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Shotokan

Shotokan focuses on the prize

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This is supposed to be about focus and I ended up posting under the last challenge.  

 

The last challenge of no focus didn't go too well overall. I liked the idea of doing whatever I felt like doing but that turned out with me sitting in my chair most of the time doing nothing.

 

After my learning experience with the last challenge, I need the focus of Bruce Lee to get on the right track!

Bruce-Lee.gif

 

1. Improve my Karate fundamentals

For the next three months, I am not taking any formal Karate classes. I will still teach but I don't have the money to pay for classes this time around. With that said, I will do at least one formal Karate class at home. A full hour of basics, kata and one step. Along with that, I will still do my weekly kata training and work on stances and kicks at least two other days each week. 

 

2. Complexes

At least three times each week, I will do some form of barbell, dumbbell, body weight, or kettlebell complexes. I need a fast but effective workout to give me some extra muscles and burn some fat.

 

3. Mobility training

At least three times each week, I will do some form of mobility or flexibility training. I have been doing a lot of the Pavel stuff and it seems to be working pretty well so that will be one of the main tools I will be using. 

 

Extra credit

Check in at nerd fitness more often.  I haven't been good at posting my workouts or checking in here and I want to check in here every time I workout.

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Today was a workout filled day or at least most of it was.

 

Kata training with my kata coach went exceptionally well today. We worked on a kata that we haven't done for a long time and oddly enough, it came back very fast. We then worked on a new kata that we started last week and too went better than expected.

 

Later today, I did the following:

 

First came three circuits of 8 reps of band / body weight work.

 

Glute bridges

Side leg raises

Swiss ball squeezes

Donkey kicks

Band pull aparts

Band rows

Band shoulder dislocates

Standing band crunches

Seated knee ups

 

After that, some Beyond Stretching with Pavel and a few more katas.

 

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Nice! Way to bring it back into focus. Looks like it was a lot of good training that hit a lot of necessary things.

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Monday was a long day at work but I was able to get in some kata training.

 

Today, I started vacation for the next six day although I spent three hours working from home. I did get in some training while teaching for three hours today. Since I am not taking class this session, I try to get in some techniques while teaching and tonight. Some stance work, basics and kata got me moving while showing others how to do it. 

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I imagine there's a lot of value in teaching as far as training goes - by showing others, you really have to dig into your technique and make it awesome. That forces you to get some quality reps in, and those are super-great for training.

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Vacation time hasn't allowed me to train as much as I thought I would but I made up for some of the laziness today. 

 

Today's workout was 2 set of complexes using a rep scheme of 5,4,3,2,1 all one with 25lb dumbbells.

 

Deadlift

Bent over row

clean

press

curl

Calf raises

Farmers walk

 

After that, 5 Shotokan katas and 12 Iaido katas.

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Today was kata day.

 

I ended up doing 14 Shotokan Katas along with an Iaido kata. Kata is often a form of meditation for me. It doesn't workout that way all the time but when it does, it feels pretty good.

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2 hours ago, Kishi said:

I know one kata. I should do it more. It's useful. You remind me of this.

I am up to 23 katas that I have learned over the years. There are two that I don't do too often and I am not sure I can remember them without a lot of work but I try to do the other 21 at least once a month.  I often try to work out the bunkai for the various katas in my mind after I work on them.  My Sensei made a comment many years ago about kata: He said, kata is like a sweater, take them out and try them on every so often to make sure they still fit and then put them back until next time.  Even though I don't teach as often as I used to, I still like to be able to answer questions from the students about the katas. 

 

I'm glad that you reminded me of this.  There is a kata Rohai that I haven't done in a long time, from a Shotokan like style called Robukai. I need to find that video and work on it again. It's not recognized in my club but it's a pretty cool kata.

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Today was my first day back at work after six days away..... Boo. Even though I came home with a headache after 10 hours, I was able to get in a decent workout.

 

Complexes today with 2 x 25 lbs dumbbells for only one complex of 5,4,3,2,1.

 

Deadlift

Bent over row

clean

press

curl

Calf raises

Farmers walk

 

These complexes are working pretty well for me.  I feel stronger and my muscles are starting to fill out a bit again.  I also did 3 sets of standing cable crunches, the hip flexibility workout and three each of Shotokan and Iaido katas. 

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No official training today but I did get to teach for a while today. I always get a good workout when I teach and I even had some time to do a kata before class started.

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Teaching's got to count as its own form of training, between digging into the details of techniques and having to spar basics and work on movement. It's gotta be legit.

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On 7/19/2017 at 11:51 AM, Kishi said:

Teaching's got to count as its own form of training, between digging into the details of techniques and having to spar basics and work on movement. It's gotta be legit.

I have learned so much my teaching. The questions that the students ask and watching them do their techniques has taught me a great deal. There is always someone that needs to be walked through a part of kata or needs to see a technique demonstrated and that is where I get my training in. :)

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Wednesday's workout didn't happen because I was under the weather all day. I woke up feeling bad and went to bed feeling bad with a headache and all my lower joints aching but if anything good came from it, I was in bed long before 11:30 and actually was able to stay there for eight hours or at least that's what my fitbit told me.

 

Today was a better day. I woke up still feeling a little off but I got better as the day progressed. After work, I was able to get in a single set of complexes:

 

25 lbs dumbbells for only one complex of 5,4,3,2,1.

