Monday, September 11, 2006

A sparring exercise

I wrote this on Thursday, February 2, 2006 in my journal. The class was at Spokane Community College.

Karate was fun today. Before class started, Sensei invited us to come to the dojo. He said, “Please come” and put his hand on my shoulder. At the beginning of class, Sensei made me practice a kata. Therefore, I practiced Fukukata Dai San (FDS). While I practiced, Sensei had and only watched Marsha, Naomi, and Emily perform another kata. The rest of the students were still stretching.

In the first half of the class, Sensei taught us basics. We practiced Dojo Kun and “About Face!” In addition, we learned some steps that would help us when we spar. First, we went into zenkutsu dachi and slid in sanchin dachi without having our feet pass each other. For example, I start in hachiji dachi. I move my left foot in front of me in zenkutsu dachi. I move right foot into sanchin dachi so that my right toes are in line with my left heel. Then, I punched and/or blocked. I mirror myself when I started with my right leg.

Sliding into sanchin dachi was hard for some reason because I would over step my other foot or be right next to it. I had to check if my feet were pointed inside my body like a pigeon. Then, I had to keep my knees bent at all times. I had an easier time going backwards than forwards. One of the guys was having trouble blocking, so I had to stand there with my arm stretched out in a punch. That burned! While Sensei was correcting him, he caught me watching. He yelled at me to look straight and not be happy all the time.

When we added kicks, my concentration flew out the window. I need to work on my kicks because I don’t kick myself when coming back down. Sensei and Captain David yelled me to chamber on the way down. Anyways, I was slow at kicking and combining the steps. Sometimes, I kicked with the wrong foot and my stances were all wrong. A few times, I messed up my blocks or punched at the wrong time. It was terrible!! I think I’m going to take my Ritalin before karate so I can concentrate and don’t make so many mistakes.

During the second part of class, Captain David made up practice FDS. I’m used to his teaching style more than Sensei’s. Captain David corrected me when I did make some mistakes. However, he praised me for a kick. Sensei even praised me when I did the high, middle, and low blocks in a row in FDS.


Oniyagi said...

Lizzie, you have a great blog going here. It is awesome to hear a student's thoughts (me being one myself)and I think that it is important to blog the martial arts. To me it fans the spark in the hearts of those that may be scared to begin training and of those that are possibly getting a bit disheartened with their training. Keep up the good work!

dave chapman said...

Hi Lizzie,
Great post on training! I used to have a lot of trouble with certain kicks, you really have to find and post your center on them.
As far as that goes, you need to center your breathing deep in your belly and keep it there. When doing the kick, don't worry about the kick, worry about keeping your breathing centered.

This also makes Kata a lot stronger, it seems so simple, but takes quite a bit of practice because the mind is always wandering and the wandering mind needs to be tamed to do this effectively.

I need work on my mawashi geri, changing from flat footed mawashi geri to chamber in preparation for Mai geri.
I practice Mai Geri quite a bit, I have no problems there, but do not practice Mawashi Geri or Yoko Geri very often because I focus mainly on application of Koryu Kata and these two kicks are not included.

When I breath it is no problem, but sometimes that is very hard when I am trying to correct myself and listen to other corrections at the same time.

lizzie said...

David, I'm a singer and I know how to breathe with my diaphragm. However, I haven't paid attention to my breathing when kicking and performing kata. What if I don't need to focus on it because it comes natural to me?

When we do our sanchin breathing, I've noticed some of the Sempai breathe with their chest and that makes their shoulders move up and down. I know that Sensei doesn't like that. When I do it, I don't have to worry about that because I never breathe with my chest. If I do breathe with my chest, I don't acquire as much air as breathing with my diaphragm.

Dave Chapman said...

Sanchin is one of my favorite Kata. I spent about eight months on a mountain during the winter of my nineteenth year doing Sanchin on a mountain-top every morning.

It is very easy for people to forget to breath with their diaphragm (Hara), but there is also a lot more to it.
Kata Sanchin comes from Fukien White Crane Kung Fu (Bai He Quan Fa), thus it impliments White Crane Breathing/Qi Work (Qi Gong in Chinese/Kiko in Japanese).

When you breath in, breath deep in your diaphragm, rotate your hip back, when you breath out, breath strong, rotate your hip forward at the same time so that there is no arch in the spine.
This is called 'Crane Breathing,' you can explore this further by looking at five animal frolics Qi Gong, or studying up on proper Sanchin breathing and posture on the net.
There are also certain visualizations that go along with this, but for now it is best to focus on the breathing and physical posture.

supergroup7 said...

I think that finding balance on kicks is one of the greatest challenges of the arts. You need to get that heavy leg up, and out.. apply force, and compensate, and then bring everything back to center. Quite a challenge!

Keep up the good work, Lizzie.

lizzie said...

I'm bad at kicking. I'm the worse out of the whole dojo because of my balance. Most people don't have a problem staying balanced on one foot. With karate, we add one or multiple kicks. I can only hold my balance for a few seconds when balancing on one foot. Therefore, I'm terrible when Sensei wants us to hold our kick in chamber, kick, hold again, and come back down. I’m horrible when I have to kick a person multiple times without touching down. I’ve noticed that my lower body is more uncoordinated than my upper body.

supergroup7 said...

Try standing on one leg during different times of the day, like when you are brushing your teeth, or when you are waiting for the bus. All you need for good balance is to give experience to those little muscles in your feet that adjust for weight changes. They are like little rocket thrusters on the sides of a missile. When they are inexperienced they will thrust too much and will unbalance you. All you need is practice, time, and effort.