Friday, December 30, 2005

Karate goals for 2006

Each year I make karate commitments. These aren't "resolutions", as in the normal goals that many people do (watch their weight, stop smoking, and such), they are more like physical karate goals for the year. I started training in karate in February of 2002. I had no goals then. I was introduced to the world of martial arts. In 2003, my goal was very simple. I just wanted to continue training, and not give into that feeling of staying home instead of going to the dojo. I achieved that goal, and made sure that I didn't miss any classes that year. In 2004, my goals were: Kihon: I wanted to work on that "twist" at the end of my techniques. Sometimes when I'm in a hurry, it disappears. I'd like it to become a natural movement. I also want to work on my balance. Kata: I'd like to learn the Tekki (Naihanchi) kata. I've read on the internet that these kata are being overlooked because they aren't early on the testing list. Kumite: I'd like to focus on what my hips are doing during kumite, and less on my arms/ hands. I'd like to develop my hip rotation more. Result: I had to slow down my basics for awhile to allow my muscles to learn to "twist" at the end of my techniques, but it didn't take too long for that twist to become natural. In fact, I can now choose IF I want to twist, and how far I want to twist. My balance has improved a hundred fold. It has been noticed that it is getting harder for my opponent to find me off-balanced now. I did not learn the Tekki (Naihanchi) kata. My kumite goal didn't work with my Kihon goal. Since I was trying to focus on the twist in my hands, I had to let go of focusing on my hips for the majority of the year. I found out that hip rotation is best worked on during basics rather than in sparring. The goals for 2005: Kihon: To apply more power when performing a technique during the basics part of class. Kata: To work on my turns so that they are quicker, and more controlled. Kumite: To flow more when I attack, and to do more than 3 techniques one after the other in a natural way. I was able to increase my power by adding upper body weight training into my practice at home. I'm still developing the turns so that they are fast, balanced, and controlled. I've been able to flow more in kumite, but that affected my targeting some. So now that the year 2006 is coming. This does not mean that all the other goals are unimportant, but that I will adjust my focus into other aspects of my training. I think that I want to work on my mental, and spiritual strength this year. Kihon: I want to find that central space within me as I do my basics. Keeping my mind centered on my tanden, and attacking with my whole body, not just my arms, and legs. Kata: I want to focus on keeping Zanchin throughout the kata in spite of all the interruptions, and distractions. Kumite: I want to keep a calm interior that is alert, and willing to do what is necessary to react to what is coming in a flexible way, not being locked into this or that combination. Hopefully this year's goals all will support each other.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Starting my new path as Black

It's been a few weeks now since I achieved the rank of Shodan. I'm still trying to get my head around the idea. Whenever Sensei says something like "The black belts will spread out in the dojo.." I still find myself standing there hesitating until I remember that I am also a black belt.

I don't feel any different: the same issues that I was working on before my test are still being worked on now...

I just attended my first high level seminar that was filled wall to wall with black belts. We did two days of kumite training. To my joy, I was able to keep up with the majority of the complicated maneuvers that we were doing. O.K. sometimes I wasn't graceful, or competent with it, but I knew deep down that it was experience that would remedy this. I walked away from that seminar feeling rather happy with myself.

I've become more aware of the little things that I want to improve in my performance... such as my balance, direction of power, etc. I'm glad that I have the rest of my life to work on this.