Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Adaptive Makiwara

At the dojo I like to hit the Makiwara and will happily spend time there honing my punch delivery until someone gets worried that I might get hurt. Of course I'll get hurt, that happens in Makiwara training. But I will also get better at minimizing my effort, maximizing my output, and localizing my target. I would much rather get hurt on the Makiwara than in the street. My Sensei has taught me how to properly strike it, how not to, and to recognize any cues from my body that say it's time to stop. I have promised from day one to do my best to pay attention to my body.

Before I started karate I did a lot of rehab work in physiotherapy, and I also played a lot of Wii Fit Plus. I love that game and wish I had room to play it now. Wii Fit Plus as "Wii-habilitation" helped me lose weight, improve my balance, timing, stamina, and mindset. It's quite the game!

For the past three years I've had to do a lot of rehab for a lot more reasons and I've missed that gamified training. Today I got Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch. Either the synchronicity is off in the accelerometers or I truly have no rhythm. (Sadly, my Joy-Cons have just exhibited "Joy-Con Drift", a problem that requires me to send the unit in for repair.)

With fitness boxing the trainer's avatar lifts her back foot to throw the punch. In Goju Ryu we stay on the ground because that's where we generate our power. The game seemed to have no trouble with my alteration.

Having just left the Rehabilitation Technology field I'm back to being my own only Assistive Technology patient, so it's just as well that I'm finally getting back to karate after a very long time and finding new methods for supplemental training.

There is a grid in the game that shows all the movements it can track: basic body movements and basic punches. We like the basics in our style, I'm happy to stick with those during personal training time.

The hardest part is keeping my legs and hips steady beneath me while I throw the punch. The second hardest part is stopping before my elbows hyperextend or dislocate. I don't have much trouble with my elbows yet and I don't plan to start  now!

Last week an opportunity came up to test my Goju Ryu with an Isshin Ryu karateka. I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of both and just how much power can be generated by a small movement. A simple back fist can be devastating.

Both of my shoulders stay in their sockets most of the time and I haven't had a major shoulder dislocation in several months. If I punch the way I've been taught there should be very little risk of a shoulder dislocation because the power comes from the legs, hips, and back.

As longs as I do it right -- that's the catch.
The more training, the more opportunities to get it right --
that's the work!

This game is a jackpot for the basics of boxing. I wish my stepdad were here to play with me, he was a boxer and would have liked the game. He was very supportive of my karate, too.

We can only do so much, but we can often adapt beyond the limits we first perceive.

Be well.

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