Friday, December 30, 2011
I decided to do repetitions.
By doing a lot of the same thing we start to train our bodies - "muscle memory" forms. This can be a good thing or a VERY bad thing. The problem with repetition is the repeating of "bad form." If you keep doing the same thing poorly over and over you actually are doing harm to your body.
Good practice is the only way to do repetitions.
A lot of time from a third person's view it is very easy to see what is missing in a persons' form.
I tried to help the repetitions by stopping quickly to show the students what I saw. This seemed to help.
As the body gets tired the form breaks down. This means it is time to stop the repetitions. There is no point in doing the same thing over and over if you can't do it correctly.
We then practiced sen no sen. Timing is one of the most important practices we do. Sen also really translates into our everyday lives in many situations. This should be practiced every day.
Kata - people with new belts are still learning their katas. Ask questions about your katas. Ask someone who has done it before. Once you know the pattern then start diving into the intricate parts of the kata with Taichiro sensei. You'll be amazed how different even an inch to the right or left can enhance your kata.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Now there are 4 new brown belts! Brown belt, in case you didn't know, is the last color belt before getting a black belt! That's exciting, that some of you are already getting there.
I assigned the following Kata to the new brownies (no, that's not a common karate term; I just made it up):
Bassai Dai: Chris and Jon M
Kanku Dai: Nate and Vonzell
They will be working on these Kata for a long time. They are the signature Katas of our style. As you can easily see the Heian Katas were derived from them. Heian Katas are relatively new and were developed for training/education purposes, but Bassai and Kanku are very historic and no one knows the exact origin. By the way Bassai sometimes are called Passai in other styles, and Kanku are called Kusanku or Kushanku. Since they are very old and passed down through generations of masters, several different styles practice those Kata that are variations of them. They are not extremely hard to learn, but are very rich and deep; worth studying for a while.
Here are the recommended Youtube videos for those who are learning the Kata:
http://youtu.be/TZsx1coI3ac (Canadian, eh?)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
We have had some additions to our followers though! And Tiffany is following us twice!
Recently we had our kyu exam! It went very well. Ron Vance was pleased and gave praise to our teaching efforts and accomplishments. This always feels good from a teaching perspective. The kyu exam is actually stressful for not only the testers but the teachers as well. The students mirror the teachers and back and forth. I would think the worst thing either Taichiro or I would like to hear is "What are you guys doing here? The students are really doing some weird moves." This was not the case!!
The dojo continues to develop. We constantly learn how to make the dojo run more efficiently. New people keep coming and going - but our retention rate is good enough to keep functioning...which is really our main goal. NEW classes have been added! John Olson's wife Martha has joined us as our Chief Yoga Instructor!! Currently we have a Sunday 9:30am class for $5!! Yoga is something I have always wanted to do. I'm really learning how inflexible I am! More classes will be added!
A kids jiu-jitsu class will start in January!
A massage therapist needs to put in 20 hours to get her license! We have agreed to host her and we will charge $1/minute for you to get a nice massage!! There's nothing like a 20 minute rubdown after a class!
That's all for now.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
by M. Nakayama
Master Nakayama was a co-founder (so was Sensei Nishiyama) of JKA and its first Chief Instructor. He passed away before I began training but he used to come down to San Diego Summer Camp which used to be held annually. He was senior to Sensei Nishiyama but I heard that they had mutual respect to each other.
This book is kind of similar to Sensei Nishiyama's book, in the way it covers most of fundamental topics. There is a famous series of books "Best Karate" by the same author, and from what I understand the "Best Karate" series was based on this book.
Next month I will make a Kata book available, so that those who pass the test and start learning the new Kata can benefit from it.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
(Thursday and Saturday) before the tournament, and I'm hoping to cover some
basic points that are helpful when competing.
(loosely based on Kogo rules but less strict on penalties) for green belts, and free sparring for brown belts. Hopefully we get enough competitors in each division, but if not, we will be
forced to mix 2 divisions and apply the rules of one division or the other.
4. Transition: smoothness/flow of the entire Kata, connecting one action to the next without
cutting/pausing/breaking. Remember, the ending position of a technique is supposed to be the best starting position for the next technique.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
For those of you who don't know Avi, he had been a long time Sensei Nishiyama student, and one of the most accomplished athletes/instructors among his students. He dedicated his life to the training and teaching of Sensei Nishiyama's karate, and he really is an excellent teacher.
