Sunday 3 July 2011

Winter is here...Overcome it with Training!

The New Zealand Winter really is here in earthquake shaken Christchurch. For a `heat lover' such as myself, the thought of Summer back in Japan, as opposed to wearing scarves here in `shake town', is therefore extremely appealing. On a positive note, since there is nothing like training to warm up the body, here is my latest karate regime...
STATIONARY KIHON: (1) Chudan choku-zuki kara chudan oi-zuki; (2) Chudan gyaku-zuki kara niren chudan choku-zuki; (3) Migi mae-ashi mae-geri; (4) Hidari mae-ashi mae-geri; & (5) Mae-geri kara yoko-keage, yoko-kekomi soshite ushiro-geri .

IDO-KIHON: (1) Chudan oi-zuki kara yoko yori-ashi chudan gyaku-zuki soshite yoko yori-ashi jodan kizami-zuki; (2) Jodan age-uke kara mae-geri soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (3) Chudan soto ude-uke kara yori-ashi chudan yoko empi-uchi, uraken yokomawashi uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (4) Chudan shuto-uke kara chudan mae-ashi mae-geri soshite shihon-nukite; (5) Gedan-barai kara chudan uchi ude-uke soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (6) Chudan mae-geri kara jodan mawashi-geri, jodan uraken yokomawashi-uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (7) Chudan mae-geri kara yoko-kekomi, jodan uraken yokomawashi-uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (8) Jodan mawashi-geri kara yoko-kekomi, jodan uraken yokomawashi-uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; (9) Yoko-keage kara yoko-kekomi, jodan uraken yokomawashi-uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; & (10) Ippo sagatte jodan age-uke kara mawashi-geri, chudan ushiro-geri, jodan uraken yokomawashi-uchi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki. Summary & point to keep in mind: My emphasis at present is on renzoku-keriwaza (combination kicking techniques ) - especially kicking with the same leg repeatedly but still using maximum body power; and variants of hip utilisation in both tsuki, & ukewaza (thrusting/punching and reception/blocking techniques). Keep in mind that there is a parallel between the first waza, whether `seemingly' defensive or offensive, in that the first action usually dictates success or failure.

KUMITE: Drills combining jiyu kumite, Kaeshi-ippon kumite & uchikomi are presently at the heart of my kumite training. Application of kihon, especially in regards to rengeri. For example use of mae-geri or mawashi-geri to "stop" the attacker employing GO NO SEN (taking the initiative later) then using the same leg to kick again followed by attacks with the hands. My emphasis in uchikomi is simply blitzing with the hands based on body power as opposed to merely the arms. In case you are wondering, I am leaving Gohon, Sambon, Kihon-ippon Jiyu-ippon kumite for when I train in the general class at the CPIT dojo. Perhaps a special note, undetectable in this post, is my present focus on a ever more potent kizami-geri (cutting kick), which all Shotokan karateka know was/is the trademark waza of the legendary JKA master, Masahiko Tanaka Sensei (8th Dan). Everyone kindly comments about the power in my kicks, however, as I am sure you'll understand, "satisfaction" is non-existent word when it comes to karate technique. Could it be that Mick Jagger was singing about karate?

KATA: On the subject of "I can't get no satisfaction" my kata practice is almost 'too bland' to write about at present. Hopefully that relays a couple of things to you. Firstly, that kata is the most important aspect of karate training, and secondly that I am not a kata performer... I'm a traditionalist "practicing kata for application in jissen-kumite" (actual kumite)... This results in the kata form which we see in the likes of Mikio Yahara Sensei of KWF Shotokan, Morio Higaonna Sensei of IOGKF Goju Ryu etc. Anyway, as you may have read before, I know more IJKA (Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu) koten gata than anyone else in the world, including all of the instructors in Tokyo (which has caused me a fair amount of trouble, especially, and funnily enough, from non-Japanese karateka...). So why did Asai Sensei teach me so many kata? Well, sadly the reason behind this fact is not because I have "nice kata". Asai Sensei taught so many to me because of all the errors in my karate, and because he liked it that I practiced kata for function as opposed to merely `looking impressive'. Asai Sensei was a martial artist above being a karateka, so his karate-waza was pure bujutsu. So if you followed this "way" and were serious like me, he was very generous with his vast martial arts knowledge. So what kata am I working on at the moment? At the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club we are working on Heian, Junro and Tekki. At my private dojo, the focus is on Heian-shodan, Junro and Jion. And my own self-training is still fixated on Unsu, Nijushiho and medley of koten-gata.

I sincerely hope that this post finds you well and that you are maintaining your practice where ever you are in the world. Karate is never ending, so take your time to do everything well and with purpose (maximum effect). Never just "go through the motions" but rather make the most of your training time. Always remember that more than anything, karate is a Martial Art and that, regardless of style, you OWN your own karate. Best regards from Christchurch, New Zealand. Osu, André.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2011).

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