Saturday, January 13, 2007

A REAL Welcome to Memoirs of a Karateka

Yesterday when I first opened this blog, I was in such a rush to post something interesting that I forgot completely to introduce myself and why I am even doing this.

I'll tell you that my name is Chris. I won't tell you where I train, only because I want people to judge me based on my words and videos, and nothing else. Also, I don't want to appear to be a sole representative of my dojo because I tend to have some very unorthodox ideas that don't necessarily fit with my dojomates and my instructor.

I will tell you, however, that the name of the style I practice is "American Karate". Some people tend to take offense when someone says they practice American Karate, primarily because a big percentage of American Karate schools are actually big money Xtreme Martial Arts (aka dancing classes) schools. When asking my instructor why our style is called American Karate, he told us: "We're in America doing a mixed style. Though the base style is primarily Shotokan, it would be a dishonorable to say we practice pure Shotokan when there are other principles tied in." The school is very traditional with light to medium controlled sparring from White to Orange belt, and Medium to Hard Continuous free sparring from Green and up. We learn both japanese and korean kicking principles. Some people say they are the same, but from what I have learned there are vast differences. Our instructor tells us the story of how when he was a tournament judge grading kata, he deducted many points from competitors due to kicking over the nipple area, a no-no in many japanese styles. However, head kicks are a steeple in korean kicking styles, so that's just one vast difference between the two.

I'll also tell you that I am a blue belt and have been studying a little over a year. The kata I have learned to progress in belt rank is "Taikyoku Nidan & Sandan", "Heian Shodan, Nidan, Sandan & Yondan" and "Ananku". I am currently practicing "Heian Godan" and the korean form "Hwa-Rang".

Since I am a beginner student, albeit a devote one, some of the things I say on this blog may not fit with what you have learned before, and that's alright. Please inform me if you feel something is in error. That's why I made this site. Martial Arts is my life. I would love to hear your opinion. I shall leave you with a video of Gigo Funakoshi (Master Gichin Funakoshi's third son) performing Heian Godan. Note: Notice the zenkutsu-dachi, how much longer he does his in comparison to Luca Delasi in the earlier post. We also do a shorter Zenkutsu-dachi at our school...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Welcome to Memoirs of a Karateka. I broke my foot!

Welcome friend and probable fellow martial artist! I say that because this page will probably be of no use to someone not practicing the martial arts. To think of it, it probably won't be of any use to martial artists either! So why read this blog at all? For the same reason we'd read any blog - We love to snoop in on other people's lives, especially when bad things happen to them. And yes, lots of bad things happen to me in and out of the dojo, so this will probably lead to an interesting read. Or not. I BROKE FOUR TOES TODAY BECAUSE OF AN IMPROPER ROUNDHOUSE KICK. Yeah, that came out of nowhere. In the style I practice, we use the korean kicking style with an emphasis on front leg kicks rather than rear leg. Those of you familiar with korean kicking styles know that striking surface of a roundhouse kick is the top of the foot. A lot of people believe that the top of the foot is a weak striking surface both structurally and in regards to power. Personally, I prefer it to other areas such as the shin. We've all seen the videos of when kickboxers' shins collide and one of them decides to break like a twig. I'll pass. Also, using the end of the foot gives the roundhouse that "whip" like factor and can cause some serious damage to both your assailant/sparring partner and yourself (if not used properly). My problem was that I was so preoccupied with generating power that I forgot to roll the ankle back so that the kick would land squarely on the top of my foot... and not pop my toes in the process. The kick connected with my sparring partner's stomach, just not in the way that I sorta wanted.

So yeah, I'm now hobbling around my house in some serious pain. I probably won't be able to spar for awhile, so I guess I'll give it about 3 days rest and then delve into some deep kata study. Unfortunately, I'm practicing Heian Godan which has a "jump" technique.. which won't probably flow well with Mr. Broken Toes. Ah well. Enough with the griping. I guess it's an experience that all martial artists go through... dammit. I'll leave you with a video of Luca Delasi performing Heian Godan... just ignore the bunkai section.