When I came to the US and started looking for a dojo to train at, I was skeptical about finding a good authentic traditional karate dojo. I still remember, that I took a couple of buses to get to Avi's dojo which I found on Yellow Pages (no Internet back then!), and I said to myself "This is it!!!" the moment I saw him teaching a class. I almost peed in my pants from excitement...! I was already a black belt from training in Japan, but my true karate training started with Avi in 1993. I still take his classes occasionally, and Jon and Eiko do, too, on a regular basis.
He will be teaching a class here at VTK/VMAC on November 6th, on the occasion of Nishiyama Memorial. Don't miss it!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Oji-waza is "to respond to opponent's attack". When opponent is committed to hitting you with a punch, he cannot switch his mind to defend himself if you attack right at that moment. So you expect him to attack, then simultaneously ("Sen") or immediately after his attack ("Go-no-sen") you counter attack. Remember, you're not "waiting" for his attack; rather, you're reading his mind and always on top of him both physically and mentally, so when he attacks you, you're already in motion to counter attack.
Shikake-waza is "to set the opponent up to create a Kyo". "Kyo" is a mental or physical imbalance, in other words it is a chance for you to attack. If he is going to attack you without you initiating a move you can simply use Oji-waza to counter. However, when he is not going to attack you soon (maybe he is waiting for you to make a move, maybe he is afraid of you, etc.), then you have to create a situation that he exposes a Kyo.
One of Shikae-waza we've practiced many times is Renzoku-Kogeki-Waza (combination attack). In this case the opponent is ready to back up once you throw a technique; so you let him escape the first one but you quickly switch to the second or third attack, breaking the distance and rhythm each time to get closer, and finish with the last technique.
Another Shikake-waza is Koroshi-waza, which we've practiced last week. In this scenario he wants to hit you with a specific technique as soon as you come in, and you know what technique he wants to use (maybe he is telegraphing, maybe that's his favorite technique, etc.); so you just touch that technique as you move in, and almost simultaneously counter attack before he has a chance to move again. By just quickly touching, he is already disarmed or his technique was "killed" before it was born, and the moment of confusion he's in is Kyo that you use to attack him.
3rd Shikake-waza, which we will practice this coming week, is Sasoi-waza. This is actually the most popular form. Similar to Koroshi-waza above, you know that he wants to hit you as soon as you make a move; so you give him a "fake move" to bring out his technique, then you quickly avoid his attack and then counter attack. You use "Sen" or "Go-no-sen" timing explained above to counter attack, but initially you're "inviting him" to attack you by giving him a cue.
...Well, maybe my attempt of "sorting things out" was not very successful...! If I confused you too much, ask me questions, or try to learn it in class!
By the way, as you know we started announcing the top students who attended training the most in a month. Last month's winner was Emmanuel. We're doing this to make you realize how many classes you're missing in a month, comparing to those who come regularly. I totally understand that your work/family/life situation often prevent you from coming to the class, but I have to tell you that karate is not easy and the only sure way to improve is to keep on training. If our current schedule doesn't fit yours let us know; we're always willing to listen and try to accommodate if demand is great. Also I'm available for private lessons throughout a week for low cost, so contact me if you're interested.
Lots of things continue to happen at the dojo. Check out the Gi store display in the lobby (work in progress). We're only less than 2 weeks away from the tournament, then Nishiyama memorial, then a garage sale! Then I'm off to Chile. Oh, it's time for me to get into the competition mode!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
So I should be focusing primarily on your favorite Kata and basic Kumite timing/strategy, assuming all our students will participate. If you choose to perform another Kata than the one you're currently working on at the tournament, let me know so that I can let you practice it.
I just randomly decided to present you "Karate Book of the Month". This month, it is Sensei Nishiyama's book: Karate, The Art of Empty-Hand Fighting. This is such an old book and a lot of contents is outdated (remember, Sensei Nishiyama's karate evolved/refined tremendously over the years) but it still is considered a definite text of the subject, and it actually is the world's best selling karate book. I have one copy available in our kitchen, for you to take a look.
Those who are subscribed to this blog, there is a way to receive an e-mail notification every time I update it. I usually try to write a new post on weekend (or sometimes Monday) but you can just get it e-mailed to you so that you don't have to check it. I'm not announcing something extra important here exclusively, so you shouldn't miss much even if you don't check it regularly, but I sure hope your training will be facilitated by the info you find here.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
October 23: Kyu Level Tournament
November 6: Sensei Nishiyama Memorial
November 25-26: ITKF PanAmerican Championships in Chile (I know it's not at our dojo, but I will be competing!)
December: Kyu exam TBA
Western Region Dan exam TBA
We also may do something for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas...! Wow, it's that time of year again??
