Thursday, October 20, 2016

Practice notes

Crown instructor

We had practice and the format was familiar.


However the kihon was different, the kumite was different, and the kata was a bit short and a bit different.


Instead of doing everything ten times, we did twice as many things half as many times.  This was good and bad I suppose.  The good thing about it is that it is much more interesting with the added variety.  The bad thing is that we get less practice of each.  I'm going to suggest to Crown that he spend some time one of these days focusing on little details, like how to correctly perform mawashi geri or other basic moves.  I can't do it correctly.  Maybe he could spend a few minutes each practice focusing on one of the kihon moves while still practicing the others.


For kumite we did 3 bon kumite and then kizami zuki 5 hon in randori style.  So each member practiced it (and the other moves) about 8 times.  Then gyaku zuki 5 hon x 8 times. We did Mawashi geri to ura mawashi geri (?) 5 times x 8.  One person would hold their gloved fists up at the appropriate heighth for their current partner and the partner would practice kicking with mawashi geri and then bringing the kicking leg down and up around to kick the gloves with the ball of the foot (underside of the foot).  The kids looked like they were having fun for the most part.  Even Ross was less recalcitrant.


We went through the Heian Kata and then again, like last time, practice tournament style kata, with each member choosing which kata they wanted to perform.  I did Jion.

Advice on Jion
Keep your core tight.  You are leaning or your upper body is twisting when performing the movements when it shouldn't be.

I need to focus on keeping my core tight.  I need to work on strengthening my core for this.

That was last night.  I had some free time today so I practiced Jion and Unsu again during my lunch break.  I really need to practice in front of a mirror or videotape myself doing it.  I saw once a site where people posted videos of themselves doing something like learning a new skill or working out for 100 days.  I don't know if I could ever do something for 100 days straight.  My life is too out of my control, but it would be great if I could get control of my life, even if just a small portion of it, for 100 days, or for ever....

Monday, October 17, 2016

No instructor and Tekki Shodan

We lost our instructor.  He was 80 years old and not feeling so well and so he retired.  And we are so far unable to find a new one.  We found one, but he was 70 years old and already teaching 4 days a week and didn't think he had the stamina to teach 6 days a week.  I don't yet fully understand WHY we can't find another instructor, but it was explained to me like this: "you can't choose your parents."  Although there are other Shotokan instructors in the area, they are not from the same "family" that our group is in.  Whatever.  I think if we find an instructor who matches our groups' needs and goals, then it shouldn't matter if that instructor came from the same line of instructors as our last one.

SO, in the mean time, our highest ranked member, a 3 Dan (though admittedly, he probably shouldn't yet be a 3 Dan) is running practices.  He is knowledgeable enough and has a sense of humor and the last two practices with him looked more enjoyable for the kids.

Kata - Tekki Shodan

For the last two practices we have only practiced Heian Kata.  All of them.  I think we could break from the norm and practice just one or two of them, for example. But thoroughly.  

Kata Advice:
At the end of practice we all do a kata to practice for tournaments.  There is no practice, we just do it, and our new leader gave us advice.  For the last two practices I did Tekki Shodan and he gave me some advice so here it is.
  1. My hand movements were not defined enough.  In an effort to make them as fast as possible the movements were running together.  He said it would be better to make sure each movement is done more distinctly.  
  2. I lean.  I need to make sure my torso is straight up and down.  I don't realize I am leaning so I need to practice in front of a mirror or take video of my practices. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Practice notes



We had an easy practice thanks to the makiwara.  While everyone took turns hitting the makiwara, the rest of us got a break.

He introduced the makiwara to help the kids learn the proper way to punch, with the first two knuckles. Kato-sensei said that the kids need practice actually hitting something, like a makiwara.  Actually, we could just hit each other!  We do have protective gear on!

Kata - Unsu
The brown/black belts were told to work on Kanku-sho, Bassai-sho, Unsu and Jion.  We did the first three but the first two only briefly.

I still haven't memorized any of them.  But I have almost memorized the first two.  There is never enough time!

I think that there is some confusion on Unsu, though.  There is a section where you do two (three?) low level punches?  I think they are punches.  But some people think they are downward blocks.

Yes, I am pretty sure it is supposed to be gedan tsuki, and not gedan barai.

Also the low level kick is with the heel out, not the ball of the foot. See illustration below.

Also, after the jump, your feet should not lay down like in Kanku-dai because it is supposed to be a kick to the back (ushiro-geri).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Practice notes


There were not so many kids there for this practice.   We had makiwara that Muto-sensei made for us and brought during the last gasshuku. I got it out so the kids could use it.  Only a few of the kids used it.  I couldn't get Ross to use it.  Mary used it once though.

