Showing posts from March, 2016


Although my diary says that I've been going for roughly two and half years, the long breaks have impacted the overall amount of instructional time.  By my count I'm at around 65 classes.  To me this means that I haven't even seen half a year of regular instruction yet. 

I'm pointing this out because when I started going to class I would go to the after hours black belt group to get extra time in.  During this time I was acting as the Uke to Mark and had to struggle through the defensive part of his application routines.

Shudokan works in a three step process.  First you learn the kata, second you learn the bunkai, and third you learn the application.  I admit to being confused by the bunkai vs application, but to the best of my comprehension I would say that bunkai is the practical application of the moves in the kata whereas the "Application" is a full on two person choreographed fake fight using all pieces of the kata. 

This is the kind of stuff that used…


I'd like to think that I let my life periodically spin out of control just to give it some spice, but that is disingenuous.  The truth is that it just gets that way because of aggressive time-lines my wife sets up for the house.

When we moved to the Rose City we purchased a 100 year old house and we've been working on it for the whole two years with only minor breaks.  During the breaks I've been able to get to Karate with some frequency, but rarely longer than three classes at a time before something turns up. 

The current work doesn't really require me to do much, but as a dutiful husband I like helping when I can.  The deal is that my wife works very hard all day and then when I get home there really isn't much that hasn't been handled.  So I can often get a pass and trot off to Karate.  Then I kind of feel bad that I've left her there not really doing much.  This means that I miss the extended classes for the Black-belts so my learning is stuck at one or…

Sanchin 3

After warmups and some review of the basics we worked on cat stance (Nekoashi-Dachi) for some time.  In this school the weight-baring leg is pointed more forward than in my old school.  The idea is that you are closing the gap.  Ideally being able to stop a kick to the groin. 

We spent a lot of time going back and forth on the floor and I realized my recent forays into leg exercises really didn't do me any favors because my knees told me approximately how far I could go and it wasn't anywhere low. 
To add insult to injury, we had a competition who did the best cat stance while doing blocks and strikes.  I lost early because I have a habit of dropping my arms between moves.  Rookie mistake.  Something to work on.
After that it was back to Sanchin.  Not that I mind working on it, but it gets a bit tiring working on the same thing ad nauseam.  This time around I found out that for whatever reason I was looking down most of the time (apparently at my hands) which was throwing every…

Sanchin Sweatin'

I got to lead warm ups again, but I get to a certain point and have no idea what to do next.  I then ask the class, "what should we do next?" which gets me lots of blank looks.

MaryAnn Sensei reminded me that it's a dictatorship and not a democracy.  Well, next time...
After warmup I was placed with MaryAnn and worked on Sanchin for the entirety of the class.  For those who might not be familiar with this breathing intensive kata, there is a lot going on in something relatively simple from a cursory look (well, aren't all kata?). 
Sanchin dachi (stance) looks like an offset pigeon-toed with the addition of tucking ones behind in as forward as possible.  This "locks" the stance into place giving the practitioner an unbelievably solid stance.  Look at this guy for instance: His Sensei checks stance from the floor up.  Up to and including a kick in the crotch.  How fun!
I was mostly concerned about getting the basics down, but because this is a very tension filled…


I made an assumption that we'd be sparring again since Sensei's tournament is this weekend and I was close to being correct. 

Sensei poked his head in and had me warm up the class.  During this time I did punches and blocks and finished up with kicks.  I chose front kicks and side kicks.  I had to explain why I referred to them to as "snap" kicks.  In our old school we used the term thrust kick and snap kick to delineate the difference between the way they are delivered.  New info for this group - whoops. 

The way I broke down the kicks really didn't win me any points either.  There just isn't any emphasis on this kind of thing for lower level belts.   I would have thought it would have been mandatory to get it ingrained, but such is life. 

So after a little work on attacks Sensei started having us focus on reading intent from fist and foot placement.  Although this wasn't necessarily new to me I'd never done it with his method.  He would have the opp…

Shūdokan 60

Wow, sixty classes! It's nice to see progress, even if it's just measured in numbers.

During warmup Reed Sensei told us he was going to a regional competition.  He didn't feel good about his kata, but he's going to be doing the kumite for senior, black belt division.  I'd love to have seen that.  For a big man he moves very smoothly and is incredibly thoughtful and deliberate with his actions. 
When he told us this I had an inkling that we'd be having a fight night and I was right!  After warm ups he took us through a sequence of punching, kicking, and distance work. 
He introduced me to concepts that I was aware of and practiced often enough, but did have a name for.  The first of the these is the blitz.  Basically, going straight at your opponent (maybe eating a punch).  The second was the Stuff(ing).  When someone blitzes you the response is a front snap kick. 
There were other bits and pieces I'd wish I'd known in competition.  Basically, the judges a…