There also will be a national seminar in New York early November. Check out the AAKF website if you're interested.
And now for the weekly dojo blog: we've still been doing a lot of kicks, but I'm trying to shift it to more timing drills. I was also going to spend more time on Kata but haven't been able to, so perhaps one of these classes I will have to spend half the class on Kata. The problem is, I sometimes want to change the topic based on who showed up, so the plan does not always work. I wish EVERYONE will show up EVERY CLASS... But wait, maybe I should be careful of what I wish for, now that we have so many students!
I think I finally started seeing some improvements in you kickings. I like it. But applying it on a moving target is a whole another matter. Let's continue working on it.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I will NOT do any special training for the competition, since the regular training is the best training. I don't want you to stress out about the rules, how well you're prepared, how judges score you, whether you lose/win, etc. It all comes down to on the day whether you did your best or not, and if you could learn from your mistake or success.
Just try to make it to the class as often as possible. We'll continue with more kicking, different timing drills, and perhaps spend a little more time on each Kata. Ask us for any advice, and if you need more in-depth / personal attention, schedule a private lesson or two.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
We've been working on the kicks as I promised you, and I've thrown in Ushiro-geri (back kick) just to get a kick out of it! :-) Actually 3rd Kyu exam will have a back kick in Kumite, so I need to get some of you prepared. I must admit that it's my least favorite kick, both in doing it and in receiving it (boy it hurts!). I spar to test my skills including how well I can control a technique, and I don't like it when someone tries a technique that he apparently cannot control. Accident happens and I rarely complains even if I get hit, but I try not to hit anybody. Back kick can be a very strong technique, but it can also be very dangerous or difficult if you can't control the momentum. I need to practice it as much as you do...!
Let's continue working on kicks, basic Sen/Go-no-sen timings, and some advanced timing concepts/drills. Also I welcome any suggestions or requests!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Anyway, we started working on lots of kicks. I hope you all like them (but if you don't... too bad!). Get the correct posture/stance, proper course of action, appropriate body dynamics, right angle and lastly, add a bit of power to it. But remember, "karate power" is not a push but a snap and the ground force. We're incorporating the kicks in timing drills, but this is not easy (for me either).
My plan is to gradually shift into more advanced offense strategies. But again, with a constant flow of new students it is extremely difficult to try those advanced points... Hmm, time for an advanced level only class?? We should think about that once we have a few brown belts. It could happen in 4 months!
Those of you who have not learned your new kata from me, please try to come to the class and learn it asap so that you can practice it on your own or repeat it in class. You can certainly learn it from Jon, Eiko or anyone who are higher rank than you are, but there could be some minor differences than the standard I set. Those differences are NOT mistakes, but rather, some minor varieties. It is now so much easier to teach a new kata though, because we have the dojo and I can spend as much time on just one kata after the class! I LOVE IT!!!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Just like other Kata videos, I picked up a few here for your reference:
I'm glad that all of you did well today. Unfortunately a few of you didn't get where you wanted to get, but I'm sure you will come back stronger. And to those who passed, it does not mean you scored a perfect 10! Keep on training, the exam gets harder and harder as you go up...!
So this past 1 week, we were obviously gearing toward the exam requirements. I still covered timing drills in class but even those were in relation to the Kumite part of exam. Some of you might remember that Ron once commented on our Kumite being a bit weak (counter attack timing was off) in a past exam? I didn't want him to make the same comment again, so I specifically focused on a quick counter attack in my classes, and I'm happy with the results!
What were the comments Ron made this time? I remember kicking. Get ready, you will be kicking a lot for the next 4 months...!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
For the most part all our members are beginners. In 4-5 months that will change as quite a few of you will hit the intermediate level of your training...brown belt. I think it is great so many people came tonight - it was a record I think - 12!! Hmmm...there must be a kyu test around the corner...
We had one brand new person Britani join!! This always makes me feel great - and I have been feeling great a lot lately as it seems someone joins every other week!
Our "little" dojo has 28 adult members now(including The JET - Jon, Eiko and Taichiro)!! It's great to read news letters and see VMAC or VTK in there! We have really made a name for ourselves and continue to flourish.
Come to class, train hard and be critical on yourself. Remember it is not your job or concern to be critical on others. The time you spend judging someone else is less the time you spend improving yourself. Oooh...that was a good one! I think I'll post that on Facebook!
Monday, August 22, 2011
I've been very busy as well.
Helping to run a dojo is a bit more than a part time job plus my regular job...which will be finished in 2 months, if not sooner. I can't wait - then I'll have more time to devote to the dojo.
