Monday, November 21, 2011

November 13 - 19, 2011

So we're mainly focusing on the exam stuff. As I told you in class, what we practice are all related and we're trying to apply the same principles across. So even though we have not focused on your Kata/Kihon/Basic Kumite in the past few months, what you've been practicing can and should be directly applicable to the exam requirements.

Up to the 1st degree black belt level, we're focusing on producing maximum force by maximum body action. You have to remember, however, that maximum action is not same as "exaggerated action", "disconnected movement" or "making a pre (back)-motion". A lot of Shotokan karate practitioners misunderstand this point and as a result they keep on developing bad habits and often they lack control of their body/technique.

I'll be in Chile for a week, competing at the Pan American Traditional Karate Championships. Wish me luck by keep on training! Less than 4 more weeks until the next exam (or the party, if you're not testing)!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 6 - 12, 2011 & Nishiyama Memorial Training

It's time to switch a gear and get ready for the exam next month! Are you ready?? Judging from the attendance, some people may be better off skipping the exam this time. As usual, I'm not making that decision (except for the white belts; you need to fulfill the minimum requirement as stated on the handbook), and I encourage everyone to test if they have been training regularly. You still have a month, so don't be nervous yet but start preparing for it! I'm available for private lessons, too, in case you forget about it...

Most of you did not know Sensei Nishiyama who was my teacher. He passed away 3 years ago. Not only was he a great karate teacher, he was a great human being in general and I miss him very much. I learned so much from him and I know for sure that without him I wouldn't have been where I am now. I'm trying to share with you what I learned from him, which is, to enjoy karate. I'm thankful that I had him as my teacher, and I'm thankful that I have a chance to pass his legacy on to you all.

In honoring/celebrating 3 years since his passing, we hosted a memorial event at our dojo. Avi taught a great class, and Susan prepared very nice lunch for all. For those who had not met Avi before, now you know who we always talk about (and impersonate!). He is the reason why I got to know Sensei Nishiyama, he is the reason why I started drinking coffee (:-)), and he still is a mentor for my karate development. We're hoping to host many more of his seminars in the future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

October 31 - November 5, 2011

I'm still 1 week behind the regular update...

We continued focusing on Zanshin, together with some basic timing drills. And on Wednesday the 2nd, a UFC fighter Mr. Takeya Mizugaki came over to take a class. Thank you all for showing up; it was the biggest Wednesday class I've ever seen! It's always fun to have some guests, whether s/he is a famous fighter, known karate master or a movie star...!

As I posted on Facebook, Mr. Mizugaki's visit may possibly be featured on a Japanese MMA magazine "Gong Kakutogi" published in a few weeks. The reporter (Mr. Takashima, who is actually very famous in this business; thank you for visiting us!) was so excited that he took some cool photos of "MMA champion getting punched by an American girl with glasses". Britani, you'll be famous in Japan soon...! :-D

It's already November. I hope you enjoyed the last month's "Book of the Month". This month, I put out a stretching book. I'm not very limber person myself, but I see a lot of you are even worse...! The best time to do stretching is when you're warmed up; after the training, after taking a long warm bath, etc. Don't force it or you'll damage the muscles/tendons; do it gently, with breathing (exhale), and hold the same position for over 20-30 seconds at a time. If you have a question abut how to stretch, ask this physical therapist and I'll gladly point you to the bookshelf.

October 23 - 29, 2011

I know I have not updated this blog for a couple of weeks... My last post's format was so off and I blame Internet Explorer not being compatible with this blog website; it messes up all the formats when I post and it looks ugly and discourages me to write anything...

Now that I installed Google Chrome, I can write a post with proper formatting!

Since the last Kyu tournament, our training focus has been "Zanshin". It is something you have to ALWAYS keep in the back of your head, whenever you practice karate. Especially in tournaments, I don't want our students to automatically assume they scored a point and drop their attention off from the opponent. In most sports karate competition, kumite competitors quickly pulls their fist back to their hip ("chamber" position) without achieving complete Kime; this is a stupid habit and to me, it completely lacks Zanshin as well as Kime.

Kata, Kumite or even in Kihon we must stay alert to the surrounding and stay focused/aware of the opponent, continue being ready to react to a move and to stay "ahead" of his intention. Make Zanshin your habit for life!