Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fire in the Hole!

Well, sitting here at 06:00 on a Monday morning trying to work and just saw some nice photos of Isaka Sensei's course over in the UK recently via Facebook posted by Dennis Hanwright. Karate has hardly left my mind for the last 36 hours not so much because I am committed to it (tumbling down the hole..?) but so much as Isaka training followed by Yahara training followed by Ibusuki training followed by not warming down equals a real pain the back! Anyway, onto today's theme:

Apologies for delay in submitting:
I was crocked for three days- I am afraid that three hours of Karate followed by ji-yu-kumite and Gankaku were too much for old bloke Kallender's karada. We thought about hiring a crane, or some device purloined from an African game part to hoist tranquilized rhino, to get me out of the futon, but alas, I had to stagger and totter around without one. Sometimes I feel that I am two steps from the rojin home.

Lesson: NEVER forget to warm down, even if you can't do it right away, certainly before you get too cold.

Fire in the Hole
Last Thursday YS was back from a highly successful Algeria Masters Camp so there was a frisson of expectation in the dojo. You can't help feeling a bit tense, a bit excited, a bit worried, and very engaged by a YS lesson. Well, if you can, why bother? We also have a couple of guests over from the U.S. training with us for a month. When I realized this, I realized that this was going to spell pain for me, as I am used by Yahara sensei to demonstrate controlled techniques on. Fortunately he has millimeter control and I have only been knocked unconscious once this year (that I can remember ;-))

What is Karate?
After checking kihon, YS started his usual multi-step approach to explaining Karate and the basics of Kihon, with me the foil for oi-zuki and a couple of uraken to the ribs. No injuries this time. I think I must be growing protective bone. I will have to explain this basic lesson at some point.

If you don't know the answer, please send opinions etched in large platinum bricks to my home address (...only kidding).

Before we get into the main topic, our visitors had a few questions:
Q.1: Should I really do each technique with the objective of protecting myself at all costs while certainly disabling my opponent
A.1: Yes, of course
Q.2: But if we all do this, we will end up putting each other in the hospital
A.2: In yakusoku kumite, it is the duty of the attacker to hit his or her opponent. It is the duty of the defender to effectively block his or her opponent. Failure to launch a powerful, accurate attack is a disgrace to both partners. Failure to block correctly will result in getting hit. It is up to the responsibility of the partners to show mutual respect and maturity, including complete calm, while focusing full power.
In free fighting, mutual control and maturity are essential. YS has spoken about this on The Shotokan Way. In the KWF, bullies just don't make it into our black belt class. There is always someone stronger to teach the bully a lesson. People who don't work 100% don't last more than a session either.

Fire in the Hole- Kusshin Revisited, Again
The role of the rear leg really is a topic that we return to again and again. It seems that 99% of Shotokan Karateka don't use the rear leg- the most painful example is in ji-yu-ippon kumite. If you block with nekoashi-dachi in the KWF, you are going to hit the floor or bounce off the wall hard.

Trying to explain this, YS relies on two organic but unforgiving and rigid props
a) Shinai
b) "My beautiful legs"

To put it briefly Kusshin only works if
a) You are bending from the ankle
b) You imagine your leg as a spring in a tube- you never, ever loose the linear vector while compressing rear and down
c) You never stick your butt out- remember you tuck it in, in, and directly related
d) Your weight is forward.

The shinai comes in on (b) because, if you remember one of the first corrections you ever (should have) received, keep your rear foot pointing forward and never let your knee "blow" out sideways by even a few milimeters. If you can imagine compressing and coiling yourself down and back (a good 20 cm down is a good benchmark) your knee will still be pointing forward and your butt tucked in and the front toe of your supporting (rear leg) will be pointing in the same vector as where your fist is going...

Does it hurt?
Yes it does?
Is it Kurushii
Yes it is!
If it doesn't it ain't the real McCoy, if it isn't, you're out for your bento!


No comments: