Geksai Dai Ichi- Great power

The last few weeks I haven’t been able to do any of the kata’s (Bar Sanchin) at full speed or power, I have been able to keep most of the tension and just focus on correct form whenever I do them, which depends on the shift I am on and how I am feeling at the time. And the moment I put the Gi on and was doing Geksai Dai Ichi with the kids, boy did it feel good to do it at full power again. But I definitely noticed a difference in my Geksai (the moment I put my Gi on I pretended I wasn’t hurt) whether it was just because of my new Gi which makes awesome sounds every time I a do a move with good speed/power/technique it makes a wonderful snapping noise.Or whether it is because I have been focusing on good form rather than focusing on speed and power helped to make it more accurate (at least for last night), or whether is my big focus on Sanchin at the moment, or possible a mixture of all three, my Geksai felt snapper and more powerful then before, with much less effort.

Maybe this is a benefit to being injured, I am forced to go against my nature and take it slowly, and trying (mainly in vain lol) to get the techniques and stances right. I am so naturally all about using my natural power and strength, it takes away from the technique and makes it slower/sloppier than it needs to be. This is stuff I have known before, but being human I prefer the kind of training that focus on my strength, as opposed to the training stuff that are more akin to my weaknesses or areas that I really need to focus on.

So I will carry on focusing on the correct technique, and keep it down several notches until I am healed and can go back to the main dojo again. The main reason I have been told to stay away from the dojo, is because of my nature, if I train, I have to do it 110% effort or 0% effort there is no in between with me. If I go do any other form of training, it has to be intense, that’s the way I am. But now I have to let it heal, because I have re-injured thrice within two weeks for being stubborn, I believe that I am seeing more positives in this resting period. it does show that martial arts like tai chi, or exercises like Qigong can create soft power, even if you apply this to the very Go kata’s like the Geksai’s.

But oh boy, did my geksai dai ichi feel incredibly powerful!











Progress report on story blog

I find it very interesting as when I get the chance to write now and then on my second blog (private at the moment, but when I think it’s more ready it will be public), how the stories are developing, for one I am using one of my original stories (and a dream) and adapting it, with other ideas I had at the time, with how I have evolved other story idea’s over the years. The other is based on the board game heroquest, who a friend of mine has been adapting it into a even more unique board game, and the “quests” we have done on through the story arc, I have adapted and changed with my own image and have been creating a traditional fantasy land moulded in my own mind’s image. It has given my idea’s a new lease of life, in the way that characters have grown, the choices they had made, have shaped the world. And how I have reinterpreted them into my own fantasy world.

Many fantasy authors play RPG board games to help them create their worlds, and help to define characters. And I see why, in these kind of games the characters and world never do what you want, or expect them to do, and players have their own way of playing. Hence it makes it feel more organic. Then the writers can bring this unpredictability into their own world, to help give it a richer and more three dimensional world/story/characters.

Also, I have written a side part to a story. The problem (a good one) is that it could easily fit into either story, changing and moulding that story, and I don’t know which story to put this mini arc in, which would change the way I write them.

The world started off as heroquest, but is fast becoming a different universe. A world with a simple name, but that is for when I release that blog.

Back in a Gi, assisting in kids karate

So I had a chance to go back to kids karate today, and after 6 weeks I was surprised with how happy I was to see them, how they have grown and how their karate is slowly improving. It also felt amazing to be back in a gi and show them how to do geksai dai ichi. With my new gi making beautiful snaps every time I threw a punch or kick (my old gi is a judo gi, so it is really heavy and doesn’t make a noise!) it felt great to be back in the karate environment.

Even though my new job has been messing with me being able to go to the dojo as much as I want to go, (also the rib injury, damn you, you broken rib!)I was surprised with how I was with the kids. Before this new job, I was scared of kids, they are like weird little creatures (I know, people who know me say I am a big kid) but there are so many of them, like an army invasion force all of there own. I got more use to kids with teaching kids, but with this job I am so used to armies of kids coming in and out, I have out grown my fear, and they are just funny little people now.

