Final two days of training

Friday Class:

The final Friday class of the intensive defiantly wasn’t any easier than the previous week.

The morning class started off with a partner. Will and I were together which was great as he pushes me to my limits every single time with his great encouragement and dedication to train. We had two tasks as partners, one person had to jump in a square motion over 3 bags that were placed in a T formation. This was physically exhausting as there were no breaks for what felt like 5 minutes. the second activity was holding a low shikodachi while holding a bo vertical with your shoulders. While this is a physical challenge I found it so much more mental as you had to just keep feeding yourself positive encouraging thoughts. After completing this once I was proud as I completed it and then we got told to do it again. This time all I could think about was the fact we were directly in the sun, at least it took my mind away from the pain. After this physically challenging class we finished it off with laps. Bailey was my partner which was also great because at this stage I needed a bit of encouragement. we had to do 10 push ups and then sprint up the dojo about 4 laps each. Followed by 10 tuck jumps and a sprint. Finally we did 3 laps of army crawling before seiza.

In the kids class there were many obstacle courses that challenged us. Speed training is still my enemy but we are slowly getting better.

Alike thismornings class and the previous morning as well, we began to punch, and punch, and punch some more. I forgot to count how many we did but it was a lot. Not only in one stance but also in shikodachi and sonkyou dachi. We can all agree our legs felt like lead after this but there was more! No longer fatiguing our arms we got a partner and did squat kicks. Faith chose to do 60 squat kicks but we ended up getting up to 100 in the time limit. Once the time was up we got told we had to reach that number again but this time when we squat we had to touch a bag on the floow so that we weren’t taking shortcuts. Was definitely a feel good moment once we finished it as a team.

My favourite part of this class was the final drill. We did a more kumite based drill where somebody had to apply restraint against a person that is punching. We did many laps of this and eventually the jnr belts were doing this drill aswell. I have stolen a picture off of sami as I didn’t get any photos!

That was all for Friday nights training as squad training commences in February but I’m glad we all pushed through!

Saturday Morning

This mornings class wasn’t super physical. In the little champions class, us doing the intensive took on a leadership role. Sensei Martin and Tim (one of the little champion black belts) set up an obstacle course with jumping, kicking and punching. I got to hold the bag where the kids were doing jumping kicks! I think I  got the best bag, was pretty good getting them to kiai and jump higher each time.

In the next karate kids class the seniors were took aside and did some bag work in groups of three. We did laps of rinten, kaeshi and oshi zuki. We were working towards speed and accuracy which isn’t as easy as it seems. I have been focusing on posture lately and found that when I raised my eyes instead of looking at the target it was easier to balance therefore hitting the correct target.

The adult class took a less physical approach and had my mind ticking. Bailey, Savannah, Sami and I spent the lesson working on bunkai. We began with niseishidai bunkai, the first one was a slow bunkai, then one as if we were performing it at a grading, and then finally after a short talk with our partner about one thing we wanted to work on, we did one with full spirit. We did this 3x with each partner. I benefitted heaps from this as it was interesting knowing what other people were focusing on so that I could also try to implement it into my training.

After doing bunkai we focused on throwing, but with no arms. I couldn’t quite grasp the hang of it until I got told my posture wasn’t quite up enough. Once I lifted my eyes it worked a little better. Also going back to one of my earlier blogs (about day 3) I spoke about entering when throwing somebody, so turning the back foot towards the target instead of away. This also helped with entering the hips and taking my partners centre. I still didn’t quite get it 100% by the end of the lesson but I was a lot closer from where I was at the beginning of class. 

Congratulations Everybody for officially finishing the intensive!

Last Official Day

Even though this is the last official day of the 2 week training intensive, I will still be doing one more blog post tomorrow after beach training to wrap things up.

Little Champions

To kick start the morning, Timothy (one of the little champions) has been training for 2 years, and today he was presented his little champions black stripe belt! He is the 5th little champion in this dojo to achieve his black stripe belt.

The whole probert family in Tim’s corner today.
the rest of the class celebrating Tim’s achievement!