As usual, we did Kihon, Kumite and Kata.

N.Y. gave me some advice on Kumite.  So did Crown. N.Y.'s advice was that I could sweep the opponent's hand away to the side and strike.  Crown's advice was to precede a kick with a few punches.  He said I was telegraphing and there was no way I could get a hit.

We did Basai-sho, Kanku-sho and Unsu.  I have almost memorized all the moves for the first two but it was my first attempt to learn Unsu.  Of course I can't remember it at all.  He then us all do one kata as a performance and told me to do Kankudai.  He keeps having me do Kankudai.  Not always, but often.  I never know what he is going to ask me to do and I have no time to practice.  The next test is in probably in early December.  I need to practice for that.  One of my biggest problems is that I can't do mawashi geri and I can't do side snap kick with my right leg.  My deteriorating hips just can't do the movement for the side snap kick and my hips and poor flexibility won't allow me to do mawashi geri correctly.

I have one more foot race on the calendar that I am preparing for and when that is over I will then cut back on my running and use that time to practice karate in the mornings.  (in the snow and on the ice...)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jion notes from Gasshuku

We had two days of gasshuku over the weekend.  Muto-sensei had us do a lot of Kihon.  He brought a makiwara and left it so we could use it.  Physically it was very challenging and we didn't do any strength or conditioning work.  Just doing so much kihon was a lot of work.  It is Tuesday and I am still a little sore from it.

Kato-sensei, who comes sometimes but is not really one of our regular sensei, came and helped me and another boy work on Jion.  He have us lots of advice. I typed up all the points that I could remember last night on my tablet.  I will paste them below.  The numbers do not correspond to a 挙動 (kyodo), the numbers you would see in those kata illustrations floating around.  They are only points for me to remember.

Kata Join advice

1) Start with power.
2) bring hands to chest, crossed, then out as if you are going to pull somebody's hands off of your collar, very forcefully. Focusing on pushing our fists out/down/into the opponents (non existing) arms. (I actually tried to do this with Kato-sensei holding my collar and it was almost impossible)
3) From front stance, keep hands stationary in the air as you front kick hard and land in front stance with power. Make yourself and your punch solid, so you can't be pushed back by your opponent.
4) Two punches in quick succession
5) Rinse and repeat to the other side
6) Age uke, gyaku Suki x 3, Kia after the last one
7) From front stance, with your right leg as the axis, bring your back foot up to the front foot as you pivot for manji uke(?), then perform kagi zuki (hook punch?), shuffle to the side a half-step, don't hop.
8) Repeat to the other side
9) Downward block, front stance
10) Palm blocks x 3. Feet travel on a line, don't swing around in an arc. * According to Kato-sensei, this is a block, not a strike. *
11) Manji uke to upper morote uke (two-handed assisted block) then repeat to the other side
12) Bring fists to belt, bring knee up high, foot flexed to keep foot parallel with floor, step out cross block to low level, rip hands back as if trying to free them from someone's grip, step forward and perform the mid-level block, then on to the upper level block, do the next succession of hand moves while keeping your body facing forward, you don't move into hanmi for any of it, do back fist strike, Soto-uke(?), keep fist under elbow to use for hikite as you swivel for inside block then oizuki, then inside block to oizuki to the other side
13) Perform downward block,
13) keeping body straight up and down as if there were a rod down your spine, moving feet along one board or line, chest and body facing straight forward , fist up high, fists in line straight up and down with knee, turn into kibadachi as you come down forcefully.
14) closest distance to grab opponent's hand

Japan National Karate Team : "Jion" training @ WKF World Championship 2012

Monday, September 5, 2016

Shintokan Cup Tournament in Makubetsu

I took Mary and Ross to the Shintokan Cup Tournament in Makubetsu on Sunday.  It was the first time for us to go to a Shintokan tournament.  It was different from the other Shotokan tournaments we went to so I'd like to write it down here for future reference.


1st thru 2nd grade just do 3 bon kumite.

Gedan barai > right jodan tsuki (upper level punch)
Change sides, Gedan barai > left chudan tsuki (mid level punch)
Change sides, Gedan barai (Kamai can be the two hands down balance kamai or the kumite kamai with fists up > right mae geri (front kick).

3rd grade and up, free kumite (free sparring)

Rounds: 1 x 1:30
First person to get 3 points wins.
Ippon wins (three point hit)
No fouls or warnings.
Don't have to wear shin/instep guards.

