Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Say "Cheese"!

Time seems to be ticking by rather quickly, does it not? Here we are already half way through October nearly. Scary. In another month I'll have reached my 1 year anniversary as a karateka. Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me!

Monday's class was a bit of a strange affair for me this week. I'm still helping out with the junior class (and still loving it!) and as I was getting kitted up in my Gi on Monday I noticed one of my former school teacher's lurking in the wings. She taught me in reception (which was 30 years ago! Eek!) and has lived up the road from me for as long as I can remember. She was there with her Grandson who has not long started classes. I can't tell you how weird it was to be instructing these little people under her watchful eye! Nothing like feeling the pressure! LOL. The age range for the class is 6 to 9 although some do start a little younger. It's amazing the difference in attention spans you get in kids so young. Some of them take it all in and watch you like a hawk for what they should be doing, others...well, they're more easily distracted. I guess it's all in the personality. Every one of them is coming along well though and I see improvements in them week on week. It makes me really proud of my little guys when I see their first katas coming together and how they grow in confidence when they know they're getting things right. It's hard work, but definitely worth it. I definitely need some girls though! Where are all the karate girls?? We haven't had any new ones for ages.

The feeling of being watched didn't subside for the adult class either as there was a photographer there taking photos for the new karate club website. I can't say I was really bothered about having perfect hair and all that gubbins (because face it, karate gi....not the most attractive attire in the word and if you're training hard you're going not going to look like you just stepped out of a salon) but it was kind of hard to not be distracted by the guy looming in the back ground with the camera. Mostly I was worried that he'd end up snapping me with an expression akin to this:

especially when he was photographing us doing kick pad work. I know I pull weird expressions when I'm holding the pads! Heaven knows what the kata shots he took will be like. I dread to think! I haven't seen any of the pics yet but I'm sure I'll get to check them out soon enough - hopefully before any of them grace the pages of the club website for anyone to see! LOL.

On the training side of things. Well. It's ups and downs at the moment. I'm getting along okay with my new Kata (Saifa). I think I've got the pattern down now, I just need to work on the details and then keep running through it. My basics are getting better (partly due to having to do them over and over with the junior class - teaching them definitely helps me learn). Thems the ups. The downs...... I suddenly seem to be having real trouble with my kicks. I'm trying to make sure my technique is good - kicking through the hips, pivoting on the back foot, using my arms for counter balance, but I seem to be losing something along the way. What felt easy now feels a little cumbersome. I guess that's about progression in technique. It's frustrating though.

The other area I feel like I'm falling down on is my kumite. That's one of those areas where I think it's sometimes hard to see progress in yourself. Some times I think I'm taking one step forward and three back when it comes to sparring. If I really take time and see how far I've come in 11 months there's definitely been great improvement but I feel like I've hit a bit of a wall and I'm not getting any better. I'm really conscious that I'm very linear in my approach to sparring. I know I have to start working my angles more, getting out to the sides instead of always being face on with my opponent. I know I should be looking for places were I can use my more advance techniques...grabbing blocks, kicks, controls. Knowing and doing though are two very different things, it seems.

I know I probably shouldn't be beating myself up (pun entirely intended) over these things. I know it will come with experience and practice, but like anything in life you love, I want to be the best I can be at this.

I'm reminded of this recent post over at KaratebyJesse:

While we’re still on the subject of drawbacks and downsides; this whole Karate-jutsu system/pyramid has another big negative side, which is that many people tend to quit before they get somewhere!

Most commonly around green belt, it seems.


Because for the longest time you will constantly feel like you suck. Like nothing works. Like when you finally get a detail right, a new – even more serious – detail inevitably pops up.

And most people don’t like that feeling.

But they should.

Because sucking at something is a gift. It’s nothing but free information from nature, and the message reads: “Practise more”.

Constantly feeling like you suck? Check!

At least I made it past green belt though, and I know I'm not going to quit, so I will take from this the most important lesson. Practice more!

At the moment we're in the middle of redecorating our living room. When we're finished it will be half lounge, a little bit dining room and a whole lot of training room. Is it weird to be having a training room in your living room? Possibly. But we live there and training is what we like to do so that's what we'll do in there. I can't wait!



  1. A training room in the lounge.....way to go!

    Marie - it's great that you care so much about not getting your kicks right, its means you'll practice until you improve. I get annoyed by the people who don't seem to care about being lousy at a technique or don't feel the slightest bit embarrased about performing a poor kata in front of everyone. Seeing focus and passion in someone is much more inspiring.

  2. I've heard green belt called the "hump belt" because some just don't make it over that hump. But many more - like you :-) - do! Keep on keepin' on!

    I had the same thing happen where my kicks were concerned. For a while, my side kicks just seemed to lose all power. A drill that worked for me was working my kicks on my out-of-dojo days. Every kick I knew - starting from the ground (stomp kick) and coming up (high hook kick) five times each and on each side. It was most helpful done in front of a mirror and took about five minutes total. Not only did my side kick power return, my other kicks improved, too.

    But, like Sue said, that you are concerned about any of that speaks volumes. I. too, have seen soooo many be totally content with sloppy form and poor presentation. I left my old school because that attitude seemed to be too pervasive. You could definitely teach them a thing or two, no doubt.

    Thanks for sharing - and good luck with the photos (I'm sure you'll look smashing) and the living room conversion :-)


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Maira Gall