In this morning’s little champions class all of us who are participating in the 2 week intensive took on a leadership role. We did some basics and us leader’s just had to be a good example. As well as having some focus time, we also had some fun throughout the class. At the end of the class as a part of the fun Tim helped build an obstical course for everyone to enjoy.

Karate Kids

Since it was William’s last lesson for the intensive, it was only appropriate that William lead the warm up.

Throughout most of this morning’s kids class we did lots of stepping and punching. We were in groups and practising mostly rin ten, kaeshi and oshi zuki. For me personally, it wasn’t a great day for rin ten because I was falling all over the place! I did manage to get some good laps in though. When we were doing oshi zuki was alright today since sometimes I mix my hands and feet up a bit, but today I was trying to stop myself instead of stumbling back/forward after finishing my punch. I do find doing kaeshi quite difficult for me because my hands go faster than the rest of my body. So, when I try executing a punch they’re not always full punches or they’re not aimed towards the target before actually punching.

Lastly, in the karate kids class we went into teams and raced across the dojo and back…

just a normal day cleaning the dojo floor…

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 18 January 2019


Teens/Adults

This morning’s adult class was a bunkai focus with the seniors. We started by doing some niseishi bunkai, one slow and one like you would do at a grading. Then we chatted with our partner about what we need to work on most and do the bunkai again. With Savannah the focus was to be more scary and with Renae we focused on our posture. After a while just doing niseishi bunkai we worked on the block and how we should receive the punch. We just experimented a bit at first and I came to the conclusion that it works best for me when I have my eyes up, good posture, and having my arms placed in the correct position. After working on the receiving of the punch, we moved onto the basic throw. Everyone in the group when throwing someone tries to pull the other person down and we end up leaning back. So, we practised with the idea of throwing being exactly like a shiko dachi punch. Another habit a lot of us have is using our arms too much. To make sure we were not using our arms to much we were only allowed to use one receiving arm and rely more on our stance.

Everyone has done amazing to complete the 2 week intensive!

William looks a little different today… hmmm?

Almost Finished

Second last day of the 2 week training intensive, with only three classes today. Today’s focus was pushing ourselves out of our ever growing comfort zone… We sure did! We are only getting stronger from here.

Morning Training

Yesterday’s morning session was brutal! In partners, we started with one person jumping over a a set of bags set up in a T shape, whilst the other person would hold a shiko dachi with a bo in our hands straight in front of our body. We did this twice… It felt like forever, but we got through it. Soon, we did some punching in three different stances, uchi hachi ji dachi, shiko dachi, and sonkyo dachi. All together we ended up doing 100 punches in each stance 3 times. My legs were burning after this… It’s a lot harder than it looks. To finish off the class we buddied up and we did lots of laps. One, we had to do 10 push ups, 10 tuck jumps, and then sprint up and back. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to finish it if I didn’t have Klaudia as my partner to push me.

Little Champions

Yesterday we did a short warm up with the little champions before more torture haha.

The seniors were separated from the little champions after this. We did a little bit of kicking which was good because I didn’t feel completely warm yet. We just did the 4 kick combination with one normal paced lap, and one lap as fast as we could. There was an odd number of people, so, the other person would be using the heavy metal bo whilst waiting for the others to finish kicking.

In this class we also did a small circuit with two parts. One, with a partner we had to jump over a row of bags and run back to the start whilst your partner is trying to catch you and vice versa. The other pair would be doing push ups with a medicine ball each. So, we would both do one push up at the same time, role the ball to each other and then repeat with the opposite hand. We went through this circuit twice and it was very challenging since we were on each rotation for quite a while.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 18 January 2019

Karate Kids

this seiza felt amazing after the last session…

The warm up for the kids class was a race. Since most of the people in our group had just trained we didn’t do so well. My legs felt like dead weight with every step I took and it looked like the others were feeling the same by the way they were running.

The front line in the kids class were sent across to train. When we started doing the punching and had to go into shiko dachi, I knew we were going to do the same as this morning again. Luckily we only had to do one set of this.

