This entry may be counterintuitive to some people, but I thought I would catelog what happened on Tuesday where YS basically watched us while Shin Sensei (SS) taught.
Arriving ShotoKan in a rush about ten before the hour, we were really pleased to see YS top-of-the-range Mercedes gleaming in the ShotoKan car park. I mentally rubbed my hands in glee..."this is going to be hard..." I thought.
If you like Kihon, like I do, there is never a dull moment in the KWF. Because we were expecting YS to come down at any moment, SS led us through kihon, then more kihon, and then more kihon. I'll go into it later, but the upshot was after we were all shooting the breeze about the session and everything else up in the reception area, SS came up to me and said, "Gomen ne, Paul san, kyo wa kihon dake!" (Sorry Paul, we just did Kihon tonight, basically, right?) and I said (in Japanese) "No no, I love kihon, you can't give me enough of it. The harder and simpler it is, the better!" SS broke out into a grin and said, "Yes, it's good fun to do Kumite, but with Kumite you can cheat yourself" (then he mimicked my poor Kumite skills, to guffaws) ...Oh THANKS!
Yappari... Kihon! Kazu Sukunai Kara....
Which brings me onto Tuesday. Pieter has finally returned after years sitting in a hole studying like crazy. He passed Keio. Amazing! Good stuff. Now it's time to work on the Karate. It was very, very forbidding to have YS just looking at us during the session. I put everything I had into this week and now there hardly seems a part of me not hurting. I'll do a nice IS stretch and have a warm bath. Tomorrow I will be as right as rain.
"Kazu Sukunai Kara"
Whenever YS or a Sensei says this in the dojo, you know that you should give it everything. Kazu sukunai (Ka-zuu sookoo- nai) means "not many" and kara (in this case) means "because." So the teacher is saying "Because we aren't doing many..." which means "put all you have got into making them as powerful and refined and as perfect as you can! This means the 40-50 best maegeri/ oizuki/ uke-tsuki/sabaki-hangeki kumi you can-- make them the best of your life!
This week we have been focusing on the most difficult and complicated techniques: oizuki, ageuki-gyakuzui, sotouke-gyakuzuki, shuto-gyakuzuki and Heian Shodan, as befits an advanced class.
Tuesday's session with YS just watching- Ugghhhmmpppffff - was a return to the basics of the basics:
a) Chokuzuki focusing on relaxed shoulders, koshi no tameru
b) Koshi no tameru focus:
...Starting at shizentai
1. -> (3- count) (40 reps) "Ichi!" step back age-uke, keeping koshi shomen until the last possible moment then snap to genkai-made hanmi hold hold hold "Ni!" kusshin and shishuku making sure that the gyakuzuki flies off the rear leg to chudan gyakuzuki "San!" return to shizentai focusing on keeping the hips tucked.
2. -> Repeat (2-count) (40reps)
3. -> Repeat (1-count) (40 reps)
Repeat 1.-3. with soto-uke->gyaku-zuki
Repeat with uchi-uke->gyaku-zuki
Repeat with gedan-barai -> gyaku-zuki
and then the icing on the cake and the hot-rod in hips
Repeat (shuto->gakuzuki) remembering you are launching back and down so you could even be sitting in your shuto and you are powering off the back leg for gyaku-zuki
5. Maegeri from heisokudachi (3 count, 2 count, 1 count) (40 reps each)
6. Move to zenkutsudachi -> maegeri, (3-count, 2 count, 1 count) (40 reps each)
If I were to dress this up, I would term all this "koshi awareness raising" because any moron can march up and down the dojo until they drop (erm, did anybody mention a typical gakusei gassuku) but it's a question of quality not quantity. At least, at 42 that's what I tell myself.
It's very easy to slip back into gliding through the simplest of exercise by going through the motions. I think one of the worse possible crimes you can do in Karate is just go through the motions. Budo isn't about beating up on a bag: its about living and breathing that moment in each of your technique- giving it everything, making it as beautiful and meaningful as possible. In these exercises we are constantly encouraged to think about using the power of the hip and the softness and rigidity of the body in every single centimeter of motion.
Repeat all above in Ido Kihon
Koshi no Tameru: Ido Kihon
Back to white belt class, go up and down the dojo in zenkutsu and shuto at 1/5th speed (IS) training until you drop.
Kata: 8 or maybe 10x H1
Huge focus on the shuto and alternative versions adding gyaku-zukis after blocks to focus on hanmi-shomen practice.
...No time to break down Thursday this week: more kusshin and ji-yu-ippon kumite: old dobbins here was on his knees and I could hardly get out of the futon on Friday, so time well invested.
If you are bored with Kihon, you are bored with Karate! Do something else- go boxing or mountain biking!