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.
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.
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.
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.
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.