Tag Archive | Kata

Mirrors, Mirrors on the Wall…

Mirrors, Mirrors on the Wall

How the heck do I use you??

 

The hombu has some really nice mirrors. They’re great for making sure my obi is tied evenly and my “Suck it up Cupcake” headband is on straight. They’re even great for checking to see how red my face is during a workout.

But as a workout tool, I’m having mixed results.

For 6+ years I learned without mirrors, except for my visits to the hombu. Dodgeball courts don’t normally have mirrors. We mostly learned things by feel – stances, blocks, strikes were corrected and we learned what feels right, as opposed to what looks right.

Occasionally I could use a window with a darkened hallway behind it as a mirror. But for the most part, we learned kata by following behind Kyoshi while he was leading, and then he would have to turn around and show us any intricate moves he was doing that we couldn’t see.

I wished we had mirrors in the dodgeball court. I thought it would be easier to learn moves with them, and for some things, I still believe that. I like ghosting an opponent, using my reflection in the mirror to see where my punches and blocks might land. I like checking my stances in the mirror, seeing if my feet and hips are in the correct position. And I like being able to see what my training partner is doing when one of us is learning self-defense techniques.

Mirrors can also be useful when learning kata. I can see what Kyoshi or another student is doing even if they aren’t in front of me. But recently I was learning Chinto and trying to follow Kyoshi using both Real Kyoshi and Mirror Kyoshi, and the mirrors were really distracting! I wasn’t sure which Kyoshi I should watch. My mistake was in going back and forth between the two. I was so confused I waffled between frustration and laughter.

Me: “I always thought it would be great to have mirrors. But now that I have them, I don’t know how to use them!”

Kyoshi: “They’re messing you up, aren’t they?”

They were! I didn’t know where to look. It was funny and not funny at the same time.

But wait! I may have figured it out! If I’m a total rookie on a new kata, trying to match my movements to the figure in the mirror throws me off. I need to go back to the way I learned for 6+ years and follow Real Kyoshi. But if I know the kata a little bit, I can follow Mirror Kyoshi because the mirrors are just a prompt to the movements.

Familiar Kata = Mirror

New Kata = No Mirror

 I’ll give that a try.  Do you use mirrors? Do you find them helpful or distracting?

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I’m Tired! ;-)

It was Kata night and we did a LOT of kata! Kata’s a great cardio workout, isn’t it? It uses EVERY part of your body!

First we did kata in Kenpo, with little rest between each. Tired!

And then in Weapons class we did more kata, this time with the bo. (I love the bo!) Again…tired!

Suck it up, Cupcake headband

I would have posted my tiredness to my Facebook page but I could just hear Alex, who is barely older than my youngest child, saying, “Suck it up, Cupcake!” (He says that to me a lot, and I usually reply with, “Bite me.”) So instead I’ll post it here, on my blog that I doubt he reads. I’m tired.  🙂

After class I asked Alex if he wanted to take the elevator up. I couldn’t shame myself and ride up while he walked! I knew I still had a 30 minute dog walk to do when I got home and was feeling a tad bit lazy. But of course he wanted to walk, as part of his workout. Darn his youth!!

When we got upstairs I told Kyoshi that Alex wanted to take the elevator but I said we should walk instead. Hee hee!

Kyoshi’s reply: Are you sure you don’t have that turned around?

I know, I know. Suck it up, Cupcake!

When the kata doesn’t come easily…

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.

~Abigail Adams

I’m learning a new bo kata and it’s not coming easily. For whatever reason, I had to have Renshi slow down and show me small chunks of the moves – and he’s had to show me several times. At one point I was so frustrated with myself that I stomped my feet like a child.

But after I rolled my eyes, threw my head back, and stomped my feet, I got back to work. With some focused instruction from Renshi and some additional coaching from another student (thanks, Alex!), I finally have a portion of the kata down. But just a portion.

As I was reminded, not everything is going to be easy. I know that and I’m OK with that. Part of the fun of learning is tackling challenges; in fact, if everything was easy, I’m sure I’d get bored quickly!

Over time I’ve learned those things which present the biggest challenges also have the potential for the biggest rewards. This is one of those things. So I’m working on my kata in class. I’m doing an extra run-through or two after class. And I’m mentally doing the kata while I’m walking the dog or holding myself in a plank position.

I’m looking forward to getting this kata down. To having all the pieces in place and being able to run through the whole thing without prompting. At that point, my reward will be the satisfaction of accomplishing something that didn’t come easy. Of knowing I worked hard, put in the extra time and effort, and worked through my frustration.

Now…back to work. I’ve got a kata to learn!

Miss Morning Person goes to Saturday Morning Karate

An encore post from Colahan’s Martial Arts, January 22, 2011

5:45 am – The alarms are going off already? Crap. What meetings do I have today? Do I have to be in at 8 or is 8:30 acceptable?

5:46 am – Wait – it’s Saturday; no meetings today. Good! But I am going to the hombu, and classes start at 8.

7:14 am – If this car in front of me doesn’t move it, I’m going to be late. Goody – now that I can pass, they decided to drive over the speed limit.

7:50 am – “Good Morning, Michele!!”  Yippie. Sensei’s wide awake. This does not bode well for the workout.

8:03 am – A young Gumby is leading warm-ups. Hope we stretch!

8:12 am – Drills up and down the floor, and Miss Morning Person is not even awake yet.

8:36 am – What am I – crazy???

8:50 am – Kata, self-defense, kata, self-defense…

9:09 am – How many more minutes in this class? I can hardly hold my arms up.

9:25 am – I’m done. Brown/Black Belt class is almost over.

9:58 am – Watching jujitsu and wishing I was doing the class too. Paying attention and learning a couple things from my seat in the Peanut Gallery.

10:30 am – Family open class. This time Miss Morning Person’s leading warm-ups; we stretch.

10:35 am – 50 more crunches, 40 more push-ups.

10:50 am – More kata. Kata is deceptive – looks not-so-bad, but is quite the cardio event.

11:15 am – Self defense with Lauren and laughing because she has the funniest hiccups I’ve ever heard!

11:30 am—Gearing up for sparring. I have lots of padding because I have lots of me, so it takes awhile.

12:00 – Ruben beats me up. What is he – 7? 9? He’s a little gizmo – full of pep.

12:16 pm – Sparring class over. I survived intact.

1:15 pm – Lunch with friends. Conversation about karate and life.

4:00 pm – At the gym, sitting in the hot tub and thinking to myself, “Yeah, this has been a good day! When can I do it again?”

Working Kata, One Movement at a Time

Last night in Brown & Black Belt Class we worked on kata step-by-step, one movement at a time.

Hanshi called out the slow cadence, with a pause after each step or block or strike. When we sped up, we paused after a short series of movements.

When kata is broken down in this way, the content of the form can be studied. One punch. One block. One kick. That’s all that matters. Not the movement that came before, and not the movement that will follow.

Moving one step at a time ensures each technique is completed before moving on. I could focus on the most important movement, the one being executed at the moment. And by putting everything into that one movement — all my power and all my speed — I was reminded that each movement should be a stopping movement, the one that would end the fight.

Working kata for content is a great way to perfect each kata movement, in sequence, at 100% power, and is an exercise suitable for any kata and any level of student.