30-50 repetitions of each of my stationary techniques is the order of the month. I'm also giving special attention to the tightness, and formation, of my weapons (whilst maintaining softness/smoothness in my actions): (1) Chudan choku zuki from kiba dachi. (2) Jodan age uke from shizentai maintaining the shomen position of the hips. (3) Same as previous but with chudan soto ude uke. (4) Same as previous but chudan uchi ude uke. (5) Same as previous but gedan barai. Note: Techniques 2-5 are focused on isolating the upper body actions for further refinement, therefore I'm avoiding koshi no kaiten (hip rotation) when training these waza. Naturally, when in zenkutsu dachi, I'm still working them with large hip action. (6) Chudan oi zuki moving from shizentai into zenkutsu dachi (shomen). Stepping back after each punch then repeating on the opposite side. (7) From heisoku dachi execute mae geri advancing into zenkutsu dachi, step back and repeat alternating legs (much like exercise six). Special attention to hiki-ashi, correct josokutei, and 'ankle squeeze'. (8) From kosa dachi, yoko keage returning to kosa dachi, then execute yoko kekomi landing in kiba dachi. Once completed with my right leg, I perform the equal amount of repetitions with my left. (9) Chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi (equally training both right and left punches). (10) Same as previous exercise, but jodan kizami zuki followed by chudan gyaku zuki.
This month my ido-kihon has returned to the utmost 'simple' of Shotokan karate techniques (literally the kihon that "really matters"). My repetitions are between 20 to 40, with 50% typically being warm up techniques (essentially refinement training): (1) Chudan oi zuki. (2) Jodan age uke kara chudan gyaku zuki. (3) Chudan soto ude uke kara chudan gyaku zuki. (4) Chudan uchi ude uke kara chudan gyaku zuki. (5) Chudan uchi ude uke kara chudan gyaku zuki. (6) Gedan barai kara chudan gyaku zuki. (7) Chudan shuto uke kara tate shihon nukite zuki (kokutsu dachi changing into zenkutsu dachi). (8) Mae geri. (9) Mawashi geri. (10) Yoko keage ashi o kaete yoko kekomi (kiba dachi). I'd like to add here, that I often execute my keriwaza (in ido-kihon) immediately after the punches, thus leaving the block/counters for the later part of my training. I find this allows me to reduce fatigue, and maintain better form, thus increasing the productivity of my practice.
I've been so busy with kata as of late and have discovered many points to vastly improve myself. For me, this is a really exciting time in my personal karate development. My karate is now at its absolute technical peak, beyond any of my previous years in the art. I've also learned so many new teaching methods, as a karate 'coach', via these discoveries. My current kata work, for the most part, has been on Kankudai, Jion, Hangetsu, Nijushiho, and Gojushihodai. Presently, the average is between 15 and 20 kata in each of my training sessions, unless I'm only focusing on one. If this is the case, I rarely repeat it more than ten times in the workout. In line with my kihon, typically 50% of my training is in slow-motion, aiming to remedy any subtle errors I make. Of particular importance is my COG during each stage of every motion, not just at the beginning, middle and completion of techniques.
I wish everyone the very best in their training and thank you all for your support of this blog. I really appreciate the many kind emails I've recieved and sincerely look forward to sharing more of my karate journey with you.
© André Bertel, Japan 2007