After this my legs were once again aching, but next we had to partner up and we were going to be doing squat kicks. We got to choose the number that we would do, and Miguel chose 50. We eventually got all the way to 125 squat kicks, and then we were told to start from zero and do the same amount we just did. This time we had to go low enough to touch the bag below us every time. As a team Miguel and I did 250 squat kicks all together!

The last thing we did in this class was one kumite drill. One very painful kumite drill. In pairs, one person would have a belt around their waist doing combinations across the dojo and the other person had to hold onto the belt and try keep them from going anywhere too easily.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 18 January 2019
don’t mind my face here haha

Challenges

Sorry I am only posting this now. After a challenging day of training I wanted some rest for another big day today.

Morning Training

To be honest, the morning session yesterday was not my favourite. I did find it very difficult, but the time was very well spent. All the seniors were separated from the rest of the class and partnered up. There was a small, yet very long circuit with only four stations. The first was the makiwara and we had to keep on repetitively doing 10 punches each hand until we moved on. Second, one person had to use the extremely heavy metal bo, whilst the other person would be holding a weight (I am told that it is very similar to a kongoken) in shiko dachi whilst rotating in circles. Third, we would have to use a chiishi and move up and down the dojo in sanchin dachi. And lastly, the time keeper for the rotations would be a pair going one lap just slowly stepping and punching.

Little Champions

For this whole class we worked with Sensei Helen. To start off, we were in groups of either two or three and this challenge was called the 200’s club. As a team, one person at a time would do as many push ups as they could in the time it takes the other/s to do either kihon dosa ichi, ni, or san as fast as they could. The aim is to finish 200 push ups as a team. After this we did some speed training and then slowed right down to focus on rinten and kaeshi to really try get good posture and alignment of the body whilst doing this.

Karate Kids

We didn’t slow down much for the karate kids class last night. We started by partnering up and together trying to complete 100 push ups, sit ups, squat kicks, and burpees for the intensive people to the best of our abilities. We each had a few minutes to complete each of these exercises. After we got our heart rates up we moved onto some bag work and kumite drills… My legs were burning! But, of course after grabbing a quick drink and a short stretch, we went straight back into it again. This time we all had a bo each and all we had to do was hold a shiko dachi whilst holding our arms straight above our head. Especially after all that kumite, my legs were shaking and in pain, but I was determined that I would not come out of it. There were some spots I didn’t feel like I could do it any longer, so, I came up into a higher stance, but I would not let myself completely give in.

The intermediate kids class begun with a 10 minute seiza. I usually don’t like doing it for very long, but today I feel that it was well earned by all of us and it was a good time to catch my breath again. In this class we all had a conditioning quality control check for our push ups, sit ups, squat kicks, and burpees. Near the end of the class we went into small groups who we thought would push each other to do our best. In these groups we chose a number of push ups (Abi chose 32 haha) for our group and once we got to that we only had minimal rest and then as a team we would keep pushing for 10 more over and over again. Being in a team with both Savannah and Abi really helped me push out of my comfort zone because they were both so supportive and encouraging.

Teens/Adults

Compared to the rest of the classes last night, this session was a lot slower and steady pace. For a lot of the class we were working in partners. For the first chunk we did lots of punching, blocking, kicking, and stepping with different partners that I don’t get to work with that often. To shake the class up a little, we did more push ups, but this time only with our legs in a frog position. Although it was only 70 all together, my arms have definitely gotten a big work out throughout the rest of the afternoon. Loads of push ups last night! After this for the last part, we did some wrist escapes. I definitely got some great tips to help small people like me who may have bigger partners to deal with.

Day 9: 17th Jan

Today my grandmother made me cry. I went over to their house about lunch time because I was hungry and my grandfather is so precise that lunch is at 12pm on the dot, so I never miss out. We had lunch and while discussing the intensive I mentioned that my legs had felt like lead lately. Turns out my grandma is a masseuse and rubbed the knots out of my calves. Was one of the most pleasurable but painful experiences ever. Once she had finished we put deep heat on. Have you ever trained with deep heat on your legs? The harder I trained, the hotter my legs got. By half way through training I was on fire!