 

Deadlift

Bent over row

clean

press

curl

Calf raises

Farmers walk

 

3 sets of standing cable crunches, some time punching the wavemaster, four Shotokan katas that felt really good, a couple of Iaido katas and some side thrust kicks, which are improving nicely. 

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I didn't expect Friday's workout to amount to much but instead, it ended up being a good workout. 

 

I started out being tired and it was already after 10:30 pm but I wanted to try a new, simple hip workout that I found on Facebook from Rick Kaslj. There are five simple movements: 

 

1 - Single leg glute bridge

2 - Donkey kick

3 - Side lying leg raise

4 - Bird dog

5 - Forward lunge with knee extension

 

I wasn't sure how effective it would be with only one set of 5 reps but I was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. The part that I like most was, the way that Rick recommended doing the lunges, with the back knee straight down in line with my hip, didn't bother my quad. For years now, whenever I would do a long lunge, my left quad would scream for days after. Doing them inline, takes the stress off my hip flexor and i don't feel any pain in my quad.

 

After that came some really good kata. I have been training my katas very slowly and it has not only raised the intensity but it is also making me notice the little details that I must be missing by doing them quickly.

 

Saturday's workout was spread throughout the day. it started by teaching Karate for three hours. I was able to get in some good training by doing kata techniques with some of the students. I really good a good sweat going and I get to work on the details that I can apply to my katas. After that, the Typhoon and I went for a walk in the 90 degree heat. We only walk about a mile but there are some really good stairs at the park we go to that gives me a little extra boost. I was able to get in some good kata training late at night too.

 

Sunday's workout was again, more than I expected.  I went for a walk with the Typhoon again and did the stars along with the little hill next to it. It was really hot again but it felt good. The only problem, when going down the hill, I found that it really bothers my knee where as the stairs do not. I guess I be sticking to the stairs.  I planned on doing on complex but the Typhoon wanted to workout and we ended up doing two complexes with shortened rest periods as the reps decreased. I am still using my 25 pound dumbbells but I think it's time to up the weight again. Going up five pounds each is going to be a little rough but that's life. After the complexes came some kata work again. When I was teaching the higher belts yesterday, I realized that, when I do my kata, it is automatic now. That is a bit of problem when I am teaching others how to do the techniques so today, I did the katas I was teaching slowly again to make sure that when I have to teach them, they are learning the correct movements. 

 

Overall, the last three days went pretty well training wise.

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Sounds like a good few days! Also, I imagine that an extra 5 lbs gets awfully heavy when doing complexes. It'll work itself out, I'm sure.

 

Glad to hear that you're finding ways to train that don't hurt so much!

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Monday's workout was the simple routine that I did on Friday along with some good kata training. 

 

Tuesday's workout was teaching kata at Karate again. The amount of kata movements that I do are registering at a workout on my Fitbit so I guess I must be doing something. The thing about Tuesday was, my kata techniques felt effortless. When I am doing them in class or training at home, they often feel tight or sometimes forces but these felt so smooth and correct. 

 

The Typhoon wanted to work on a new kata today, Gankaku, and we even got my son to join in for while. Oddly, something from yesterday must have carried over because many of my techniques felt effortless again. It could also be related to the work that my chiropractor did on my hip today. 

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On 7/27/2017 at 8:50 AM, Kishi said:

Hmm. Do you think you're hitting flow state with these?

Yes, finally. It has taken me a long to do a kata on automatic, especially the advanced katas. I am not sure if the meditation is helping or if it's just that muscle memory is starting to take over. Oddly, I often find myself focusing on my stances and posture instead of the actual techniques so that might be part of it too. 

 

I have learned two new katas over the last few weeks but those are not automatic but the techniques that are common in similar katas feel automatic at times when I am not trying to remember the next move.

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Thursday's workout was more kata training. 

Friday's workout was 2 sets of the dumbbell complex along with some more kata.

 

Saturday's workout was all kata training. I was working on some advanced katas with my kata coach and they felt really good. I thought that I would have had many things to improve on, since I hadn't done either of those for a while but there were only a couple of small details. 

 

Today's workout is just a couple of katas since I was busy most of the day. 

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Well, hey, though. You still showed up. You greased that particular neurological groove. That has merit. Good work!

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Today's workout was some more kata training.  

 

I started a new program in Headspace related to sports analysis. I went through one my katas, feeling my movements for correct execution and I realized that some of my movements have a little extra motion that they do not need. It was almost as if I was creating a picture of myself, that I could see in my mind, while doing it based on the feeling. I'm not sure if it's the mediation or the NLP techniques that I have been studying but either way, it's a different feeling than just doing the motions. 

 

I have also been reading some interviews from the second generation Shotokan masters. One article that struck a cord was doing the katas and kihon very slowly. This is something that my Sensei touched on in the past about how slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I know he was quoting a line from the movie Sniper but it he mentioned it in both Karate and Iaido class but when applying what he said, it does make the movements very smooth even if they are slow.  Even though I was taught this on my first day of Karate class, it didn't start to make sense until many years later. This slow motion training seems to teach the mind along with the body to find the most efficient path from start to end of the technique and I need to dig into this more. One of the most exciting things about Martial Arts training is there is always something to be learned. The journey never ends.

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Speed is a byproduct of efficiency, and efficiency is a byproduct of practiced motions. You might start slow doing those things, but in the end you won't stay slow. But by practicing slow, you get to build good fast technique as opposed to being sloppy and just throwing things out there.

 

At least, that's what I've been told.

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