Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: Touching the ground.

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.


  1. Hi Karen, we've had a huge surge on returning to basics in the last few months as we've built up to shodan testing and it's made an enormous difference to our standard of performance in all aspects of karate - the basics really do feed into everything.

    My advice would be to just take your shodan preparations at a steady pace - give yourself enough time to build up and peak at the right time but not to early. You need time to slack off a bit in the week or two before the grading to give all those niggles and injuries that occur time to heal. When are you grading?

  2. Hi Sue - thanks for your comments.

    In every class since I was told to 'touch the ground', I've been instructed to practice my Heian Katas which are the first five kata, and my Sensei then tweaks nearly every movement and stance. I feel like my training has really been kicked up a notch, and I'm really loving it.

    Just tonight I was told February - but no firm date has been set. So I do have ample time to prepare but also know how time flies!
    In our Dojo, we grade on our own for Shodan, so I will be the only one in full training mode and the only one on the floor grading that night. Just a little bit of pressure...

    Thanks for the advice about taking it at a steady pace - I'm starting early by keeping all of the lower level kata flowing, with the help of my Sensei - mix in the basics and high level kata and I think I can pace myself nicely.