Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Camp 2: The "Guut" and the "Paang"

Lunch time at the camp.

Sep 23 was day 1 of the Wado-Kai Higashi Nihon Chiku Senkokai kyoka gashuku (Wado-Kai East Japan Regional Camp) held at the Nihon Koku Koto School in Minowa just inside Tokyo. Using its classrooms and gym, about 120 students descended on the school for two days of training.

The morning started at 10am with about 2 hrs of warm-up and kihon. The warm-up was jogging and line-running exercises, but because of the sheer number of students, we had to take turns. With so many people in a huge space, a few junior high school kids noticed they could skip the supposed tedious task by simply constantly cycling to the back and never be seen. Thankfully, there weren't many of them and they took part again after two or three cycles.

After that were the ido kihon exercises, though only junzuki and gyakuzuki. At noon (which, according to the incorrect clock in the gym, happened at precisely 4pm), we all broke for lunch.

At 1pm, the specific classes began. I decided to do kata for the day and made my way to the 3rd floor for the adult kata class run by Okamachi Sensei and Miyauchi Sensei. We got to work on whatever kata we wanted, 8 people being in the class including me, but we did chinto, seishan, and wanshu mostly.

We started with a short bit of ido kihon just like the morning and then we would go up, two by two and do our chosen kata. After each round, we received individual constructive criticism from the sensei. Okamachi Sensei contributed to the majority of the constructiveness with his calm tone and watchful eyes. Miyauchi Sensei, with his wide grin, explained more of the theory during the ido kihon. Near the end of class, they held a mini-tournament where we would each go up and perform two kata. Such competitions were held in almost all the classes, kata or kumite, and the best performers were announced at the end of the day.

The class went for two hours at which point we were supposed to change rooms. But for some reason, our next room was already being used so the following hour was spent waiting. At 4pm, we went back to our previous room and joined the junior high school kata group to work on bits of kushanku and niseishi.

The day ended at 5pm and those who opted to stay the night in the dorm went off for dinner and 'ofuro' (bath). I thought I could save some money by going home (staying the night cost extra due to the food, etc.) but in hindsight, I regret missing out on the bonding experience that the camps allows, especially after learning first hand how much fun it was at the Shiramizu Summer Camp.

As a foreigner with limited Japanese, in particulary in regard to the theory of human kinetics, I have to rely on my eyes and demonstrations to understand things just for me. But one thing I've come to listen for are the sound effects used to emphasize movements. Both helpful and fun (perhaps interesting only to me), these "guuto" and "paang" sounds help to exaggerate and emphasize movements Arakawa Sensei always shows. For a while, having never trained elsewhere in Japan, I thought it was an Arakawa Sensei-ism. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the other sensei use these sounds at the training camp too.

How these were created ages ago I have no idea. It's very common for Japanese to use onomatopoeia in their daily speech or maybe this is a phenomenon only to me. Or maybe it is a mannerism picked up as teachers and students spend lots of time with a few who use the sounds a lot.

Either way, the "paang" is more or less the same as "bang" in English denoting explosiveness and speed. "Guuto" is used when the body is to stretch the extra bit for better stability or strength. Perhaps the stance needs to be lower ("guuto") or the hips more forward by pushing your back heel down ("guuuuto"). Or stretching your shoulder to gain extra reach in your punches as well as adding support ("guuuuuto").

But interest aside, it helps with conceptualising and I appreciate all the help I can guuto....... I mean....... get.Shiramizu kids playing some make-shift baseball before the start of day 2.


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