HERE IS MY PRESENT TRAINING REGIME. I have added some notes about repetitions and also my objectives. If nothing else, I hope it gets at least one person around the world into their dogi and practicing outside their regular dojo-geiko. I'll leave it there for the time being. Osu!!
1. Migi jodan choku-zuki kara hidari chudan choku-zuki (Hidari ashi mae sanchin-dachi).
2. Hidari jodan choku-zuki kara migi chudan choku-zuki (Migi ashi mae sanchin-dachi).
3. Migi chudan gyaku-zuki kara hidari chudan tateshuto-kamae (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).
4. Hidari chudan gyaku-zuki kara migi chudan tateshuto-kamae (Migi zenkutsu-dachi).
5. Hidari chudan kizami mae-geri kara migi jodan mae-geri keage (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).
6. Migi chudan kizami mae-geri kara hidari jodan mae-geri keage (Migi zenkutsu-dachi).
7. Tate enpi-uchi kara ushiro enpi-uchi, mae enpi-uchi soshite yoko enpi-uchi (Heiko-dachi).
8. Uraken yokomawashi-uchi kara kaiten uraken (Heiko-dachi kara kosa-dachi).
9. Shuto sotomawashi-uchi kara shuto uchimawashi-uchi soshite shuto otoshi-uchi (Heiko-dachi kara fudo-dachi).
10.Sanbon ren-zuki (Heisoku-dachi kara zenkutsu-dachi).
Repetitions: 10 warm up reps—super slow; then, 30 or more reps with maximum speed without compromising form. Pertaining to this point, the concentration on ‘chikara no kyojaku’ and ‘waza no kankyu is high on my ‘sonoba-kihon’ agenda.
(1) Either oi-zuki or sanbon ren-zuki; (2) Mae-geri or ren-geri; (3) Chudan mawashi-geri; (4) Yoko-keage (Kiba-dachi); (5) Yoko-kekomi (Kiba-dachi or zenkutsu-dachi). (6–10) The five core Shotokan-Ryu ukewaza followed by a single tsuki (the four closed fist ukewaza followed by chudan gyaku-zuki, and shuto-uke coupled with chudan tate-nukite).
Repetitions: 10 warm up reps—five in each direction, again like sonoba-kihon these are super slow. I then do as little as ten reps with speed, but usually 20–30 depending on my daily condition, namely, fatigue level. Every year in summer this is the same as humidity in Japan at this time is particularly volatile—even for me, as someone who loves the heat. Indeed, in regards to heat and humidity, serious training is a different beast from other daily activities. On a positive note, this is something to overcome and warm ups, metaphorically speaking, become a breeze. The technical focus in this ido-kihon practice is ‘heels, toes, knees, hips and the top of my head’—namely for ‘maximum transition of weight/the center, and the snapping of limbs into the imaged target’.
Needless to say, after all my solo work, sonoba-kihon and ido-kihon I use the makiwara and/or the sandbag to practice impacting with maximum power. This training is where I spend most of my time in kihon.
Solo practice of attack, defense and counterattack with:
A. 五本組手 (Gohon Kumite).
B. 基本一本組手 (Kihon Ippon Kumite).
C. 自由一本組手 (Jiyu Ippon Kumite).
Kumite is the easiest and most ‘fun’ part of my current training regime. And I’m not going to lie, it’s very laid back. What I do is ‘cruise through’ these four forms of Kumite then blast them out—both attacking and defensive/counter-offensive portions—twice or three times. In particular, I’m being loose with the counterattacks, using a lot of different waza, tachikata and various forms of unsoku. What makes this fun, even though I’m doing it without an opponent, is that I must counter 'instinctively'. The challenge here is to not do anything superfluous or ineffective. A weak point of many karateka is to think the fight is over after an impact. This is the point of zanshin, which must not be overlooked and is an important aspect of the IKS.
I must add here—that I know that—‘some criticize the practicality of IDORI’; moreover, they believe it is an outdated practice from ancient Japan. I understand this thinking; however, to be straight-up, it is incorrect. Allow me to clarify the purpose of idori practice and its benefits. First, I want to say “yes, it is not necessary”, just like kata is not necessary to fight; that being said, like kata, it can allow one to develop extremely refined skills that can help one to greatly boost fighting skills. In particular, I would like to quote a common thing said by all of my seniors here in Japan, in regards to idori training: “idori practice makes the hips and kahanshin, in general, come alive”. I want to expand on this point. I believe that idori is one of the means to take these aspects to the next level, furthermore, to further refine ground-power, which is a key point of the karate that I teach.
I really don’t want to bore anyone reading this, however, as much as I love the practice of kata, my current regime is not very interesting/exciting to explain. In saying that, it is achieving my goals and actually steering my overall routine in the technical sense.
The five kata I am using to refine my skills, at present, are as follows:
I. 平安初段 (Heian Shodan).
II. 鉄騎初段 (Tekki Shodan).
III. 二十四歩 (Nijushiho).
IV. 王冠 (Wankan).
V. 雷光 (Raiko).
The repetitions of each of these is highly variable, however as always, I tend to do each kata at least five times and up to nine times. Furthermore, I’m rarely doing all five in one day. Usually just one to three of them. During the weekdays, I follow this routine but, on Saturdays and Sunday’s, I do whatever kata I feel like to conclude my practice. For example, last Sunday I worked on珍手 (Chinte), 気法拳 (Kihouken) and 掌手小 (Shote-Sho).
Generic purposes of my current kata practice. Firstly, please refer to my notes about present kihon and kumite training. As brief as they are, they give a good basis of my daily attention. Secondly, I would like to very briefly/generically explain my purpose with each of these kata: Heian Shodan—large scale waza. I really can’t say enough about this kata, 40 years on—much of which has been full time, it is my SENSEI. A work in endless progress and with no end. Tekki Shodan—well, it could be any of the three Tekki (or indeed Kibaken); however, the focus is the same, in-fighting. Close range striking work, which seamlessly connects to my grappling training. Nijushiho… Always, continuity, smoothness, transitions and natural energy—all of which, all of you who experienced Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei will know this kata radiates. Wankan—a short kata with everything ‘joe-average’ needs in a street fight. And Raiko, just complexity and challenge of it. It’s just such a difficult kata; nonetheless, because of that, it pushes boundaries and helps me to stay on track with karate as bujutsu, due its use of all the sinister karada no buki (weapons of the body).
So that sums up my current training here in July of
2021, as of today, Monday the 26th. I hope that this post finds you all well. I
really want to send my positive energy to senpai, peers and juniors here in
Japan and around the world. Osu!!!
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).