Saturday, November 26, 2005
I kept busy today. I went to my kid's parent teacher interviews at their elementary school all morning. Then I went grocery shopping in the afternoon to stock up for the weekend. I had to bring all the housework up to a done level. The day went by peacefully, quickly, and without any moments of "Oh my gosh! I'm one day away from my belt test." I didn't even stop to write about the upcoming event in my blog until now. I'm ready now to think about karate.
What a challenge cross training is! I really only joined the Kyokushin karate dojo for the needed exercise. I couldn't afford to join a second Shotokan dojo, or to join a health spa. The Kyokushin classes were free of charge, and they have a big focus on body conditioning.
I expected to remain a white belt in that dojo because of the fact that I was training in Shotokan, and that training was louder in my body than any of the kyokushin that I was doing. What do I mean? Well.. although a rising head block is a rising head block there is a different way of applying it when one compares Shotokan to Kyokushin.
So then started my learning process as to how each and every movement, and stance is used differently in Kyokushin. I could lean on my Shotokan background, and experience a little to get the main idea, but then I had to fine tune the way that I did my techniques. I'd try to imitate what my Kyokushin Sensei wanted, but since I was almost hard wired for a certain straight linear movement, my arms almost refused to go in a circular manner.
I struggled in kyokushin class to get the direct stepping happening in my legs rather than the C stepping which now seemed so natural to me. Months and months of slow training to get my leg to go direct. I'd run up to my Kyokushin Sensei, demonstrate a few steps and say "Do I have it yet?" He'd smile and shake his head to the negative. Nope, my foot always came into the other as I moved forwards. I watched myself in the mirror.. you could even see the hesitant fight in my legs each time that I moved. There seemed to be a war of FORWARDS! IN! FORWARDS! IN! happening with each step.
Kata! Oh gosh kata! Pinan Sono Ichi is the same embusen as Heian Shodan, but you have to move differently. It has a different feel to it, a different timing, really it has a different "music". It's like listening to the song "Three blind mice" played in Jazz style rather than classical style. For the first 6 months I would mish mash the styles. I'd start off in Shotokan, but at the end of the kata, I would turn into a most wonderful Kyokushin backstance. I'd stand there thinking "This is right, but it's not "right".. how come it feels wrong? It's a good stance! OH oh! I'm doing Shotokan!" So then my body would click into a Shotokan backstance like one of those transformer robots.. feet, leg, hip, torso, arms... click, click, click. AH! That's better.
I was totally lost when it came to Kyokushin sparring. The constant movement.. the attitude.. the idea of unbalancing your opponent.. Oh! and you have to get so close to the person you are fighting sometimes! Distance was always difficult for me to figure out when I was only doing 1 type of art... but to do two arts that demand different ways.. OUCH!
I perservered. I kept trying. I found out that now I have to learn double the amount of kata since I'm doing two arts.
In Shotokan I learned the Heian (5), Tekki (2), Bassai (2), Kanku (2), Empi, Jion, Chinte, Jutte, Hangestu, Gankaku, and Wan kan.
In Kyokushin I learned Kihon (3), Shiho Tsuki (3), Taikyoku (3), Sakugi Taikyoku(3), Pinan (2), Yangstu, Sanchin, and a Bo kata.
37 Kata so far.. and I'm not done. 37 Kata in only 3 years of training! *Insert stunned swear word of choice here*
Well... I was warned before I started learning Kyokushin that it is a FAR harder path in martial arts to try to travel in two styles at the same time. I didn't want to lose the Shotokan art that I have come to know, and love. I didn't want to lose the beauty of the Kyokushin art that I was experiencing. Also there were moments when Shotokan revealed to me the hidden answers to what was happening in Kyokushin, and times when Kyokushin revealed to me the practical applications of my Shotokan.
So! I keep cross training. I'm going for Shodan in Shotokan, but I hold a 7th Kyu level in Kyokushin. That's who I am.. and I just accept the positives, and negatives of the whole thing.