Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Angles on Kakehiki Kusshin- "That's the Spirit!"

Well yesterday's practice was just unbelievably good: after the warmup it was 80 minutes of kusshin-kihon, kusshin-kumite, sen-no-sen kusshin hangeki, kakehiki kusshin, kusshin, more kusshin, and guessed it....yet more kusshin. There was no break, just time to recover your breath, and then Kanku-Dai.

All this was especially hard on me because a) it was the first training for me in a month following influenza then pneumonia and a gammy leg and b) because of its pace and c) because my partner was Pieter. The consequence is that I even have bruises on the palm of my hand! The spirit is willing. Pity about the body!

1. Kihon Basics
Before we went into compression (kusshin) training we did some very basic warmup Kihon
a) From shizentai kumite kamae smash forward with maximum extension gyakuhanmi go-tai-ichi oi-zuki -> come back into kusshin kamae
b) From shizentai kumite kamae smash forward with maximum extension maegeri -> second maegeri

2. Diagonal Compression (Kusshin) Training
Then we realized we were in for a treat: did compression from shizen kamae on the back leg into age-uke ==> followed by gyaku-zuki
==> then compressing diagonally to the back, on the left and then right sides, gedan barrai followed by gyaku-zuki.
Begin with two count, then go to one count. Fortunately for my stamina we didn't do the three Kusshin/defense=> counter on one count!
Key points with this are:
a) Kusshin means going down to maximum compression on the rear leg and then the counter attack (hangeki) gyaku-zuki is from the rear leg
b) Koshi no kiru --> really "whaak" your hips into hami and then use shinshuku off the rear leg to drive the gyaku-zuki
c) Merihari (contrast): remember, big decisive movements- imagine yourself like a huge spring, compressing yourself so it's unbearable and releasing and explosively expanding

3. Diagonal Kusshin and Applied Kihon
Then we did some moving kihon. Forward with oi-zuki, returning with mae-geri. This was followed by applying the first part of the training into moving kihon (age-uke->gyaku-zuki, diagonal gedanbarai-> gyaku-zuki).

4. Diagonal Kussin and Applied Kumite
Then we applyed this combination into kumite, with the opponent attacking jodan oi-zuki-> mae-geri-> mae-geri.

5. Yahara Tai-Sabaki-> Hangeki (Avoid and Counterattack) I, II, III
Just as we were really hammering each other, YS changed the pace of the lesson and we moved into tai-sabaki->hangeki drills

Drill I: Standard twist tai-sabaki
Simply from hips twist back and compress into Kusshin and then counterattack of your own choice from the leading arm (twist back left or right)

Drill II: Sen-no-sen tai-sabaki and counter
This was really fun- twist into the attack to avoid and simultaneous counter. For example, YS for anti-clockwise forward twist left arm block and leading right hand for teisho counter WHAK- scary stuff! I instinctively prefer enpi! ;-)

Drill III: Sen-no-sen tai-sabaki --> instant Yahara Reaper!
Oh boy this was fun! Fortunately we didn't do this on each other. The committment required for these makes them just too dangerous.

6. Tai-sabaki -> Hangeki Kakehiki Kihon
Yet more fun! Next we applied this to Kumite: Sen no sen, exploding forward to opponent's mae-geri block one hand gedan while simultaneously countering with a kisami-zuki, or compressing on the back leg blocking the mae-geri with a two handed block following with a counter.
The point here was that we were trying to trick each other about the timing to try to throw our opponent off. However, this really did not work for Pieter and I because I was exhausted and Pieter, while he is getting faster, because I am still expecting it, I can see it coming.

7. Tai-sabaki -> Kakehiki Hangeki Kumite Ji-yu-Ippon Kumite
These techniques were then applied into kumite, with the opponent kicking mae-geri. This was repeated 5 times. After this we did jiyu-ippon-kumite with two jdoan, two chu-dan, two mae-geri and two mawashi-geri on each side.
See above! Although Pieter the sod tricked me by dipping his jodan mawashi-geri into my ribs, giving me a very hard time getting up from the futon this morning ;-).

8. Kanku-Dai
Key points:
1. Koshi no kiru on gedan block
2. Bunkai on high crossblock, like why don't I snap your arm off at the shoulder?

It was a great session with pacing just enough to get us tired but when YS saw people (guess who) getting tired, he would crack a joke or get us to bend and stretch out the knocks. Specifically for me, the session, while hard for me trying to bounce back after a pretty rocky month, was just the sort of jolt I needed.

All in all, it reminded me why I do Karate- there were a couple of times when things were spinning a bit, but the positive energy of pushing yourself and moving in a larger world than your own grumbles and insecurities was just GREAT. Great people, great training, interesting techniques, switches and logic, and watching a master in action- YS.

Yoroshiku ;-)

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