This morning’s class was a blur, I continue to set my alarm later and later. What is unforgettable was Sensei Martin’s torture circuit. There were 8 of us seniors on the circuit all partnered up with somebody that would push us. I had Bailey. One obstacle was punching the makiwara (vertical wooden plank), another was using the chiishi (I worked on body balance), the third one was a punching/blocking with our partner, and the last one. The last exercise was why I called it the torture circuit. In the dojo we have an extremely heavy bo, It is a metal pipe closed at both ends with another metal rod inside it. We had to do an outside block while holding this bo and use the ‘twist at the end’ of the block to make a clunk noise. The other activity at this station was holding up a weight, while in shikodachi, while sliding our feet to move us in a circular motion. We weren’t meant to put the weight down until the end but I don’t think I was doing it properly and it was hurting the wrong muscles. After this class I came home and slept for another 3hrs – was well deserved

Little Champions Class:

Todays little champions class the intensive people were taken to the side to do some speed training with Sensei Helen. I’m no better than the first time I ever did speed training, I am always the last person to finish but I don’t take shortcuts and aim to do it autonomously. It got to the stage where it became self paced but me being me, I like a competition and I tried to go faster than everybody around me. What I learnt from this was that when I try to go faster, my posture crumbles and my shoulders become very rounded. So throughout the night I worked on keeping my eyes up and shoulders back!

Karate Kids Class:

These two classes really got my heart pumping. Straight away we split into juniors and seniors.  Sensei Sandra had us seniors and partnered us up.  We had a few minutes to encourage each other as a team to do 100 pushups, 100 sit ups, 100 squat kicks and for the intensive people, also 100 burpees. Was definitely a way to push us out of our comfort zones. The rest of the class was about pushing us out of our comfort zone. After a short drink break the intensive people went aside with Sensei Martin and he set up another torture circuit. At two of the stations we were doing mawashi geri (Round house kick). As a few people know, I can generate a fair bit of power with this particular kick. Poor savannah was the victim to this kick as she held the bag. The remaining person was the time keeper jumping over a bag 30x. We did this circuit 2x and were exhausted afterwards but I know I gave it 150%. We did a few kumite drills after this was a well deserved drink break. We did some core exercises to finish off the class.

Finally being able to stretch after a hard session. Looks like my eyes are closed and are ready to sleep!

Kids Extension Class: Never in my life have I been excited about a 10 minute seiza but this afternoon I was over the moon. If you’ve never done seiza for a long period of time, it makes your legs fall asleep, more so like logs that are on fire. It can be extremely painful. Was definitely a great way to reflect over everything that I had worked on over the past two weeks. Working with the theme I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. Sensei Martin really enjoyed watching us fight through mental battles tonight. We each had a bo and raised it directly above our heads while we stood in shikodachi. this went on for about 5 or so continuous long painful minutes. After we could finally stand up he took us through a stretch what finished in shokodachi again. My knees were screaming at me after this.

Adult Class:

Was a lot less intense than todays theme. We did a lot of partner work. Working on punching, blocking, kicking and stances with our partner. we would watch – do – and then give feedback. It was good to get feedback that my posture had finally straightened up.  To finish it off we did more partner work, working on various wrist escapes. This can be difficult when you have a larger, stronger partner, but we did alter it occasionally to cater for us smaller people.

I know that tonight’s blog was more of a short novel but I feel like it has taken me in a new direction with my attitude towards receiving feedback and putting it into practice.

Also unfortunately I have not been able to capture as many photos as others. but I have taken so much out of training, and get so into it that I forget to do it myself or ask for photos to be taken. Tomorrow is the last Friday session and I will prove to you all that I can take more photos!

Why I keep coming back…

My muscles are hurting the most today than they have been since starting the intensive program. This doesn’t really seem to bother me though until after training. I get through it by knowing that the sore muscles only leads to stronger muscles.

Morning Class

This morning training was a very simple session with lots of basics and self paced kihons. The one thing that shook me the most was the punches. It was a pretty basic routine. When we got to the punches I was just thinking that I would maybe do around 20-30, but we ended up spending loads of time on continuously doing punches, one after another.

