Dawn of Change

The dawn of a new era,

Or a rehash of the old,

Time for growth,

Or time for despair,

Period of excitement and challenge,

Or a decade of suffering,

What is the difference between the two,

It is all within your mind,

Within yourself,

If you don’t believe then you won’t grow,

If your perspective is dark so will be your life,

Look at each sun rise as a chance for a new lease on life,

The only one holding you back is you,

Challenge that side of you,

The lightsaber flickers red to green,

Change only happens when you except yourself,

And know that fate is within your hands.

 

Problems with my kumite and how to evolve it part 2

After listening to the Nidan the other day I decided to watch some footage of my sparring and I noticed a key difference with the way I fight and the way other karate ka fight, my fighting style is heavily influenced by white crane (and probably old injuries that cause bad habits), in white crane the body stays more square, the stance is more han zenkutsu dachi and you end up. You end up not using as much shoulder rotation and hip rotation, which reduces the power of your strikes but it bypasses the muscles so you can hit with faster hands.  Combine that with that I had tendonitis for 6 months after last year’s grading (reducing the range) and combine that with lack of confidence in my kicking (knees are good but I wasn’t in China long enough to start white crane kicking) especially when I injured myself last November means I have a lot to work on in my sparring.

I find it ironic that all of my old strengths have been negated by my new ones, I use to always use hips in everything (and shoulder rotation). When I looked at that footage (last October) I could see clear problems, but now 6 months later I know where they arise from, the one time my combos looked devastating was when I fought like a karate ka and not white crane (ka?) and I floored my training partner without meaning to.

This is not to say I should get rid of my white crane influences, I just need to mould the karate with crane, crane can be effective in close quarters but I know see a clear difference between it and Sanchin, the white crane way is more subtle but delivers less power from a distance, so I need to work on Sanchin and Geksai to work on this.

Problems with my kumite and how to evolve it part 1

Four weeks to go till the grading, well actually 4 weeks today I will be bruised and shattered from the grading the day before. So last night’s sessions was certainly a sweaty one, I had already done a mile swim prior to this session but it was fun, explosive training, stair running, grappling, sparring, throwing, kicking it was a very packed one, which my body right now is protesting about.

One of the Nidan’s took me to the corner and gave me some words of advice, two years ago I would of taken this negatively being an oversensitive person but knowing where he was coming from and me needing his advice. I rather people give me constructive criticism on what I need to improve in my sparring, kicking etc, rather than them saying I’ll do well. (I’m not opening my hips up enough, allowing them to collapse in)

He was telling me that I need to be more precise with my kicks, not just throw them slow and heavy (because they get caught too much) and that I am a really strong dude, and I can be powerful but my strikes should be way more devastating when I attack, and I lose my stance when I punch close quarters which diminishes my power ratio. My kicks are sloppy and I need to work on more intense training routine and explosive training for my legs, really polish my techniques so that they are sharp and precise, and to stop strength training and focus on explosive intensity. (which ironically I already have)

What I find ironic about this is that I have been working on my footwork and kicking for months now, trying to be more precise ( I have improved my kicking range t higher kicks) and was told by another blackbelt that I needed to do less intensity and more endurance, and that I cannot practice throws for weeks and they are so much more natural to me then kicking is (which I am practicing).

So as the countdown continues I will focus even more on my basics, emphasis on my stances and kicks, more explosive leg training and to try and keep evolving for the showdown.

Searching for truth

Life is like the smoky doors,
Each man is his own island,
Wadding through the bogs of chaos,
The fog forever deepens,
The search of truth is at our hearts,
The answers steeped in confusion,
What is it to be?
To exist?
What is not existing?
The negation of our existence?
We are so afraid of dying that we don’t live,
We are so afraid of living that we are prepared to die,
Why must we suffer to seek joy?
Why must we know hate before we can love?
In our reality there are many truths,
A lie is but just a fraction of a truth,
But what is the truth?
Can there be a truth without lies?
To seek peace first you must know war,
But why is humanity set upon this path,
Of self destruction?
When will we learn that we can live without suffering,
Pursue life to its fullest,
Speak no lies,
To live in peace,
To unravel the mysteries that life’s flog,
Blinds us from seeking,
Is the answers put there,
or within our own hearts?

