Monday, February 28, 2011

Kita Katsushita-Gun Open Tournament, 30th January 2010

Pictures Courtesy of Arakawa Sensei's Blog

Peter Here;

The year's competition calendar literally kicked off with the Kita-Katsushita Area Taikai on Sunday 30th January. Technically, I was still told to not compete by the doctor because of my toe recovery, but a combination of my foot feeling great (no pain at all for a while), and itchiness to get back into training and competing meant that I was lining up with the other competitors at the opening ceremony.

As this was an open tournament, the major styles had come to participate; Goju, Shito, Shotokan and Wado were all present, and it was great to see some old faces from previous tournaments again. I even surprise them with some (allegedly) improved Japanese!

Kata was first, and it wasn't so good for the Wado entrants, as could be predicted. Personally I love Wado kata, but the other styles had fielded a strong set of competitors, including in my category. I felt happy that I had given my best shot with seishan (even Arakawa Sensei said it was my best attempt yet, despite the weird kicks and shiko dachi), so I was satisfied with how I did even though I went out at the first hurdle.

Pictures Courtesy of Arakawa Sensei's Blog

Kumite was a bit better, as I was drawn against a relatively easy opponent in the first round, winning 5-0. What I was even happier with is that I was scoring with punches and not relying on my feet (although I must say my healing foot forced me into it somewhat). The next round however saw me compete against Toyama Sensei, one of Arakawa Sensei's many friends. He was BIG and, to be honest, the fear stopped me from performing. I seized up, and ended up losing 3-0. The problem was that I could see scoring opportunities, but didn't think I was fast enough to get them. I will work on this.

As usual for the tournaments, many kids from the Shiramizu English classes were there, and I spent a lot of time with Sae, Kaho and Saho from the Monday class drilling them on distance and gyakuzuki. Whenever I get the chance to do this it reminds me of how much I love coaching the kids, both in English and Karate, and it's really something I'd love to do back home now.

Shiramizu ended with medals and many best 8's, and overall it was a good haul for them. Considering that I had been injured and unable to train for the past five weeks, I felt my performance wasn't disappointing, though for the next tournament I must improve if I am to reach my goals of at least two silver medals this year. Back to the Dojo!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yakusoku kumite

Sports Karate is fun But you have to concentrate on Form, too.

Peter Here;

These last couple of weeks Shiramizu has been focusing on the Kihon Kumite syllabus, which is particularly useful to me as my JKF Wadokai Shodan test looms ever nearer.

What has been particularly concerning me with this series is the concepts of maai (distance), tai sabaki (body movement) and the nagashi block. Because of my problems with go-no-sen that I wrote about last month, it means that I rush a little and tense up. This means that my covering arm in yakusoku kumite ipponme becomes a jodan harai uke, and is incorrect. Also I keep turning my body into a neko-ashi kamae with the counter punch instead of seishan dachi; I'm not quite sure where this came from as it's not correct in any syllabus version. Just a case of my body telling me where I want to go, perhaps?

Gohonme is also proving problematic, but thanks to my aikido training I can better appreciate the ten-gai movement principals when applying the arm lock to your opponent. Ten-gai is where you move your body to face the same direction as your opponent, creating a stronger position for you and pulling the attacker off-balance. Accompanied with a lock or throw, this is a very important principle.

Once again I've been scribbling down notes and pictures in my training diary, trying to keep the comments made by Arakawa Sensei and the other Shiramizu Staff in my head between the end of training and heading home.

dedicated, or just too slow?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quiet on Set: Watching the Shiramizu DVD

Peter Here;

One of the very exciting new projects Shiramizu has for 2011 is a new DVD! This will cover the Wadokai syllabus including Kihon Kumite, Pinan Kata (including bunkai), Kihon, Idori, Tanto Dori and Kumite Training. This was recorded on Sunday 23rd at Studio Dorup (スタジオ ドールップ - I can't tell what the 'katakana'd' second word is!) in Nakano, close to Shinjuku. I went along to see the footage being shot.

Richard and I arrived at the Studio at 12:30pm, Arakawa Sensei had been there filming since 8 in the morning and had only just taken a break! We then watched as he worked through the Pinan Kata. This was recorded 4 times (one slow explanation, then normal speed from the front, side and rear), which taking into consideration Arakawa Sensei's perfectionism for kata meant he had to repeat each kata at least 6 times, under intense lighting. It just goes to show how much skill and stamina he has!

Also on set were the recording crew and the President of Champ, the sponsers and producers of both this DVD and JKFan Magazine.

Shiramizu Instructors Kikuchi Sensei, Suzuki Sensei, Uehara Sensei, Iwasaki Sensei, Yoshihara Sensei and Yamazaki Sensei were all present too, and took part in the video shoot, being the attacker for kata bunkai, kihon kumite or other sections. Richard was involved in this too, and seemed to enjoy his time on the set!

Other guest appearances were Shriamizu Student and JKF national team member Rie Hirai, and Fujimoto Sensei.

I had to leave at 7pm to prepare for work the next day, but at this time they were still filming! In fact, they were filming until gone 10:30pm, meaning Arakawa sensei had put in staggering 14 and a half hours of karate into one day. Awe inspiring!

Arakawa Sensei, still smiling and genki after 10 hours of karate. Incredible.

The DVD is due for release in March, and will come in both English and Japanese flavours, as Richard is expertly translating the dialogue. I am hoping that this will have a large take up in England!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A day of good things!

Peter Here;

They say good and bad things come in threes, and I am happy to say that Wednesday 13th January was a case of the former!

Firstly, I went to the hospital to get a check-up on my toe, which has now finally been removed from it's cast. It looked a little weird and there's now a bit of a lump on the side of it, and there was a small case of stinky foot after not being able to wash it for a month, but overall it feels genki. I was given a set of exercises to do three times daily (I call them 'toe curls', thought it would sound manly but now I write it down it sounds a bit silly), and I can FINALLY wear shoes again! Thank goodness, because my toes were starting to fall off from the cold.

Secondly, Arakawa Sensei surprised me after training with an award that I missed out on collecting at the end of year training in December (because I had to work), congratulating my achievement at the Wadokai Nationals last August. It is rather splendid I must say, and now sits next to my medals in the aparto.

Lastly, I received via Arakawa Sensei a wonderful late Christmas present from Juergen Fabian Sensei- a Calendar for 2011 containing pictures of our time together in Japan. It was a really thoughtful and touching present! Thanks Juergen, I look forward to seeing you again soon!