What an awesome class today! Classes with Sensei Noia are always awesome but today was extra awesome. The dojo was hot and humid and it felt good. As I get older, the warm air really makes move so much better than the freezing cold dojo in the winter. We started out, with a partner, shifting in and out with reverse punch, then shuffle in and out with reverse punch and then stationary front snap kick, side thrust kick and roundhouse kicks back and forth. We then did some dynamic stretching with leg raises to the front, back and each side.
Drop and move sound simple but it for me, it wasn’t
Next, we moved into horse stance with single punches and then double punches. While still in the horse stance, we moved into a front stance, then into a back stance and back into a horse stance. Building on what we worked on last week, the key was to stay low between movements and not move up and down between each transition by dropping down before moving. This particular move is something that we have worked on for years but I really didn’t understand it until Sensei Noia started having us do these drills.
The next drill continued to build upon this foundation. We started in the standard front stance with a downward block, dropping first, moving forward and focusing on the draw hand. From there, we moved forward doing downward blocks dropping before each stance and really focusing on the draw hand. After that, we moved forward in a front stance with downward block but then, moved into a ready stance with two punches. This was little different because we reversed the hip action moving from the front stance to the ready stance with punches.
We worked on Taikyoku Shodan, doing each move with the drop and go from the drills above. We did it three times and at that point, my legs were roasted. After that, all the black belts did Gojushiho Sho and he brown belts did Jion again, with the same hip action and drop and go stances. We did that twice and then split up and did it again with our respective groups with one more kata at the end with everyone on the floor.
You can always learn something new
Maybe I missed something over the past 12 years of training but today was one of those days where my eyes were opened to something new. The stance and techniques were nothing different than the ones I did for last 12 years but it goes to show, you can always learn something new and improve while training Karate.
I am behind on the posts before this one and will be adding those soon but this class was so good, I needed to post it now.
We started class with a partner doing alternating kicks (front snap kick, roundhouse kick and side thrust kick) with shuffle up front leg and then rear leg to get warmed up.
A quick anchorman sparring session for the people who are testing for Shodan. I went off to the side with another student to work on some kata since both of us forgot our sparring gear. We worked on Gojushiho Sho and ended up doing four or five katas.
Back to the same partner to do one-step sparring for the others who are testing for Kyu ranks. Doing one-step, since I have been a Shodan, is always fun since I am not limited to the exam rules for one-step which is fairly simple when it comes to block and counterattack. Doing counter attacks with elbows or other attacks is always something that keeps each partner on their toes.
We spent a good amount of time working on the exam basics which includes a lot of kicks, more than I remember, standard block and counter moves going forward and back along with a lot of shifting movements. I don’t know how many we did but it seemed as if the shifting was never going to end.
After that, it was time for kata. For this, all the people who are examining has to do the kata for the rank they hope to achieve and everyone was able to pick the kata of their choice which gave me some more time to work on a new kata.
For the warm up, we did heian Shodan through Tekki Shodan. This is a always a good warm up for as long as I take my time. If I start off pushing the first katas too much, my form breaks down and it sets the tone for the entire class. I realized that I don’t care if I am the first one done of the last, the key is doing the warm up and doing it well. Today, I did the katas slowly, with good form overall and the entire class felt better than when I push the katas from the start.
After the katas, we worked on some kihon. We started in front stance and did triple kicks across the dojo consisting of front snap kick, side thrust kick and back kick. After that, we did front stance with inward block, move into horse stance with elbow strike to the middle of the dojo and then the same techniques but we added reverse punch to the end. We did the same moving backward.
Next, we worked on outward block, jab and reverse punch moving forward and back. Next came horse stance stepping across with side snap kick and side thrust kick. We continued in a horse stance but with a shuffle into side snap kick, another shuffle with side thrust kick and a step behind with a side thrust kick.
After the kihon came kata. We picked a kata and did the stances only from it moving across the dojo in the straight line. This was harder than it sounds when doing a long kata like Gojushiho Sho. The point of this drill was to change of minds from doing katas in preset pattern to doing them in a line. We did the same but this time, adding the hand techniques.
Kata in a box
We did kata in a small space. The idea was to do kata in nothing larger than a six by six foot space, depending up how long your stance are. It doesn’t matter if you have to switch feet between moves, you can’t move out of your box. Another good way to make you think out of the box, pun intended.
We finished up and did kata the normal way and then do it again with your eyes closed. Eyes closed kata is always a challenge. Oddly, I was told that I was all over the place, doing Sochin, but I ended up facing the correct way in almost the same spot that I started on.
This type of training really showcases why Sensei Noia is the team kata coach for our club.