Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Challenge: 29.50-30.50

I'm still using power that my body can't handle.  I'm sweating like a pig on the bus, 30 minutes and a cold shower after stopping.  I have to breath and increase the power gradually.  I also have to cut the jog or cardio to 15-20 minutes.  I think I'll alternate sprints, with interval runs.  Skipping and cycling in the afternoon.

Lots of plyometrics and squats and lunges built into the kata.  I have to work my sidekicks more.  Just because I wouldn't kick high doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to.  Karate is life-protection as well as human potential.  Concentrate on the supination and pronation action.

Something I thought of on the bus:  Karate is problem solving; Karate-do is problem preventing.

Was reading some of Choki Motobu's thinking.  It was frightening how much of his quotes are in the Afterthoughts volume in some form or another.  Esp. the part about stopping combinations of attacks - the same line from Ushiro-Sensei.  No doubt Motobu was a harsh bastard - he probably had no respect for people who talked more than practiced.  He seemed to be what a master karateka would be like without karate-do.  And in some way, that is part of why no one knows about him despite his obvious skill.  Such a shame.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Challenge: 29.00-29.50

Morning karate. Need to work in Gan more. Look without looking. Did some makiwara work. Not enough, but some. Also practised some musubi transitions. Ura-mawashi needs a lot of work.

Tenshin teaches kosa-dachi. Stepping back to kosa, you can kick with the retreating leg, step in again to throw or pivot and pull.  Tenshin reminds you that the pull on one side is a push on the other. You can pivot and enter strongly with a shiko punch or an oi-punch.  It depends on the opponent. If they enter deeply you should pivot and pull. But if not, you should employ the kick, step in, or pivot to enter.l

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Challenge: 28.00-29.00

Ugh...I look at the time in that title and I know it should be around 50 hours by now, but I just can't bring myself to estimate.  If I wanted to take credit for all the time I do, I should write it down!

Working last night on some kicks.  Inspired by Edson Barboza's KO on Etim, I had a light bulb moment.  He delivered it by posting the rear leg and swinging the leg around.  I don't know why Etim couldn't react - Barboza did catch him coming forward slightly but Etim brought his hands slightly low expecting something to the body.  Big mistake.

Mawari-ura-mawashi should have that factor of uncertainty in it though.  You should be able to deliver it as a low sweep, a high kick or transition it to a thrust mawari ushiro to the body without any sign of which level it is going to.  Rather than posting out the leg though, which I think really signals something is up, it can be delivered with a feeling of sabaki 2, stepping in and pivoting, coming to a musubi dachi position.

The benefits of musubi as a launching pad and transition are threefold.  First, rather than signalling the turn by posting the back leg in kumite kamae, the step-up to musubi suggests forward motion.  This should cause the opponent's mind and guard to stay forward rather than expecting an attack from the side.

Second, indeed the step to musubi can launch a forward attack high or middle with the front leg or middle and low with the back leg in a savate oblique kick style.  Depending on whether you think the turn will be successful you can still attack head on.

Finally the step to musubi allows you to feint the spin and come back with the front leg.  This isn't possible with the spread leg delivery as you haven't covered enough distance to hit the opponent.  You would be reaching to strike with the front leg without the inward motion of the back leg.  In contrast, by coming to musubi, you close distance allowing you to pivot at the waist.  If the opponent braces for the leg coming from the outside you can shift weight to the back leg and drive the front leg in a yoko or ushiro manner.

The key to using musubi is simply making the stance look the same regardless of any and all the techniques that you might deliver.  The secret to using musubi however, is metsuke.  If you can keep an eye on your opponent long enough (even while spinning) to determine whether his hands go up or down, whether he turns or faces forward, you can transition seamlessly from the frontal approach to the pivot and back again.  If he steps back, you can lunge off the spot with a punch, driving with the back leg.  If he closes, the sabaki of the motion should give you a shot at stepping offline.

I have to practice it more, both stepping up and stepping back.  Obviously the flip side of stepping up in Sabaki 2 is stepping back in sabaki 6, which is a great variation on the mawari ushiro geri in case the opponent does close.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Challenge: 27.00-28.00

5:45 - 6:45.  I didn't make my bed :-(

Started with some kata and moved onto sabaki.  Worked mostly on Sabaki 2, the lateral step and pivot to musubi dachi.  Epiphany after epiphany, Zaha Sensei says...

