There is almost nothing like the feeling of having that stalking brooding presence around you when you are warming up. Being at the bottom end of the black belt lineup, this means I am always nearest YS when he warms up. It's enough to make you forget instantly the pain in your knees and it certainly raises the hair on the back of your neck.
Generally speaking the YS warmup is pretty simple and you are usually guaranteed two highlights- half a dozen swhooshing mawashi-geri, or him just bashing the bare makiwara with a POK! POKK!! POCK!!! What's funny about these is that the "POCK" sound reverberates around the whole ShotoKan. I can't only imagine what those knuckles do to bone- I've been wrapped like a mummy in bandages for weeks. You could call it a cracking good time. Still, I face enough ribbing about my Karate already.
YS teaching style is dependent on the person. If he thinks the person is secretly arrogant, he will praise them before deflating them brutally later. I am afraid that if you are just stupid, then you will have to learn to be smarter. If you have absolutely no talent but put in a 100%, he will move heaven and earth to teach you. If your Karate is great, then he will expect you to figure things out yourself and only correct you on the basics. But it's case by case. In YS class, dedication is everything and try not to be a moron really, really helps.
That aside, Tuesday's class was Tanjun-na Kogeki Renzoku Waza III with some touches before and during the last two classes
a) Extreme hanmi on static gyaku-zuki practice. YS went around and corrected posture sometimes moving people a few millimeters that made all the difference.
1. The drawback into hanmi is huge, but the countersnap forward has to be really ballistic
2. Proper movement and posture will prevent unnecessary tension in forward shoulder in hanmi which acts as a break
3. YS corrected my over-extended shoulder
b) Power in maegeri- length over weight
c) Zanshin 残心 which in this context I would call "being always prepared." It's really easy when you think you know what is coming- but yesterday YS would suddenly vary the count or just add another ten.
So the question is, were you lucky not to get caught out and able to change instantly, or were you instantly able to continue or change because you were ready at any point. I am proud to say that in my case it was the latter. If it wasn't, then I wasn't mentally "there." And if I wasn't mentally there, why bother?
4. Lots of extra Kusshin drills. NICE ;-)
5. We did extra long partner drills with 3,2, and 1 count Jiyu-Ippon Kumite with follow through attacks ending in oi-zuki; I was extremely lucky that Ibuki Tawara, pictured here
is back training after long-term injury. He always modestly puts himself below me in the line, basically because he is half my age (he's 21) but his Karate is outstanding. I won't have it. Anyone who earned their adult black belt before me is my sempai, even if they are teenagers. I feel very embarrassed that he should be so modest. But it means that I am lucky enough to have to have an excellent, excellent partner and someone who is twice as fast as me without even trying. It's a very "trying" experience for me.
Apart from having an excellent role model so close- can you imagine it, YS on one side and Ibuki on the other- Ibuki really gets into things and so do I, this means we are always running away with 気合い（kiai). Pretty soon I am going to get into the groove where I just fall over. Mind you, I do that anyway ;-).
Yuko's comment - 「煩い！！！！」"Urusaiiiiii!!" (= noisy buggers!)
Like a broken record, all this is wasted without gyakuhanmi / kihon in the oi-zuki
Focus on length and power of punches and extreme hanmi to gyakuhanmi in block through to attack.
Next week- Sabakiwaza
Yuko and I have to attend a function on Thursday so I will try to get Goro to write a memo of the class.