Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My first journal entry about karate

I don’t know what to write about. I have so many things to write about that it’s so hard to select one. I can only pick one because of the amount of time I have. For example, I can write about what happened at work today that involves the internet and the office key. Some other things I can write about is my job interview for Wal-Mart, cleaning Sensei’s garden for Youth Gasshuku, sparring, my first journal entry about karate, and some more of Gasshuku. These are many subjects to pick and it’s hard to choose. Some of the subjects I can write for hours upon end. Does anyone have this problem?

I’m going to copy my first journal entry about karate with me proof reading and commenting. This journal entry was made January 26, 2006. That means I have been training for almost a month.

“Hi. I found a new thing to obsess about. Guess what it is? It Karate and I love it! I love it so much that I wish I could go to class everyday. However, it’s only on Mondays and Wednesdays. Why do I love it so much? That’s a good question. I think it’s because I get to learn how to block, punch, kick, and trip.” The trip is actually a sweep kick. I didn’t know the name of it at that time. “It’s not like anything I’ve done before. It reminds me of dancing and doing line drills for disk and shot put.”

“I think I love it because I can perform as well as anybody else. In every other sport, I compared myself to everybody else.” When I did that, I would get frustrated and get down on myself because I wasn’t performing as well as everyone else. “In basketball, I couldn’t dribble the ball without looking, dribble with my right hand, jump, rebound, and shoot. I was afraid of the ball in basketball and in softball. I couldn’t catch or throw a ball very well. The only thing that I was good in basketball was blocking and guarding my opponent from the basket.” In other words, I didn’t excel in sports.

“In karate, I’m still lagging in some things. I can’t say the Dojo Kun when we run around the gym because I breathe too hard.” I still have trouble with that. Now, Sensei expects me to say it when we run. He can tell that I’m not saying it because he can’t hear my voice. That’s the trouble of having a really loud voice. I’m loud every time when ever I have to respond to him.

“I can’t stay balanced when kicking slowly or holding a kick in chamber.” I don’t do the jackknife very well either. The jackknife is where I have to sit on my butt, lift my legs in the air while keeping them straight, and punch. I’m not good at it because of my balance and my weak abs. “Finally, I can’t do push-ups. I can do girly push-ups, but those are hard.” Girly push-ups is where I do push-ups on my knees instead of my feet. “I have to do regular, knuckle (they hurt when doing them on the gym floor), diamond, and wide push-ups. I haven’t tried doing girly push-ups in class yet. I’ve only practiced them at home.” It's a good thing that I didn’t because I know that Sensei or Captain David would have yelled at me.

“In karate, I’m good at kata and back kicks. A kata is a series of movements done in order. It looks like a type of dance. However, it’s used for multiple attackers. So far, I learned what a long stance (zenkutsu dachi) is and a short stance (sanchin dachi) is. I’ve learned how to do a high (jodan), middle (chudan), and a low (gedan) block. I’ve learned how to block my knees in the long stance. I’ve learned how to do normal (mae geri), crescent (mikazuki geri), sweep (ashi barai), and back kicks (mawashi geri). I’ve only practiced crescent, sweep, and back kicks in one class, so I haven’t practiced them yet.” That was when Sensei wasn’t there. Captain David made the class run towards freestanding punching bags, kick them, and run back our lines. I want to work with the punching bag more because I need to work on sparring combos and control, I can use more power, and it’s fun.

“I’ve learned three kata and memorized two. These kata have the same basic moves but each one builds off another. For example, our basic kata, Fukukata Dai Ichi (FDI), is a series of blocks, punches, and stances. Fukukata Dai Ni (FDN) is the same thing; however, I add a kick whenever I punch. Fukukata Dai San (FDS) is harder. There are a lot more punches and four more different types blocks including the knee-to-knee block.” The knee-to-knee block is when we switch between zenkutsu dachi and kokutsu dachi. “The kicks remain the same.”

“Whenever I get ready to perform a kata, I have to stand straight as a board, have my hands flat against my legs, and feet together in musubi dachi. Then, I say the name of the kata and bow. Then, I put my left hand over my right so they look like an X. Finally, I breathe and perform the kata. When I say I breathe, I mean I make a certain breathing sound when I exhale.” Actually, I have to make noise with our noses and keep my mouth shut when inhaling. Then, I tighten my throat to make more noise when I exhale. “During the kata, I yell EH (kiai) when I arrive to a certain punch. I do that twice during the fukukata. I end up in the same place I started when I finished performing. I’ve seen different kata, Gekisai Dai Ichi (GDI) and Gekisai Dai Ni (GDN), preformed by the advanced students. The kata are weird because they use moves I never seen before and they do lots of breathing. I also have seen them spar; however, we (the beginners) haven’t learned how to do that.”

“Now, I’m going to talk about my Sensei. My Sensei is Teruo Chinen. You are probably saying, ‘So what?’ When I was researching karate on the internet, I came across his name. I learned that he is one of the best Goju-Ryu masters in the US and in the world. He trained under one of the founders and moved to the US to teach. Therefore, he goes to seminars all over the US and the world. He has his own DVD collection. He’s Japanese, an eight dan, and 64 years old.” Now, he’s 65 years old. “I think he’s cool because he’s authentic and has an accent. Right now, he’s been missing from class. I really hope he’s there on Monday. I’m going to ask an advanced student if he’s always gone for a long period of time. I want him to be in class because I want him to teach me and I want to get to know him better. He’s only taught me twice so far.”

“Captain or Sempai David has naturally taught me the most. Sempai means senior student. He’s a third dan black belt. I like him but he’s not cool like Sensei. He teaches us when Sensei isn’t there. When Sensei is there, he will teach either the beginners or the advanced students. I hope that we can enroll in karate as many times as we want because I would love to continue with it. When we practice, we have the traditional karate gi (uniform) on. Sensei wrote each of our names on our gi in kanji."

"I’ll end with Dojo Kun.
Dojo Kun.
Hitotsu, be humble and polite.
Hitotsu, train considering your physical strength.
Hitotsu, practice earnestly with creativity.
Hitotsu, be calm and swift.
Hitotsu, take care of your health.
Hitotsu, live a plain life.
Hitotsu, do not be too proud or modest.
Hitotsu, continue your training with patience.”
We say that at least once in class. Lately, we've been saying a new Dojo Kun that talks about hitotsu. To me, it's funny and sounds absurd because the author put meaningless words together.

No comments: