Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday lonely Sunday

Hey everyone!! What is happening to the Sunday crew? We only had 5 come this time...
Next week class is at 10am due to The Superbowl.

We all did our kata.
Then we ALL did a lot of basics...everyone counted. I'm happy to say that everyone can count up to 10 in Japanese.

Pad work - I know you guys love to hit things. We did a lot of pad drills.

Kogo Kumite! Everyone fought today.

We finished off with some more kata.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's so nice to see the large studio filled up with students (especially after having only 2 students yesterday)! We were missing some students, yet the class was pretty full...! I hope you're all having fun!

Training Subjects:

Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki
Kizami-zuki from free-style Kamae
Gyaku-zuki from free-style Kamae

Ayumi-ashi (+ attack at the end) leading with the center
Yori-ashi (+ attack at the end) leading with the center

Go-no-sen Amashi-waza (against a face attack, avoiding by sliding back)
Go-no-sen Amashi-waza (against a stomach kick, avoiding by slidig back + a hand scoop)
Go-no-sen Amashi-waza (against a face attack, avoiding by turning away = Mawashi-ashi)

Heian 1~4, etc.

The main point I wanted you to think was the "center initiation". When you react to an opponent, you react with your center; I call this a "guts reaction". And since the center controls all the movements (your legs and arms are connected to the center, remember?), the following action/technique comes out smoothly. That's the only way to coordinate your whole body. Independent leg/arm action may be strong if you're physically big and strong, but we're here to learn more efficient way of using our body. Let's continue studying that!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where was everybody? Was there another football game tonight??

But I'm glad I got to spend some one-on-one time with Sean and Olene. You all will be amazed how good they got just by taking tonight's class... We mainly worked on Kata and sliding punches.

I actually like beginners' class to be smaller than the regular class, so that I can pay more individual attention. Especially if you're a white belt, try to make it to Wednesday class, please!

See you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training Subjects:

Heian Shodan
Heian Shodan "mirror image"
Yori-ashi bwd/fwd

Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki
Kizami Mae-geri ~ Mae-geri
Kizami Mawashi-geri ~ Mawashi-geri

Go-no-sen Amashi-waza against Mae-geri (scoop and draw in, dump it to the side, counter attack)
Go-no-sen Amashi-waza (Mawashi-ashi) against Mawashi-geri

Looked like some of you really enjoyed the Kata mirror-image/ backwards/ inverted/ flipped/ whatever! I was expecting more people screwing it up, but you all did pretty well! Maybe I'll give you a bonus point if you choose to do your Kata that way during exam... Just kidding!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday 1/23/11


This was the smallest class ever - 4 people!! Was it something I said?
I rushed to teach this class from New Mexico! But - for 4 people it was worth it.
We worked hard.
Since there were so few each person decided what we would concentrate on.

The subjects were:
1. Sliding in kizami-zuki, sliding in gyaku-zuki
2. Kicks
3. Combinations - we did Nidan exam combinations since they are so fresh in my mind!

I then added these things to sen practice.
We also did a double sen feeling to really demonstrate zanshin.

Kata - with emphasis on "snap"- body pressure.
Kata - with emphasis on reality - truly making each technique strong and powerful - techniques that would work!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Training Subjects:

Yori-ashi bwd/fwd
Kata - Heian 1, 3, 4...

Age-uke ~ Gyaku-zuki
Soto-uke ~ Gyaku-zuki
Gedan-barai ~ Gyaku-zuki

Yori-ashi bwd ~ Yori-ashi fwd w/ Gyaku-zuki (Amashi-waza move)
Same as above, with resistance (back leg pressure ~ spring fwd)

Go-no-sen Amashi-waza against a face punch
Go-no-sen Amashi-waza against a stomach kick
1. Catch early
2. Draw the opponent in
3. Avoid an attack by minimum distance
4. Immediately switch to a counter attack
5. Catch before the opponent can make the second attack
6. Minimum body shifting in, maximum hip rotation and elbow extension

On Tuesday we practiced a timing set-up but I realized we have to learn Go-no-sen Amashi-waza to be able to make that work. A lot of us are afraid of doing "Sen" = direct attack catching the opponent while he comes at you. If you're one of them, Go-no-sen timing might work better for you. But still, you can't be "behind". Remember, if you're late, there is nothing you can do to make it up! Physically you can move back to avoid an attack, but mentally you have to be "on" with the opponent and ready to go "in" at any time.

Wednesday Jan 19th

Beginner's class with a few non-beginners!
Even though anyone can show up at this class the focus will be on basic techniques.

We worked on stances a lot. Front Stance, Back Stance and Horse Stance. I'm not going to write it in Japanese anymore because Taichiro keeps making fun of my spelling.

We worked on turning directions - planting the back foot and moving the front stance.

Emphasis on pulling/drawing hand.
Emphasis on hips and shoulders - keeping square for punches, turning hips for blocking.

Basics - Up block, down block, reverse punch, lunge punch, sword hand block and "out to in" block, front kick

Sen no sen - timing. Emphasis on breath, hips, foot

Kata - many times - Heian Shodan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Training Subjects:

Yori-ashi fwd/bwd

Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki
Mae-geri (~step-in)

Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki
Mae-geri (~step-in)

Toh-ma (far distance) ~ Move-in by various shifting vs. Catch with a punch when close enough
Same as above, catching with a kick
Same as above, avoid an attack by shifting back
Same as above, avoid an attack by shifting back, followed by a counter attack (Go-no-sen Amashi-waza)

Move around, react to a signal by Go-no-sen Amashi-waza

Good job everyone! That room is too small for us big group... Gotta find our own place soon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday 1/16/11

I got on this right away this time.

Today was interesting - we had the Florentines join the dojo today.
Isaac comes from another style of karate but his girls are Shotokan.
He will train with us irregularly but hopefully the girls Michelle and Evelyn will blend right in.
Watch out for Isaac & Michelle's kicks!

Basics - all blocks, kicks
Footwork- uriashi, sugiashi drills

Sen - breathing first then any one punch
Distance Sen - starting from farther away to allow training side any one kick

Offense/Defense - first Kogo style using Kohoshi.
Concentrating on feeling the breaking of "ma" or proper distance.
Then any one punch in response.

Kata - 3 kata thinking of three principles of karate - 1. Hard/Soft 2. Fast/Slow 3. Long/Short

Then Chris and Jon M. faced off in Kogo. After 3 rounds of "sudden death" they both walked away with 1/2 point each. No winner/No Loser.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 Winter Training (January 10-15, 2011)

We did it!

Jon B. 6 days
Chris 6 days
Tiffany 6 days
Me 5 days
Jon M. 1 day
Olene 1 day
John 1 day
Sean 1 day

I hope you all enjoyed it. Here are video clips of the previous years' training, conducted by Sensei Nishiyama:


Training itself was not very hard (except today, it was HOT! This is supposed to be a freezing-cold winter training...!), but waking up early every morning (and going to work afterwards) was. But I'm sure those who completed it feel great and are ready for this year's challenges, whatever they may be. Congratulations!

If we get our own place we may be able to host it next year because a lot of us participated this year. So let's find a place!

And Jon B. tested for his 2nd degree black belt after the winter training today. The results are not in yet; Ron will contact Jon later. Thank you very much for all the VTK members who came to support him!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Training Subjects:

Yori-ashi (fwd~bwd~fwd)

Yori-ashi Kizami-zuki
Yori-ashi Gyaku-zuki

Sen against a half attack
Same as above, moving around
Same as above, initiating side finds out how little/much is needed to bring out Sen side's reaction
Same as above, initiating side avoids Sen side's attack by sliding back

Yori-ashi (fwd~bwd~fwd) with a finishing blow


...No, I will not write it down here. It's a secret after all. Sorry those who missed this class... ;-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Training Subjects:

Lunges (various directions)

Zenkutsu-dachi with Hip rotation
Same as above, plus Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki
Isometric Gyaku-zuki (wall pushing)
Isometric Kizami-zuki (wall pushing)
Fumi-ashi (stepping) fwd/bwd
Oi-zuki fwd
Gedan-barai bwd

Heian Shodan

Most beginners initially have trouble with coordination: Your left foot (a.k.a. the other right foot) moves when your right foot is supposed to, You're punching with right hand when everyone else is punching with left, etc. Karate's movement pattern is not that complicated, and you just have to get used to it. A lot of us are unaware of where your body is situated; learn to be sensitive about your body, and look at the mirror sometimes to confirm if what you're feeling is same as what you're actually doing. Keep focusing on the points we cover during the class, be consistent with your training, and everyone will get it one day!

Eventually you want to be able to control the opponent or the situation, but first, learn to be able to control your own body parts. It's great once you achieve this, because then you can apply it to any other physical activities. Oh, you have to control your mind also, which is entirely separate (and difficult) subject.

I'm happy I get to spend more time focusing on the basic points in this Wednesday class. As you can see we don't cover much in terms of number of techniques. More fun stuff is based on these fundamentals, and the more you do these at the beginning, the better!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I was waiting for Jon to post this class' report, but I guess it's not going to happen. I don't blame him; he had to sub for me that night because I was sick, plus he must have been under a lot of pressure all this week preparing for his Ni-dan test... That's OK.

Oh, this was the class Nicole liked and said "I like it when I actually sweat", comparing to my classes that are not hard enough for her to break a sweat... Yes, I heard you Nicole. Just wait and see...!

(Now Jon posted it. Thanks!)

Yes - I'm always late with these things - sorry.

Mainly we did focus mitt work...kizami zuki and gyaku zuki. Watching which direction the pad goes on impact. This tells us if we are on target or not.

I also showed everyone uraken - back fist! This proved to be pretty confusing - especially the twisted stance we end up in. We need to go over this one with Taichiro...that stance can't be right!

Sen no sen practice - a lot of it. Progressively - first breathing and feet only, then any one punch response.

Large pad kicking practice...everyone except the 2 new white belts Mary-Alex and Nicole...but their time will come!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday January 9,2011

Nice big class today!!
New people - I'd like to welcome Trevor and Mary-Alex!!

We ALL did our katas.
Basics in repetition.

We then paired off -

Using focus mitts - Kizami-zuki, gyaku-zuki
Adding movement and sen to target practice.

Kicks to focus mitts - adding movement and sen

Then we tried Tobi-komi! Jumping in kicking!

Ending the class with offense/defense sparring.

Winter Training 2011 starts tomorrow! 6am!! Be there!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warm up:
Lunges in various directions
Kata: Heian 1-4, Hangetsu

Uke-waza (Jo-dan)
Uke-waza (Chu-dan)
Uke-waza (Jo-dan) ~ Gyaku-zuki
Uke-waza (Chu-dan) ~ Gyaku-zuki

Uke-waza (Jo-dan)
Uke-waza (Chu-dan)
Uke-waza (Jo-dan) ~ Gyaku-zuki
Uke-waza (Chu-dan) ~ Gyaku-zuki
Go-no-sen Uke-waza (Jo-dan) against face punch (L/R)
Go-no-sen Uke-waza (Chu-dan) against stomach punch (R) or Mae-geri (R)

Go-no-sen Uke-waza against imaginary opponent (me): counter attack before my 2nd attack

Cool down:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (NEW Beginners Class!)

We finally started a beginners class. This class will be taught by 3 of us (me, Jon and Eiko) taking turns. Some basic points are boring to teach/practice and I tend to skip them, making a new student catch up quickly (perhaps sometimes too quickly) to the level of other students. This class is designed to focus more on those basic points, not much sparring/timing drills.

Remember, the basic points are important and anyone can benefit from this class. I encourage those who just joined (white belts and 1st yellow belts) to attend this class as often as possible. Anybody can participate, however, we will focus on those beginners who need more attention.

And I try to list up the points that I covered in class on this blog entry, not just the names of techniques. Even if you don't come to this class, at least take a look here and see if you're missing any points. As you know I'm always open to your questions, and if you need a further assistance book me for a private lesson.

Lunge Gyaku-zuki

Kizami-zuki ~ Gyaku-zuki in place
Oi-zuki fwd/bwd
Mae-geri in place
Mawashi-geri in place

(Basic points)
-Posture: Head up, Face back, Shoulders down, Elbows in, Pelvis tucked, Low stomach forward, Knees soft, Feet spread.
-Front stance: Width (foot to foot, sideways) = hips width, Length (foot to foot, front to back) = Width x2, Front foot’s outside edge is straight forward, Back foot is turned out 30-45 degrees, Bend the front knee deep enough so that the stance naturally pushes you forward, Both feet firmly on the floor, Knees aligned with the corresponding foot’s 2nd or 3rd toe.
-Punch: Fold up ALL the finger joints tightly, thumb over the next two fingers. Keep the forearm-wrist-back of the fist line flat. Contact with the two big knuckles.
-Kick (front kick): Curl the toes up. Keep the shin-ankle-top of the foot line flat. Contact with the ball of the foot. Use the support leg to tilt the pelvis. Lean back slightly to compensate with the forward leg action.
-Body dynamics: Use the maximum space available (for the hip rotation, with Hiki-te). Initiate from the center (hip rotation, pelvis tilting, center shifting), ride on the momentum and release the limb at the very end. Match the ending of the center action and the ending of the limb action.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Warm up:
Lunge Gyaku-zuki
Yori-ashi (sliding) fwd/bwd

Jo-dan Uke in Kokutsu-dachi
Chu-dan Uke in Kokutsu-dachi
Uke-waza (block, followed by a counter punch)

Jo-dan Uke in Kokutsu-dachi
Chu-dan Uke in Kokutsu-dachi
Jo-dan Uke against a face punch
Chu-dan Uke in against a stomach punch
Chu-dan Uke in against a stomach kick

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sunday Jan 2, 2011

The first class of the year!!
The turnout wasn't too great but that's ok.
I was in a little funk that day - so I'm not even sure what I taught!!
Great way to start off the year!!!

1 point - turning direction.
The front foot becomes the back foot. The back foot is our anchor. So - remember when you turn your "new back foot" is not the one that adjusts. We'll go over this again.

We practiced Kohoshi (which I never spell correctly)
We tried to really feel the other person - especially when they moved into our "ma" - or personal space. This was really emphasized for a while.

It is a new year! We have bigger and better goals this year. New members are already joining! Onward and upward!