Rhythm of the fight

Ever since the Kyokushin tournament I did a year ago, I felt like I lost confidence in my sparring. I didn’t fight the way I wanted to, and this has plagued my sparring for a long time.

I’ve been experimenting a lot, perhaps too much. Always trying something different and always seeming to be in no mans land. Caught between my old shodan brawling style, a hint of my controlling the fight nidan and trying but failing to adapt to a counter striker. In the latter style I’ve been very accurate, but often find myself off balanced and not able to dominate or control the fight like my normal swaggering style.

Outside of karate just for fun I’ve been taking up salsa with a couple of work colleagues. Naturally I just throw myself into it having a laugh. I get asked if I have rhythm. I normally just follow my own beat.

Recently however, one of my colleagues has been practicing with us a couple of times a week, I’m actually starting to nail down the basics, actually finding the beat of the music.

Another colleague of mine has been doing Capoeria for the last decade. We have bouncing off a shared passion for the martial arts with one another. I tried out Capoeria if he tried out karate (only fair) and I love it (no where near my first love of karate) this beautiful hybrid of dance martial art mesmerises you in there movements. Your not always sure when they are going to kick, until they kick. They do so many tricks, trips, feints and takedowns. It made me feel like if I experiment with this for karate (yes I know, I’m experimenting yet again) then I might be able to evolve into a counter fighter at will.

Flash forward to yesterday, a mate from our London club came to spar me for two hours. He is training for his thirty man next year the same challenge I did two years ago and he is one of our associations top fighters.

At first I felt useless, my accuracy was there but my feet were all over the place, I was predictable. My mate (with coaching from one of my best buddies) rapidly improved for the whole session. Am I really a nidan I thought. Then my buddie told me to close him down, going back to what I know best for that round brought back my old confidence, I’m a natural sanchin fighter. This allowed me to experiment my a bit of capoeria in my fighting which both worked and didn’t work.

Then I felt his rhythm. He is a dancer, and has this natural ability to feel rhythm, and flow and change in a fight. But I felt it, I connected with it, and waited for when I wanted to disrupt it with a different beat. It was like magic, I flowed from one style to the other and back again.

Today was not about winning, for him to gain some outside perspective and experience and for me to gain a bud, to begin to evolve in how I want to fight.

The London Shihan is correct, to be a good fighter you first need to be a good dancer.

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Out of the darkness, the light is born

Out of the darkness,
The light is born,
Without the stain of hardship,
We would not grow strong enough,
To stand in the light,
Walking along the edge of the abyss,
Stumbling our way in what feels like,
The forever darkness,
Tinkering on this edge of madness and despair,
Not knowing that each step we fight for,
Will make us shine even brighter in the light,
For every pain that we endure,
That leaves a battle scar,
Upon our spirit,
We are often fixated by what we have lost,
Rather than what we are becoming,
The darkness is unforgiving,
But only if we let it win,
The darkness isn’t there to destroy us,
But to test us,
With every wave it hits us,
We grow back stronger,
For the day we are ready to embrace the light,
Out of the darkness,
The light is born.

Climbing the mountain

The wind trying to blow me off my feet,
As I strive to stay alive
It doesn’t know defeat,
Nor do I,
As I see with my eye,
The peak of the mountain,
As I climb over the rocks,
It feels me with shock,
The cold numbing my fingers,
And as it lingers,
Sapping the heat from my body,
Like I’m a nobody,
As I grit my teeth,
Over this big feat,
I will not despair,
As I dare,
To reach the peak,
Inch by inch,
Meter by meter,
I climb higher and higher,
Even though it feels dire,
I’ll never lose this fire,
It feels like forever,
To reach the peak,
But as I look down,
I see doom,
Despair,
Chaos,
But I am the boss,
Is this my cross,
As I fight to stay alive,
And reach for the peak,
I am afraid to speak,
My hand grips for the peak,
And I pull with all my might,
So that I will be able to see the sight,
Gritting my teeth,
Muscles straining,
Energy draining,
Why is it raining,
I slip,
And my feet are dangling of this cliff,
With doom beneath my feet,
I can almost smell defeat,
My fingers are torn,
Muscles are screaming,
I ain’t dreaming,
I pull
And pull
And pull,
Myself over the peak,
Above the raindrops,
Struggling to catch my breath,
Escaping the world of death,
As I see the world,
Beneath my feet,
Oh what a treat,
I see the sun shining on the world,
It’s beautiful rays washing down the world in golden colour,
And I wonder,
Where all the darkness went,
I hear the call of the golden eagle,
Flying above my head,
His feathers glistening in the golden rays,
He ain’t no stray,
I watch the eagle,
Fly higher and higher,
Above the true mountain peak,
And I sigh,
To the divine,
Following the golden eagle,
To the peak

The darkness in my blood

I can feel the darkness blooming.

