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Shotokan brings it into focus


Shotokan

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My last few challenges went pretty well and since I decided to try to ramp things up instead of full out training daily, I am starting to see some benefits.  Keeping with the same plan, I am still going to do the slow and steady training while adding some new focus to my katas.  I am not saying that I am going to focus on doing more katas, instead, I am adding more focus while doing my katas. 

 

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1. Keep the focus on the kata focus - 25 each week

The plan is to still keep my kata count at 25 for each week but doing those 25 with proper focus.  The focus is where I keep my eyes when doing each movement.  Having the focus on a specific place or item is allowing my to let me techniques flow.  More to come on this one as I learn more about it but it seems that having a focal point changes the dynamic of the kata.

 

2. Get more mobile - 5 times a week

The warm up and other mobility work is working.  My body is more limber and it has to be from the warm ups and flexibility work I have been doing.

 

3. Body-weight or weights - 2 times a week

I am enjoying the body-weight and weight workouts and they seem to be putting me into a good mental place after the stressful days at work. 

 

Extra credit:  One blog post

I know, I know, I have been saying this for a last, I don't know how many challenges but this time, I will do it.

Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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13 hours ago, Kishi said:

Oooh. So what does focus mean? Does it mean doing them with "intent"? I find myself more sold on kata training whenever I see the world champs doin' 'em like they killed someone with each movement.

It's not so much about the intent of one strike on kill since that comes with training time.  The more you train, the more intention for each move improves but I am looking at a little different focus.  It's kind of a focus of not focusing. I am finding a spot on the wall or some object that I am focusing my eyes on while doing my techniques.  What I am starting to find is, my mind is focusing on something besides the actual technique.  After doing a kata, hundreds or thousands of times, the movements should be automatic and the body should just do them without having to use the mind to focus on them.  Focusing my attention on something other than the technique takes my mind off of doing the actual technique and it should make it smoother and more powerful.  I need to record my katas when doing this see if it actually works because while I do them this way, I really do not see myself doing it, instead, I only feel it.  I was told by more than one person, when I am teaching, my techniques are smooth and precise but I am also more relaxed since I am not focusing on the technique itself, instead, I am focused on explaining it and the technique just is.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Day one:

 

I forgot to post yesterdays workout.  It started with some katas, six of them and they felt pretty good overall. After that came three supersets of my hip / core / glute workout. 3 sets of 12 really get the blood flowing.  Normally I would do the workout before the katas but for some reason doing the katas felt right at the beginning instead of the end.

 

Day two:

 

Today's workout was crazy good for some reason.  It felt almost effortless but my I noticed my heart rate stayed up high but I didn't feel winded at all.  I started with my hip / core / glute workout today for two set of 12.  Next came eight katas, using the focus points around the room and out of all of them, I noticed about three or four techniques that came into focus.  They felt strong and smooth but I was able to not hold my mind on each move like I used to do.  A little bit of mobility work for my hip flexors finished up the day.  I did something that I normally don't do while training today.  I found some binaural beats that I used to listen to years again to try to bring my focus in a little tighter and I think that it was part of the reason the workout felt almost effortless.  I am going to play with it some more but it really seemed to keep me going even though my work day kinda sucked and I was tired before the workout.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post

Day Three:

 

Karate class was a great class but I was off.  My stances were off and my body felt really rigid.  My my mind was too tight from work and it made me feel like I was moving in wet sand.

 

Day Four:

 

My body was working better for this workout.  I was able to do five good katas and get in some good glute / core work with my mini workout.

 

Day Five:

 

A much needed day off.  I was mentally exhausted and my body said no workout.  I was in bed a few minutes before 11 for the time in a very long time.

 

Day Six:

 

Today was a good workout.  I started with a modified version of the GSP warm up and it made me ready for five solid katas.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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On 2/24/2020 at 12:55 PM, Kishi said:

Ooh, binaural beats driving you to better training? Wow. Wouldn't have seen that coming. Keep us posted on how that experiment goes!

It added something but I can't really put my finger on it.  I didn't have a good chance to workout much last week because of work but I am hoping to play with it in the near future.

Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Last week was kind of a throw away for me.  I had a lot going on at work and except for a good kata workout and Sunday and really good Karate class on Tuesday, the rest of the week fell apart.  Work is draining more than usual, actually more than it has in a a few years but I just have to figure out a way to get in my workout before all my energy is gone after work.  I have been getting home between 7 and 8 each night and after eating dinner and relaxing for a few, it seems that all my energy is gone. 

  • Sad 1

Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post

Day 15:

 

Bringing it back in focus today.  Today was a two workout day.  I spent some time with my kata coach and worked on improving some problem spots in my kata for my first workout.  The second workout was a few more katas along with an expanded core workout.  I wanted the start of the new month to be the start of my serious training since I pretty much most of last week to work. 

 

I am trying to nail down a deliberate practice plan to focus on the areas that I need to improve on most and I want to spend the rest of this challenge working on it.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Yikes. :( Sorry to hear that the week was so rough. I'd toss a reset gif your way if I thought the work computer could handle it, but it generally doesn't, so.

 

That being said, it sounds like you're making this into an opportunity to see what you really want and what you're willing to give time to. You can't ask more of yourself than that. I think this could actually be very good - protect what's worth protecting and flow with the rest.

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Day 16:

 

Good workout tonight.  I started again with my homemade bodyweight full body workout and then came five pretty good katas.  The full body workout is pretty much a warm up and a workout all in one. 