After this the session ended with a little bit of bo just doing some freestyle sharin (spinning). I was trying to focus on mostly keeping body aligned and straight. This helps for example if I tried to go faster or tried going backwards, and in general it helps with everything in the dojo.

Little Champions

To start off the afternoon we did some kumite going up and down the dojo but also did some partner work with the focus pads. It was great to just get back into some freestyle kumite after a while.

At the end of the class, since there were only five of us we each had to choose a conditioning exercise that we would do for 60 seconds each. I was glad we all chose quite different things so that the exercises weren’t all just fixed on one area of the body.

I’m sure we weren’t doing this for the whole class but I can’t remember what we were doing between the kumite and the conditioning.

Karate Kids

We basically went straight into some bunkai this afternoon for the kids classes. The seniors in the class were sent to the side to do some kihon dosa bunkai and kihon dosa san bunkai. After a couple of times going through it we went into groups of three or four and would have the others watch to give some feedback. The people that were doing the bunkai had to give the other person a score out of 10. This score was rated on how scary it was for them when you were both attacking and defending. Personally I got higher scores when I was attacking rather than when I was defending. I think this was because I might be leaning onto my back leg and letting the other person take control over the situation.

In the intermediate kids class we continued on with the same theme, but instead this time we did some rin ten bunkai as well. Pretty much everyone on the defending side when doing bunkai won’t wait for the attacker and will set a rhythm in their head. Tonight we had to try and have an unusual rhythm so that the defender would really have to switch their minds on and be ready for an attack at any time. This was also meant to help because in a real life situation you have to always be ready.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Wednesday, 16 January 2019
Rin Ten Bunkai

Posted by Sam Phillips on Wednesday, 16 January 2019
just a bit of fun…

Teens/Adults

Right from the start the brown and black belts started with a few basics and kihons. After this we went with a partner and first, we did long jumps across the dojo and back, but at each end we’d do 10 push ups. The aim was to try and catch our partner and push each other. The second thing we did were just sprints, and just having Sam as my partner made me work that much harder, push harder, and run faster. Third we did ninja jumps, which is where you would take three steps, jump as high as you can, and then land lightly with your knees bent with good posture and balance.

After this, we still stayed with our partner and now we each had to choose one conditioning exercise each and a number. I chose to do push ups with our legs in a frog position. I never chose a number, so, we kept on saying we would just do 10 more… We eventually got to 100 and stopped there. It was Sam’s turn now, and he chose to do sit ups with a medicine ball. He let me choose a number and I said “let’s do 50 and see how we are going”. By the time we had gotten to 50 I said I could do 20 more. Up to 70, but we had to add just 10 more… Thanks Sam for being a great training partner!

Still with the brown and black belts, but now just went through all the kata up to chinto, one fast and one with basic timing. The energy in the group was great, especially everyone’s kiai.

Near the end of the class we all came together to do some kumite drills on the bags with the focus of having good reach and zanshin before moving onto the next bag. Also with the bags we went with a partner and the challenge was to do 100 kicks as fast as we could and we ended up doing this twice. Having Savannah as my partner for these sorts of things are good for me because I feel like we push each other to do our best.

At the end to finish off the whole class was in a big circle and we were holding shiko dachi whilst everyone in the circle counted to 10 one after another a couple of times. I was already struggling a bit and then we had to take our hands off of our legs and keep our backs up straight whilst everyone counted to 10 once again. Luckily after that, that was all, and we were stretching for the rest of the class.

What keeps me coming back?

Personally I feel that the main thing that keeps me coming back for more is the people and the whole karate community. I love the energy that I am able to bring to the dojo as well as when others bring theirs too, to make it a positive environment to train in. Also, being a more senior level, I feel like I have to be a role model to the other students, and if I give up, I am not setting a good example to the others, nor am I setting a good example to myself. As I still do, I look up to not only the students more senior than me, but also my peers. But, when I was younger and I would look up to the “big kids”, now I guess I could say that I am one of the “big kids”, and this is what I have been working for, for most of my life, and it would be such a shame to just throw all of my hard work away.