Deep inside,
Spewing out,
Each and every pore.

Like a poison.

Wanting to corrupt each and every fibre,
Of my being.

This toxin,
Is All consuming.

Wants to bring me crashing down,
Hurtling me underground.

But I won’t let it,
keep me down.

I’ll use it to keep on fighting.

This toxins spreading,
I won’t go down,
I’ll keep on fighting.

This poison

That’s trying to destroy, my very being,
I will not stay underground,
I am a fighter.

This venom.

That courses through my veins,
Will not stop me.
I’ll use it.
To keep on fighting.

As I am the fighter.

The Darkness thinks that it has won,
Filling you with fear,
But I am in control,
For I’m the fighter

Bound by Chains

These chains they use to keep me in the dark,
Constricting tighter and tighter,
The only sound clinking and dinking,
As I’m sinking into the mud,
I am proud of who I am,
But everyone else is ashamed of who they are,
These chains are constricting,
Forcing me to conform,
But I am anything but the norm,
Trying to make me sign the form,
Tussled,
Torn,
Tarnished,
The more they pull on these chains,
The more I view them with disdain,
These chains are digging into my wrists,
Life is nothing but a big twist,
Until I start bleeding,
Drop by drop,
Trying to make me submit,
As there is a pool of blood,
Under my knees,
They think I am crying,
But they are lying,
I am not dying,
I force myself to stand upon my feet,
And they kick me down to the floor,
I will not beg on my knee,
For I am free,
To be me,
I stand upon my feet,
Starring them in the eyes,
In defiance,
And I roar,
Because I have the strength of Thor,
To break the chains from before,
Muscles tight,
I break it with all my might,
Sound of it breaking,
Is music to my ears,
Which encompasses their fears,
As I hear the chain clucking and dinging,
To the floor,
The world had better watch,
For I am free to be me

What is life without the will

Without the drive to survive,
Are you willing to just die,
Without the dream to succeed,
Is life nothing but a scream,
Is life without the will,
All about paying the bills,
Without that fear,
Can you bear to protect what you most hold dear,
Without the obstacle of the mountain,
How can we ever reach the fountain.

Visualising Karate

This morning I had to sit in an office and be an exam invigilator for a few hours. Mentally this could have gone one of two ways. First way, boredom, and sheer dread at how slow time was dragging. Or I could occupy my mind. So naturally I chose karate.

Using visualisation I went through my Karate syllabus and was quite surprised with how in-depth my Karate imagination was. First I went though all my bunkai (kata’s self defence), even a few later kata one’s that I was experimenting with inside my head. Bunkai have always been my strongest foundation within karate.

Next I went through throws, happy to know 15 off by heart with the right names. Then seeing which set of kata’s bunkai had those throws (I counted about 9). Even though we are not a throwing based system, it’s nice to know that we have about 12-15 strong throws that we rely upon.

Then I went through weapons, drills I know, quickflame with the jo staff. I realised that I need to refocus on my weapons, as I was less confident with them. Going through basic weapon defence, wrist locks etc.

Then I went through my kata, something I’ve been really trying to focus on outside of fight club. What is interesting is that shisochin kata and bunkai I seem to find the most natural, and went through them quicker than the others.

When I went through the San kata’s ( Sanchin ichi, ni, tensho and Sanzhan) I felt like I was mediating, the same feeling I’ve only had before from a really good yoga instructor, my inner mind was very calm and peaceful.

Next I went through kihon and kihon ido, recalling all the correct terminology. I couldn’t believe that I memorized them well, despite rarely reading them.

Then I touched upon basic grappling, and what each kata’s names mean.

To someone outside of the martial arts world this would seem tedious, but to me I felt my mind engage in a way it hasn’t done in a long time. I was thinking non stop about karate for nearly two hours. You should try it sometime.