Sunday was a Cookie family outing for grading. Kendo testing for blue test, me for red tip, Grace for blue tip. It was COLD COLD COLD in the hall. Even the warm up and an hour and a half kihon, kata and kumite couldn't completely defrost me (I swear my feet have been perpetually cold for the last fortnight!).
Grading was intense, but not too strenous (there was a large group of us -almost 30) which necessitates quite a bit of waiting around for your turn). Apparently I had my "serious face" on. LOL. Mostly because I was concentrating hard, especially for my kumite. I had to go up against Shihan in a one minute bout (with everyone else watching...ugh! Horrific!). I managed to hold up though....... mostly meaning that I held my ground and didn't just stand there being wolloped! He even managed to get an unsolicited Kiai out of me. I've never done that before while sparring but I was pretty frustrated with myself at the end and it snuck out with a side kick. LOL.
We all made our grades....hurrah! So came home happy and tired little karate-ka.
Monday night saw me acting as Sempai for Grace's class again. A few weeks ago Shihan presented me with my "Assistant Instructor" patch (I was stupidly excited about that I have to say) so I definitely feel like one of the team now. Shihan and Sensei Chrissy had me lead the class through kicks (I get the feeling my teaching skills are under some scruitiny now. LOL). I think I did okay. I managed to keep their attention, they were all kicking the right kick at the right time, I even managed to count and kick at the same time (who knew how hard THAT would be?). Of course after class I remembered a million little things that I probably should have done, but it was okay for a first time out I think.
Adult class on Monday was a mixed bag of old and new. We spend the first half implementing all the blocks we know - GREAT practice for looking at the applications of them. So often its easy just to get into the rhythm of doing block after block. It's nice to get to grips with how they actually work some times. I was paired with a newly graded yellow belt for some of these exercises which meant more opportunity to flex those teaching muscles as I had to show him some of the blocks first. He did a really good job of getting to grips with the new stuff.
The second half of the class opened up a whole new world of karate stuff! Our school has been running for about 18 months under it's current system. Prior to that it's run under different names in conjunction with other instructors in other locations. It's never been a school that has taken part in Tournament karate though. Well, that's about to change! Next year we'll be hosting the first Tournament for our governing body TKGB. That means we need to get some practice in with tournament style kumite. All the kumite we do at training is freestyle sparring (Jiyu kumite). Never for points and not with set attacks and defenses. Shihan gave us three areas where we could score points (torso, back, head) and three strikes we could score with (kick, reverse punch, back fist). It's really strange knowing you have to go in for that specific strike/area to score. In some ways it makes you much more focused as you're looking for a specific opening...in some ways it was quite distracting as you're concentrating on what will and won't score that vital point. We were spilt into team (2 teams of 6) and drew numbers so the bouts were random. I won my bout (yay) against Paul (the yellow belt I mentioned earlier who for some reason is a little bit scared of me, which is just hilarious). He managed to get a few jabs in but because they were off the front foot he didn't score. I took him out with a backfist. Sigh of relief.
Our team didn't win, but everyone did really well - especially the youngsters. They held their own. I was really impressed.
For the last 10 minutes of class Shihan gave us a taste of team kata performance (another element which will be included in the tournament). Shihan and Sensei Chrissy and Sensei Helen performed our version of Bassai Dai (which was pretty amazing and more than a little bit scary!). Then Shihan asked us who else wanted to try so myself, my fellow blue belt Louise and Purple tip Jon decided to do Kata Saifa. It was great fun and we pretty much nailed it (even if I do say so myself). Louise and I are performing this kata together for the display for the Christmas party so it was good to know that we're pretty solid on the timings already. A little more practice and we'll be all set.
So, that's the round up of the Cookie Family Karate week. New grades gained and alot of new things to think about. Just the kind of karate week I like!
Hope it's not snowing too hard where you are.