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shortyafter
Orange Belt
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject: One guy's karate journey Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I wouldn't say I'm taking my karate any more "seriously" than in the past, but my goals, and way of training, have perhaps changed a bit. This is year 3 for me and it's no longer just about getting the mentality or fundamentals down. Trust me, my fundamentals have a long way to go, but what I mean is, it's not just simple things like "that's what an oi-tsuki is" anymore, or the meaning of strong spirit, or these big umbrella concepts that we train with every night. Now it's learning how to perfect these kinds of things, and learning the infinite number of little subtleties.

To that end I've been writing and journaling a lot more lately, and a lot of it has been on here. I thought about making this my one and only training diary but actually I prefer to keep my own personal one, where I can keep things that are personal to me for whatever reason. This won't be so technical, but rather more of a discussion format.

Tonight went well. My kicks continue to look pretty good. Tonight I practiced on a bag, and, the power is lacking, unfortunately, but the technique is there, the balance is there, the control is there. It's a big change from before. The power will come - I will need help from my CI because I'm a bit lost. But I feel good about this improvement.

I'm big on the relaxation thing, like, just get out of my own way and let the karate take care of itself. Tonight I had a chance to do 1 kata and it looked and felt nice. Things sort of slowed down and each technique was powerful, snappy, and graceful. Not perfect. But better than before. My kata always look better when I slow down and relax. But it's funny, even when I try to consciously do that I have a hard time getting there. All I can think is, stop trying to get there and just let it happen. Trying to get there is making me more tense. The natural relaxation, and confidence in myself, are coming... little by little.

It's funny too because I can't explain it, but the difference from when I started is so huge. Yeah I could point to a few concrete things, but there's never really been a moment where it's like - "THAT's the night I started doing things correctly". There's definitely been some big a-ha moments but the majority of things has just kinda been a result of time, effort and patience. That's what my teachers have been telling me. If someone is new to karate I would be telling them the same thing. It's really cool.

Last thing - my CI emphasizes moving my hands right at the moment of impact, in conjunction with my feet, for all techniques but for example shuto uke. Tonight during my kata I felt how my feet really landed at the same time as my hands snapped. It felt good and powerful. Another cool realization.

Anyway, that's all for tonight and as I have more cool or not so cool experiences I will be posting them here. I welcome any constructive criticism, feedback, encouragement or comments.

Also want to thank you guys for being here. My current dojo is small and I live overseas so besides my CI I don't really have much like minded people around here. Nobody as dedicated as me for sure (except my CI). I remember I was worried about this when I first started training here but you guys assured me, as long as I feel challenged and my karate is helping me to meet the challenges of life, then it is "real" karate. And I have no doubt now that that is the case here.

It's a cool tool guys, so thanks. Now fire away!


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JazzKicker
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Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 119
Location: NJ
Styles: JKD, TSD, MMA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've kept a training journal for years now. It's a great way to keep track of what's on your mind, training ideas and progress. Over time, you'll see recurring themes, too.

I think you're right, relaxation is important. The way to develop power is with focus, and efficient body mechanics. Tension gets in the way of that. When you see a great athlete in any sport, they almost make it look effortless, right? But a beginner in martial arts looks tense, unbalanced, tentative, forced.

I wouldn't get too bogged down in minutiae of details, like the "right" way for a foot position or something. Everybody moves a little differently.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JazzKicker wrote:
I've kept a training journal for years now. It's a great way to keep track of what's on your mind, training ideas and progress. Over time, you'll see recurring themes, too.

I think you're right, relaxation is important. The way to develop power is with focus, and efficient body mechanics. Tension gets in the way of that. When you see a great athlete in any sport, they almost make it look effortless, right? But a beginner in martial arts looks tense, unbalanced, tentative, forced.

I wouldn't get too bogged down in minutiae of details, like the "right" way for a foot position or something. Everybody moves a little differently.

Hey mate, thanks! About the minute details - that's a good point. I will keep it in mind.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know... Jesse Enkamp just posted an article about nerves in Karate. Just about everything he says in the article is pretty much identical to what I'm trying to tell the students in my math classes. Take a look!

http://www.karatebyjesse.com/overcome-anxiety-grading-competing/
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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Wayofaswede
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Joined: 16 Jan 2017
Posts: 135
Location: Sweden
Styles: Shukokai Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, Aikido (Aikikai), Judo, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing your journey, looking forward to follow it. Keeping a thread here has helped me very much in many different ways. Browsing through it is a constant reminder of the sometimes bumpy road that still keeps moving in the right direction - and how much I've really learned and grown as karateka since the very first post.

Best of luck with your training. Osu!
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The path so far: 3 kyu Aikido (Aikikai), 4 kyu Karate (Shukokai Shito-ryu), 5 kyu Judo, 9 kyu Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

Not a day without a kata
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shortyafter
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
You know... Jesse Enkamp just posted an article about nerves in Karate. Just about everything he says in the article is pretty much identical to what I'm trying to tell the students in my math classes. Take a look!

http://www.karatebyjesse.com/overcome-anxiety-grading-competing/

Hey - thanks for this. It's a good read. You're right that the nerves thing goes way beyond karate... I am an English as a second-language teacher and also a student of languages myself. One of my teaching and learning philosophies is that nerves get in the way of our learning and performance. So I actively try to create a relaxed, fun, engaging learning environment. It's good for learning languages and it's good for karate too. I bet for math too. Thanks!

