In the U.K., or Catford and Lewisham, as I remember it, it was usually Friday night that was fight night. Six pints of Dogbolter, pie and chips then scarper when the local likelylads got genki.
In the KWF Sohonbu, it's usually Thursday night. Actually, that's not official. We have an informal arrangement that Tuesdays are Kata focused and Thursdays are Kumite focused, but that's only a rough guide.
The "Suwa Way"
I'll just do a quick write up of last Thursday's session, which was very low key but very enjoyable. YS and OS are still in North Africa at the moment, and IS is in Wales...so what we did was call last Thursday night Gentleman's Club- Yuko, Kumura, Takane, Saito, etc. weren't there so it was blokes night. We elected Suwa sempai to teach and got on with it.
Just For Kicks: Rengeri Rumble!
Anyway, Thursday night's kihon was standard except we had a lot of fun with kick combinations, which are great when I feel loose (or downed 3 aspirin) and grim, grim, grim when I am stiff. So it was marching up and down with combinations- everything combined into doubles:
Kekomi -> change leg -> Keage
Keage-> change leg -> Kekomi
We usually do the old standard, mae-mawashi-kekomi-ushiro-geri rengeri, but for some reason we didn't. I think there was too much sweat on the dojo.
Just for Everything Else: Kumite
Tonight we started with 5 bouts of ji-yu kumite with Suwa stopping each fight when people really started hurting. I tried to use different tactics in each fight- my different tactics being
a) Attack with left gyaku-zuki and or sweep with right leg or
b) Attack with left gyaku-zuki and or sweep with right leg or
c) Attack with left gyaku-zuki and or sweep with right leg.
As you can imagine, it got to the point when I was leading with my mutton chops after a little bit so that's the point about trusting your partner's control and maturity.
But defense was really fun- I tried defending with ushiro-geri- I only try this once in a while, but because I am such a donkey, "nobody expects the ushiro-geri"(and an almost fanatical devotion to Yahara Sensei).... and ...as IS says... "Haita!!!!!"
Small victories for tiny Karate talent.
In a Spin...
One of the big things we love to do in Yahara Karate is spin defense. It takes a lot of calm commitment and ruthless dedication to spin into your opponent's attack. Of course this was second nature to Asai Sensei, but what not might be so recognized is that it's also a fundamental part of Yahara Karate too. Asai Sensei was a master of using the joints to create a whip hammer, as most of us know. With Yahara Karate its actually from the hips using the arm and the ken as a sort of iron bar smashed round a centrifuge or vortex. If an Asai whip/hammer is supposed to knock the daylights out of your opponent, the Yahara uraken is supposed to take the head off!
Of course, this requires compression down and inside, getting inside your opponent and whipping into his head or chest with a centrifugal powered blow that comes off your power line or Keiro, a concept I'll (try to explain) next time...
The in and out of it, or in my case the round and round with it, was that when I felt like it was coming together, I tried an almost sen-no-sen spinning uraken. YS says that you have to practice these things 10,000 times minimum to get the idea and make it your own, but as I am probably only at 1,000, I'll have to make do!
I was very very lucky on Thursday because everyone I was fighting was better than me. Mind you, as I am the newest black belt, you wouldn't expect otherwise....In particular, with Mohamed, he was like a spider and me the fly, and it felt like that. But I always end up having a bit of a ding-dong with Charles. Charles started off in the old JKA Ebisu and he forgets about KWF Karate and likes a bit of a punch up- not violent- but he likes to knock about, which I enjoy. Afterwards we did maybe 70-90 spin uraken defense/attack, off with 'is 'ead practice with each other. Difficult, and enjoyable!
Then to follow we did Kihon Ippon Kumite x5 bouts then a series of Gohon Kumite; it was refreshing to go from Jiyu to Kihon Ippon to Gohon, i.e. "backwards" and deal with the various situations. So the bath at home was especially welcome.
Count on Kata
Today, Suwa decided that we would try to each take responsibility for gorei in Kata, so we each had a go (except me) counting and doing Empi and Kanku-Dai and Bassai-Dai. As a sort of compensation to me, I got to do gorei for Heian Shodan, which I did too fast. With KWF Heian Shodan, Kime is the thing, hanmi and shomen is the thing, proper jushin kanri, smashing your opponent and...well just looking great and loving it are the most important. Any idiot can do a Kata fast and cover his or her weak points. Except me. I can't to the bloody thing well fast either.
Next post Keiro!