Base, retreat and attack – 7/10/08 – Thursday Karate class.

I am sure that all of you have heard me say this many times but each class I attend is getting better and better. I am not sure what has changed but something is different now.

Base, retreat and attack…

After our warm up, Sensei Cieplik began to explain a concept that our chiropractor Tom Pusateri shared with him. The idea is, in order for the body to work properly, we need to follow the way that it was intended to be used.

We start with a ready stance or base. In this position, our eyes gaze at everything around us and focus on nothing. In our dojo, we gazed at the entire wall.

Next comes retreat. With this, our body moves from the base stance into at short back stance. I would assume that a cat stance would work the same way but I need to ask Sensei about that. The idea is that we move away or retreat from our opponent. With our eyes, we close in on something smaller like a person. It is still not a detailed focus but it is much smaller than the gaze in the base stance.

From the retreat position, we move into the attack position. For this example we used a front stance and the attack was a front punch. Now the focus has to become much more narrow. It can be the size of a quarter or an opponents nose.

Now we combine then all. You start in the base stance, gazing but not focusing. Next, you move into a back stance, then spring or recoil forward into a front stance with a front punch. This movement felt so powerful, more powerful than I can describe. My gi actually made a pop when I punched with my left first. The movement felt very natural and my body almost flowed from each position to the next.

I need to do a little more research and hope to post an article to www.shotokanmaster.com in the near future.

Balance in needed…

Sensei Cieplik made a point that he has said before but in a different way today. He said that balance is needed in Karate. When you are in class, you want to be in class and not elsewhere. If you come to class, you think about class, not about what you are going to do after or did before class. When you are done with class, you think about not being in class. See the balance?

This also applies to more than Karate class but that is another story.

Do kata and apply base, retreat and attack…

Sensei made a comment that before “tournament” Karate, the 21 moves in Heian Shodan would take 42 seconds. After each move, the person doing the kata would pause for a two count and then move on to the next movement. That pause would allow for zanshin before doing the next movement.

The Heian Shodan that I did was different than any one I have done before. When I say, different, I mean it different in a good way. Adding the two second pause gave a base to start from instead of just trying to go through the movements as fast as possible like I have been doing for so long now. Concentrating on the two second pause, counting 1-1000, 2-1000 between each move, took my mind off the movement and allow them to flow naturally instead of forced, like I have been them for so long.

Give it a try and let me know what your thoughts are.

Kata in the moment…

Sensei made a comment about doing kata in the moment. Don’t think about after the kata or even the next movement, just do each move in that moment and then move on to the next.

Just relax…

Talking about doing kata in the moment and how we should find balance, Sensei had us partner up and rub each others shoulder (trapezius) muscles.  This is really helpful in making us relax, at least for me.

Self defense, move into the attack…

This was a neat movement but timing needs to be really good to do it correctly. Sensei had us partner up. Our partner attacked with a right hand front punch, we would step into the punch slightly to left or our opponent, move into what looks like a low lunge position, block with our left hand and counter with our right hand to the ribs and then move past them and either do another attack like a take down or run past them.

The idea is to make them miss with their punch by moving under it and then slipping past them and countering and following up with an attack if needed.

We will all be Shodans…

Sensei Cieplik says a lot of things that make me realize how special his class is but tonight he made a comment that was really incredible.  He said that every one of us in the class is going to be a Shodan and that he has seen it in the video tape in his mind, he just has to share the information and help us understand it.  He always shares information but he wants to share it in such a way, or enough different ways, so that we all understand it.

Knowing that Sensei has that much belief in all of us made tonight a very special class for myself and at least one other person that I talked to afterwards.

About doug
Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..

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