A storm is brewing within thyself

I feel the energy engulfing thy spirit,

Like a gentle breeze swirling around my hands,

Pulsating through my limbs,

I can barely keep my feet upon the ground,

Nerves are on fire,

I feel restless in the air,

The rush of cold icy water cascading down my showers,

Becomes the rising steam,

A mist in the air,

Consuming the flesh but not the spirit,

As the mist slowly dissipates,

The mind becomes clear,

My body becomes sharp,

The will is focused,

The sense of anticipation lingers in every breath I take,

No longer is my judgement clouded by doubt,

But is reinforced by desire,

By the face of the challenge,

It slowly consumes my every thought,

No longer a weakness but now a strength,

I see the truth marching closer,

Closer as I am prepared for war,

For sacrifice and for love,

No longer in the shadows,

I will face the mountain,

I have two choices,

Lie upon its jagged feet of despair and failure,

Or struggle and fight my way to the top,

To earn my own name.

Back to the wall

Inch by inch the pain worsens,
Madness seeps into the soul,
Breath by breath is taken away,
It is harder to focus,
Leaking away like raindrops from the clouds,
Humour arises at the most peculiar of times,
It is a different form of madness,
One that you control to fight the pain the fear,
But that wave of pain and fear slowly break down the walls of thyself,
Beaten down to a pulp,
A storm brews from within,
Like a switch goes off in thy head,
Pain and fear are no longer weaknesses but form into a strength,
Driving you into an energised frenzy,
The spirit is alive,
No longer cowering,
No longer laughing with madness,
The spirt is in defiance of the pain,
It calls forth a challenge,
The shackles that we wear every day slowly break,
Defiance is in thy nature,
The greatest source of human resolve.

Go-ju hard-soft, sticky hands and conditioning

Tonights session was clearly an example of the go (hard) and the ju (soft) aspects of our art, after a sweaty warm up, three punch drill, exchanging kicks, sparring (like my last post kicking has improved), randoi (which in the last two sessions mine has improved alot) we played with hakutsuru te (ju) and the wall (go).

Hakutsuru te is what we term as sticky hands or white crane hands (very similar to wing chun hands, it’s something more advanced students of goju will start to use), it’s principle essentially a sensitivity drill, so that your arms can react to incoming strikes, using deflect, block, trap and punch as the basic drill. We also have other sticky hand drills like Kakie (used for locks and throws but same principle).

I always enjoy drilling this and enjoy experimenting with different angles, movements etc and I was really happy that I noticed that saifa and tensho techniques were flowing into it via instinct. It is exciting to see katas that I have been drilling for years finally creeping into different facets of my karate, I even applied some shisochin striking (although that was a conscious effort) from when we evolved it to distracting blows and then drilling it with our eyes shut.

To finish off we did the dreaded wall! Which is truly a love-hate relationship, you maybe wondering what is so special about a wall, well my dear fellows I shall tell you, you have to stand with the wall behind you, not leave the wall and let someone rain punches on you, and your opponents rotate for several rounds.

Tonight in the first round we were allowed to deflect the strikes, then from then all we had to let them hit us, each round they rotate so a new opponent will hit you, for those not use to the wall it is strange, each person hits you a different way with a different pattern.

Tonight was harder than usual, my shodan grading is in four weeks (my mates shodan-ho as well) we faced against nidans and they were there to hurt us, make us feel pain and fear and overcome it. First I started to take it and felt like I was almost cowering, my use of sanchin was in full effect, then I tried to roll with the punches, but learnt when a female nidan hit me she did so with a fury of strikes, not giving me a chance to breathe and so I found it funny and started to laugh.

Laughing seems to be one of my coping mechanisms, I end up finding pain funny, unfortunately the more I laughed the harder she hit not realising I wasn’t laughing at her punches but at the pain inflicted. Then when the laughing was literally beaten out of me the beast was unleashed. A state of mind where you challenge the pain and fear and the harder they hit the angrier the beast gets, pumped up with energy bursting to attack.

The wall is both a conditioning device but mostly a mental one, my friend was shocked he never had it that bad before, but it is a learning curb.

These two sections may seem world’s apart but to me they help make up a whole, many martial arts are either hard or soft, many are hard and soft, to be a well rounded martial artist whether sport or self defence, traditional or mma you need both the hard and the soft.