So when I came back to karate kids, it was amazing not to have this fear and shyness around them, which will lead me (depending if I can keep getting Thursdays off) to becoming better at teaching karate, and therefore a better karateka. In the class it is definitely a tag team between me and Caroline (The main teacher who is a Nidan) with teaching the kids, as they either get easily distracted.  Even though there is someone else in my place teaching the kids, I don’t resent it has it gives them an opportunity to grow, but I really appreciate the fact that I’m allowed to help out in any class that I am able to go to, and hearing how he is struggling (he is very new to karate, as much as the kids are) with the kids, shows both how much he has to learn (and how it will make him a much better karateka in the long run) and how looking in hindsight I was better then I though I was with the kids, knowing this gives me more confidence with teaching kids.

I will finish this blog post with saying, that going back to karate, even if it isn’t the main training feels like I came back home.

The many ways of Sanchin

Not only are there many versions of Sanchin (or Sanzhan in Chinese), there are many ways to perform or practice the kata. When ever I am injured, I up the tension and turn it into an isolation exercise, to maintain or build strength in the muscles (upper and lower) so that you can keep up your training and train around your injuries. When I am feeling stressed, I take most of the tension away and have a Zen like view, like Qigong  I use it when I have a spare minute or two to bring me back to myself, and feel that I am not losing my mind, I am still in control or when I need to get some peace for the sole. Or when I am forced to be away from the dojo, I end up exaggerating the moves, trying to emphasis it’s martial aspect, the lifting of the blocks, the sinking of the legs, being relaxed and tense, over emphasising the hip movement with the once inch punch.

In any of the case’s, or in whatever way that you train Sanchin, it doesn’t take too much time, and you can quickly disguise it if someone comes into the room, making me really appreciate the okinawan factor of persevering their art through hidden forms, it means I can keep practicing the core of my karate training wherever I may be.

State of mind

My state of mind has changed to a large thanks to karate. Before I was obsessed with karate, I was really obsessed about rugby,only my dad knows this but I wanted to become a professional rugby player. I’m not saying I was good enough or anything, I’m just saying that I had the right drive and passion, and if I had the skill I would of tried to become the best I could of. But without the right skill, or the right chances when I realised I would never be good enough, I lost alot of interest in rugby. Also I use to think that I was indestructible, I am very strong for my size of 5ft 11in and 13 1/2 stone but I use to try and play like I was a 6ft 5in 18 stone bloke. Then I had an ankle injury, nothing too serious but it made me realise how vulnerable I was, combine this with the fact that I lost the passion for rugby, I turned my back on playing the game, I couldn’t get over the fear factor. I tried to comeback a few times, but I lost my confidence.

Training in jujitsu and other martial arts lessened the fear of it, I didn’t mind being thrown so much, even with going to China and most of my time in Goju Ryu this fear that I developed when I was 18 stayed with me. Even though I had gained alot of skill from karate, I wasn’t confident enough with myself in sparring in China, and when I got my tooth broken at a karate grading of my own (plus the fact I went through a really really dark period in my life) when I returned to karate after 4 months (this was a year prior to china) my fear had magnitude  and I would flinch, it took me along time to stop flinching, but people tend to think I don’t fear injury, that I just rush into it, they could be further from the truth. It is a combination of my fiery passionate side, plus a my fathers words to me which work in all contact sports or martial arts “The harder you hit, the less damage you will receive, the more gentler you hit, the harder your opponent will hit you and your body will take more of blow”.

So that is how I generally fight, a mixture of passion and fear, hence my poem about the tranquillity of Kumite which can be applied to any sport. The best fights in the dojo I have had is when I have had this Zen feeling and I feel like that I have transcended above my passion and fear, I just let my body react and have this really calm and spiritual feeling, which I have normally only got from Qigong or a few times with yoga.

I have noticed my state of mind change recently, well since I broke my ribs (I suppose I technically broke them twice or thrice in a week because i didn’t care about the pain at the time) normally when I have a bad injury I would have the fear factor inside of me about if i went back to karate after it’s healed  about getting re-injured that is apart of being human. But I’am just getting more and more frustrated that I have to spend so much time away from the dojo and I try to keep training around but really through the injury which keeps making it worse.