I saw some kids crying and limping during this tournament.  SO, since you can't get any warnings, you should try and hit your opponent as hard as you can.  If she cries and decides she can't go on, you in. This also means you should be prepared to get hit hard.

Many kids I know from the next village over practice this style of Shotokan.

Kata was just like any other tournament.  Plus they had team Kata and family kata.  Maybe next year the kids and I can do a family kata together.

Weekly Non-Running Report for Aug 20 to Sep 4

Weekly Non-Running Report

Monday, August 29, 2016 - Sunday, September 04, 2016

This week's distance
Avg Weekly Distance (2016)

13.7 ▼2.7%

Avg Weekly Days Run (2016)


Days since last run
August 28th 2016
Effects of detraining
Resting Metabolic Rate ⬇ 4% within 7-10 days [1]
Blood lactate concentration ⬆ and ⬇ aerobic endurance[1]

Studies show that some amount of detraining is good for recovery, but too long a break can result in some fitness loss.

Last break longer than this was
July, 2016
Number of longer breaks
twenty three

Heart Healthy Guideline

Heart healthy weeks missed
16 weeks
Average METs per week
581 METs

Cheers and Happy Recovery,

Chris, Jacklyn, and Steve

The AHA recommends a weekly minimum of 500 - 1,000 MET minutes per week of exercise.

Friday, August 19, 2016



Training Menu
Kihon 30 minutes
Kumite 30 minutes
Kata 30 minutes
(Plus I did some warm-up exercises and did a little stretching before we started.)

It was somewhat of an easy practice.  Plus, I stepped out of line towards the end of kumite so there would be an even number of kids.  I wanted them to get as much practice as possible.

Crown introduced Bassai-sho to us today.  It should be easy to remember all the steps, there are only 28 (?).

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2016 JKF Hokkaido Certified Athlete Qualifying Tournament and Hokkaido Championships

I don't know when this arrived but the deadline is shortly, August 17, 2016.
There are two documents for separate events. The Certified Athlete Qualifying Tournament is on September 3, 2016.  The Hokkaido Championships is on September 4, 2016.  Both documents have been OCRed but I did not check the correctness of the OCR.

 Certified Athlete Qualifying Tournament

The Hokkaido Championships

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2016年 第38回十勝地区空手道選手権大会 兼 第71回 国民体育大会 空手道競技 十勝地区予選大会の開催 に つ い て

The 2016 Tokachi Area Karate-do Tournament and Qualifying Tournament for the All Japan Karate-do Championships

The above tournament is on May 29th, 2016 in Obihiro at the Obihiro Sogo Taiiku-kan.
The information for the tournament (in Japanese) is here.  They sent it to me via snail mail and I scanned it and ran it through some OCR software.  So the file is somewhat searchable.  It is too late to apply for this of course but I am putting the information here for future reference.
日付 2016年5月29日
場所 帯広総合体育館
会館: 8:00 より
開会式: 9:00 より
試合開始: 9:30
閉会式: 16:00 予定


I'm pretty sure that this event tries to repeat on the second to last Sunday of June. Many of the past events have but not all of them and not this year's event. I'm not sure where to watch for updates on this event as I can not find an online presence for the organizers. Our group keeps all of it's information private and only shares it with other members. (WHY?)  I don't think they are trying to hide the information but probably they just don't see any reason to make a public online presence.

I have dumped all the scanned event info I have into a folder and made it public. Click on the following link to open the folder.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Back at it.

Muto-sensei, Kato-sensei


This was my first time to practice in a long time since I stopped to let my torn hamstring heal.  I was very careful not to put too much stress on it.  I'm sure that made me look funny doing kicks.  As I warmed up, however, I didn't feel any pain at all.  But still, I was careful not to fully extend my leg or to do anything that would put a lot of stress on the hamstring.

With much trepidation, I decided to go back to practice last night.  And it was a good thing I did.  Ross has had a terrible attitude recently at practice.  I never know how he feels or what he is thinking and he won't tell me.  What can I do to improve our relationship?  I don't know but when we were on our way to the practice before last, he said "Daddy, why aren't your practicing?"  I told him it was because I tore my hamstring.  He understands the meaning but really doesn't seem to understand the severity of it.  After hearing that I thought it might make him happy, or perhaps help motivate him, if he saw me working hard too.   I think what would really motivate him is if his mother came and encouraged him.  THAT is what he needs.

WHY was going to practice last night a good thing?

