge and experience.  I wish I could understand them better.  Recently it seems as if one of them is unhappy with me.  Maybe that one has decided not to like me.  Maybe that one is angry with me?  She is much better at kumite than I am.  I find it very hard to get a strike on her.  She blocks almost everything I throw at her.  However she doesn't put much effort into practice.

Get closer

Lately I've been thinking that we need to stand closer to each other during kumite practice.  How can you practice blocking strikes that don't reach your body? And if you can, is that the kind of practice you want to do?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gojushiho-sho? Dai?

We had practice as always, except that the some of the bigger kids were not there.

One of the highlights of the practice was that the brown belts started learning Gojushiho-sho with one of the black belts. However, I think  that he may have gotten some of the moves mixed up so that we were doing a hybrid Gojushiho-sho-dai kata.

I need to make some time to learn this one.  It is a bit long but there doesn't seem to be any difficult moves in it.  It shouldn't be a problem to learn all the steps.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Class notes


The older kids (7th, 8th, 9th grade) were all gone as they had tests to study for.  Kids are asked not to do sports the days before big test.

  • Kihon
  • Kumite
  • Kata

Ross and Mary and I went to practice almost an hour early.  We did some agility exercises and then Mary and Ross and I took turns deciding on what we would do next.  Our workout got cut short when a thunderstorm knocked out the lights for a while.  By the time the lights came back on the other members had started to arrive.


This was the same as always with a little more emphasis on form, probably because the older kids were gone.  We did gedan barai.  I really wanted Mary to pay attention during this time but she was too absorbed in her fingertips to pay much attention.  I had to skip a bit of my own practice to keep her engaged.


Same as always, except that the black belts were gone so I got to be the unmoving partner while the others rotated around.  I am ashamed to say that I still have difficulty doing soto uke.  I wish I had a partner with whom I could just practice what I wanted to practice, including soto uke during yakusoku kumite.


We did Heian Shodan through Yondan and then moved on to Wankan, Kankudai and Jion.  I still have troubles following Muto-sensei's counting.  When I learned the kata at home, I learned every move by it's official count.  So Heian Shodan has 21 moves, but Muto-sensei counts it with 20 because he counts move 3 and 4 together as one.  I'm sure that makes it easier for people who are only learning at practice.  The same goes for Heian Nidan and Kankudai and many others.   He bunches some moves together as one count so I'm never sure if I'm following his count correctly.

The way he teaches us Wankan is different from the Kanazawa videos and from the 27 Shotokan Katas book illustrations. He has the right arm go out instead of the left.