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Day 17:

 

Missed class but got in some light kata training with five katas.

 

Day 18:

 

Late night workout with my homemade bodyweight workout but only one circuit instead of two.  A single kata finished off the day.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post
10 hours ago, Kishi said:

So, hey, given that you're a kata guy, are you stoked about the 2020 Olympics having karate in them?

Yes and no.  I think it will be interesting to see Karate recognized in the Olympics but I also feel that it will water down the art.  Whenever an art gets recognition like this, the sport part, with all the trophy hunters comes into focus and the original focus of self defense goes down along with the lifestyle that many many Martial Artists develop. Comparing the old masters and even Karate instructors from as little as 20 years ago, you can see the difference between someone performing kata for the public and someone actually doing kata that would stop an attacker.  With all the additional drama that many competitors add to the katas and even kumite, it easy for the trained eye to see who is the showboat and who can be effective on the street.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post

Since my last workout update, I got in some workouts. Lots of kata and some bodyweight work until tonight. 

 

Today was different. I was going to only do a few slow katas and call it a night but for some reason, it turned into something different.  I really wanted a pair of headphones that I could use while working out and I picked them up yesterday morning. They aren't anything special, Plantonics Fit 505 for only $60 but they are supposed to be good for sweat and stay on your head when moving. I was searching for some good workout songs and I stumbled across a song Lone Digger by Caravan Palace. It starts out like an old 40's or 50's song and then the bass kicks in and the tempo really speeds up.  I turned on the song and started doing my katas and suddenly, it was like a had this huge burst of energy and power.  I ended up knocking out seven,back to back, full power, full speed katas.  It felt as if the music was pulling me through the katas and once I started, I kept going. I put the song on repeat and ended up playing it five times.  I had one or two stance stumbles because my legs were moving so fast but overall the katas were solid and felt awesome for the first time in a while.

 

I am going to play with this more going forward to see if I can keep it going in the coming days.  Another weird thing, my body was stiff and tired but after one or two moves into the katas, it was loose and awake.  I even did some side thrust kicks to see how they were and without taking a video, they felt spot on. The music seems to have taken my mind off the techniques and made them flow without me even giving them a second thought.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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On ‎3‎/‎8‎/‎2020 at 1:19 AM, Shotokan said:

Yes and no.  I think it will be interesting to see Karate recognized in the Olympics but I also feel that it will water down the art.  Whenever an art gets recognition like this, the sport part, with all the trophy hunters comes into focus and the original focus of self defense goes down along with the lifestyle that many many Martial Artists develop. Comparing the old masters and even Karate instructors from as little as 20 years ago, you can see the difference between someone performing kata for the public and someone actually doing kata that would stop an attacker.  With all the additional drama that many competitors add to the katas and even kumite, it easy for the trained eye to see who is the showboat and who can be effective on the street.

 

Yeah, that's a good point. It happened with judo too - there's a huge emphasis on throws "above the waist" as opposed to leg throws, which is unfortunate because leg throws (ie grabbing the legs for takedowns) are pretty super effective. They're banned, though, because judo has to be sold as a sport and rather than get rid of the "ippon" and keep it a fight, the IOC decided to focus on pretty throws. Naturally, because the dojos and tournaments take their cues from the IOC, there's a massive de-emphasis on a whole set of effective techniques in favor of others.

 

And I mean it's not like the "above the waist" techniques are bad by any stretch. Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison are two judoka who come to mind who transitioned well into MMA using those techniques. But I do find the concept irksome, though. Like it poisons the soul of the art somehow.

 

Still, I reckon there'll be some pretty art for a time, and maybe that's what the IOC wants? Or maybe it's a chance for Japan to snag some extra golds somehow. IDK.

 

Also, always interesting to read about how music seems to make your body brave. :)

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I haven't been too good at updates lately but I have had some incredible workouts over the last week or so.  I have my bodyweight workout dialed in pretty well and the four out of five kata trainings have been better than most.  I am still playing with the music while working out and the days I didn't have he music, my workouts were blah.  I haven't been sleeping enough but that doesn't seem to be impacting my training too much.  Some different stress at work, with everything going on now, is causing some issues but overall my work hours are a down to about 10 hours a day now.

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post

This challenge went better than most.  Lots of Kata, lots of bodyweight training and mobility work although the bodyweight and mobility workouts were combined.  My squat is lower than it has been in years and my speed moving from stance to stance is also faster than before.  I also found that music plays a big part in my training and the right grouping of songs also makes a difference.  I am pretty sure that the muscle memory will continue when and I get back to class sometime in the future.

 

I am hopeful that all the training will also keep me healthy enough for work over the next few weeks since I am considered an essential employee. 

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Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

Link to post
16 hours ago, Shotokan said:

This challenge went better than most.  Lots of Kata, lots of bodyweight training and mobility work although the bodyweight and mobility workouts were combined.  My squat is lower than it has been in years and my speed moving from stance to stance is also faster than before.  I also found that music plays a big part in my training and the right grouping of songs also makes a difference.  I am pretty sure that the muscle memory will continue when and I get back to class sometime in the future.

 

I am hopeful that all the training will also keep me healthy enough for work over the next few weeks since I am considered an essential employee. 

 

Right back at you. I and my father at least are presently considered essential; I dunno what my brother's job is doing since he works for Best Buy but it's warehouse work and it's pretty damned close.

 

Go us. :D:D :D Like we all managed to luck into essential work in the middle of a gatdang pandemic.

 

Be well, sir, and get as much rest as you can.

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