Monday, November 06, 2006

What can I say? I've been busy

When you add the fact that I've had visitors from out of town to the usual high demands of family, and karate, my life has been extra busy. Computer leisure time goes to the bottom of the "to do" list. Therefore, I've neglected so many internet things.. and I'm behind on my emails, forums.. you name it. Including my little blog.

So.. let me tell you what I'm working on in my karate:

It seems that my efforts to relax, and spar with less rigidity has teeter tootered into TOO much relaxation, and I've lost alot of technique. It is quite a tight line to walk when you need to be relaxed, and yet have just enough tension, and technique to make things work correctly.

I think that my kiai has become the key to how to clue my body into that necessary sudden tenseness that you need to strike, or defend, but to stay loose inbetween the action. Expansion, and contraction is such an important part of sparring.. but it is the inbetween moments of calmness that are the hardest to achieve for me. I found that the calmness is so important to being able to sustain an equilibrium to the effort. Too much tension all the time just burns me out.

I've been working on my kiai, and experimenting. I've been kiai-ing at different parts of my strike; at the end, during the middle, even before I send it. Just to see the effect on my body.. and you know what? It DOES make a huge difference as to when you kiai. The body moves differently.. it's like there is a different focus, or philosophy behind the movement. If I wait until Kime is happening to kiai there is a sense of solidity, and finality.. similar to "THERE! Now that's done.. let's go do something else.." If I Kiai as soon as my fist leaves it's chambered position.. there is an excitement in the movement like "Yes! Send it NOW!". Then my breath breaths out with the strike and there is a feeling of continuation...... of flowing into the next moment.

I've noticed that sharp short breaths will change how you move compared to a long constant puffing of air ( like if you were swimming underwater)

I found this awesome article on breathing, and sparring on a Tae Kwon Do website:

I'm amazed at how many different ways we can breathe improperly, and actually inhibit our efforts to perform. I LOVE the description of "stillness" that is provided in this article:

"For martial artists, one of the most important principles of Yin and Yang is the relationship between stillness and motion. Stillness is the natural state before movement begins, and yet it is also the basis of all movement. A technique that begins from perfect stillness enables you to execute the movement in a coordinated and efficient manner that allows your body and mind to unite in a balanced harmony and helps you to release unnecessary tension and to relax more completely. From a  state of stillness, any movement is done with complete awareness and true intent. Your actions become the embodiment of quality and perfection. Once you have a feeling for perfect stillness you will be able to call on it whenever needed. In a pattern training,  you may only be still for a split second between moves, but if it is perfect stillness, then the transition between the moves becomes flawless.  "

Yes.. that is what I desire in my sparring, and my kata. I want to find that calmness or "stillness" inbetween the active phases of movement. Another ideal for me to shoot for... :-)


[Mat] said...

Incredible how breathing affects everything we do...

Taoist breathing has virtues that we often only hear about.

working on kiai's is interesting! keep it up :-)

supergroup7 said...

Thanks Mat... and you know what? You don't need any fancy equipment to work on your breathing skills. In fact, I bet that you could do it with that cast on your arm.

I've read that these kinds of breathing exercises will help expand, and condition the lungs ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.

All in all it is good.

Anonymous said...

Kiai before impact. One of my instructors advised that method. He used the analogy of shifting gears if that makes any sense. Most people don't perform them that way, though.

[Mat] said...


Being injured, even if it is very hurtful and if it happens in a weird way, helps a great deal. (weird = torsion applied to bone. bones are not good with torsion.)

you get to realize a few things, namely :

-Breathing. I understand it better. It's so simple when you get it. There's a breath sequence for every move in a kata. I've tried breathing as if I'm about to kiai at each srtike. And that has changed my point of view a lot. Showing beginners has too. Breathing like a baby, forcing it, holding it.

So far, I'm having better results with the baby breathing/breathing like on the verge of a kiai combo.

Bottom line? We have no idea how to breathe in karate. A short,basic taichi class has shown me that. In those classes, they spend a whole month just breathing. A month!!! Then, breathing while moving. We do it the other way around. Move then learn how to breathe. Weird, huh?

- Technical stuff. Working slow = no choice to work in detail.

I still have some concerns via my practice. But for now, I'm going forth.

Ever seen fighter in the wind?

and milk = cheese. So it's the milk. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)


supergroup7 said...

I noticed that John, Most people do not kiai before impact. From what I've noticed the majority of us will kiai on impact, or even after impact. I believe that "after" impact does nothing for you. There really is no need to tighten your abs after you've done all the work, and it will slow down your reaction to the opponent's response.

supergroup7 said...

No I haven't seen "Fighter in the Wind", Mat.

And it's really hard to rent the older movies.. I tried to find "Karate Kid" at some of the main video rental places. You'd think that a classic movie like that would be easy to find. Or how about "E.T."? No way. I ended up having to buy the DVD to get what I wanted.

There are alot of older movies that I'd like to see.. Are they going to just fade away because the rental stores only carry the latest and greatest?