exploringkarate

I've been a keen karate student for 16 years, Shukokai and Shotokan, but there still seems to be no shortage of things to learn and explore. I'm hoping this blog will allow me to share my experiences and hear other martial artists thoughts.

Archive for August, 2013

Karate isn’t just for the Dojo No.1: the i.play

Just a bit of fun this one :-). I’ve been enjoying a couple of weeks holiday during which we’ve had a few day trips out. Yesterday we went to one of my favourite places to visit, Grange Over Sands in Cumbria. It has a nice promenade (a paved place to walk down) which has various recreational areas alongside it. Towards the end there is a skatepark and next to it something I’d never seen before called an i.play. It felt like a cross between a Batak wall and a bopit toy, with six points you had to push, pull, turn, spin and stomp.

The stomp button, i.stomp, was a few inches off the floor and I found the best way for me to strike it was to make use of a fumikomi kick, and it was a nice feeling making that motion. A younger and more limber Karateka could probadly use other kicks to hit some of the higher buttons but limping down a promenade isn’t as much fun as strolling ;-).

So Karate isn’t just for the Dojo :-).

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The way for all?

This post is rewriting itself as I go :-). It’s initial starting point was that it was nice to see a fellow Karateka who has returned to our club after some time away on Tuesday night. I was going to write that it says something about the value Karate can have to someone that they want to return and have that enjoyment of training back in their life. And I was thinking about all my fellow students, each of them very different from the next.

This was very visible on Tuesday in a way. Sensei David had the focus mitts out and, working with a partner, we were asked to put together our own routine but including some common techniques. Each pair then demonstrated and it was good to see the very different routines and see how they were executed differently also. Some students for example looking very graceful and poised, others struck with more vigour and power and it was also good to see some students including some grappling which made their routines feel a rougher round the edges.

And I was thinking about beginning as a student of the club back in 1997 and I’m not sure any other students from that time remain with the club, and admittedly I’ve had a break in training with the club also. So I was writing a post about how Shukokai means the way for all and how I think it’s one of the strengths of Karate that a club can be made up of men, women and children of all ages and physical capabilities all having a very positive experience.

But when I look at the evidence of the membership of our club over a 16 year period clearly a good number of people haven’t fell it was the way for them enough to maintain their training. I suppose I find myself feeling that I have no choice but to place a question mark about it being a way for all if it’s students would appear to lack longevity in their training. Or is that less about Karate and more about it’s students and the challenge of balancing life and that commitment to Karate?

Against that I weigh the evidence that I’ve seen a great many of people enjoy training and develop from being novices to very good Karateka so does it matter if that training is finite in it’s duration?

Any thoughts?