Thursday, 28 April 2011

Training review - flowing kata!

I've managed to get back to some useful training this week. There has been no karate classes at all this week due to the Easter break (and my instructor enjoying a break in Tuscany) so it has seemed even more important to do some training at home.

My main focus this week has been kata. I have three kata to perform in my grading- Bassai Dai, Seienshin and Annanku, together with some bunkai. Kata has never been my strong point, at least not from an aesthetic point of view! However I do feel I've made some significant strides forward in the last few weeks. This week I've been following Felicia's advice about practising kata as a flow drill and I think it is paying off. Instead of just doing the kata with full power and with correct timing you practice it softly and flowingly at a faster speed than normal. You have to pay attention to correct stances, footwork, hand positions etc, so the kata is not performed sloppily but just without the power and changes in timing.

Doing the kata in this way makes it feel a bit more meditational - eventually you stop thinking about the moves and they just flow out of you. It is also less exhausting to do the kata softly and so it is possible to repeat the kata several times in succession. Today I did all three kata 6 times each straight after each other. That would have been very difficult to do if I had done the katas with full power! So doing it this way has given me more practice. However, it is still important to do the kata with power and timing as well so that I don't forget so I've made sure that the last repetition is done in this way.

I've also been working on basic kihon techniques - punching and kicking combinations. The punching combinations I'm pretty confident about now but some of my kicks still leave a lot to be desired! Why are back kick and side kick so difficult? I still have trouble with forming the correct foot shape and getting sufficient height (and we're only talking chudan height here). Yeah I know - it's just practice!

I've also been finalising my goshin waza  (self-defence techniques) with my husband who will be my grading partner. I've decided on demonstrating three defences to attacks from behind (double wrist grab, over-arm bear hug and arm bar to throat), three defences to lapel grabs and three defences to kicks to the head on the ground. My husband doesn't let me get away with anything and grabs me really tight. He makes me really work hard to get the techniques to work, so I'm hopeful of putting on a good performance of these in the grading.

I feel a lot less stressed about the grading now and I'm starting to feel on top of things....with only 7 weeks to go that's a good sign!


  1. Congrats! I am glad your hard work is paying off. There will be more challenges as you near your test, but remember that nothing is easy--just worth it. Some important things for kata: stay calm, don't rush, remember its relationship to kumite, work on weaknesses, and focus on each kata equally.

  2. Hey Sue! Really enjoying your blog. I'm doing my shodan in Seido next Saturday. Scary times indeed. My partner for my self defenses (40 ippon and 20 nippon) injured his knee last night and I may have to find a new one! Do you need to know any of your kata ura, or migi

  3. Hi Tracy, thanks for the advice. Things are going quite well at the moment. To be honest I'd quite like to get the grading over now so that I don't have to be so focused on the syllabus and can just get back to enjoying the training.

    Hi Jo, bad luck about your partner so close to grading, I hope he recovers in time. The closer I get to my grading the more paranoid I get about me or my husband picking up an injury, I would hate for one of us to have to pull out for that reason. Good luck for Saturday - I'll be checking your blog for a report!

  4. Hi, Sue :-) Glad you're enjoying the kata flow drill. It certainly changes the perspective a bit, doesn't it?

    Wow - seven weeks?!? I'm so excited for you! One of my training partners from the college is grading on Thursday for shodan and she vacillates from her calm, zen place to an "OMG - I'm gonna FORGET everything!" place every few hours or so. She'll be great and so will you...

    Enjoy your training, my friend...

  5. Hi Felicia, I know that feeling your training partner is experiencing! I'm sure I'll be vacillating more and more the closer and closer I get to grading, but then again it wouldn't be natural to not have a few nerves. Thanks for your support, my friend...


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