Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: June 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Touching the ground.

When I was moving up through the lower ranks, I admit, belts were a serious motivation. I didn't want to stay yellow, orange...even purple wasn't good enough. When I finally hit blue I felt like I was getting somewhere – looking back, I think that is when I really began to take it in. Now as a 1st Kyu, belt and rank don't mean as much to me. I am focused on learning, challenging myself and enjoying the details, I'm at a point where I feel like I'm accomplishing something in every class. Frustration has given way to enjoyment – and for me, personal satisfaction means more than the colour of the belt around my waist.

Having said that, I know I can't sit on this 1st Kyu fence forever, naturally Shodan is the next step. With that in mind I have been focusing on what lies ahead – Empi, Tekki Nidan...I've even been thinking it's time to fully learn Hangetsu. In fact, I've been spending so much time looking ahead, that I have been failing at my resolution to look back – and by this I mean practicing the fundamentals that got me to this level – I need to  remember to 'touch the ground' more often. Go back to the root of all Kata and work up from there, practice Heian Shodan with all the determination I grant Empi. Yondan, Godan, Tekki Shodan...don't leave them behind because I passed that level so long ago. I still need them.

As my Sensei told me last night: "When you get close to the top, don't forget to go back and touch the ground once in awhile".

So as of today:
Empi: Feeling really good.
Tekki Nidan: I need to think less about my stances, just let them happen. Time to focus on the top half. 
Hangetsu: need to get on that one.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


After class last night, I felt like I was well on my way to polishing up a couple of Kata, and it really helped to think back to some words of wisdom I’d been given in the past, but for some reason never recorded here in my blog.
To do Kata well, you must have two things: mental intent and physical intent.

Here is my interpretation of those words:
  • Mental Intent. Focus on the Kata every step of the way – let your mind and body connect and be in the moment.
    A benefit of training this way is that I find my balance improves dramatically. Balance is sometimes a problem for me, especially when turning quickly to move in another direction – I tend to over-rotate. Staying in the moment, not three steps ahead, keeps me in check.
  • Physical Intent. Visualize why you are doing the Kata as you are doing it, there is someone attacking you. If you simply go through the motions as a means to an end, your Kata will suffer.
Mental and physical intent carried out through the entire Kata will always elevate your form, and set you apart from others. To put it simply: it looks way better.
If you’ve got these two things mastered, then the hardest part of Kata is behind you – seriously. I’m nowhere near mastering these, but knowing is half the battle – practicing is the other half.