Training discussion part 3 – new kata!

So to wrap things up, I also thought I’d share something about my new kata.

In the past, I’ve really struggled with learning the pattern of kata, but this year I’ve been trying to go about learning kata a bit differently. First up, I’m trying hard to apply much greater focus in class and keeping myself from getting distracted or relaxing or taking things too easy. When I first started learning my previous grade-kata, I experimented with this and found that I was able to pick up the kata much faster than I usually would. Following my last grading I’ve been working on my focus even more and am trying to make every session of regular training as intensive as possible, trying to match the same dedication and effort you typically put into a grading but in an everyday class scenario. And the same goes for my kata – focus-focus-focus.

And strangely enough, it appears to be very effective – last week was the first time learning my kata, and by the end of the lesson I’d managed to memorise the basic pattern. True, my form was pretty poor, but I was still managing to work on my breathing and put in focused energy into some of the techniques. It was actually kind of amazing, as I entered that tarnce-like state of awareness you can often get when performing kata despite the fact I was still very early on in my understanding of it.

As a result, I came away feeling really chuffed that I’d manage to make such a productive first step in learning my new kata. True, part of being able to pick it up relatively quickly can also be attributed to greater experience and being able to tune into the patterns in other Heian kata, but I also think my attention to detail and my focus were big parts of this, and it’s always nice to find that, despite what you may think sometimes, you are improving as time goes on, you are evolving as a martial artist… even if you habitually look a bit unco 😉

Now I have to hope that I’ll be in good form next week! Will have to put some time aside between classes to go through the sequences, I don’t want to put this good start to waste.

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Training discussion part 2 – mawashi geri pain

So, continuing on from my previous post, at training last week we started focusing on improving mawashi geri technique as it’s now formally graded as part of my syllabus, which means more practicing and more focus on improving the technique. Unfortunately for me, my mawashi geri is pretty rubbish, especially when kicking with my right leg (i.e. the real, whole one :P). Since you’re required to rely on extra flexibility and coordination with your standing leg for this one, I’ve always struggled with it as it’s really difficult to balance on my fake leg. Then you add hip movements, shifting weight using your knee and ankles, adjusting pressure with your foot – all this I can feel when balancing on my right leg and kicking with my left, so it’s hard trying to compensate for such a difficult series of complex, subtle movements.

So following class, I’ve been breaking the technique back to basics, and as I do my infamous “karate-around-the-house” habit that drives Wifey up the wall, I’ve started incorporating mawashi geri in stages. For the most part this has been in volving my lifting my right leg with the leg drawn back, but with my bent leg held parallel to the floor and hold my balance. I felt that part of my problem was that I was having trouble gracefully moving into the motions of the mawashi geri, and by working on the first step in performing the technique, I’m aiming to improve part of the foundation for the technique.

The next challenge is controlling the whipping-out/whipping-back motion so that the technique can be performed as close as possible in light of my situation. Stupid me forgot my recent post on how to do a better mawashi geri, which of course contained that extra bit of info I needed to overcome the lack of control with the fake leg – use the torso and the arms to make up for the difference. I then put it all to test while walking around the house last night before going to bed, and it made a world of difference.

But seriously, trust me to forget something I actually wrote about that would have been hugely helpful in this case 😛

So, next training I’m hoping to show a reasonable degree of improvement with this technique. Unless I forget it again, which is entirely possible 😛

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