The other night I actually collapsed, first time in my life, no I wasn’t drinking, apparently the doc said it was a fluke, a combination of my body trying to heal itself, me catching a chill, and after I had been sleeping I had lowered my blood pressure and after going to the toilet and I had lowered my volume so much that all these factors were too much, even for a very healthy and fit 25 year old. Collapsing and going into slight shock was a weird experience, but I didn’t have any major fear, I was just thinking well this is going to set me back even more in my goals. And listening to the Doc and my mother (who use to be a nurse in charge for the neurosurgery department) I am going to take it much more steady then I have been. My plan for the next month of so is to cycle in the gym alot, do leg exercises, stance work, slow kata and some conditioning on my arms and maybe grippers.

Why am I like this now, this obsession if you will. Goju Ryu was the art that I had been searching for all my life when I wanted to try martial arts, its fills I can’t explain a void that most other martial arts don’t seem to fill to me. Not that i think it is perfect, I still have want to try many other martial arts! I love the history of them and how they have evolved, I should of done a degree on them!

Going for Shodan Ho to me is a step to going for Shodan (1st blackbelt), and I started training for it since I finished my last grading. I have messed up way to much in my life, and I want to achieve something that I have been passionate about for 4+ years, to me it is the ultimate redemption for some of my mistakes, a baptism under fire if you will. I won’t go travelling or get any tattoos until I have achieved it. In the past I took my time with gradings, with the fear of knowing each further grading gets worse, and that the fights get much harder and more brutal, and the fear is still there, but it is giving me a drive that I need at this period in my life. Don’t get me wrong I still want to try lots of different things like disco roller skating and tough mudder, but I have stopped trying many things at once, and focusing what I need to do not to achieve a belt, but to become the man I always thought I should be rather than the one I am now.

I now have goals, and I am bloody determined to achieve them. I will no longer be weak, I will be forged into an iron will of steel.

karate-my way of life

If you ever told me that I was going to not only study karate, but that I would become so enthusiastic about it I would never of believed you. I was always interested in doing martial arts, and to be the strongest version of myself possible. The image of karate is tarnished, and in some cases rightly so, the image of a stereotypical washed down karate, more geared for sport than a real situation, and more geared for kids fitness  put me and a lot of people off.

But when I found Goju Ryu, real authentic karate, oh my god it changed my life. I had been looking for the ideal martial art for myself, or should I say one that answered what always feels missing when I have tried other martial arts, it is something that is easy to describe why it holds so dear to so many hearts, and with so many styles of it, it would be an injustice to try and say what it is that makes karate so special.

I love the fact that each kata is like a different person, I love the fact that the bunkai can be so brutal and devastating, I love the fact that this old system has survived a long time, and is like an amalgamation of Asian marital arts blended into a fine wine in Okinawa, I love how it gives you the confidence to not need to prove yourself outside the dojo, I love the comradeship you get with fellow karateka and strong bonds of friendship through the battle of Kumite, one of the best ways to get to know a person and to gain lifelong friendships is to fight them.

With this new job, that has affected my karate more than I like, but hopefully after February it will get a lot easier (I asked for Thursday afternoons/evenings off to make sure I can do karate every week, and even though I got punished for asking I should finally be put on the monthly rota and with my hours I will be able to train once or twice a week again). The longer I am in this job, the more I think of karate, and when I cheekily find a little break to practice kata/bunkai and stances when I have to do a lot of standing, it keeps me a little bit saner, despite everyone else thinking that I am mad. I realise now that I took it for granted, and to keep up standards or to keep improving, I need to keep doing these little things daily.

I may start doing kata/bunkai daily again, along with some qigong. Ironically I chose this job so that in the long run it would improve my karate, I must carry on with daily practice and apply much more patience.

My story Blog

Well some friends and family seem to like one of my stories on my story blog, so after I do a little bit more work on them, I will make them public. They are far from amazing but it is a decent start, and I could use the motivation to do more writing in my spare time.