Monday, December 13, 2010

Sen-no-sen arimasen

Peter Here,

This week we have been working on 'Sen-no-Sen', which is essentially the interrupting of your opponent's intention to attack just before he starts it.

Not wanting to sugar coat it or anything, but I don't think anyone in Shiramizu could be worse at this than I am. It's just something that doesn't happen at the moment as I think too much about fighting options, what I could or couldn't do. 'hmm, maybe I could.. Oh dang, too late- he's just scored.'

So because of that I was really trying to focus in on the training routines this week.

One of the most basic (and most often used) techniques is the gyakuzuki counter punch. Especially in the typically more linear style of Japanese karate fighting, the punch is launched just before the opponent begins his technique so it lands first, but with the opponent's aggressive momentum helping your cause. In Japan, I've also learned that dropping the body level can also help with the speed of the hip rotation with the added bonus of getting your head out of danger. This works as long as you keep your posture upright, as if you lean forward 'into' your counter you run a high risk of being hit harder by the opponent. What I need to focus on however is that I keep my posture upright in the counter and that the distancing between myself and the opponent is correct.

A drill is set with both attacker and counter-attacker in an uncomfortably close mawai (distance), with the attacker trying to launch a front jab without 'telegraphing' movement (telegraphing is preparing the shot in a way that gives away your intention to attack, such as pulling back the punching arm or excessive bending of the knees). The counter attacker must 'sense' when this is about to happen, then launch and land the counter punch.

As I said before, this is very difficult for me, so I ended up falling over a couple of times being overly twitchy or not registering the attack enough. It will take me a while to get this, but I am hoping I will have improved enough for the next tournament in January.

Arakawa Sensei also says this is good practice for me as I kick too much. Not only that, but it's a good sign that I have run out of an attack plan so I try and earn the larger points. Because of this, it's been really good to try and use my hands more to improve my armory. My reach is ok, so it is the timing and confidence that I need to work on.

Practise, practise, practise.

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