Also - I'm not sure if anyone reads this...so I'm not overly inspired.
Needless to say our dojo grows!! We are getting a lot of calls now. People are funny. Lots of people say "I'll be there Wednesday." And then I never hear from them again. I try not to get upset or too excited when someone does this but I can't help it.
Kyu test is coming and I have to say looking at the attendance I'm somewhat worried...are you? We always said we were not a dojo that gives belts away. I hope you all take that seriously and don't get upset if you are asked to retake this kyu next time. But remember kyu tests are not mandatory. You are asking us for our opinion...not the other way around. Be strict with yourselves. If you need more time with this kyu take it!
I am mostly focusing the Sunday class on kyu test of course. At the same time I'm trying to build more endurance - running, repetition, situps, etc. We need to be in shape to really feel good about ourselves. It's a catch 22 I know...but you have to work - there is no other way. Also what you do at home is very important...
6 days until the kyu exam!!! BBQ to follow!!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I'm actually doing this BEFORE class today.
Working on the dojo has been taking a lot of time and thought lately. But I am trying to find the actual "fun"in it at the same time. I will say that every time I walk into that dojo it feels really good! Of course now I can only look at the ceiling that is falling down - but hopefully that will be rendered tomorrow :)
We have certainly come a long way! A lot of people have really helped out and that makes the process more special. A big part of the whole move that feels really good is the fact that NOBODY left!! Sometimes in moves people find the excuse to bolt. True we only moved .5 miles west but we all seem to find ways out of things if we want out. I'm glad nobody wants out! We've actually had 1 new member join in our first 3 weeks there! Our Adult karate classes still lead with 20 full time members! The kids karate is 2nd with 13 members and the jiu-jitsu class is at 7 members. I look forward to updating those numbers in the the months to follow!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
A refreshing Sunday class - good attendance and I didn't even have to say "there will be a camera there." We had a new person - Cesar - come to class today. He said he enjoyed it so I hope he decides to join us.
We all did our own kata and a light stretch
We did some very basic drills to start
Then you all know how much I like to partner people up!
We did sen practice. Then to practice our zanshin I had the 1/2 attackers attack twice - mixing up the rhythms.
We then broke out the pads and did our best to hit the targets.
Finishing with kata and stretching
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
- Mae-geri ~ Ushiro-geri
- Mae-geri ~ Ushiro-geri ~ Mawashi-geri
- Gedan-barai ~ Gyaku-zuki
- Soto-uke ~ Gyaku-zuki
- Uke-waza against a stationary target (“body snap”)
- Uke-waza ~ counter punch
- Uke-waza ~ counter punch against a punch
- Uke-waza ~ counter punch against a Mae-geri
- Uke-waza ~ counter punch, responding to a signal
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
So - I'll write and tell you most of what you missed.
However tonight we did some things that you simply had to be there to know about them!
Sometimes a small class can be a good one.
It is scary though to have such a small class when we are embarking on a bigger, more expensive dojo! When I see 3-4 people in class my insides shutter. But - nonetheless we push forward!
Heian Godan, Sandan and Nidan tonight. A nice blend of the beginner katas!
We also took some time to stretch tonight - something we often forget to do.
Basics - a blend of 3 levels. This was more challenging for people just learning.
**Secret techniques and secret practice - this took up quite a bit of time in the class!**
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Today was Mother's Day and even though nobody got my joke the theme of the whole exercise was "MAA" or distance.
It seems that a lot of people don't understand what proper distance is.
We did a few exercises to try and feel the proper distance using sen.
We also did a "double Maa" for kicks. Double Maa is very hard to feel...which is good if you don't feel it. There is no threat making a double maa - this is one of the points.
Catching sen using kicks is very challenging. Kicks are slower than a 1/2 punch. Finding the timing for kicks is very difficult.
Combinations - tricky ones. If you can master tricky ones then the simple ones are easier to navigate. Also - sometimes tricky movements really throw off your opponent. It is good for our brains too.
Kogo -Kumite. We all had a few matches. Judging is the most complex part of a match. A lot of times we miss or are not sure if someone caught a point. It is good practice to judge a match because then you know what to look for.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Class started promptly at 8pm and we had 3 warriors show up!!
Tiffany, Karla and Shali.
I have to say Tiffany and Karla just got new belts and they already are remembering their entire new kata!! Very impressive.
Shali is close to having Heian Shodan memorized as well.
This class was basically a kata class.
I used my student teach student method again...Tiffany showed Karla Heian Nidan and I worked with Shali on Heain Shodan. Then we switched around a few times.
