Monday, November 09, 2020

Four Places and Sixth Kata

 I'm actually on my 7th kata, but we learned one of them out of sequence.  I've just learning the 6th one, Seiyunchin now.  Here's the video after completing the kata.

Sorry about the quality, framing, etc.

As I may have mentioned before, each degree in Shudokan, is a new style.  The nidan, or second degree was White Crane and the third (shodan) is Goju-Ryu.  So I have to learn a completely new style each rank.  In the case of GR I have to learn twelve kata which makes it more demanding since the traditional number is ten.  

Another factor that is weighing in on the learning curve is Covid.  We normally meet at our local park, but the lack of light and temperature has driven us inside Mark's garage, but it also means we can only have four people training at one time.  As you can see in the video we work at keeping 6 feet, but that's even a challenge.  

Tonight should be even more challenging due to cold weather.  Ugh.  

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

3 Days of Donyu

 I may have underestimated Reeds enthusiasm about Yamanni-Ryu study.  We are on our third day studying Donyu Kun kata.  Not that it's horrible to being something different, but I feel like we used to balance exam prep with something new a bit better. It's just me being antsy to get to my test.  I'd rather have it all done as much as possible so I can refine and refine for the next couple of years.

Anywho, we kind of beat the Donyu Kun Ichi kata to death.  It's simple pattern, but the moves have some subtly that only time is going to draw out.  So we split the group into two and the folks that wanted to try the next kata went with Daniel.

Yamanni-ryu uses the same pattern for the kata and then adds moves in that are move advanced.  For example in kata one we simply block. In kata 2 block, parry, strike and parry.  So the pattern doesn't change, but there are a lot of new movements.  Super fun.  

An added difficulty for me is that my staff (bo) is heavy.  Fifteen plus years ago my wife wanted to buy me something special and chatted with my teacher at the time about a weapon.  I ended up getting a heavy oak one with a modest taper.  I'm not sure what the advantages are, but my shoulders are definitely feeling it after the fact.  Moving it, controlling and stopping it all contribute to a long hard hour of work.  

I'm writing this the morning after and my hands and shoulders appear to have the worst of it.  Sore, tired and somewhat swollen.  

The embedded video below is an example of how the pattern got way more complicated.  Fun!

This afternoon I'll go on my fourth run after restarting after several years off. Ugh.  1.3 miles is my current limit.  My legs and knees are catching up to my lungs, but my pace is still fairly slow.  At 10:30 mile.  Nothing to get excited about.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Weapons In The Park

 Sensei hit that point in training where he wanted to try something different.  I totally appreciate when we hit this point.  Usually an indication that we've hit a plateau and need to shake it up.

As a group we don't focus on weapons a great deal.  I'm always interested because I have such a minimal exposure.  I have three bo (staff) kata, but have largely forgotten them.  

Yesterday we studied a short kata from the Yammani-Ryu school, Donyu Kun Ichi (Introduction Staff One).  Reed went into a lot of description about why we were doing what we were doing, but we completed it by the end of the time.  Apparently it continues to gain complexity in the second form, but uses the same pattern.

Here is a nice example of what we learned.

We are a bit more vigorous.

In other news - It's been slightly over a year since I took my Nidan exam.  I've got two years to go before my exam.  I'm really hoping that the pandemic is managed by then.  My classmate Mary-Ann is going for her Yondan which sounds stressful.  All wrapped up at the school and possibly get Covid or do it at home via video conference where things are so separate.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Karate In the Time Of Apocolypse

 I haven't written much because there hasn't been much going on.  The Pacific Northwest has been inundated with biblical plagues during the last month, so even leaving the house was becoming hazardous due to air quality.  While waiting for the air to clear we had to keep an eye on the fires that were creating them.  My wife and I packed to leave twice when evac levels started ramping up.  Absolutely stressful.  I now have a small insight into what folks in California run into year to year.

During this time I've been diligently practicing my six katas, but have a tendency to moan about progress or lack there of.  When you can't leave your house all of sudden the time that you never had you get back in spades.  So practice became a regular thing.  Too bad we could get together as a class.

Just as covid set in I began a serious regime of weight lifting.  I once aspired to be a body builder in my younger years and took up the weights again in a attempt to stave off the muscle wasting that seems to come with age.  Unfortunately, returning to the process also landed me with several injuries.  A hamstring, a shoulder and finally my neck.  When the neck thing started appearing I finally ended weights, but it took about four weeks of PT to get to the point where I can be mobile without pain.  It would appear that I have a slightly damaged C6 or C7.  When it bulges it pinches a nerve that goes down my left shoulder and arm.  The pain it created almost made me psychotic.  I now have insight into people with chronic pain conditions.  I wouldn't want to wish that on anyone.  It's horrible.

So the PT worked it's charm and I do all sorts of weird exercises to alleviate the pinch in my neck and I can do a lot again.  I haven't picked up the weights just yet due to fear, but I was able to go back to karate!  

And now that the air is clear (the air quality hit 500 at one point - toxic) karate in the park was back on, but socially distanced as before.  The concern I carry now it about warming up and minding my body carefully so I don't re-injure or slow down current healing.  

