Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tekki Knee-dan

In yesterday's class I spent a solid hour working on Tekki Nidan. Aside from simply learning the pattern, I've made a commitment to myself to always perform the kata in a proper kiba-dachi – which is easier said than done, considering it is the only stance in the kata and it appears eight times throughout.

Each time I land the stance I do a four-point mental check:
  1. Feet facing forward
  2. Back straight
  3. Hips forward
  4. Knees out
If my knees fall in, it is a sure sign my posture is poor and my hips aren't in the correct position. When in a proper, deep stance you can bet I feel it – my quads burn a little, my ankles feel the pressure, and my knees will ache the next morning (if I've done the kata for an hour, so I learned today). If I feel nothing, I've cheated myself with lazy stances.

For now, as I'm still learning the kata, it can be a bit distracting to do this check every time; sometimes after correcting my stance I've forgotten where I am in the kata and have to retrace my steps. This being said, practicing in full stance will pay off in the end because I want my body to learn it as well as my mind. And when my body knows it, my mind won't have to.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And so my journey continues.

Class last night really felt like the first night of my Shodan training as I practiced the three new Kata I must know for my grading: Empi, Tekki Nidan and Hangetsu.

Tekki Nidan is new to me. I’ve seen others do it in class, and even tried to fumble my way through without success, so I’ve been looking forward to learning this one. My brain was working overtime to get the pattern down, making sure my hands and feet were positioned correctly – this is one where I should be practicing a nice deep stance, knees out, and good posture from the outset. Note to self: No lazy stances in this Kata!

As the time ticked by, I noticed that I was consciously avoiding Hangetsu (to fully understand, read my previous post regarding My Nemesis). I know I should be practicing it, but chose Empi and Tekki Nidan instead... I need to learn those as well, so I wasn’t really doing anything wrong, but my internal judge was making me feel guilty. So, alas with 15 minutes left, I tried to remember the pattern of Hangetsu and slowly went over it a few times.

Something I’ve thought about often is that I should actually be enjoying the frustrations of learning new things, rather than letting it get to me. Once I allow myself to become frustrated, it's an uphill battle and that energy is best spent elsewhere. I love Karate and so too should I love the process of learning, no matter how many times I stumble, mess up and draw complete blanks.

So as of today:
Empi – I know the pattern well, it still however needs the details and a little less thinking.
Tekki Nidan – The pattern is getting there, it needs rhythm and a lot less thinking.
Hangetsu – Still mental gaps in the pattern and the last sequence of moves for some reason won’t stick. Once I get that down, I need to start practicing it with the proper stance (ugh) and breathing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Goals

Well, it's 2011 and I'm going to try something new – set myself a few goals regarding my training this year, so here goes:
  1. First and foremost this will be my Shodan year. It's a lofty goal, so I best train with that in mind each and every class.
  2. Give 100% every class.  I admit sometimes I slack off a bit: lazy with my back stance because my muscles are tired and object, I don't execute punches and blocks in basics to the best of my ability because it can be exhausting – you know the general excuses.
  3. Stance. I will finally nail my open front stance once and for all. It's time to stop over-thinking it, and get it into my muscle memory. If I have to dedicate entire classes to doing just that, I will.
  4. Yoga. I've never really had any interest in yoga, it's far too gentle – I much prefer to punch and kick things. However, I've recently been told it would do wonders for my flexibility and reduce the possibility of pulled and strained muscles – ultimately helping me....
  5. Have an injury free year. If I stick to number three on my list, this may be attainable. So once my two injuries from 2010 are healed (right wrist and arm), this new goal will kick in.
It will be interesting to look back on this list one year from now and see how many I've managed to attain. Hopefully all of them, so having this in writing will be a good frame of reference for me and keep my goals top of mind.

One year – starting now.