I had been limiting the blocks that I do out of each sabaki.  There are no limits, only circumstances - I see that now.

<light bulb1> Uchi uke can be done with the inside hand in Okutsu.  You wouldn't move to the outside of the attacking hand but you would strike from the inside position and cover yourself from the second attack.  

<light bulb2> Jodan uke from Okutsu is basically Hen-Shu-Ho 8, which is the same motion and feel as Okutsu-Soto-Zuki.

Back to Sabaki 2.  In the high line (Jodan), you have 1) teisho-tsukami with the near hand (uchi-uke) and haishu-tsukami with the rear hand (soto-uke) while Juji-uke with both hands can transition to either of them.  The responses are obvious going forward or backwards from musubi, though they vary slightly whether you've taken inside or outside position.  

<light bulb3> But it is important to note that from either position a Soto-uke with the front hand or an uchi-uke with the rear hand would both cause you to push the attacking hand in the same direction your head is moving - I find this problematic. It definitely feels strange from the outside position. 

<light bulb4> However moving inside of Tori's feet with a near hand Soto-uke crosses the attacking hand which can be transitioned to nage.  I have to work with it more.

In the middle line (Chudan) you have a bunch of options depending on Tori's target.  With the near hand, Teisho-Osae and Uchi-Uke both attack the elbow and Tsukami attacks the wrist.  The rear hand can also take Tsukami form to support Uchi-uke and make a joint lock (kagi-zuki) but, alone...

<light bulb5> the rear hand takes on a Soto-uke motion like Haishu-tsukami in the high line.  Normally you would block with the near (uchi) hand and grasp with the far (soto) hand. 

<light bulb 6> However if you reverse this application, grasping first with haishu-tsukami, the uchi uke become a dangerous tate-empi to the elbow.   

<light bulb 7> The rear hand soto-uke on the inside should happen in time with a front arm elbow, pulling Tori into you.  With Uchi-uke, scooping down into the elbow hollow as you pull and twist is the typical way of downing Tori. 

<light bulb 9> However if you pull straight backwards it should cause Tori to take an additional step which can be used to apply a hip throw  (I think...)

Directing the strike low (Gedan) hadn't occured to me at all.  

<light bulb 7>However a near hand gedan barai, by moving the strike outside is the first part of the tora-kuchi-kamae aka the 'can-opener'.  

<light bulb 8> The rear hand gedan barai combined with a forward step and shiko zuki forms a naifaichin-nage that looks suspiciously like sayu-zuki!  

<light bulb 9> The rear hand gedan-sukui can fold the attacking arm like NiSeiShi bunkai 5 (which is basically tora-kuchi kamae).  

<light bulb 10> In the inside position, gedan-sukui from the near hand steps forward to nage.  

<light bulb 11> And from the rear hand like soto-uke, gedan-barai should happen in time with a front arm elbow, pulling Tori into you.

Lots to practice and think about.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Challenge: 25.50-27.00

I've been working on my lateral sabaki and I've distilled them for various reasons to 6.  I try to work on them every day - try to internalize the shift & pivot, visualize the attacker in space, synchronize with him and control the attacking limb.

Today a revelation for Okutsu dachi.  Nage no kata 15 is a pivot (sabaki 6) and a windmill motion - almost a sun-salutation - of the arms up, turning to a throw.  Hen-shu-ho 2 also has this synergy - the second hand is blocked (gedan-tsukami) and the arm is driven up into the attacker's ear to the throw.  Stepping out to Okutsu, if the two hands come up at the same time, the closer arm will act as an Age-uke.  Upon pivoting back towards Tori the inside arm would fold to control the elbow while the outside arm can rotate into a Shuto strike to the neck or temple.  This block-strike pivot will look like the kamae from Chinto (which is also a transition from Juji-uke - more later).

That makes a total of 10 natural receptions (so far) from Sabaki 4.  Okutsu-Shuto.  Okutsu-Zuki.  Okutsu-Mawashi.  Okutsu-Gedan-Osae.  Okutsu-Gedan-Sukui-Oi-Nage.  Okutsu-Soto-Zuki.  Okutsu-Uchi-Shuto.  Ura-Okutsu-HaitoSukui-Musubi-Nage.  Okutsu-Age-KyuseiKamae-Shuto.  Okutsu-JodanAge-Zuki.