So, I feel that being able to help others and being a good example is what I push towards every time I come to the dojo. Also, having the feeling like I am making good changes to other people’s lives is really why I love karate and keeps me coming back to make me and everyone else in the dojo just a little bit happier.

Day 8: 16th Jan

Todays class’s were not super physical demanding. There was a lot of short burst activities which got the heart rate up but also a lot of time to reflect on what we were trying to succeed.

I’ve been set the task to reflect on why I continue to train karate after 10 years and who inspires me. I believe these two things come together. In the past I have struggled to keep training as I thought I had hit a wall and could not progress anymore. After soke cup 2017, I came home and had a break until the new year started and I hit off training with a bang! When I was 10 years old my long term dream was to start up my own dojo, go to a soke cup and to get my black belt. So far I have achieved going to 2 soke cups and am working furiously towards my black belt.  

I remember writing my grading theory when I was at the lower ranks and one of the questions was “How many times do you attempt something until you give up?” I always wrote down that I never give up, I may have a break at times but I always finish what I started. Since I was 13 years old I have obviously grown and I have developed a greater understanding of that answer, It still has the same meaning but it is more of a mental challenge, It isn’t about just doing it, it is about doing it to the best of my ability.

There are many many inspiring people at the dojo, a few of them have gone off on another path in their journey and some have continued to train and grow with me. Earlier in my karate studies I really idolised students such as Anthony, Tia and Duncan. All of these people helped me during and through the preparation for soke cup 2013. After we all got back to Australia, life took its toll and they moved on, it doesn’t feel like 6 years ago! As for now it isn’t just senior students I look up to, but also the younger upcoming athletes. Black belts like Bailey, Klaudia and Sam really lift the spirit in the dojo and I am aspiring to follow in their footsteps. My sensei’s are also extremely talented and humble people, when you first begin training your long term goal is to be like them, but as you grow more mature you realise everybody’s journey is different. As for the juniors, William, Emmett and my little sister Rhiannon all show me that karate isn’t about the colour of the belt around your waist, but it is about how much effort and attention you give. The named people aren’t the only ones that are amazing but they are who have stood out to me recently.

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A bit of a lengthy blog tonight but it is worth it!

The theme of tonight’s classes that stood out to me the most was spirit. A lot of bunkai (partner application) was performed but instead of just doing the movements, we had to try and scare our partner. We got to rate our partners ‘scariness’ our of 10. Somehow I managed to get 10 every time. I know it’s my kiai because it has gotten so much stronger recently. I got told that my facial expressions don’t show any emotion except fierceness and focus, in any other context than karate that wouldn’t be taken as a compliment but it made me feel good.

Is that face scary enough?

This focus carried onto the next class where it expanded into different bunkai’s. Even in the adult class we weren’t told of this but I still tried my hardest to be scary. Not just with a partner but in my individual kata aswell. Although it was short burst It was exhausting. Doing one speed kata followed by a normal paced kata got my mind ticking.

Now to continue the spirit throughout all of my training and grow with others!

Long Day

Definitely unexpected day today, but definitely worth it. Morning wasn’t highly physical, but the evening classes were.

Morning Training

To get the morning kicked off we played a small game involving three people. One person chasing, one person defending, and one person trying not to get caught. There was a count down and if the person got caught they would have to do the same amount of sit ups as the countdown was at when they got caught.

After this quick game we moved onto basics as usual and then the brown and black belts were sent aside to do some Ryukyu bo. Today we got up to number eight and then split into smaller groups once again to break down and get to talk about these, but only got up to number four. Was definitely a constructive use of time for all of us. At the end of the class we had the chance to have one turn at going through shushi no sho, this was great since I haven’t done this in a while.

I thought I had woken up by the time the class was over, but I sat down and that obviously wasn’t the case…

Savannah and I getting some rest after the morning class.

Little Champions

Straight into it this afternoon, all the people doing the intensive had run laps of the dojo and every lap we would do one more push up everytime. Usually I wouldn’t have as much trouble as I did today, my arms were aching from all the conditioning we did last night. So, every push up I did, felt like 10. Of course after doing many laps of that it felt like I had done 100.