One of our members entered High School in the spring and his new English teacher is also a Karate-ka.  He came to practice.  I was surprised to see another adult there putting a karate gi on.  He was a black belt of course and his belt was faded grey on the edges.  He went through all of the practice with us.  I wish I could have been able to watch him more to learn from him but I was doing my own practice and couldn't.  He did kumite with us and helped the brown belts work on Tekki-Shodan.    I do hope he comes again. None of the members ever actually touch me except for one.  All the others avoid hitting me.  This guy hit me with his bare knuckles and it made a loud crack when when they hit my face mask but I didn't feel a shock.  He had great control, he was fast, he was personable, and he was teaching the kids a lot.

Mary had a friend come and watch last night and she said she will come to watch again for the next practice.  Mary is progressing so slowly, I'm sure if her friend joins that her friend will quickly surpass her. She just can't concentrate.  Neither can Ross.  I guess that is just who they are.  But maybe, just maybe, if they had the right instructor, they would be motivated to improve.

Advice Tekki Shodan

Keep your upper body tight and upright.  Don't lean forward.  After the first step keep your body/head/hips at the same level. Don't let your body move up and down as you step and do the moves. Take a big step into kiba-dachi (horse stance).  Turn your torso but keep your legs in kiba-dachi.  Step down hard.  Make it heard.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Kita Hokkaido Karate-do Tournament in Asahikawa

It is so difficult to get information online about local Karate tournaments and events.  Our instructor gives us a list of events that his dojo participates in and gives us information on events a month or so before they happen.

So, in the interest of getting this information out there, if only for my own benefit, here is the info I have for this tournament.

Kita Hokkaido Karate-do Tournament in Asahikawa
Date: April 29 (National Holiday) Friday
Place: Asahikawa, Asahikawa-shi Taisei Shimin Center

Opens at 8 am, Opening ceremony starts at 9 am

Not much other info than that.  The second page is about the rules and scoring for the tournament.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hello blogosphere!

I am still on the injured list.  I wasn't able to do rehab very much the last month because I was working 14 hour days.  That is over for now so I should be able to get some more regular exercise done now.  Also, the doctor, who I'm not so sure I trust, has cleared me to start light jogging.  I'm assuming I can jog everyday if the pain isn't too great.  The PT man says I should do my PT everyday.  I went for a 30 minute jog in the gym yesterday and I feel fine today.

Hamstring Curls - I discovered at rehab the day before that my injured hamstring only hurts just right before the leg is fully extended.  With this new information I had the thought that I could do eccentric hamstring curls but stop before the pain point and then curl up again. That is what I did and it made a difference.  I am not sore today after hamstring curls like I have been. I am hoping that this will help strengthen the muscles around the injured spot and indirectly, help strengthen and heal the injured tissue as well.

They never give me a name for any of the exercises they have me do so I have made up my own.  Here is what I am doing now.

  1. Leg Swings  are single-leg, leg swings with the base leg slightly bent for 1 minute then switch legs.  He told me to slowly swing the free leg forward, to the side and then backward.  He said it is not important to swing the leg high or fast.  The point is to strengthen the base leg that has to keep your body stable and upright while swinging the other leg.  If I do it right, the muscles in my hip/butt area get a workout.
  2. Sliders - while, slide one foot back as you do a sort of single-leg squat, then slide the leg back up to the starting position while keeping the base leg bent as in Leg Swings.  I hate this one. I feel clumsy and it doesn't feel like it does anything.  I try to focus on keeping my hips square, keeping my feet pointed straight forward and on moving from the hips.
  3. Single-leg Eccentric Glute Bridges - Or thrusters or hip thrusts or whatever you want to call them.  Focus on the eccentric part of the movement, stop just before hitting bottom, slowly return to the top, don't bounce at the top, slowly push your hip up as high as you can.  Variations include swinging the free leg out to the side and back and doing it with a ball held between the knees.  Works the glutes especially.
  4. Sitting single-leg hamstring stretch with free leg bent up. 
  5. Sitting single-leg stretch to the side.  Turn your chest out to your side, 90 degrees and then bend over to the out stretched leg (keeping on leg folded in) and stretch your side and lats.  This doesn't stretch my leg hardly at all.  Mostly just my lats.
The above is done in a circuit and repeated 3 times.  The last time I just set my watch timer to beep once every minute and let the watch dictate the pace.

