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aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 503
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2024 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a little while since I posted in here. The last month or so has been pretty rough, both life-wise and training-wise. After Zach and I tested for our dan gradings, I spent a week in Dallas (which was fun -- I had the opportunity to train with a Uechi-Ryu Kenyukai group out there. As Mr Miyagi once put it, "different, yet same". It was a good experience. Then the week of Thanksgiving, we went on a cruise from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and back to San Diego. And then my dad died the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Since then, I've spent the last week of November at his place going through all of his things and cleaning his house -- I've also been working with my sister trying to manage his estate. There was a fair bit of friction there as well -- my sister and I haven't been on the best of terms for a long time. And then the last night as we were getting ready to head back to Denver, the darned hotel bed messed up my back again so I've been dealing with that. Couple that with all of the things that go on during the holidays, and I didn't get much training in.

So over the past week I have done my Thursday evening class, taught Friday evening's advanced youth class, attended Saturday morning's class, taught Tuesday evening, and attended my first advanced adult (Tuesday evening) class since my testing.

Friday evening's class was pretty fun. One of the things our CI had me do was work with the shodan-sho's on their new kumite drills and work with them on their new kata, Seiryu. Zach has also had to miss a lot of classes (due to travel, holidays, etc), so he's still struggling with the new kumite drills. But he's getting the hang of them.

Personally my favorite segment of this drill is the last one -- basically the attacker comes in with two low front kicks, followed by a right lunge punch. The defender raises up the legs to block with the shins, and then steps forward into a low stance (shiko-dachi) with a circle block, strikes the attacker in the solar plexus with an elbow strike, applies a backfist to the upper mandible, and then does an o-soto-gari (major outer leg reap) takedown.

The takedown is the hardest part for a lot of people to get -- mainly because most students will just give the takedown to the defender. Personally, that really irritates me, because it doesn't make the defender learn the proper technique. And the throw here is all about the kuzushi (off-balancing). So I demonstrated how if the defender still has his balance, he can just lift up the leg to avoid the throw. So I had one of the students lift up their leg as I tried to sweep. Then as their leg was up, I just gave them a tug and push, and down they went.

I then had them try on me a few times. Still, none of them were trying to off-balance me. They would just try to step in and sweep the leg. So I showed them the other reason you wanted to have your opponent off-balance... if you're stepping in to do this throw, you're by definition not in a stable stance, so all your opponent needs to do is drop his hand to your waist, tug on the arm, and twist... and you end up getting thrown instead of your opponent. So that was a lot of fun.

Last night was my first trip back to the advanced adult class since my testing, and I learned a fair bit. For one thing, I had the chance to work on my new kata quite a bit to the point where I have it fairly well memorized. I definitely won't say that I "have it down", but I know which moves are supposed to go where, so that's a plus. In each of our kata, they introduce a new sequence or two, and this one is no exception. This particular kata is rather difficult, especially for a large person, since you spend quite a bit of time in a shiko-dachi, and there's one sequence where you end up having to do a 180 degree pivot from a shiko-dachi to another shiko-dachi. If done right, it looks really cool, but I'm far from doing it "right" or "well". The good news is I do have a couple of years to work on this before I have to test on it. In any case, practicing this kata will definitely help with my quad strength!

So the important thing is after rough month and a half or so, I'm trying to get back into a normal routine. I expect that there will be more bumps in the road in the upcoming months, but I'll be doing my best to keep moving forward in my journey.
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My Journey (So Far)
Shuri-Ryu 1996-1997 - Gokyu
Judo 1996-1997 - Yonkyu
Uechi-Ryu 2018-Present - Nidan
ABS Bladesmith 2021-Present - Apprentice
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16427
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2024 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, my most sincere condolences of the passing of your dad!! The floor is always the last thing one worries themselves when a loved one or friend passes away.

Glad to hear that you're back on the floor training and teaching. Sounds to me that you'll be back in the swing of things with your normal routine before not too long.

Train hard and well!!



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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30188
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2024 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Once again, my most sincere condolences of the passing of your dad!! The floor is always the last thing one worries themselves when a loved one or friend passes away.

Glad to hear that you're back on the floor training and teaching. Sounds to me that you'll be back in the swing of things with your normal routine before not too long.

Train hard and well!!


I second this. Life throws us curves quite often. Glad to hear you are back to it.
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DarthPenguin
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 886
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2024 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah glad to hear you are getting back into the swing of things. Unfortunately there is not much else that you can do sometimes, no matter how difficult it may be. When my father passed, he had been ill for a long time so it was not unexpected (which helps a little) but no one can ever be totally ready for it.

Glad to hear that things are gradually returning to a sense of normality though - that can help with dealing with things (i think so anyway)
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aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 503
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another couple weeks have gone by, and things are finding their new normal. I'm now making a regular appearance to the Thursday evening classes, and there's a somewhat different group of people that come that evening. Over the last few months I've been having to juggle other commitments (my son's Scouting for one), so making the Tuesday evening class is sometimes difficult.

The good news is that I've got the basics of my new kata (Kanchin) memorized reasonably well, so now I can work on the nuances of it. Last night we had enough time at the end of class that we were able to do the entire gamut of our kata (6, not including Sanchin). I'll say that there is one disadvantage to being of high rank in our school -- you'll end up working your own kata AFTER you've worked every other kata in the system. When I was a white/yellow belt, I would think that working my one kata was hard after an hour workout. Now as I work the color belt katas, I need to make sure to budget my energy to work the dan-grade katas. Which is why last night I made a few glaring mistakes on my newest kata -- it's not that I don't have the kata memorized, but when you're already tired, it amplifies your mistakes.

The good news is that I got a few kudos on my Kanchin form in some of the more nuanced portions, and my CI also showed me where I'm making a few common "beginner mistakes" in the form, so I can be cognizant of them when I work the kata on my own. I'm dealing with some nagging back and hip tightness again, but that tends to go away after the warmups and hojo undo. I

Another fun experience at last night's class is that I got to work with Devon in our kotekitae session -- he is a 5th degree in TKD and a shodan in kobudo, so he already has great power and technique, but one of the things he's not quite used to is actually hitting people (relatively) hard. One of the things we work on is gauging how hard to hit your partner to get the proper conditioning response. Too soft, and they get little to no benefit, too hard and they can bruise and that can take a long time to heal. I'd have to ask him to go harder 2 or 3 times to get the right intensity. Afterwards he told me that he's not used to hitting people hard -- he has one partner who he could go pretty hard with, but mainly he is used to hitting/kicking bags. I also had a chance to teach him some of the other conditioning drills we do, so that was pretty fun as well.

So on the whole, I'm getting back to where I was back in November before things went completely sideways. And after that I plan to keep moving forward. Until next time!
_________________
My Journey (So Far)
Shuri-Ryu 1996-1997 - Gokyu
Judo 1996-1997 - Yonkyu
Uechi-Ryu 2018-Present - Nidan
ABS Bladesmith 2021-Present - Apprentice
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16427
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounded like you had a pretty good few weeks all in all. The balancing of teaching/student/family time can be a tad frustrating, especially when there's only 24 hours in a day. Still, those few weeks were very positive for you.

Train hard and train well.



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aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 503
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it's been a while since I posted in here. Things have been going pretty well, both at the dojo and in other areas. I've continued to train about twice a week, and teach once or twice per week. I've had quite a few new kids start coming to the youth advanced class as they earn their purple belts and brown belts (yonkyu/sankyu).

I continue to struggle with my new kata -- there are quite a few nuances in there that I'm still working to understand. Of course, with a third-degree form, that's to be expected. There are also some physical demands in the form that are particularly difficult for me with my knee and back issues -- but those issues are slowly clearing up.

Last week, my CI informed me that it was time to move from teaching the youth advanced classes to teaching the adult classes. He's wanting to do this for a few reasons: he has a couple of assistant instructors that will soon be testing for their (full, adult) shodan, and he'd like to be able to move them to that class. Also, as instructors start getting closer to their shidoin license, he wants to make sure they can teach both kids and adults. So I've decided to move to teaching the Thursday adult class, since that's the class I normally attend. I'm usually the highest ranked student in that class. Honestly, I don't see it as an issue if there's a higher-ranked student in the class either, because a) I have mutual respect with anyone higher-ranked than I am; at this point there aren't that many of the, and b) I'm always diplomatic and respectful with anyone I am instructing.

I will say it was definitely a different experience teaching an all-levels adult class last night, especially with two brand-new students in the class (as in, still in their 2 week trial period). I kept an eye on both of them, trying to keep the warmups and explanations at a level they cound follow along with. Along the way, I kept an eye out for "teachable moments", and picked a couple of them to demonstrate. For example, in one of our hojo undo sequences, on the first count we do a shuffle-step forward along with a downward scooping block, and return our hands to a "ready" position. On the second count, we do a quick snapping/flicking motion with both hands towards the opponent's eyes. Well, I noticed that one of our students had her "guard/ready" position right against her upper chest. So I had her come up in front and had her demonstrate the first step of the sequence. When she paused her hands right in front, I just calmly reached out with one hand and pinned both of her hands against her (upper) chest. (I wasn't touching anywhere inappropriate, mind you).

Later on in the class, our CI had me teaching the new students (yellow belt and below) Sanchin kata, and I found a few teachable moments there. The first time through, I just walked through the sequence nice and slow and made sure the newest students could keep up. The second and third times, I kept the pace pretty slow and gave corrections as I could. After the third time, I noticed that two of the students were doing the "strike and immediately pull back" in their thrusts. So, I explained/demonstrated how you should leave your strikes out for a moment or two to allow them to penetrate and the energy to dissipate into your opponent.

Teaching an all-levels class is a really different experience than teaching just advanced students, and it makes you really break things down into the basics and think about why you do absolutely everything.

Until next time!
_________________
My Journey (So Far)
Shuri-Ryu 1996-1997 - Gokyu
Judo 1996-1997 - Yonkyu
Uechi-Ryu 2018-Present - Nidan
ABS Bladesmith 2021-Present - Apprentice
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16427
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolute fantastic update through and through.

You're a fine MAist and teacher!! I've nothing but sheer confidence in you across the board.

The one thing that I did forever and a day with my instructors, is to NOT allow my instructors to become complacent in teaching one particular ranks. Instructors can love to teach one rank and despise teaching the other rank. which is completely unfair to the Student Body in a whole and unacceptable.

And of course, I never allowed my instructors to teach above their rank. In order to teach Godan, for example, an instructor must be Rokudan minimum and that Rukudan WILL be also teaching Jukyu on a regular basis per the instructor rotation schedule. Guess who oversaw that schedule?? You guessed it. Me.

You got this, Ken.



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