Friday, July 21, 2006

Gasshuku Part 2

Hi. I have a hard time not smiling because it’s very natural to me. When I was working with Sempai John, Sensei made all of us do knuckle push-ups. I hate knuckle push-ups because they are so painful. When doing push-ups I cannot put my stomach on the floor because that is cheating. My arms are not that strong so it’s hard for me to do a push-up. It’s even harder to hold myself up in the air in push-up position because my abs are weak. I try my best to hold myself up. When I was trying to do the push-ups, Sempai John said to hide my thumbs. Then, Sensei came over and said I had to do them on my first two knuckles instead of five. I think I should have known better because I was a 7th kyu.

In one part of the exercise, I had to have my hand near my chest to protect it. Sometimes, I didn’t do that. So, Sempai John said to protect my heart and started punching my hand hard. I know that one of his punches brushed against my breast. When he punched, he came in hard, fast, and right at me. Sometimes, I was afraid he would really punch my head if I wasn’t fast enough. He punched me so hard that he bruised my forearms. When retreating and blocking, I had to get off from the “train tracks” and be at an angle from him. He said that I didn’t have a very good sense of direction because I was going on the train tracks. He said that I needed to be smoother after awhile. When we took a water break, I was really tried. When I normally work with someone, I’m not that tried. He when he was pushing me, I was wondering if he was going to kill me because he pushes and punches so hard.

One day later, a group of us went to The Onion downtown to eat dinnter. Sempai John sat across from me and right next to Ellena (el-lay-nah). Ellena is Russian who can speak a little English. I was looking at her passport with Sempai Foster who sat right next to me and discovered that she is only a month older than I am. I thought she was a least a year older because she said she was 20. She looked older too, so I was shocked.

During dinner, I asked Sempai Foster how old was he and Sempai John. He said that they were both 25 years old. Then, he gave me a hard time because he assumed that I had a crush on Sempai John and threatened to tell him. Of course, that wasn’t true at all.

I was with one of the last groups that left the restaurant. When everyone separated and went to their cars, I found myself walking alone with Sempai John. In the dojo, it’s customary for the men to escort the women to their cars because the men can make sure that we are safe. When walking me towards the car, he talked to me. After I arrived to my car, I drove home.

Sempai Diana is a green belt and has been at the dojo for almost a year. This was her first Gasshuku. For some reason, she took it upon herself to help and take care of me. I didn’t mind that on the second day because she invited me to come with her everywhere she went. It was nice to feel wanted. The third day we went on Silver Mountain to ride the Gondola and chair lifts to the top of the mountain.

On Tuesday I asked Sempai Linda if it was all right if my mom watched us during Gasshuku. She said that I had to ask Sempai Scott because Sensei is picky about this sort of thing. My mom really wanted to meet Sensei and my Sempai. However, I decided not to ask Sempai Scott because my mom would have probably distracted me from my training. Then on Wednesday night, Sensei invited my mom to the Banquet on Saturday night. I was surprised and decided that couldn’t be coincidence because Sensei has never mentioned about my mom before.

1 comment:

lizzie said...

Supergroup said this,

"Lizzie, I'm going to ask you to think logically about what I'm going to say.

You have been at this dojo for only 3 1/2 months now, right? I'm going to assume that this is how long you have been training in karate because I remember you coming to Karatekorner forum only a few months ago saying that you were testing for your first stripe.

In only 4 months you have jumped from 10th kyu to 7th kyu, right? That's almost a kyu level a month, and you are being expected to do things such as when retreating and blocking, you have to get off from the “train tracks” and be at an angle from your attacker.

Lizzie, I'm going to be honest with you, the average person will take about 6 months to get a blocking action timed correctly, and done with enough strength. Then it will take another 6 months to get the student to be able to do this AND include proper footwork, and distance. Most people need at least a year to get to where you are right now in level of training. Obviously you are learning well since your Sensei has given you such a rank.

In addition to the mental control that is being expected of you... yes.. yes.. it is good to learn to control your emotions when you are doing martial arts, but this comes with time, and experience. According to the founders of karate, it takes a full 3 years of constant training to develop a proper fist, and a good strong stance. HONEST! Imagine working on everything else at the same time. Phenomenal!

In my opinion, you are asking alot out of yourself.. you might even be asking TOO much. There is nothing wrong with being human. Martial artists are not above their humanity. They learn through humility that they need to be human, accept their strengths, and weaknesses, and go beyond what they think is possible through their spirit. You have shown this kind of heart within you. You love Martial arts. You are walking a harsh, and rocky path, but you still love the arts.

Is your karate a FULL Contact style? Because if it is semi contact, or non contact, then you should talk to your Sensei about the hard level of striking that your sempai are doing when they are training you.

I train in a FULL contact karate style and as a Sempai, I am expected to give the lower kyu belt "just enough" of a strike to help them condition, but not too hard to cause damage. The lower kyu informs me as to how hard they are willing to accept by their body reactions. When I see them wincing, or looking pained, then I lower the intensity to a more comfortable level. It takes time for a body to learn how to take a strike, and to develop the muscles."