Session Review

Having 90% of us in attendance this evening for our usual Monday’s SKA session afforded the opportunity of an extremely rich and dynamic karate class to unfold.

The bi weekly class sizes do vary in number and each time there is a different quality of engagement and dynamic with its own distinctive flavour.

We were unable to get into the small studio this evening for a 7.30pm start so we had to wait for our 8.15pm slot in the large mirrored dojo after a Yoga class.

I was pleased that Jean – Claud Ruwady’s Yoga class students were starting to exit by 8.17pm.

Fernando took us through a brief though intense and varied warm up session from 8.20pm start.

By 8.25pm we were listening to those karatekas (who were unable to attend last week Thursday) give their individual reflections and feed back on our recent KJG2 Seminar in Chelmsford, whilst we simultaneously did our own unique body stretches.

By 8.30pm Fernando was able to split the class in two, with very different components.

Brad led haishu shodan kihon ido with Mark, Damo and Brendon, whilst Matt and Keith led myself and Nick respectively through the first four basic kata uke shodan blocks.

Fernando superbly interjected across all the karateka engagements teasing out highlights to polish and adjust our form in the various executions. At the same time Fernando was also addressing and supporting the coaching techniques of those karateka apparent when delivering the form structure content.

Matt was able to really drill down on the depth and feeling of the kata uke shodan blocks with me as there was plenty of time within an hour to unpick so much detail, which also allowed Matt to listen very carefully to my responses and then make specific tailor made progression steps for me.

Matt reminded me that he had mentioned before the specific power of the uke to feel and visualise each and every time the power of the tori punch. Matt also acknowledged that there will inevitably come a spontaneous and magical moment in my transition of kata performance delivery to display the most intense depth of feeling in kata uke shodan. He then reiterated how your whole body moves forward to control your tori partner after the simultaneous block.

Fernando mentioned the conscious mind set slipping into the unconscious mind set during this transition process, pointing out that these first four basic kata uke kihon blocks had an infinite number of layers to dissect and comprehend.

Fernando also pointed out how paramount it was to practice the kata uke shodan kihon at ten miles per hour and really understand what the function is at every detail during the movement and transition of same.

It is of course important to get the pattern embedded in your muscle memory with the first motion of a block which is always delivered from the leading leg and the punch from the reverse leg, and hence which is then alternated on both right and left legs.

The next stage is opposite with the block from the reverse leg and punch delivered from the forward leg, then alternate right and left legs stepping back and forth.

I was in my own karate world with Matt for the best part of an hour, which was absolutely fantastic Matt. I said to Fernando and Matt, if only I could do it all over again for another hour and go to the bowels of the karate kihon earth.

Alas, it was now 9.30pm and Fernando had asked Mark, an hour prior, to keep a strict clock watch time in order to include the last twenty minutes for Mark’s delivery and coaching on sensei Paul Enfield’s connector drills, as agreed last week Thursday.

It was great for me to then be paired up with Brad (and then Brendon) for this connector drill work. Eight of us evenly paired up with Mark coach facilitating here the pedantic attention to detail and seemless transitions of the touch connector flow drills. Kinesthetic sensory acuity is paramount in such exercise.

It does take a while to get these connector drills under the skin and feel comfortable in your unconscious mind, allowing your wrist touch action to come to the fore without a hand grab.

When we moved on (in the last few minutes of the class duration) to the final part of the third stage of the connector drill work, I found myself briefly paired up with Damo.

We were practicing the final push to the shoulder whilst pulling your partner’s arm wrist to off set their balance, and then sliding your right arm under and over to roll round the upper elbow arm of your opponent and push them to the floor with your body weight.

Damo mentioned to me that it felt different for him on the three separate executions I delivered upon him. This he thought was a good and pleasing thing as it brought out slightly different but very effective control techniques on my part.

My inner thoughts of the richness and depth of tonight’s SKA class were voiced by Keith and Matt, and acknowledged by all others present.

Thank you Fernando, Mark, Brad, Damo, Matt, Brendon, Keith, and Nick for a wonderful SKA Monday class session.

Have a good Tuesday at work fellow karatekas!

By Andy Lovegrove

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