Sunday 7 July 2019

Latest Self-Training Regime and some Tips

Movement one of  二十四歩 NIJUSHIHO.
Here is my latest training regime. To supplement this one, as I have not posted my personal routine in a while, I've also included some information on practice objectives in kihon; furthermore, some tips for Yakusoku Kumite training (namely, three major points to avoid when counterattacking). I hope this post finds everyone well, moreover, offers something useful for your own karate practice. Best wishes from Oita City, Kyushu, Japan.
Osu, André

基本 (Kihon)

At present my foundational training is all Ido-Kihon, based on the following 10 renzokuwaza. Repetitions of each of these is dependent on my daily condition; nevertheless, the average is between 10 and 30 bursts.

1. Basic punch combination with a focus on correct propulsion and penetration, via ‘shoulder extension’ and hikite: either (a) Sanbon ren zuki or (b) Kizami zuki kara sanbon ren zuki;

2-5. Fundamental rotation from hanmi into zenmi with focus of correct correspondences between axises and heels: the four foundational  closed fist ukewaza—(2) jodan age uke, (3) chudan soto ude uke, (4) chudan uchi ude uke and (5) gedan barai—each followed by chudan gyaku zuki;

6. Transition of power from back stance ‘100% forward’ with both keri and tsuki: Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi) kara chudan kizami mae geri soshite chudan tate shihon nukite;

7-9. ‘Legs followed by hands’—with special focus on the sasae ashi—when kicking and, again, after kicking to deliver the follow up ‘tsuki’: (7) Mae geri keage kara oi zuki; (8) Mawashi geri kara chudan gyaku zuki; (9) Ushiro geri kekomi kara chudan gyaku zuki; and…

10. Defining the difference between the two main forms of yoko geri, however in both cases, especially expressing full ‘tai no shinshuku’ for optimal power and bio-mechanically healthy movement: Yoko geri keage ashi o kaete yoko geri kekomi (kiba dachi).


At present Im practising four kata per day. These are: (1) One 指定型 (Shiteigata)any 平安 (Heian) or 鉄騎初段 (Tekki Shodan); (2) One 選定型 (Senteigata)either 慈恩 (Jion), 拔塞大 (Bassai Dai), 燕飛 (Enpi) or 観空大 (Kanku Dai); (3) One 自由型  (Jiyugata)currently either 珍手 (Chinte) or 二十四歩 (Nijushiho); and (4) One 古典型  (Kotengata). In recent weeks this kata has been chosen from the natural energy forms: 火手 (Kashu), 水手 (Suishu), 風手 (Hushu) and 浪手 (Roshu). Training/Repetitions: all four kata that I practise each day are repeated no less than four times (alternating between very slow and regular speed).

Movement 16 of Sentei-gata: 観空大  KANKU DAI.
Movement 36 of Sentei-gata: 燕飛 ENPI.
 組手 (Kumite)

Im focused on two forms of Kumite at present to lift my foundational skills and reactivity. These are: 五本組手 (Gohon Kumite) and 基本一本組手 (Kihon Ippon Kumite)

While some may scoff at the practicality of these training methods, over the years, I have found them to be very effective tools for sharpening my pragmatic skills. People who have attended my classes and seminars will understand this!! Anyway—away from this generic point—in my current training I am working on further cutting down the time for immediate hangeki (counterattack). 

Please note: It is imperative to avoid three major errors that many people make when countering in yakusoku kumite: 

(i) Firstly, many karateka merely use gyaku zuki, every time, when they counter their training partner. Of course, gyaku zuki is perfect if the maai, and positioning/angles, are optimal. If it isn't optimal, it is an all-out error. This is what is often referred to, by competent instructors ,as 'the brainless gyaku-zuki'.

(ii) Secondly and contrastingly, many people start ‘getting creative’ and using all sorts of fancy counters… Don’t be creative, choose the most effective/devastating counter instinctively. Avoid set techniques. Overall, ask yourself, after each time returning to shizentai, “would the counter I selected, in that given moment, give me the best chance of finishing my opponent?”. If not, it is obvious that bad habits are being trained. 

(iii) And thirdly, as mentioned above, move as quickly as possible, without any adjustment from your defensive position. This relates to the first two points, yet needs to be stressed. Any adjustment of your defensive position to launch your counterattack literally invalidates the counterattack. You must 'launch' from where you are!!! With this in mind, let me reiterate… Counter from your immediate position, with no adjustment and with the best possible technique (to the optimal target). This is based on you and your opponents position in an instant. Don’t be creative with your counterattacks, be utterly pragmatic. Yes, the best technique is the most simple in that moment; hence, gyaku zuki is often used. But not always! Last, but certainly not least, always remember that Gohon and Kihon Ippon Kumite are Kihon drills, not "Kumite/Fighting" as such; therefore, use the controlled stimuli these drills provide to hone practical responses.
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

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