Wayofaswede wrote:
Thanks for sharing your journey, looking forward to follow it. Keeping a thread here has helped me very much in many different ways. Browsing through it is a constant reminder of the sometimes bumpy road that still keeps moving in the right direction - and how much I've really learned and grown as karateka since the very first post.

Best of luck with your training. Osu!

Hey, yes, I must admit I had seen your thread and it was part of the inspiration for starting one of my own. I think it's a good resource, and unlike just saving it to a personal document on my computer, the cool part here is we can get feedback and support. Thanks for the inspiration and for the encouragement. Osu!

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shortyafter
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys. Part of this journal was to kind of, keep track of important insights and revelations and such. Well to be honest, I'm not really sure if that's the right path for me. Do I really need to write down every little thing my instructor said in class? Probably not. In fact, fretting over little details might actually be counter-productive. Fellow poster JazzKicker mentioned that above. So I don't know. I've kind of put this on the backburner as well as my personal journal.

I got really disappointed like 1-2 weeks ago because I thought my yoko-geri was looking good but my instructor told me it needs a lot, a lot of work. What!?!?? I thought I had improved so much. Really disheartening. I thought, perhaps it was a quick fix, and after working on it a bit he says my kekome looks OK. But the keyagi still needs a lot of work. Still kind of disheartening. Especially since I thought most of my progress had come in my legs. Now I'm wondering if I've improved at all in the last few months.

All I can think to do is keep showing up, keep listening to my instructor and keep looking at videos and other resources. Keep training. I'm far from happy with my technique, but, I know that after these 2 years and change I feel much stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually. That's gotta count for something. The technique will come. I know it will.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shortyafter wrote:
Hey guys. Part of this journal was to kind of, keep track of important insights and revelations and such. Well to be honest, I'm not really sure if that's the right path for me. Do I really need to write down every little thing my instructor said in class? Probably not. In fact, fretting over little details might actually be counter-productive. Fellow poster JazzKicker mentioned that above. So I don't know. I've kind of put this on the backburner as well as my personal journal.

I got really disappointed like 1-2 weeks ago because I thought my yoko-geri was looking good but my instructor told me it needs a lot, a lot of work. What!?!?? I thought I had improved so much. Really disheartening. I thought, perhaps it was a quick fix, and after working on it a bit he says my kekome looks OK. But the keyagi still needs a lot of work. Still kind of disheartening. Especially since I thought most of my progress had come in my legs. Now I'm wondering if I've improved at all in the last few months.

All I can think to do is keep showing up, keep listening to my instructor and keep looking at videos and other resources. Keep training. I'm far from happy with my technique, but, I know that after these 2 years and change I feel much stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually. That's gotta count for something. The technique will come. I know it will.


Sometimes it can be hard to not take criticism personal. I'm guilty of doing the same. While I preach the same stuff Jesse had in his article in my math classes, I still find myself needing a constant reminder in my TKD classes. Learning anything new is hard. Keep at it, and all your hard work and improvements will pay off!
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(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shortyafter wrote:
Hey guys. Part of this journal was to kind of, keep track of important insights and revelations and such. Well to be honest, I'm not really sure if that's the right path for me. Do I really need to write down every little thing my instructor said in class? Probably not. In fact, fretting over little details might actually be counter-productive. Fellow poster JazzKicker mentioned that above. So I don't know. I've kind of put this on the backburner as well as my personal journal.

I got really disappointed like 1-2 weeks ago because I thought my yoko-geri was looking good but my instructor told me it needs a lot, a lot of work. What!?!?? I thought I had improved so much. Really disheartening. I thought, perhaps it was a quick fix, and after working on it a bit he says my kekome looks OK. But the keyagi still needs a lot of work. Still kind of disheartening. Especially since I thought most of my progress had come in my legs. Now I'm wondering if I've improved at all in the last few months.

All I can think to do is keep showing up, keep listening to my instructor and keep looking at videos and other resources. Keep training. I'm far from happy with my technique, but, I know that after these 2 years and change I feel much stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually. That's gotta count for something. The technique will come. I know it will.



Keep showing up and keep listening to your instructor is the right thing.

But a word of advise. Be careful about watching video's even if they are representing you art. Just because someone (no matter their grade) is in your art, doesn't mean the way they execute a technique is the same way your instructor does. Many maintain the old ways and others embrace new ways or draw from other arts. This can confuse the student and frustrate the teacher.

Listen to your teacher and you will improve because you'll learn what he is looking for.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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shortyafter
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been awhile folks but time for an update. My progress has been spotty, some days I see it some days I don't (that's quite normal, right?). This week has been a tough week for me for outside reasons and today I was feeling especially crummy when I hit the dojo. Then my CI announces we are going to do a mock exam for our belt exams that we have next month. We were going to start with my exam, which is for green belt. My first reaction was, "ah man, not today!". But I quickly caught that and said - "Take this as an opportunity. Overcome this." I don't know where that voice came from, but it worked. The only feedback I got from my CI was that he was "content" but I knew I had done pretty damn good. Definitely some spotty parts but my spirit and attitude were strong (stronger than they've been in awhile) and it showed in my technique. I'm happy.


Thank you singularity for your encouragement. You are absolutely right. And thank you MatsuShinshii for your words as well - I will keep that in mind when watching videos.

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