Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 4- Completing the first month

Pete here,

Well, Tuesday, June 22 also had other events, as I also got my foreigner card (gaikokujin torokusho)! Unfortunately when Arakawa Sensei and I got to the city office, the department was on lunch, so we had to follow suit (but it was forced! What? Don’t look at me like that). Once we returned and collected my shiny card, we drove to a tennis tournament, where Yusuke’s school was taking part. On the way we talked about Shiramizu, his dojo branches, how karate is taught for just competition in schools and the vital difference between that and training in a dojo.

Whilst there, I saw exactly how large a figure Arakawa Sensei is in the community; almost everyone knows him, and he in turn knows them as well, showing an amazing memory!

After enduring the midday heat for only a little while, we returned to the sanctuary of an air-conditioned car and drove back to the dojo for the English classes.

Wednesday I was invited out with Sensei and his family to a ‘viking’ style restaurant- all you can eat, and a barbecue in the middle of the table. Awesome! Yusuke introduced me to all the different foods – in English – and Masatoshi showed me how to work the candy floss machine. More details and pictures are on Sensei’s blog!

Saturday was a large training day. As Wednesday’s class had been canceled I decided to meet up with Richard and train with him at his school dojo in Akabane. It was a 3 and a half hour session, from kihon to kumite endurance and stamina training (which believe me, I need). Vital things I got from that session:

1) I can be longer in the stances.

2) I shouldn’t wobble so much, try to keep upright (this has been mentioned in other classes as well)

3) I *really* need to work on my hikite- it’s very slow

4) The left hip needs work, as I tend to double over when kicking over chudan

5) My maai needs adjusting (though I’ve known this for a while and it is improving)

6) I must spend less time setting myself up for a combination

7) More stamina and more speed

It was a brutal, but open and honest assessment, and everything pointed out I knew was useful to me and so graciously taken.

After the training was over I had to head back to Shiramizu for the evening session. Unfortunately that also meant a change of dogi as my condition of turning into a pool of water when I set foot in any dojo has not yet been remedied, so arrived at the session late. This was a great shame as Arakawa Sensei had his guest teacher in, Fujimoto Sensei from Guseikai Tokyo, who was once a member of the Japanese national team.

The session was incredible; just one hour of training improved my mindset about kumite. The basic principle of keeping your stance low, shifting your body and not your feet and transferring your weight is definitely something I can see myself using in tournaments as it benefits my longer reach. It also helped that I was starting to feel the benefit of the past month’s training, both in strength and flexibility.

Afterwards, it was time to socialise. For more than one reason, too: one of the Shiramizu members was moving away, so it was also a goodbye party. We headed to Tobudobutsu-koen station where there was a traditional revelry house, where karaoke, food and drink were piled on. It was that evening that I was finally introduced to sake (the drink, not the fish), and as part of some shameless egging on by the rest of the party I ended up drinking a little more speedily than usual (which would have some unpleasant repercussions for my head the following morning). It was an evening of much laughter and chat, both in English and Japanese as my confidence in speaking rose with every beer, and all in all an amazingly fun night.

But my word, my head the next day…

No comments: