I haven’t done a sports related post in a while as I had a month long hiatus from karate whilst I babysat a teenage daughter who has few skills other than eye-rolling, tweeting and thinking she’s being sneaky and getting away with something when she’s not.
I’ve been back in the groove for two weeks and things are ugly. Although I try to practice on my own, I’ve found cases where I practiced a kata for two weeks then had to relearn it when I found out I was doing something wrong. The katas are especially nasty during belt test time because I typically have to do five of them. This involves a lot of low stance that starts to make your thighs beg for mercy after the second kata. (Hold a half squat for two minutes. Keep your back straight; don’t bend over. Rest 15 seconds. Then hold it for two more minutes. Rest one minute. Hold it for three minutes. Every now and then punch and kick.) What makes it hurt is that the different moves are slow. It’s like doing 10 slow pushups with the down move and the push up each taking 30 seconds to perform.
After I get the katas down–or sensei just gives up on me for the day–we switch to the fighting routines which start out one on one but eventually evolve three to five attackers. What makes these hard is situational awareness (the people behind you are authorized to grab you and/or slash you a good one with a wooden sword) and that several of the moves have to be done with technique only and no strength. This is especially hard to do when you’re trying stay ahead of three to five attackers. Also, you’re not supposed to repeat a technique which means you eventually have to do something you suck at.
I’ve also found it difficult to practice the fighting routines by myself. It’s one thing to image train and pantomime a move, it’s another to actually grab the dogi of a person who’s resisting and pull him down without clinching his lapel in your fist. Instead, we’re supposed to use slow moves and leverage so that even a 70 year old woman could defend herself with the moves against a strong attacker. Great theory; hard to accomplish when adrenaline is flowing.
Luckily, I wasn’t the only one stinking things up tonight. All three students stunk the place up at least once.