I got there a bit early and starting warming up, but I strangely never feel like I'm ready to go.  Our warms up always let me know that one part is not ready to go at all.  In this case my left ham appeared locked. I couldn't even sit with spread legs.  Super frustrating.  

We got going and I ended up working with Olivia on Shishochin.  She hasn't had time to practice so we went over a multitude of times.   Then we were corrected by Sensei on a host of little things.  After a ton of refinement we moved on to a new kata - Seiyunchin!

I got the three first moves down and we ran out of time.  Super cool though, since this means that we are on seventh of twelve kata!  

After I got home, my neck told me that it was worked so it was back to exercises to loosen it up and try to relax.  It appears to be fine this morning - whoop!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Karate In The Time Of Covid

 I gotta watch that big toe

I gotta watch my neck, don't punch to hard

Watch for overloading that left knee.

Don't kick so hard on the left or you'll hurt that bad hammie.  

Try to get time with Sensei to answer some questions about that one piece in the kata.

Keep your eyes up during the kata.

Man, my mind is busy.  The above was floating around in my skull before and during our most recent session in the park.  I'm trying to address the work at hand, but my recent spate of physical issues tends to press in inopportunely.  

I tweaked my left knee recently going up and down a ladder.  It stiffens easily.  I've had this before so just babying, regular movement should clear it up in a week.  

My bulging C6/7 is finally resolving.  Regular exercises have pulled the bulge back to the point where the nerves are barely pinching.  However, punching at full strength certainly aggravates things, but I was totally fine to go to sleep comfortably last night.  

My PT has given me new exercises to help with work on my hamstring.  Because the injury appeared to be so high up (on the hip bone) I probably wasn't doing too much with traditional stretches.  The new stuff really is nice and I see progress, but this morning sitting is tough, which means I probably overdid it last night.  

I'm up to six kata (of the twelve I need to learn for my test) and although they are short I find myself forgetting pieces and parts.  They aren't totally engrained yet.  So I imagine it's going to be a bit before I get to number seven.  

The current list:

  1. Gekki Sai Dai Ichi
  2. Gekki Sai Dai Ni
  3. San Shin
  4. Tensho
  5. Saifa
  6. Shiso Shin
Please forgive spelling errors.  


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bassai in the park

Holy Cow!  So much time has passed since I've sat down and collected my thoughts for a quick update about my martial practice.  March was my last entry!  Here we are in July and I've a bit of a restart about a month ago.

Sensei has the blackbelts meeting in a nearby park twice a week.  We all wear masks and stay six feet apart.  The heat has become unfortunate, but the shaded areas are reasonable.  I feel like there is a certain amount of irony about all the folks complaining that they can't breath with a simple surgical mask.  I think they should be doing an action packed kata with one on. 

I'm often breathing so hard that I'm pulling the mask into my mouth a good bit.  Apparently I'm back out of shape.  Doing kata for an hour has become grueling.  I'm not sure the heat or generally my household internment is the greater cause, but I can assume both have weight in the problem. 

During the covid lock down I've returned to weightlifting, but I've been accumulating injuries consistently.  Hamstring, two shoulders and a forearm have been the stuff I've been overcoming.  So the return to karate has been really nice.  I see it as a reasonable exercise, but as we gear up at the park I struggle to keep up with my various injuries peeking through. 

Since we can get near each other the only thing we are doing is working on kata.  I'm not slated to learn much more than what I know (towards my third dan) so I'm helping out Kyle work on his Nidan.  It's a treat to help, but as per usual, I'm not confident with my teaching skills.  What to focus on?  What to correct? And so on. 

Sensei took yesterday to get us all to learn Bassai Dai.  I was very pleased because this was a kata I did for my Blackbelt in Tang So Do.  However the versions are different, and I doubt I could remember it anyway.  Once we got rolling I was able to recall the moves in some spots.  Below I've got an example of the karate and the TSD so you can see the differences.

Karate with commentary! 


TSD with some notes.  Master Kil

As you can see the patterns are fairly compatible, but TSD really doesn't look at the stances too much and adds a lot of spring to the whole thing.  Sigh, the good old days.  The stances in the Japanese version are challenging to me.  

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Full Iron Circle

When I started at the Shudokan school five years ago, MaryAnn Sensei was working on her San Dan and as part of that she would teach me the katas she was working on.  Here I am five years later doing the same thing!

As part of good learning we are told to teach to really absorb what's going on in a kata.  The four kata I have are relatively simple and short in length, but teaching represents a challenge because I tend to parrot what I've been told, but I don't know a lot of the "why's" and "what fors".  

Since my usual partner, Olivia, has been out to family issues Mark has been nice enough to work out with me.  As part of that I've been teaching him the four Goju-Ryu kata I know.  So that completes the circle for to a degree.  We touched on them Monday and as of yesterday he had all four down by the end of the second class.  He still struggles with pattern, but considering it was about five hours, he did a great job for someone who lists his own memory as being really short.

I'm feeling better and better with them and I think I might jump ahead and take alook at the next one to see how complicated it is.  Whoop!

Four Places and Sixth Kata

  I'm actually on my 7th kata, but we learned one of them out of sequence.  I've just learning the 6th one, Seiyunchin now.  Here...