Friday 28 February 2020

Balanced Training

Today’s self-training was based on 基本 (kihon—fundamentals). Perhaps a mundane comment to follow, but I must say that: “I always return to kihon because it is the isolation training for effectiveness in application”.

With this in mind, it must also be stated “… Kihon must significantly change as one advances. It must become very-very specific for advanced karateka. That is, working to strengthen strengths; aim to mitigate weak points; make changes/improvements (when and where needed); and avoid aggravating existing injuries or causing injury”. The syllabus of 国際空手道松濤館 (IKS—International Karate Shotokan) reflects these important ideals.

This week I trained very hard each day; so today, I practiced in a physically more easy-going manner. Hence the title: 'Balanced Training'.
The session began with 五本組手 (Gohon Kumite) and 基本一本組手 (Kihon Ippon Kumite). In IKS we regard these drills as KIHON; that is, not for real fighting but, rather, as ‘kihon practice with a partner’.  This understanding is very important, as while the aspects of timing and distancing are added, “the loss of precise foundational form literally invalidates these exercises”. To reiterate, “…if one regards Gohon and Kihon Ippon Kumite as kihon—as opposed to being ‘kumite’—then, and only then, will the karateka gain from practicing them”.

This was followed by kata practice, namely 序の型 (Jo no kata), 真拳 (Shinken) and 鉄騎三段  (Tekki Sandan). Interrelations and transitions—within and between—Kiba-dachi, Zenkutsu-dachi and Kokutsu-dachi was my foundational focus. Furthermore, I concentrated on transfer of energy from my core and the moving of my center. The overall theme was fluid and relaxed actions underpinned by the aforementioned points.

My kumite work was aimed at 受け技 (ukewaza—reception techniques), most noteworthy from the practice: the budo/bujutsu forms of teisho-uke, te nagashi-uke, haiwan uchinagashi-uke, tate makiotoshi-uke, yoko makiotoshi-uke, hineri-uke and hiji suri-uke.

Taken as a whole, the session was great and refreshing following a very hard week of intense training. Nearly 40 of karate training (and collectively over 10 years of daily training here in Japan), I believe that BALANCED TRAINING is one of the keys of longivity: via the avoidance of injury, clear advancement and enjoying 'the process' just as much as the outcomes. Osu, André
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2020).

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