Friday, August 24, 2012

The Challenge: 34.00-35.50

Motobu sensei says that kicks aren't that useful in a real encounter.  But mine are really bad.  My hamstrings are very weak.  Shiko will help.  Test of 2:10 and 47 pushups, both fail.  Stay in hikite-kamae, make it harder not easier.

I noticed that when Ushiro-sensei throws a kick, it never lands forward.  His hikiashi always brings it back.  Your hamstring contracts more powerfully than your quad, accelerating the leg to the initial position.  Even when your hips square.  Another things is that his supporting leg stay relatively static, it doesn't betray the motion.  You have to have very flexible knees to keep you foot from rotating - I wonder if Sanchin does that too...?

Stay low in your stance and remember that metsuke is not just the direction, but the sensitivity.  Wholesight...we have to practice more.

I figure I should get to 10:00 in Shiko before moving on.  If I can get to 75 pushups, I'll move onto Rings and  Splits training.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Challenge: 32.50-34.00

Afternoon karate.  Warm-up.  Kata work between Shiko and Pushup work to failure.  46 (fail) Pushups followed by 30 and 26.  90 seconds Shiko, followed by 110 and 130 (fail).

It is important to think of the first part of the exercise as pleasant.  They are the ones that, as Ali said, you shouldn't even count.  Doing them doesn't make you any stronger.  But you have to do them, so you should enjoy them.  Enjoy the easy ones and harden your fudoshin for the ones that matter.  The ones that make demands of you.

My kicks are very bad and my hamstrings are underdeveloped.  Shiko will help.  My kicks don't come back faster than they go out - which is imperative.  Like hikite, a focus on hikiashi causes your mind to move ahead - leaving this moment behind and preparing for the next.

I will emphasize Sochin this month and Tenshin next.  Important not to rest in the stances.  Make them deep and stress your legs.  Stress is the point - dealing with it.  Feel the burden and center your mind at the Stillpoint.

I'm proud to say: I failed today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I'm proud to say...I failed today!

"The reality is that success, while useful in the present to determine where you are, can never be as helpful to driving future growth as failure.  All the satisfaction that comes from success is always temporary.  Whereas all the growth that comes from failure is enduring.  Take two people.  One is strong and the other is weak.  You ask them both to do five pullups.  The strong one does five pullups.  He is a success and he feels like a success.  He smiles. 
The other makes his attempt and try as he might, manages to do three pullups.  He is sweating and red-faced.  He is panting and doubled-over.  His muscles ache and he didn’t accomplish the task.  He is a failure and he feels like a failure.  He frowns, and the feeling of failure weighs on him. But one of these two people will wake up stronger tomorrow and the other will not. 
If someone gives you a test, and you pass the test, did it really test you?  A true test should reveal your limits, not reinforce your ego.  What, then, is more fulfilling, the temporary satisfaction of success or the enduring reward of failure...?"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Challenge: 31.50-32.50

Morning karate.  Practicing weighting legs in kosa dachi and neko-ashi dachi.  It's important to have full mobility in the unweighted leg and use toboku-ho when redistributing your weight.  It also happens to be a great leg workout.  You get a clear sense of how absorbing weight by your main leg can propel you like a spring i.e. kusshin (屈伸).

Kata can be both exercise and insight.  The key is to do it enough so that you move from exertion to meditation.  It is a mistake to look for only the meditative side when you can't stand properly, when your muscles are ill-conditioned, when your breath fails you.  The meditative has to grow as your physical and technical capacity grows.  As Ushiro said, you must fill the buckets together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Challenge: 30.50-31.50

Start of practice for handstands.  Alternate handstand with cartwheel. Simply do 1 after any kata; hold handstand for a count of five and release.

Zenshin kotai.  Sabaki work.  Sabaki 5 to the head doesn't work in irikumi with the opposite hand - it has to be a same hand soto motion.  But what is the attack and how does it control the opposite arm?  (nb. te barai consider arm lock with same side hand attacking elbow)

Finished off with side leg lifts.  Practice how you practice.  What is important to work on: everyday? every other day? Twice a week?  Once a week?  Master the art of practicing...keep it distinct from studying.  Differentiate between work and play.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Challenge: 30.50-31.50

Afternoon karate.  Seisan is coming along.  The priorities are kokyu, hikite, metsuke and toboku.  Breathing is still uneven.  The hips and pulling action are out of sync.  The eyes sometimes lag and there's still way too much tension - I start to sweat to easily.  I'm still fighting myself.

Working on Sabaki 6 and 3.  For 6, I was playing with the idea of a second attacker to the rear.  Just out of nowhere, I pivoted and turned attacking the first attacker with a rear kick at the same time punching the second one with a superman punch.  It felt so natural.  The other expression was from shi-ho-hai.  The final two turns involve metsuke, soto uke and tsuki.  If your turn and block is followed by an oi-shiko-tsuki you complete a revolution into a mawari-ushiro geri.  It happens so fast that you feel like a hurricane - a hurricane looking for a Stillpoint.  The shiko-tsuki should be chokusen to control your rotation and make the shift to the kick easier.  Have to play with alternating between spin-lunge-rearkick and lunge-spin-frontkick.  Keep the attacker off balance.

For 3, have to add a variation that I'd forgotten.  From Shuto uke, a transition to osae-uke pushes the weapon downward and backward (especially if the attacker is closing).  You can attack the head directly with empi or uraken - or stepping the back kosa leg forward to the outside you can continue pushing the weapon back until pivoting 180 into a mawari elbow to the face.  It is basically a combination of sabaki 3 with sabaki 8 - the forward cross step.  I suppose if you hold the weapon hand you could just pull the attacker down as in Te-hodoki 7.  It was fun talking to the class.