Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Getting to grips with goshin waza

At class last night we got the chance to work on our goshin waza  (self-defence techniques). I had them more or less worked out in my head. Some of them were ones I'd learnt many months ago and some were fairly new. However, it doesn't matter how well you work things out in your head you really don't know what you can make work until you try it out in practice!

What always amazes me with many of these goshin waza techniques is how fairly subtle changes in the techniques lead to huge improvements in their effectiveness. A small shift in weight distribution, re-positioning of the hands, stepping closer to the opponent etc can suddenly change a weak technique into a strong technique. Many of the self-defence techniques that we do tend to have an overlap with some jujitsu techniques. Luckily for me my training partner (who happens to be my husband) is also a black belt in jujitsu. He is able to talk me through all the little nuances that make a big difference to effectiveness. This extra tuition that I can get from my husband as well as my instructor means that my performance at goshin waza tends to be one of my strong points in karate.

At the end of the lesson we got to demonstrate all our techniques to the class. Being on show like this is always slightly nerve racking but it's good practice for the grading - we'll definitely be on show then! I think the demonstration went okay (apart from the belt and gi problems) though my escapes from lapel grabs still need a bit more work.

Another step closer to shodan.....need to focus on bunkai next.


  1. I really disliked escapes and controls when I first started training but the more I've done them the more I've started to understand the body mechanics behind them and the more I've come to like them. In our classes we tend to be cyclic in the syllabus so things are always coming round again and each time we revisit controls and escapes I find them that little bit easier - as you've said, I'm always learning that extra little thing that makes them more effective. With my Prayer locks for example, I'm finally fitting them first time around 80% of the time now because I've started to get a feel for the wrist positioning. My hubby isn't always thrilled when I test them out on him though (although he does return the favour and test his on me). He's a bugger for making me work for them though, he really won't move unless I make him (which is much better practice for the real world I suppose, even if it makes me want to kill him at the time! LOL).


  2. Just noticed your grading countdown ticker too.... WOW six weeks??? How did that come round so quickly? Seems like yesterday it was at 12!!

  3. Great post. Self defense techniques are so critical to karate curriculum, its great that you are so strong in this area. The devil is in the details, as they say, and your discovery of those nuances just add to the fun and depth of the art. Keep up the great work up to your shodan.
    As my Sensei says, when coming to a grading it is like sharpening a sword. You get very very very sharp, then just before its time for use, you relax a little and give a little dullness to your blade. That way it will last through the battle. Rest up the week before your grading and good luck!

  4. Marie, actually it's 5 weeks and 3 days!

    Yamabushi, thank you and thanks for the advice - I think you are right, resting up the week before is a good idea.

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  7. That's one of the reasons I'm so addicted to Jiu Jitsu. Every technique works, but I keep discovering ways to improve what I thought I already knew really well.

    As soon as I learn a subtle improvement and begin to do it unconsciously, my Sensei shows me another minor 'tweak'. And so it goes, on and on...

    Keep up the great work!

    p.s. sorry about the deleted comments, I forgot to proof read my spelling before I posted.

  8. Journeyman, hey! If something's worth saying why not say it three times ;-) Keep tweaking! Thanks for your comment


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