Finally, we could stop,but soon we were starting to do some kicking. At first it wasn’t so bad, but we kept on having to add on more and more kicks every lap, until we had to do five kicks before our foot could touch the ground. Jumping kicks too, and lots of laps. When we had finally finished we would stretch and all of a sudden we would be on our feet moving onto side kicks this time instaed of front kicks. Everytime I had thought we were done, there was more, because straight after that we did it all again, but instead this time with a round house kick. Luckily by the time we had completed all this the little champions class was over. Saved by the bell I’d say.

Karate Kids

Even warming up in the kids class was difficult, my legs felt like extremely heavy weights. After warming up the class split up and the seniors were sent across to the hot side of the dojo and did some speed training we were all hot and sweaty and worn out, but next we did a similar thing to the start of the little champions class. This time instead of push ups we had to do sit ups, and instead of running up and back we had to go up and do one sit up and come back to do one sit up. All the way up to 15 which meant we had done 240 sit ups all together. I was glad to be done with that, but yet again there was more.

This time we were in groups of three, one person on the bag and two people partnered up. The person on the bags had to do 80 round house kicks at head height whilst the other two would go slowly, turn for turn exchange kicking and holding. It is definitely a lot harder than it looks.

Finally, we had the chance to slow down a bit (not for long) and stretch out our bodies. Now we had moved onto doing some kata and tonight we did a lot of repetition on kihon dosa yon. Going down the lines, we each had to count the whole way through the kata. After doing 10, we were asked if we think that we improved, stayed the same, or got worse throughout. To be honest, I felt I got worse everytime, so, to change that I had to stop focusing on how exhausted I was, and just say that I can do it. We did this 20 times more, and despite the fact that I was so out of breath and my muscles were sore, just changing my mindset was all I needed to be able to finish off strong.

I could tell that the intermediate kids class was quite slowed down compared to the previous classes. Except for the fact that we started off with a very competitive game, but after that the intensity was brought down quite a lot.

For pretty much the whole intermediate kids class we did some Chito-Ryu bo. All the kihons, kata, and basics. We also took some time to think about the application of the techniques for number 14 in a group context. At first I was finding it difficult to get my head around, but I was starting to get the hang of it after a while practising.

To finish off the kids class before our break,we slowed right down to literally lay down and breath for a while, practising correct breathing.

starfish in the dojo

Teens/Adults

After a quick food break, we were back in doing a few stretches before joining back in with the rest of the class. We started off with just basic timing of all the kata we know, which was great since we haven’t really slowed down that much yet tonight. We did plenty of stretching after that which felt really nice on my sore muscles. For the rest of the class we did a big review on bunkai right from the start and as far as we could, until it was the end of the session.

Even though I wasn’t enjoying the kids classes at the time it felt great to just be able to have gotten through it all and the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it my all. I’m sure my muscles will be aching even more tomorrow, but it’s definitely worth it!

Day 7: 15th Jan

Todays 6am class was very hard to get to. I thought I was a morning person but I’m beginning to realise I need more sleep. Weather it is throughout the day or more in the morning I don’t mind. To contradict that though I am going to miss training everyday once this intensive is finished.

Morning class:

This morning we had a focus on bo. 3rd Kyu students and above worked on Ryukyu bo numbers 1 to 7. After doing sets of 10 on each sequence we split into 3 mini groups where we broke down each sequence into great detail. There wasn’t a lot of time so we only got up to number 5 but I did take a lot out of it. As noticed in last nights class, I need to accelerate from my hip right from the beginning of the technique.

Once I got home I slept for about 3hrs and then went to the beach to let the waves beat around the muscles in my legs and hopefully help with the tightness.

Little Champions Class:

This afternoon we split into two groups straight away; was intensive students on one side of the dojo and everybody else over the other. Sensei Martin got us to begin with slow and controlled front kick. We held it out for the count of three and then pulled back. Once we did a couple of laps we got faster. The fast pace stayed for remainder of the class. We did 6x laps of front kick, increasing by one kick each technique every lap (first lap = 1 kick each leg, second lap = 2 kicks on each leg, etc… ). Following this was 6 laps of jumping front kick. After just this one cycle I was exhausted. But we weres only 1/3 of the way through. We repeated this with side kick and also round-house kick. Safe to say my legs felt like lead for the next hr.

