Saturday, September 13, 2014

Things to Work On

Gekisai Dai Ni

1. Hand position: The wrist should always be ready to make a strike, even during a block or during a return to chamber.

2. Uraken uchi (modified): I can't fully extend for a proper Uraken uchi because my wrist dislocates like crazy. But if I don't do a complete extension on Uraken uchi, my subsequent Gedan Barai will be very small and weak. So if I modify Uraken uchi, I need to make sure that I still do a full Gedan Barai.

3. Wrist grab: Unless actually grabbing in bunkai the thumb needs to be tucked underneath, against the palm of the hand. Otherwise it's like giving the other person a gift to grab and break the thumbs.

4. Neko Ashi Dachi: Make sure the knees are properly turned a little bit inward to protect the groin and align the knees safely.

5. Tora Guchi: Work on making movements fluid and cooperative between the blocks. Hand posture should have a straight radial line, consistent with strikes and blocks. 

6. Yoi: hands need to remain tight. m
Mushimi movement is heavy-sticky, as through cold peanut butter. Fluid movement.

Today there were few students and Sensei gave a lot of great instruction. I got to work with a Senpai who knows physiology very well, so he was able to explain why we do certain things on a way that made sense to me.  Nice day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Keeps You From Trying a Martial Art?

I am convinced that Goju Ryu is for everybody.  I have seen videos of quadriplegics using it effectively in training.  It's up-close and personal, you're always in contact, so I believe a blind person would fare well with it.  I'm half-deaf myself, so I know that hearing loss is not always an obstacle, and certainly is not a deal breaker.  I've got one of the most ridiculous anomalies of a disability in the world with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and that's not stopping me.  Autism.  Celiac Disease.  Cancer.  ADHD.  OCD.  Bipolar disorder.  Depression.  PTSD.  Poverty.  Pregnancy.

Name your challenge, there's a way the IOGKF world will make Goju Ryu work, to make you more confident of two things:
1. Your life is worth saving.
2. You can and will save your life, and make it the best it can be.  You've made it this far, haven't you?

I'm not saying everybody is fit to be a karateka.  Everyone has their niche, and for some people karate isn't their thing.  I respect that.  But for those who wish to be included, we will include you.

After a two-week hiatus tonight was my first night returning to the dojo.  I feel like I've regressed a year, and I've not even been practicing for two years yet!  I'll get it back, but it's clear that even two weeks of practicing just on my own has set me back.  It's good to know that, though, because it reminds me of how meaningful it is to get out and spend an evening among my dojo family.

When my wife left a little over a year ago I dove into karate.  I needed to save my life, and although the fight was with myself and my own doubts, I had to fight for it.  Sensei called me to the dojo religiously, made it known that he expected me to be there, and not to miss any sessions.  I dropped 50lbs last year, partly from being really sick, part from being too depressed to eat, and partly from being at the dojo for three or four nights a week.  It was the hardest year of my life, and I've had an atypical number of hard years in my life.  I needed karate.  Now I can't imagine life without it, and luckily, I won't have to.  It's not something you do, it's something you become.  Karateka is the word for someone who practices karate.  Karate is such a holistic, invasive, complete way of being a human on earth, that every decision is impacted by what kind of person I want to face the next time I'm looking at myself in the mirror in the dojo.

I've moved to a new place.  My friend gave me three old training weapons that her son no longer uses, and they are in my new living room.  I can't wait to use them!  But, I have decided to wait on two of them until I have at least achieved Shodan Ho rank in karate (first-degree black belt, given by the school, signifying that you are preparing to test for your IOGKF Shodan black belt).  I don't want to get distracted.  At the same time it is important to diversify one's training, so I will at least look up some techniques for rokushaku bo (six foot stick) fighting and conditioning.  But my focus needs to stay on karate.  My performance was terrible tonight compared to how it was two weeks ago, so I'm glad to be back, and I'm not leaving until I'm satisfied with what I achieve!

The only reason I was able to practice karate tonight is because of my friends.  They have helped me tremendously, beyond measure.  They packed and moved /all/ of my belongings in 85-degree heat while I slept on ice packs and ran IV fluids because my A/C broke the week before I moved out and it was nearly impossible to stay conscious.  I am so stupefied at how much I need other people to live my life as I do, but the truth is that I cannot live without the help of others.  Growing up in the isolated way that I did, I have no idea how I survived, and I will /never/ go back to isolating myself.  I will always be karateka, which means being part of a community.  I will help anyone become a part of that community who wishes to try.

My new apartment is modest but very spacious and very beautiful.  I'm happy with it, but as I set it up I realize that, because Karate is part of my heartbeat, I need to, at all costs, make a dojo space.  It doesn't have to be big, but it has to be deliberately dojo space.  Such will be good for healing my broken heart and moving forward.  It has already begun to heal, but as I have a choice in the matter, I prefer to take an active role in the process.

Bushido No Megumi Dojokun
Through discipline, strength and humility
I will strive to bring out the best in myself and others.
I will use common sense before self-defense
And never be abusive or offensive.
I will strive to have patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Be well.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Karate vs. Street Fighting

The difference between getting your butt kicked by a karateka and getting your butt kicked in the street is that the karateka will stick around and help you clean up the blood.