Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seiuchin Kata - Yes!!

This evening's class was great... Saturdays are less formally structured classes, where people can show up and work on kata, charts, or whatever other things they want to work on. The classes are smaller, and Sensei has more time to give individual instruction, and the senior students help out, too.

With the help of Sensei and two senior students, I was able to run the Seiuchin Kata all the way through. I ran it through a few times... It needs a lot more practice, and the shift between the Seisan stance and Seiuchin stance is  a little challenging, but I finally feel that it's coming together. I've learned this one at a faster pace than I learned the Seisan, even though I find the Seiuchin to be quite a bit more complex.

I am greatly encouraged... I'm going to work on it like crazy over the next few days, because I'm leaving on the 21st for a one-week scuba diving trip.

Absent from class lately, is a 12-year old boy that had been in the kids' class, and was in the adult class, when I began training at this dojo, last December. He's been absent for a few weeks now, and I don't think he's coming back.

Another absentee, is a guy that started a few weeks before I did, who is around my age. He got his yellow-belt about a month before I did, and his Kata were looking really good. He was training hard, and he was one of the people in class that I admired, and whom I felt really elevated the level of the class. He's been absent for a few weeks now.... I hope he returns.

Yet another absentee, is a young woman who is a blue-belt, but she's been accepted to the Memphis School Of Art, so because of that, she probably will not be a regular, anymore.

It seems like our class is getting smaller, but hopefully, that just means that the intensity will remain, or even increase.

One of the senior brown-belts is gearing up for her black-belt test! I'm excited for her! She hardly ever misses a class, is always quick to help others, and really trains hard. I think I heard Sensei telling her that it would happen on the first Saturday... (I'm assuming he meant May.) Ganbatte!!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hardest Lesson For Warriors....

I think the hardest lesson for warriors to learn, is that of humility. At class this evening, I was called on to demonstrate the Seisan Kata. Objectively, I guess I did okay, but I didn't get low enough, wasn't focused enough, didn't snap my punches and kicks the way I should have, and at one point, even got a little off-balance. It was embarrassing. I can do it so much better than I did, and I feel like I really blew it.

There was another, albeit minor, incident too, but I don't feel like going into it... Maybe next time I show up to class, I'll wear my white belt, instead... I'm a little discouraged and frustrated, to be perfectly honest. I also know that true to my happy-go-lucky self, that I will dwell on it, analyze it, keep whatever lessons I'm supposed to learn from tonight's class, and then I will let the rest go, and the frustration and embarrassment of tonight's class will only further steel my resolve to work harder, get a little better each time, and this too shall be conquered and turned to my own advantage.

For now, I'm discouraged and frustrated and a little angry. I acknowledge and accept that, and in so doing, those feelings will cease to persist. No sense in swallowing that poison. Spit it out, shrug it off, and drive on.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seiuchin vs. Seiunchin?

I've seen the name of this kata spelled Seiunchin and Seiuchin. I'm not sure which is proper.

Anyway, this is the latest kata that I'm trying to learn. It feels awkward. It doesn't snap for me the way the Seisan Kata did/does. I'm not sure how to really articulate it, but I'm having a tough time with it, and having a tough time becoming inspired by it. Giving up on it is not an option and of course I will persevere, but I'm really not very fond of it. Maybe as I get better at it, it will begin to really pop for me. I hope so... Because it seems very difficult now, it may end up becoming one of my favorite kata, by the time I have the whole thing worked out.

My wife is really coming along. I've been working with her on Chart I and she's got that memorized, and I've been working with her on the Seisan Kata, too. She's got the movements memorized and just needs to refine it a little. She spent years in ballet, so she's already got the neuron pathways established for quickly memorizing a sequence of moves, and has naturally good balance and flexibility. I'm so jealous.... Hahahaha... I'm happy for her, and she's really enjoying karate.

Bob and I are twins! Hahahaha....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tonight's class, anticipation, and... Bob.

Tonight, in about an hour and a half, I find out if I passed my belt test. On the one hand, I'm pretty detached about it, acknowledging that in the grand scheme of things, belts really don't mean much. On the other hand, I'm pretty stoked. It feels like I'm finally on my way, which I also acknowledge as being kind of silly. I've been on my way for quite some time, now. Still, it'll be nice not to be a shirobi, anymore. (Eh... Providing, of course, that I passed the test!)

Bob showed up today. w00t!! I positioned him in the basement dojo, filled the base up with water, and then set the height of Mr. Bob. I took an old Everlast T-shirt and put it on him, and took a pair of old shorts and cut a hole in the middle of them so I could put them on Mr. Bob. I topped it off with a pair of old motorcycle sunglasses and a Stars & Stripes doo-rag. He looks very cool...

My daughter had no idea that Bob was coming. She came into the garage after I was done, and I told her to go into the dojo and turn the lights on. She yelled, "YES!!!! OMG... That is SO COOL!" Hahahahaha....

I've got a DVD of workouts that involve Bob. I'll watch it later. Maybe later tonight, I'll snap a couple of pics of Bob and post 'em up.

My ankle is feeling a bit better. I kept Arnica gel on it, and took some sublingual Arnica tablets that I have, and I think they helped. Riding the motorcycle today, I didn't notice any undue tenderness, when I was stopped at stoplights and holding the bike up with my left foot, so.... we'll see how it goes tonight at class.


At the end of class, the woman who was testing for brown-belt, my daughter, and I, were called up, one at a time, and our belt certificates were presented to us. The actual belts should be here by Thursday. w00t!!

More work on Chart I tonight, as well as fighting up from the ground with a variety of kicks thrown from a prone position, and then rolling up/fighting up into a good Seisan stance. Great class!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Belt Test

Daughter and I had our belt test, yesterday evening. We had to do Chart 1 and 2, and then run through the Seisan Kata. We both did just fine with Chart 1 and the Seisan, but we need work on Chart 2. Overall, I think we passed, though. We'll find out tomorrow night.

There was another woman with us, testing for brown-belt. She did pretty good, and I hope she passed. She works so hard, shows up to every class, and she's quick to help others who are having a hard time with one of their kata. She's also legally blind, but it doesn't appear to slow her down at all. I'm so proud of her and always inspired by her... She's always quick to offer help and suggestions.

This is the first time I've ever tested for a belt. When I studied Wado-ryu in Japan, there were only three belts: White, an intermediate green, and then black-belt.

Yesterday afternoon, I was warming up in the basement dojo and skipping rope. I came down on my left foot and it turned inward, resulting in a bad sprain. I had to grit my teeth through the test and while running through the charts. What a rotten time to sprain an ankle! Yeesh.... I hope it heals quickly.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Journey With The Grandmaster

What a fantastic book!! The photos alone, are well worth the price of the book! There is one rare photo of Osensei Eizo Shimabukuro seated next to his brother, Osensei Tatsuo Shimabukuro. Two masters, brothers, seated side by side...

I e-mailed Major/Sensei Bill Hayes and thanked him for his book, and he graciously replied back, pleased that I had enjoyed his book. Enjoyed is not the word for it; I freakin' devoured it! I couldn't put it down...

Thank you to Sensei John Vesia for recommending it.

In other news, I broke down and bought a Bob. (Eh.... It's not what you're thinking! (Haha...) Photo below:


I think this is going to be a fun and useful way to practice various techniques, and I think my daughter will be very happy about it, too. We have a couple of these at our dojo, and she enjoys using them to train, when our Sensei drags them out every so often for drills or technical demonstrations.

I'm also thinking of making (or buying) a makiwara, in the near future.

Class tonight, and I'm looking forward to it. :-)