Back at training!

Well, kinda back at training – didn’t make it this week due to some leg stuff, but I did get back last week šŸ™‚

It was great to be back in the dojo and train with everyone after such a long break. The workout was fantastic, and being able to practice the two-person drills with other students was great – to help with muscle memory I’ve been practicing them solo while recovering from everything, and managed to form a couple of errors I’ve had to work on. Getting there though!

What’s throwing me a bit at the moment is some of the differences in executing some of the solo uke techniques. Compared to the relative/comparative linearity in Shotokan, performing the same techniques in Koryu Uchinadi is a little different, so it’s time to break old habits! The changes make sense in the spirit of the KU syllabus/philosophy and the links back to traditional Okinawan Kenpo suggest a definite Chinese influence on the techniques. I’m enjoying the use of kake-uke as well – this was taught at higher levels in Shotokan, but I’d had some exposure to it a good few years back when I was training in a Shotokan/Goju hybrid style, though the instruction and execution of the kake-uke wasn’t anywhere near as extensive as it is in KU.

We also did some other drills in class that I wasn’t all that proficient in, but with help from my fellow students, I got there in the end! It’s all learning, so it’s not such a bad thing to be humbled by new techniques and training with more experienced martial artists.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to train drills, combinations and go through some of the standards we use. I’m finding that the nature of KU is lending itself to doing some work on the boxing bag at home, so that’s been great as well. I’m looking at getting my form up to par, and once I get my new leg, I’ll look at posting a couple of videos showing how I perform some of these techniques for others to see, with an emphasis on how I compensate for techniques with my prosthesis. I’ve been meaning to get onto that all year, and I’m determined to get something up before x-mas!

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… and I’m back!

Apologies for the unplanned break – a handful of unfortunate issues cropped up over the last couple of months, along with a couple of annoying injuries that have kept training somewhat sporadic since June.

But that’s the past – I’d rather look to the future. I’ve got plenty of material to write about which I’ll be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, as well as regular insight into my training in the Koryu Uchinadi system. On the amputee side of things, I’ve just started to get the ball rolling to have my prosthesis (which is from 2006) replaced with a new one, included some new options for the socket design and knee. Should be interesting!

I’m also out of whack with what a lot of my fellow bloggers are writing about, so I’ll be jumping back into the loop to get up to speed over there as well.

I’d also like to fire across a big thanks to those of you who e-mailed me during my blogging absence with questions or feedback, to my Sensei and fellow students for being understanding of my situation, and to Wifey for putting up with a grumpy husband the last couple of months šŸ™‚

That’s it from me for now – more updates will come, stay tuned to the blog!

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Making progress on the bench

Just a quick post on the progress of my supplemental training – I’ve started throwing in some freestyle work on the bag before hitting the bench to work on my ability to move in and out of fighting range, throwing in some kicks and working on elbows, punches and backhand attacks. I’m actually not sure how effectively I’m training though, and I keep meaning to check out the videos and guides Wim’s added to his blog as the previews I’ve seen look fantastic.

Anywho, in addition to this I’ve also been working on gradually increasing the amount of weight on the bar and have got it up to 60kg now, but I’m only just managing one rep, and it’s not all the way down to my chest either. It does make me think that I might be starting to hit a bit of a threshold, but I’m pretty strong in my conviction to get to my body weight (70kg). Mind, I don’t know how much the bar weighs so I don’t know how much over 60kg I actually am, but I’ve decided I want to load the bar with 70kg, so that’s what I intend to do šŸ™‚

Looking back though, I remember that the first time I pushed 53kg on the bench I struggled, but now I can do multiple reps, so it’ll come down to simply continuing to work on it. I think I might give myself another two weeks at 60kg, then start pushing it 1kg a week at a time again and see how I go.

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Getting back into weight training (again!)

As part of getting back into the habit of regular karate training, I’ve finally cleaned up the space I use for weight training to get back into a routine. Partly motivated by wanting to erode some of the pre-winter “padding” around my belly and increasing my strength, I’ve jumped into things with enthusiasm and am already feeling the results.

I’ve got a myriad of dumbells, barbells and weights lying around the place, and to make it easier to constantly push myself that little bit extra in each session, I’ve gone ahead and preloaded a number of dumbells with various weights to make it more convenient to try different combinations of weights. This means that if I’m doing an exercise that is exercising less-developed muscles, I can grab a lighter set of dumbells and gradually increase the weight without having to manually swap and change weights on either end – I just grab the next pair. On the other hand, if I’m working with muscle groups that are more developed, there’s no need to manually load up a set of dumbells, I can just grab another pair off the floor and roll with it. I’m finding that because it’s so easy to change to different sets of weightings, I’m mentally prepared to push myself a bit harder since I can see the goal of higher weight sets preloaded in front of me.

Mind, the reason I have the luxury of this is due to my father-in-law’s generosity in leaving me a great selection of equipment when my in-laws moved interstate last year. Thanks Dave šŸ™‚

So, apart from gradually increasing the dumbell exercises, I’ve also been pushing a bit harder on the bench. But at the same time, I’m being realistic with the weekly goals I’m setting. My main goal at this stage is to be able to bench-press my own body weight, and so to get there, each week I’m trying to increase the weight on the bar by 1-2 kgs. I thought that by using small increments, this will assist in avoiding an injury and also reduce the psychological barrier experienced by big leaps in terms of the amount of visual weight on the bar. I’ve been able to achieve an extra kilo for the last two weeks, so I’m now sitting at 57 kg. In line with this, next week I’ll shoot for 58 kg, 59 kg the week after, and 60 kg the week after that. Then it’s another 10 kg until I get to my first long-term goal on the bench.

Fingers crossed if I approach it with a solid methodology and patience, I’ll be able to gradually increase my strength effectively and efficiently. But most importantly, it’s great to be back into weight training, as it’s something I really enjoy as auxillary training between classes.

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OMG, I think I finally did some decent kicks in class

I’ve waxed lyrical in the past on my kicking techniques, particularly mawashi-geri, but at training this week, I don’t think I did too badly at all… well, certainly a lot better than I have previously. It’s weird like that, sometimes you train and your technique isn’t where you want it to be, and some nights it just works. Hopefully I’ll continue to make it work and this won’t be a one off šŸ™‚ I’ve noticed of late that I’d like to see greater strength in my kicking techniques and might have to start training them a bit more rigerously. Fingers crossed!

If that counts as a positive to training, there was also a negative, and it’s to do with kata. Probably because I haven’t been training it hard/consistently enough, I’ve slipped back into the habit of making kata robotic, without natural flow or expression as I had previously explored. Dai-Sensei picked up on it during class and mentioned it as a point I can work on, as it shows understanding and flow within the techniques, as well as a way of personal expression within the formalised framework that forms the core kata, the former of which is essential when considering the practical application of what to the inexperienced eye are simply an arrangement if disconnected and unusual movements. Especially since his feedback is suggesting I’ve moved backwards instead of forwards with my performance of kata, which I’ve always taken a great deal of pride in. That’s why it’s great to train under experienced instructors, as they’re able to pick up what you often don’t see due to their years of experience in martial arts. I’m now going to be making a dedicated effort to get back into the same mindset I achieved previously.

Back to the topic though – good kicks in class, at least by my standard. Even mawashi-geri, which I struggle with as a general rule of thumb. Although at one point my prosthesis almost literally flew off my stump due to a particularly enthusiastic kick. Managed to recover reasonably well though šŸ™‚

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