Sparring, sticky hands and valley drop

It was another awesome training session today, I especially enjoyed the warmup as it emphasised alot of drills we don’t normally practice that are of higher grade skill.

We started of with 6 rounds of sparring, meant to be 50% contact to work on speed, technique, and entry. I went a little heavy with the orange belts because they will have their green belt soon and they need to get mentally ready.

Then we did running, pressups and a few situps, ran a few times. Then we practiced Kakie and did pressups inbetween them. This felt great as we got to drill in using our sensitivity drill, working our sanchin mechanics and it the muscles had a nice burn. Clap pressups were done after this, only 10 which is sensible, challenging enough without risking injury.

ThenĀ  we did the same with hakutsuru te (white crane hands), much like wing chun hands, learning to redirect a strike, distract your opponent and strike, keeping fluidity in your arms always having your attack and defence ready.

Next we practiced some roundhouses, being relaxed with them, as that is when the roundhouse kicks are at their most dangerous.

Then we did a fun drill, slapping each others hands (guard high) to get our hands fast, loose, high guard and ti train our reflexes. This developed into one person having a high guard, chin down, whilst their partner attack their guard, trying to keep their eyes open. This progressed to attacking the guard, then slapping the side of the head, when your in guard and you think a strike is coming you turn your guard to block it. This helped us to focus on protecting the head and reading our opponent when they were going to strike, while being pressured.

Our next section focused on tani otoshi (valley drop throw), Sensei was kind enough to make me demonstrate the throw in front of others. (I will get use to this, I will says I tapping my wizard of Oz slippers) We discovered that we all have our own particular way of getting into the throw, mine is pull them towards me, before I throw as they’re body has dropped enough for me to apply the throw, Sensei likes to take the arm over his head,his leg can drive in to theirs making the throw easier.

We observed as a group that if you don’t keep control of the arm, start shiga dachi too soon or not close enough, or don’t use shiga dachi at all then the technique won’t work.

We worked on some counters, one being dropping your weight down before they have a chance to throw you, or anticipating what they are going to do and move your leg behind theirs first.

Andy was really connecting with seiunchin throws, and showed us several variations.

Overall an awesome session.

Keep training, Never Give Up. OSU


Kata and sparring

I have noticed that when I focus alot of time on one kata, or similar katas my mindset changes to that katas character when I spar.

If I focus on sanchin or tensho I try to fight close quarters, if I focus on shisochin I try to fight with faster hands, if geksai drive in and smash, if saifa angles and knees etc.

Only time this changed was when I practiced my long kicking drill which made me think more of timing and getting kicks in, which lead to more jumping kicks. (my stance became too long so something I had to work on but only for long range).

I’ve noticed that when I drilled my main kata as in in the geksai’s, saifa, seiunchin and maybe long range kicking my sparring was blended between all of the ways I fight when I focus on them.

Last week I focused on sanzhan (I know it’s white crane) and what I call sanzhan kicking (using both legs but in sanzhan stance) and what I noticed was that it was like my sparring style but more intense, I charges in and fired my strikes. At first this blew them away (high grades) as they weren’t expecting it, but second time I charged in they grappled me and nullified my attack. It’s a great sparring strategy just have to make sure I don’t rely on it and have multiple ones. Which I normally would have if I didn’t just focus on sanzhan.

This week I tried to balance it out alot more. And my sparring changed again, much more even, and still alot to work on. Although I have now learnt sanseru and I find even though it only does front kick and angled kick, my kicking generally has improved because of its greater emphasis on kicks.

There is definitely a direct correlation between practicing a kata and the way you spar.

Keep training,Never Give Up. Osu

O soto gari variations and Sanseru

The other day we were focusing on throwing and how to counter the throw. We mainly focused on O soto gari, and we got to try out play with new ways of getting into and applying an O Soto Gari.

I was quite excited, when I did one from the shoulder, but rather than locking on and hacking a leg, I kind of rotated my palm to move the body. We learnt it didn’t work unless you gathered and grabbed that arm with the other hand and grabbed at the tricep. It was amazing to see how effortless this throw was, it seemed to disengage the opponents strengths and they would kind of crumble into it.

Now if I was arrogant I would of thought I figured out a new effortless way to do O Soto Gari, but looking at the movements it comes directly from Shisochin, the part where it can look very tai chi.

The version I came up with was you gather the arm across the body and shoulder ram into them, if your taller you pivot your shoulder downs upon contact, if your shorter or lighter you drive upwards, it shocks the brain momentarily and then you use a massive reap. From this I saw afterwards (never during) that I applied principles of tensho to this take down.

I missed most of the counters to this throw as I was learning the first half of sanseru, it was quite exciting, it really makes kicking come to life and adds a nice balance in this area, but I’ll need to learn the whole kata, To understand more about this kata. I feel like I can now appreciate kata far more.