Stances, Bo, and Kata

Been slacking off on the training updates. Here’s the summary for the last 3 nights.

Taught all 3 classes tonight. Nothing but stance training. Lots of sweat and shaking legs. Not much else to say about it.

Tuesday nights class was all partner training with the bo. Really focusing on getting down the 1st 3 drills and learning what it feels like to make solid contact with the bo.

Last Thursday night I taught all 3 classes as well. 1st class was basics with partners. The whole second class was dedicated to partner training with the bo, and the 3rd class was black belt kata.

Punching

Last week I focused on punching. I still haven’t reconstructed my makiwara, and I really feel the effects of not using one. So, I decided to try and find a substitute in the meantime. I discovered that we have some mats at the dojo that, when positioned correctly, make a pretty decent makiwara. I still don’t get the feedback that a true makiwara gives me, but that actual punching pressure is very reminiscent.

Since I discovered this makeshift makiwara, I’ve been using it regularly. It’s been so long since I used a makiwara, I decided to start slowly; no more than 100 punches each side per night. Even at that small number I ended up deskinning some of my knuckles. The positive side is that I’ve introduced some of my students and fellow black belts to makiwara training. So far the feedback has been good, and they seem to really enjoy it.

A Focus on Basics

I taught all 3 classes again Thursday night. Beginners kids class was heavy on basics with a focus on lots of spirit and energy. We covered all the basics; most of them in good deep front stances. We also covered working on inward block, a block we don’t spend much time on, with partners to help them understand proper technique and positioning.

Kids advanced class started off with good hard basic workout focusing on deep stances and spirit; just like the beginner’s class. After basics, we started working on much more difficult combinations like jab/spinning back kick, back fist/spinning back kick/back fist, and back fist/spinning back kick/round kick/back fist/reverse punch.

Adult class was simple and to the point.  “puppy dog” slow sparring focusing on relaxation and flowing. We did that for about 40 minutes straight.  Class flew by.

A Night of Teaching

Taught both kids classes tonight as well as the adult class. Beginners kids class consisted of jab – reverse punch – front kick for 40 minutes straight. The kids did great and were actually picking it up really well. The advanced kids class was kata with extreme attention to detail. It took 40 minutes to get through 3 kata; each one time. The kids did great. That slow of kata focusing on deep stances and correct techniques is very hard to do. In the adult class, we just focused on kata. We did 15 mins of Gankaku followed by 15 mins of Chinto.

Revenge of the Crane

Tonight, I managed to make it to class for about the last 40 minutes. The class was paired up pretty well, so I decided to go to the side and practice kata for the night. My choice was Gankaku (translates to something about a Crane; opinions vary, so I won't go into that). I haven't done Gankaku in several years, so it was rather challenging for me. After about 2 iterations, sensei Kuehner came over and wanted to learn the kata, because of its similarities to the Shorinryu kata Chinto. I was only too happy to oblige,so we worked on Gankaku for about 40 minutes total.

This Week in Karate

I managed to make it to Monday's karate class for the last 30 minutes. We did some partner kicking drills followed by the five Pinan kata. Not a particularly difficult workout, but got a good sweat going. After class, I headed to the gym for a light weight workout. Good night overall.

Thursday is our short night. Class is only about 30 mins. We focused on kata. We went through Ananku, Wankan, and spent the rest of the time working on Chinto; that's Gankaku for you Shotokan folks. That kata is a bit rough on the legs, and its rather intricate; maybe that's why I like it.

Cold snowy workout

Worked out with the Central Illinois Shotokan this morning. Had to ventire out into the blizzard, but it was worth it. We did quite a few calesthenics to start with, followed by light basics, and some interesting combinations that Dalchersan brought with him courtesy of Sensei Yaguchi in Denver, Colorado. It was a good workout, and I needed it.

Current Theme: Legs

I had the pleasure of teaching classes last Thursday and Monday nights. I chose to stick with a theme for both nights, and that them was legs. We did lots of basics, as well as, partner drills, but all of them were done in deep stances: kibadachi, shikodachi, and zenkutsudachi. I concentrated a lot on shikodachi and kibadachi since most of our students really struggle with the concept of kibadachi and often end up in shikodachi very quickly; which is especially bad when doing the naihanchi kata.

Monday night, I also chose to challenge everyone mentally, as well as, physically. For the black belts, the challenge was in stringing techniques that we usually don't do together together; and also throwing in techniques that we just plain do not do in this dojo. For the lower ranks, the mental challenge was doing different techniques with counts that were not the same as the black belts; that is, they might be doing a simple downward block while the black belts were doing multi-count techniques right next to them.

I really enjoyed the classes, and I hope everyone else learned something and enjoyed them as well.

Lots of Basics

Last night's class was lots of basics. We had a new student, so Sensei kept it simple. Basics alone and with partners. I often feel bored with basics, but then I realized that I am probably the one that needs basics the most.