After the circuit, which takes about 30 minutes, I also did 
  1. Hamstring curls  10 x 9 kg, 10 x 12 kg, 10 x 15 kg (see note above)
  2. Lat pulldowns   3 x 10 x 45 kg
  3. Donkey kicks. 10 x 40 kg, 2 x 10 x 45 kg

My right shoulder was sore again after the last time I did lat pulldowns plus bodyweight chins so I didn't do the bodyweight chins this time.  Now today, the next day, my LEFT shoulder is a little bit sore.  I focused on the eccentric movement and let the weight up slowly and also tried to squeeze and hold the movement at the point of complete contraction???


The kids are doing well and have been working hard and enjoying practice.  Ross doesn't want to do any tournaments. But we will anyway.  He always gets motivated after the tournaments.  Mary is doing well at kumite so she might be able to get some points at the next tournament. 

Ross was told to do Tekki Shodan last night, a kata he has never done in practice or at home.  I helped him practice a few times and he tried really hard to remember the moves.  He has a fuzzy outline of the moves and I'm sure he'll be able to do it well enough soon to satisfy Muto-sensei.

I was surprised to see Seki and NY practicing Hangetsu the other day.  I thought I was the only one who could do it but Seki did it once last week and once again, better, this week.  I gave him some advice on rhythm.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Midnight Kata

Could not sleep. So practiced Kata.

My right hamstring prevents me from kicking with that leg or doing any jumping or energetic movements.  Plus there is not enough space at home to do a full kata.  So I just went over the kata to make sure I could remember all the moves.

  1. Heian Shodan
  2.  -Nidan
  3.  -Sandan
  4.  -Yondan
  5.  -Godan
  6. Kanku-dai
  7. Jitte
  8. Jion
  9. Ji'in (First time to work through it all the way)
  10. Kanku-sho
  11. Gojushiho-sho
  12. Tekki Shodan

Didn't practice
  1. Empi
  2. Souchin
  3. Wankan
  4. Unsu (haven't learned yet)
  5. Gankaku

As for my leg, after a week of rehab it is already feeling better.  Once again I am reminded that doing something is better than doing nothing.  I've got to take that to heart.  Next time I'll try to quite strenuous work on the injured area in place of light and easy strength and stretching work.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rehab 再Start

Since hurting my right hamstring at the Chitose JAL International Marathon in June, I've been trying to rehabilitate it on my own with some active exercises.  However, while I did do them for a few weeks, I let life get in the way and gradually stopped doing them.  I kept doing karate though, fearfully, and, recently the leg has gotten worse.  After our last grading test, I finally went to the doctor.  The doctor did an MRI scan and sent me to rehab.  The scan showed what I kinda knew already, I injured my hamstring.  What I did learn though, is that it wasn't torn completely.  Immediately after the doctor visit I thought up of some questions I would have liked to ask him but did not.

  1. Can I run on it or do I have to wait?
  2. How much can I stress it?
  3. Is it OK to do things which make it sore?

At any rate, I need to get serious about strengthening  and making my body more flexible to recover and help prevent further injuries. In order to do this I am either going to have to get the cooperation of my wife and family or fight them.  健康第一だからね。

The physical therapist showed me three simple exercises to do for two weeks before I go back.  Super simple to the point of almost being pointless.

  1. hamstring curl - laying on your back with your legs extended, pull your heel towards your butt as far as you can without pain.  (actually he said I can do it with pain if the pain is a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10)
  2. hamstring catch and stretch - again, lying on your back, bring your knee up and hold your leg with your hands, then slowly straighten your leg out flexing your quads until you feel a slight stretch, hold for 10 seconds and repeat.
  3. Calf raises

He didn't say how many to do or how many sets and I didn't think to ask.  I will try to work up to three sets of each with 10 reps for the stretches and 30 reps for the curls and the calf raises.

I did the above exercises again yesterday morning and added in some of my other strength work.

My right hamstring is sore today.  I don't know what did it but I'm guessing it was the stretching.  I also walked home last night. That might have stressed it a bit.  I kinda made a point of raising my heels/knees as  I walked in order to force my hamstring to work more.  

I have also gotten fed up with my diet and my declining health and have decided to once more log my food.

This is what I had for breakfast.  I ate way more than I needed.  I do plan on skipping lunch, but still, this is way too much.

Homemade - Oatmeal, 2 Cup
Raisins, 0.5 cup (100 g)
Yogurt - Plain, whole milk, 0.7 cup (8 fl oz)
Margarine, 1 Tbsp (14 g)
Sugars, brown, 2 tsp unpacked
Chia Seed, 1 tbsp
Homemade - Rhubarb Dump Cake, 1 slice
Coffee - Brewed from grounds, 16 fluid ounce