Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Technical categories

Enpi kata practice. April 2nd, 2014.
Jiyu-kumite - JKA Kumamoto.
like ning to avoid injury" f one leg exercises.  upsOne thing I like to do, and find to be very beneficial, is “…to practice not by technical categories (i.e. – uke, tsuki, keri, uchi) but, rather, by the biomechanical and/or musculoskeletal consistencies of the various techniques”. More pertinently, this might simply be ‘an area I am focusing on’. For example, more efficiently engaging the back muscles, snapping the shoulders, hip flexors etcetera.
Morooka San's superb kizami-zuki.
Ogasawara Senpai perfectly times his tsukiwaza.
What is most useful about training in this way is that one “can more tangibly link the various techniques on a physical level—as opposed to a theoretical/categorical level”. With little cerebral processing it is clear that such `category-based training’ has minimal relevance to physical training—especially after initially learning the fundamentals. E.g. - Practicing “like following `Dynamic Karate’, move-by-move, is fine at the start of one’s karate life”, but shouldn’t be ‘the be-all and end-all’. is fine at the start of one'following Dynamic Karateisingly limitedpplied, taIndeed, such categorical training seems to be stuck within the realms of theory: great for the initial stages, but without a meaningful destination if continued.
Sen no sen vs. Go no sen: opposite but interrelated strategies.
By linking techniques, by their related attributes in training, something really special happens. You get better at karate much faster… This is because you are no longer plodding through the syllabus—with the `periodic breakthrough’, but you are subliminally grooving the principles of karate-do. Furthermore, if you are an instructor, you will be able to formulate far more efficient lessons to help your students reach their individual goals.

Jodan mawashi-geri.
Some comprehensive examples: (a) Practicing `ascending techniques’ together. I.e. – otoshi enpi, fumikomi, kakato otoshi, kentsui tatemawashi uchi, sokumen otoshi uke etc; (b) Practicing all of the techniques in the kata that are applied with yori-ashi; (c) Focusing on utilising the seika tanden in linear blows; and so on.

For those wanting to really perform well—there is another major bonus—by training in this way. By isolating a certain aspect (or aspects) one can easily select/design supplementary training. For example, calisthenics; resistance training; partner drills etcetera. This, in turn, will further bolster skill development.
Heian Yondan movement 2: a variation of the rear arm (for a different application).
Ido-kihon geiko: hidari ushiro-geri.
I’d like to add here that I’m by no means a naturally gifted karateka; therefore, ‘training smart’ is utterly essential for me. Hence, the methodology generally outlined in this post, in my opinionhen self-t mmates)away from my dojo mates) imperative., is one of the best means of actively becoming (and “being”) a smart trainee.
 Needless to say, in karate-do, `the `present continuous’ is always the most important context… 

By and large, I am not saying that `going through all the techniques categorically’ is a bad thing; however, it certainly should not be the only way you train—if you really want to improve. It is imperative to also practice techniques together based on the common muscles or joints they use (or the one’s you are concentrating on), angles or trajectories in which they are applied, scenarios they might be used (in self-defence)… MAKE LINKS. The possibilities are endless, yet “…the underlying principles of `all karate-do waza’ are few”.

Ido-kihon training: hidari kizami-mawashi-geri.
© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto. Japan (2014).

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