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 Niseishi

Me, myself and I…Day 3

I was a bit slower off the mark on Day 3. My intention had been to be up with the larks and run through some kata and combinations downstairs. But I took the easy option and had a few more minutes snug under the duvet.

That reduced the time I had a little but I still managed to run through Tekki Shodan a few times.  I really like it as a kata to run through first thing in the morning. It’s a nice compact kata which helps when you’re pretty tall and haven’t not got a dojo sized space to hand. But it’s not just about convenience, it’s a kata I really enjoy doing so it worls well to help shake off the cobwebs in the morning.

Then I took sometime to explore Shiotsuki No.1. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve thought about what I think are the combative principles within even this straightforward kata. And after working on Bassai Dai and Niseishi at training the night before I wanted to revisit my thinking a little.

The first movement, as is so often the case, is to look in the direction of the threat. To me this is about making sure you’re aware of what’s happening around you to give you a chance of seeing a threat which may lead to an attack. So I wanted to think about that thought over the course of the day.

The study of self defence seems to be evolving out of martial arts and bringing together different aspects with a focus on the practicalities of self defence/self protection. Today’s thinking has left me with a new addition on my To-Do List to see what people in thes areas have to say about developing good awareness.

Now what are the chances of me perfecting my spirit tomorrow to not hit that snooze button!

Advertisements

Me, myself and I…and the rest of the club…Day 2

Having training on a Tuesday night helped me achieve today’s karate commitment. Some of my fellow students had been successful at Sunday’s grading so congratulations to each of them and every credit to those that didn’t take the night off and turned in for training.

Sensei David has a little game were we all close our eyes and then have to execute the stance he shouts out. Traditionally I’m pretty poor at this and am normally out of the game and seated by the second or third call but of late I seem to be doing better. Previously I wouldn’t have placed knowing the names of the various stances as any kind of priority but now if feels like it’s important to have a handle on all aspects of karate.

I think that’s because I see how it has value in a couple of ways. Firstly I see how knowing how the names translate can give clues to what the techniques are about. And secondly as you become more of a senior member of a club you find yourself coaching newer students and I think knowing the correct names and not going ‘um, you know that one with your right leg over here and the left….’ helps you teach in a credible way. If I look a bit unsure about the name why should anyone trust what I’m saying about anything else.

After running through some basics we spent some time on the kata for our next grading. It was great to have Sensei Colin take us through Bassai Dai and Niseishi. We touched on what a couple of the moves are all about and he showed us what was happening in that situation. Understanding what’s happening really helps to understand how those techniques need to be executed.

What seems clear to me is that I’ve done what probadly a great many karateka do. I placed more importance on being able to do the basics and to feel like I was doing well at the kumite. Subsequently I left my study of kata at understanding the flow of moves, being able to do those moves well and perhaps knowing a few bits of the bunkai.

Now it feels like I’m getting a greater sense on how all the elements fit together and by understanding the value of each you can progress you study in other areas. For example by looking and thinking about what a kata is about and what it’s trying to teach beyond just a set of moves it gets me thinking about how I can be more aware in situations, how I need to work on evasion through my footwork, how I need to look at fitting blocks, strikes and throws together that suit me to list just a few.

I suppose I could dwell on the negative and think ‘well why didn’t I understand that sooner’. But I want to see it as another lesson learnt, new awareness that I need to apply to karate and be able to step back or revisit training and say what else do I need to understand about that, what else is there here that I need to incorporate.