It was good to be back in the fold last Thursday with training. Even though my ribs are still healing, and my shoulder is still too tense from when I went too heavy with training in December I was still able to get a lot out of it. It is a strange feeling being conditioned (not the left side, damn you ribs!) when you have had an injury, it is like you have to rebuild not only your body’s tolerance of it but also your mental capability to withstand it again. Facing those inner demons is a lot of what karate is like, and the only way you can beat them is to face them and go slightly above what you can mentally cope with. A lot like strength training you develop by lots of small steps, not trying to make huge leaps.

I also noticed that I finally have been able to increase the speed of my punches without tiring or straining the shoulders. It a technique they use in both white crane and wing chun, but also it is one of the hidden techniques in Sanchin kata (from the book the way of Sanchin kata) in how to fine tune the movements of the punch to generate speed, without making the punch that obvious and so that the muscles don’t slow it down and you can focus on the technique and body structure to deliver the power. But to be honest it was just really nice to fire lots of strong but fast combos without my shoulders tiring, which is amazing for me with pad drills as I normally have to rely on heavy slow punches as I can do them for longer.

It was also inspiring and intimidating to see one of the blackbelt’s preparing himself for his next grading. The 30 man Kumite. It has been really interesting the last three years watching four different blackbelt’s prepare for their Nidan grading, and this one is no different. The intensity and animalism coming from him is both terrifying (I may have to face him as part of the line up) and inspiring with how everyone else is tired, but it just drives him to try even harder and harder. You end up wondering if there is no give in the man, is he even human? Can the rest of us mere mortals attain this level of skill? Questions that can only be answered by more training!


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