Application

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 to make me frustrated with martial arts in general because even though it requires skill and relies on tons of practice, you weren't trying to actually fight someone or use the skills an actual free environment.  Now that I've eaten kicks and punches over the years in free style sparring I've come to love the lack of serious impact in the Application portion of the work and I get plenty of exercise from doing the "dance moves", as my wife likes to call it.  But I have realized now the attention to detail that goes into making the application correct is reinforcing basics at a very deep level. 

I noticed this last night when Mark had to make sure about his foot placement.  If he didn't he couldn't sweep my leg.  This was fairly relevant to most moves, but the foot placement stuck in my brain.  The idea is that in a lot of step ups you want to make sure that your foot is placed outside the Uke's. You might not want to do a sweep every time, but it'll always give you the option. 

Part of whatever kata application Mark was working on last night required him sweep/strike me.  When I'm down he does a big kick in the chest to which I'm supposed to immediately roll out backward and come to my feet to attach him.  Did I mention that we work on a hardwood dance studio floor?  I ended up doing the roll back about 10 or so times.  And I'm sore as hell this morning is so many places, but not my back.  Will miracles never cease?


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