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Questor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Apr 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Melbourne, Aus
Styles: Shukokai

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 8:33 am    Post subject: Stories of a middle aged beginner Reply with quote

Inspired bay Wayofaswede's posts about their training, I thought I would start something similar and document how my training goes. Partly because it will help me remember what we worked on in class, and partly so I can look back as I progress and see where I have come from and hopefully not keep making the same mistakes!

A little background, which I already kinda put in my introduction post here. I am a 43 year old guy, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I trained Wado-Ryu for a little while as a teenager, then life caught up with me and I never went back to it. It has always been at the back of my mind that I wanted to train karate again and after a tough year mentally last year (working frontline healthcare has been rough) I decided in January 2021 to just do it. After looking around for dojos locally I settled on one teaching a style I hadn't actually heard of before (Shukokai) but upon doing some research I was happy that it actually has a traditional history.

So, the story so far, up to the middle of May. I have been training 2-3 times a week now for around 4 months. My first few classes I was nervous as heck heading to the dojo. I was concerned about being both the oldest and most inexperienced person there. As it turns out, I shouldn't have worried, I was made to feel very welcome, and everyone has been very understanding at my inexperience.
The muscle memory, while rather faded, has been coming back a little, and I have been managing to pick up techniques perhaps a little faster than someone who is an absolute beginner. Of course I am still in that beginner phase but my instructors have given me good feedback so far.
We had a little curly situation about 6 weeks ago when our organisation had to close the dojo I was training at due to the landlord significantly increasing the rent. It had a silver lining though as I now train at our honbu dojo, mostly with our CI, who was State kumite coach for a number of years. As kumite is by far my weakest area, the tips I have been picking up have been invaluable so far.
In late March I had my first grading in over 25 years and was surprised to be double promoted to 8th kyu. I guess my kata practice at home did pay off after all.. I by no means expect any further double promotions, and in actuality would prefer not to, as I think spending time to learn is a good idea. I do appreciate that 9th to 8th kyu isn't that huge of a jump and that the finesse required as we progress further increases with each rank

I think that sums up my journey so far, I hope to post at least once a week with what's happened since last time. Feel free to follow along, all advice gratefully received.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28973
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like things are going very well. Congrats on the double promotion!
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on the double promotion! It's like my signature has said for the past however long, 70% of training is at home.
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Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2552
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! Sounds like things are going well!
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
Karate Obsession | Arizona Practical Karate
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aurik
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 197
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings, Questor! I was in your shoes about 3 years ago. I had trained in a couple of different styles when I was in my late teens/early 20's, and then I started back up at a Uechi-Ryu school. For me, it was something to do with my son at first, but I've rediscovered a love for the training as well. I had several of the same experiences you mentioned -- the muscle memory is still there, even if the body can't quite do what you remember.

I'll give you the same advice I've given a few others. During your journey you'll have some long phases where you really struggle to learn a technique, and other "a-ha" moments where things just suddenly *click* into place. You're always hoping that a training day is an "a-ha" day, but don't fret it if it's a struggle day. Those "a-ha" days will not come to you without the struggle.

Good luck on your journey! I look forward to your next update.
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5th kyu Shuri-Ryu, 4th kyu Judo, 2nd kyu Uechi-Ryu
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Questor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Apr 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Melbourne, Aus
Styles: Shukokai

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just 2 classes for me this week (have a beer festival on Saturday....!)

Got notice of the date for our next grading, towards the end of June (although could change to a week earlier as Sensei has shoulder surgery potentially happening that week!)

Worked on some of our combinations. In our style we have a total of 40 combinations we have to learn by the end of our kyu grades, divided into 10 different sections of 4 each (1a-d are generally to do with oi zuki, 2s are gyaku zuki etc)
To Aurik's point I am definitely having a bit of a struggle with my ushiro geri, but even though I was definitely still having trouble last night, something kinda clicked towards the end of that section of class and I think I have it in my head how to get it right. Just need some more practice.

Kumite drills were about cutting on an angle to then quickly counter with your opponent open. Even though I don't yet do a lot of free sparring (generally we don't free spar until at least 7th kyu) it gave me some interesting ideas for sure.

Not too much kata practice this week, although one of the things I dislike the most happened, we were all asked to perform our next grading kata in front of the class. The introvert in me always baulks at this! I didn't go too bad though and one of our Senpais gave me some really good one on one tips to try and help me be less tense and relax while performing the movements. Getting that balance of tension for kime and relaxing for fluid motion is something I definitely don't have down yet!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2021 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats for the double promotion!! One is hard enough, but 2 is difficult across the board, doable, but the line can be quite thin some how and way in the long run.



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Bulltahr
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 08 Mar 2015
Posts: 724
Location: NEW ZEALAND
Styles: Shotokan, Seido Juku

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2021 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff Questor, my story is similar, teenage years some training and then back into it at 49, it will keep you mobile, done wonders for me. Keep us posted on progress!!
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aurik
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 197
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2021 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Questor wrote:

Not too much kata practice this week, although one of the things I dislike the most happened, we were all asked to perform our next grading kata in front of the class. The introvert in me always baulks at this! I didn't go too bad though and one of our Senpais gave me some really good one on one tips to try and help me be less tense and relax while performing the movements. Getting that balance of tension for kime and relaxing for fluid motion is something I definitely don't have down yet!


I'm the exact opposite. I'd rather do solo kata as opposed to group kata. At our dojo, group kata is generally done with one student/instructor counting for the group. With younger/smaller students, they tend to count at their natural speed which is "warp speed" as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just trying to get the movements done in time for the next count. When I perform solo, I get to put what I feel is the proper focus/expression in each movement, and the appropriate power in each strike/block.

We have a girl (13-14 I think) in our adult class who is also very nervous at performing in front of the whole class. Right before her last grading, our CI asked everyone to perform their kata solo in front of the class. She was visibly nervous -- after the class I took the opportunity to tell her, "Don't be so nervous in front of all of us, we all want to see you do well".
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5th kyu Shuri-Ryu, 4th kyu Judo, 2nd kyu Uechi-Ryu
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Questor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Apr 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Melbourne, Aus
Styles: Shukokai

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2021 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just 2 classes again this week, but not through choice. We went into a 7 day lockdown on Friday thanks to a few cases having escaped hotel quarantine.

Monday was a very interesting class, we went through the bunkai for Ananko. While it's not a kata I need to know for a little while yet, I found it super interesting, particularly since I really like the kata. We did a couple of different interpretations, as well as a really good piece of groundwork.

Thursday was more combination work, then more kumite coaching. This week we talked about how to fight a counter fighter, while staying relatively safe yourself. Was super interesting.

I also had my first dose of Covid vaccine today (Saturday) - so no classes for a few days probably works out quite well for me, give me time to get over any potential mild effects of the vaccine.
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