We then did some basics. Tiffany learned nukite in front stance switching from back stance. Karla started adding gyaku-zuki after her blocks and Shali is starting to find her KIAI!!! I think she's a little shy about it but slowly it was coming out.
Karla also got to try roundhouse kick! Which I'll say was very good! I think she has done it before. I brought the kicking bag out and each one got stronger and stronger the more they did it.
We have to hit things! Punching and kicking the air does not show us if we are connected. When you hit a heavy bag especially then you know how grounded your kick or punch is. When I punch a heavy bag I immediately feel the impact. It tests my shoulder, wrist, elbow and feet.
Hit something! Not someone :)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Since everyone who tested had new kata to learn this was quite a difficult class to navigate.
Teaching is a challenge all on its own...so...I decided to use YOU as the teachers.
We had Makoto teach Shali Heian Shodan then
Makoto practiced Heian Nidan on his own
John Olson showed Karla Heian Nidan
Ron showed Tiffany Heian Sandan then
Vonzell showed Ron Heian Yodan
Me and Eiko showed PJ and Vonzell Heian Godan!!!
You all got a taste for your new kata...most getting through at least 1/2 of it.
From there we did some basics. A lot of emphasis on ground reaction, center initiation, hip rotation, snap. Gyaku-zuki, oi-zuki, kicks, stoke/nukite in kokuso dachi.
I think I have been concentrating on ground reaction and attacking from the center a lot because these are the things I am focusing on for my test. I know if you develop good habits from the start it will help tremendously in the long run. Vice versa if you choose to develop bad habits or were taught incorrectly.
We then did Sen with 1/2 attack.
Big concentration on Ma - distance. Did you feel the other persons' ma? Was it harder against a taller or faster person?
Very good class!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Isn't there a kyu test in less than 2 weeks?
I've decided to keep big room "A" through May. After that if classes don't have better attendance I can't see the reason to pay for the big room. We'll have to move into B or E depending on availability. This is your decision!
Today we had 2 white belts who are taking their 1st test, one yellow belt taking her 2nd test and 1 yellow belt taking his 3rd test. We went over all the basics for all three kyu levels.
Kata - Heian Shodan, Nidan and Sandan
Kumite - both 1 step and 3 step kumite.
We then did some footwork.
Sen practice - farther distance with kicks
Close distance with koroshi.
Friday, April 15, 2011
- Age-uke (w/ rotation) ~ Gyaku-zuki (w/ rotation) ~ Choku-zuki (w/ vibration)
- Soto-uke (w/ rotation) ~ Gyaku-zuki (w/ rotation) ~ Choku-zuki (w/ vibration)
- Shuto-uke (w/ rotation) ~ Gyaku-zuki (w/ rotation) ~ Shuto-uke (w/ rotation)
- Yori-ashi Gyaku-zuki w/ Nagashi-uke (sweeping block)
- Sen using Gyaku-zuki w/ Nagashi-uke, against Kizami-zuki
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
3 more weeks till the exam!
Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki (in place, Zenkutsu-dachi)
Mae-geri ~ Same leg Mae-geri (in place, Heisoku-dachi)
Mae-geri ~ Oi-zuki
1-2 Punch (Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki)
Gyaku-zuki ~ Mae-geri
* Combinations: focusing on smooth continuation using breathing and floor pressure.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not spending much time going over the exam requirements. It's your responsibility at this point that you know all the things you're supposed to do. Ask me any questions or problems if you have some, and I may go over some of those in the class. If not, please work on them on your own or take private lessons.
Also, I'm trying to give you some tools that you can use in competition sparring. These simple combination attacks are just that; simple but effective tools that you can apply in Kumite. Not only the exam but the regional tournament is coming up in 3 weeks!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
-Inner thighs connection/knees coming together
-Matching body action with technique ending & drop down to floor (floor pressure)
Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki (=A)
Yori-ashi Gyaku-zuki ~ Kizami-zuki (=B)
Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki ~ Kizami Mae-geri (=C)
Combination attacks (A or B) against a target backing up
Combination attacks (B or C) against a target blocking
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
If you need extra help, book me for a private lesson, as some of you are already doing it on a regular basis. Also, I highly recommend you to go to NKI in West LA (where Ron Vance, Robert Dobes and I teach) at least once before the exam, just to show your face to Ron who will be the examiner.
Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki
Yoko Keage Yoko Kekomi
Kiba-dachi, side stepping side kicks (Keage & Kekomi)
Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki (=A)
Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki ~ Kizami Mae-geri (=B)
Combination attacks (A or B)
Combination attacks (A or B) catching a target before s/he is ready to come back