The Japanese Karate-Do’s Mid-Day class was a fun, but high intensity none stop class. We had a guest/student instructor today, Emmanuelle Paillaugue Bouttier. She started the class with a very warm up session followed by kihon (basics) drills. Using one fo kihon routine for testing (Step back age-uke forward mawashi-geri, uraken oi-zuki), the drills emphasized combinations, smooth and quick direction and technique changes.
We ended class with yoga stretches. Thanks Emma for a great class!
The last Mid-Day class before closing for the holidays found us working the 3K’s (kihon, kumite and kata). We started our warm up with slow, extended kihon – oi zuki (lunge punch), dedan barai (down block), chudan soto ude uke (outside/inside middle block), chudan uchi ude uke (inside/outside middle block), age uke (upper rising block), mae geri (front kick), mawashi geri (roundhouse kick) and yoko geri (side kick). With each pass, and as we moved more into the techniques, we increased the intensity and the speed.
We then worked through more details within the blocks and kicks with a focus on maintaining a strong stance throughout the kick while using the compression-expansion needed to explode or just move into our techniques without the need to “prepare” to execute the technique (ie. moving the front foot so that the back foot is being pulled into the technique when going forward). An emphasis was also put on having the part of the body that will initiate and execute the end of the technique compressed to the point where it just wants to move or as Bruce Lee said, “… it strikes all by itself…”
We then went into ippon kumite (one step sparring). We worked going executing the strikes and blocks from both right and left sides. The fun of this drill was for the defender to stay where they ended and not move back in front of the attacker. This had the effect of having us to think of our hand and foot placement and how we needed to shift and step in order to be in a good position to block and counter the next attack.
Class ended with the katas, Heian Godan and Jion. We started by using a moderate count to get through the moves. Then we executed the katas as a team kata, with the lower ranks following the upper ranks. We ended class by putting various applications (bunkai) to the different parts of the katas.
It was a great class – a little different, but still great. Good luck to all who tested last Friday!