“Will it be easy?

Nope

Worth it?

Absolutely”

Karate Kids class:

I started off this class still barely being able to lift my legs from the last class but during the warm up, in my competitive nature, I had to help my team be the fastest! It is all good fun until you push a little too hard and overheat. About 20 minutes into the class I felt dehydrated and went quite dizzy while doing more sweaty activities. A short drink break fixed me up for a while.

At about half way the intensive students began to do some more bo. We focused more on Chito-Ryu bo. After going through the kihon kata we formed a line and did 100 consecutive kirikaeshi (hope that is how you spell it) in shiko dachi with the person in front and behind us. This was yet another physical challenge which really burnt the leg muscles. Again another activity that tested the mind and body strength that we all worked together to complete!

Adult Class:Adult Class:

I had some really painful stomach cramps at the start of this class so I sat out and observed for about half an hour. There are so many ways to learn and it is good to change it up sometimes. While watching them training I began to understand a little bit better how to generate power from the ground up into my punch. It is all about the tension throughout your body.  Also in yesterdays blog post I spoke about getting the illusion of tearing the paper with your feet and squeezing the thighs. I tried to put this into practice and it was real effective throughout the class and all the other ones as well!

Hopefully throughout the next couple of blogs I can talk more about techniques and body awareness but for the now, it is still proving to be a very mental and physical challenge. Thankyou everyone that is training alongside me

Pushing Myself

Second week, and today’s training has really made me break through limits I have never broken before. Every time I break myself down like this, I feel like my mental toughness is growing stronger and stronger.

Didn’t get any photos or videos today… Little bit busy getting sweaty!

Morning Class

To start off an early morning, the class was slower paced. Although it wasn’t very physically demanding, my mind was a bit out of it from my tiredness since it is an early morning after all. Little did I know, I was going to be in for a tough one tonight…

Little Champions

Last week we did quite a lot of sai practise, but today we did a quick review on some Chito-Ryu bo kihons and kata. Straight after that we partnered up and did some kumi bo and we repeated one part lots of times… My legs were aching! So, I guess in the little champions class we were doing lots of repetition and pushing ourselves just past what feels comfortable.

Karate Kids

I was already feeling sore from the previous class and I definitely was not prepared for what was waiting for the seniors in the kids class. The task was to do every kata that we knew, but in between each one we had to do 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 squat kicks, and 10 burpees… At first I knew it would be challenging, but I had no idea how difficult this was actually going to be. I started and about 3 katas in, I was already puffed… wow! I was finding it difficult to keep on moving, keep on breathing. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I had gotten to shihohai and about to start seisan when we were told to stop. This was a great relief to finally be finished, and it took me quite a while to regain my breath back again.

It was the intermediate kids class now and I was starting to feel slightly better. Back to bo, but this time we just went through the kata in front of a partner turn for turn giving feedback, but the main focus was kime. Spending most of the class on this was a good chance to get back to the Chito-Ryu bo in more detail since I haven’t done it in a while and we weren’t looking too closely into the details earlier on. With some helpful advice, I am finding that I am starting to get tight up in my shoulders and need to loosen up a bit at times. Getting to work with some great training partners over the past week and very grateful for the tips.

Teens/Adults

This session got going fast. We did a chunk of speed training and challenging our selves with a small amount of conditioning. Since we already did loads hard training in the kids class I wasn’t expecting to do much more hard training for the night. But, of course we repeated the same thing as the kids class… The kata and conditioning challenge, but this time I did not stop once and pushed myself 100 times harder than last time. I literally felt like I was going to be sick! This time instead of going to our highest kata, we were stopped after shime no kata… I never knew that I was capable of pushing myself beyond my first attempt at this. I feel the biggest thing that makes me want to accelerate that much more, are the people that are placed around me and their training attitude.

Over half way til the end of the intensive now and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings me!

I promise I will get a couple of photos in the dojo tomorrow… haha!