Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Smoothly Running OS

Great OS- of course, not a New Vista
I have been busier than expected over the last ten days, so it was good to get back to (the) ShotoKan yesterday for a session. YS is preparing for the Algeria International Masters Camp and Ohtsuka Sensei (OS) took us through a low-key workout but with plenty of feedback on our Kata- which was good because we didn't do kumite today. Apparently there are over 200 people testing for shodan alone, which means OS has a hell of a lot of paperwork even before he boards his Air France flight tomorrow.

According to Goro Hayashi, OS has really been ratcheting up the kaisu (number of repetitions) but I don't know really how many are considered "hard." YS always says that using explosive power and maximum hip movement and kime means that if you are doing, say 50 of any major technique, then that's enough. But on gakusei gasshuku (gakusei means students, or in our case, university students) 100-300 repetitions is the norm. No thanks, I would rather have a cup of tea, thank you!

So our session yesterday with OS was normal, just a basic shodan syllabus but with the following:
a) Koshi tsuppari ishiki: consciously thrusting the hips forward: never forget that the hips thrusting forward is really important for maegeri. Height doesn't count but length does- you have to kick through your opponent rather than look good going high, so ballistic forward momentum from thrusting from the back foot moving the power through the hips to maximum snap is effective.

b) Koshi jakkan hayai: hips a fraction faster: I have a huge problem personally with lack of hip movement from hanmi to gyaku-zuki when in ido kihon, especially going forward in general. One way to get around this is basically to make sure to move from the hip a fraction before belting out the punch or block. Of course this means that you are in danger of "telegraphing" the technique but oh, oh, oh, how much better it feels when you punch from the hip. The simple way to check this is, of course, with gyaku-zuki on makiwara; if you are punching from the back or shoulders or boxing, a stiff makiwara will just wink at you in contempt. If you are releasing from the hip, then it's a different story. But you knew that anyway- it's night night and day, the difference in power and the gratifying BOP! (or whatever) of the makiwara. (Of course using a wara-based makiwara, the sound is different again, right.

One thing we have noticed from different styles coming to the JKA is the bimyo hazurei, or slight disconnection between hip movement and shoulder movement and punch. The hip moves and the punch comes but it is obvious that the two aren't really connected...and this is what YS calls "copy karate." I had a long talk with Nick about this a while back. We need to do a video on this point too.

So, basically, consciously moving the hip first, a fraction faster than you normally would, before launching a punch is just basically a good habit enforcer and it did me the power of good, anyway. Things were going a lot smoother. Which is rare in life, n'est ce pas?

Bassai Dai
There were three focus/ teaching points in Bassai Dai today, none of which should surprise people but were worth it for me, at least
a) First kick: not only should the knee come up through the hands, it should be so powerful that the knee should bounce off your chest and then the kick should come down so hard that even if you loose your grip of your opponent, you are going to break that shin.
b) Double/ simultaneous punch to ribs and oi-zuki: never forget that you need a big and powerful dynamic movement and you should land in a powerful fudo-dachi. The whole meaning of the oi-zuki (i.e. its power) is lost unless your shinshuku is from the back leg.
c) Final scoop blocks: plenty of practice of those, getting in to make sure your fist is jakkan gedan (slightly gedan).

For "image training" we repeated this making sure to visualize smashing down with the gedan blocks- i.e. never forgetting that the gedan block is actually an offensive technique. That was quite nice.

I love the final jump, but, according to OS, as we don't have any secret/ trap door trampolines I can take advantage of, I'll have to haul my 42-year-old carcass higher and more dynamically.


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