Tuesday, July 24, 2007

one step forward always leads to two steps back

Today was so frustrating for me. My kata felt sloppy and I just felt so out of shape. I'm not that out of shape! But I was definitely "sucking wind" if you know what I mean. At the beginning of class I lead everyone in kihones with a lot of crescent step walking up and down the floor, performing punches and kicks as we went. Then a little "hug the tree" as Master Morallo has affectionately termed holding horse stance. Then kata. When Sensei Bottomms came to class I took a young girl (she's 8) and went through two of her kata. Then Sensei took me aside to work my upper kata while the others did the first Bo kata. That's when I started to flail. Just before that me and another brown belt (San Kyu) did Lune Wane Kune (means continuous and rotating fist. A very beautiful kata, reminiscent of kung fu). The other guy did it so much faster than me, but the reason I went slower was to really focus on getting the moves right. So then I went through it again by myself and worked on the nuances more. Now I see...with the little girl I told her about working the nuances of her kata and how they made the kata work. It's the little parts, like making sure the eye rakes are eye rakes and the tiger claws really tiger claws, that make the kata flow, that add to the whole. So then I had to go through that, too. It gets to me sometimes. I need to let the frustration go, which is not easy for me. I know the 14 kata cold. Here they are: Empi, Taikioko Shodan, Taikioko Nidan, Gekesai Dai Ihci, Sanchin, Gekesdai Dai Ni, Saifa, Tensho, Seunchin, Lune Wane Kune, Tensho, Bossai Dai, Shisoshin, Sanseru, Flight of the Striking Tiger (another very kung fu-like kata. Very heavy on the legs). But knowing the kata and really having them down are two very different things. In order to give the kata power you need balance and focus (kime) and be able to use you hara to issue power. "Move from hara". I hear that all the time! Get the brain out of the way and let the body do the work. It's so much easier that way...

So, is it normal to think about karate all the time? I think that in the situation where you are testing for Shodan, yes, though there are times I need to tell my brain to take a break. I go over and over kata and bunkai and visualize sparring. Guess you could say I'm slightly obsessed! As soon as it's all over I can relax. This is so big, so much larger than most of what I've done in my life. Of course giving birth trumps anything, but Shodan test comes in second. It's exciting. It makes me feel so proud of myself. Our "code" in the dojo is to love, respect, care for, take responsiblity for yourself first in order to have peace within yourself. It's a great way to live.

1 comment:

Perpetual Beginner said...

It's perfectly normal (at least to me) to be thinking about karate all the time anytime something new is coming up, be it a test, or learning a new kata, etc. I think that pre-thinking in this manner is one way to allow our brains to get out of the way during the actual physical exhertion.

We overlap with you on two katas. Our basic set would be Seisan, Seiuchan (I believe the same as your Seunchan), Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto, Kusanku, Sunsu, and Sanchin. I currently know Seisan through Chinto.