Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I finished the last of my papers Sunday. Unfortunately, the next quarter has already started yesterday. This still leaves me with much more time for other things though, like martial arts. I'm getting to learn the Hakutsuru kata (White Crane) that my instructor learned from Kyoshi Perry, which is very nice. It is a lot more "obvious" (at least to an experienced eye) in showing the open-handed grappling and lethal manuevers present in truly traditional karate. Much more Chinese in orientation.


Something I noticed as usually a stylistic difference between many martial arts styles is whether they turn on the heel of the foot or the ball of the foot. Last year I trained in Matsumura Shorin Ryu, and they avoided the heel of the foot like it was the plague. In Shorinkan, there is a tendency to turn on the heel (or the heel of one foot and the ball of the other). I believe they both serve useful purposes depending on the situation. Turning on the ball of the foot allows for very quick, agile movement more appropriate for evading at various distances. This can also be done by rotating on the ball of one foot while keeping the other foot more or less stationary. But when you turn in kata, you are most likely throwing, breaking or doing some other similar type of close-in fighting manuever, not just simply changing the direction you face. When throwing with a double ball of the foot turn, it puts a lot of stress on the knee. Therefore, turning on the heel is better for throwing or grappling purposes because it allows you to be rooted without stressing the knee. There is a criticism of turning on the heel that states you will be off-balance, but I think that is only if you do it incorrectly. By keeping your center-of-gravity centered (or in other places, depending on what you want to do), you avoid compromising your chuusen (center line) and the tendency to tilt backwards. Both methods of turning or rotation on the foot are useful in different circumstances. Try and think about what you do when you turn and why. Experimentation with both methods is always a bonus.

Keep training hard.

Note: Humorously enough, Xanga crashed the first time I tried to write this, so I had to write it again...that was annoying

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Obligatory Update

Time for the obligatory update.

I'm currently awash in writing papers at the moment. I've realized that the quarter system is way too short after having done the semester system back in college.

I've also dumped $2,000 and started my Roth-IRA (after months of saying I was going to do it). Time to think of the future, I guess. Since I'll be maxing out my contributions, that'll take a nice chunk out of my paycheck each month. Less random buying for me now (I swear, I was just helping out the economy by increasing consumption, that's all).

No real time to give any semi-profound observations on the martial arts, other than I've started to go through and mirror a lot of my kata (doing everything on the exact opposite side throughout the entire form). It really does let me see which moves I have a clear and distinct application for (other than just basic punch, block, throw stuff) and which ones I've merely been going through the motions for. I recommend all you people in my readership (meaning Onimitsu2004, I suppose) to try it out every once in a while. From what I hear, at a Shorinkan camp last month, Kyoshi Sean Riley wowed everyone by not only doing the Passai and Kusanku kata and then doing the mirror of them, but also doing them completely in reverse (as if someone was pressing the "rewind" button). That takes skill, concentration and effort. I suppose it is things like that which make the difference between a really good karate practitioner and a "kyoshi". Since it is him, he definitely has applications for all the moves...

And, back to the grind. I've got way too many papers to do (most of them being due on Monday, which also happens to be the same day I have two finals).

Update: My computer crashed and I lost some pages...there goes my motivation for the rest of the evening...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Geez. I knew it would turn out like this. I'd get a blog and never write in it.

What's happened since my last entry? I've written some papers, had a economics mid-term (much easier than Onimitsu2004's economics mid-term), went to practice. My karate instructor is currently training in Okinawa and will be there for a few weeks. I look forward to hearing some stories and learning what he cares to pass on to the rest of us students.

I've set up a training trip this next summer to go to Kyoshi Doug Perry's Dojo next June for about 5 days. I got to do that last summer with my friend Terry (Onimitsu2004) and it was a blast. We trained literally all day in the dojo (between 9-12 hours a day) and learned a lot (mostly about how much improvement we needed...but isn't that always the case?). Kyoshi Perry was also very generous with his time (and money...he bought our hotel room for the week, not to mention dinner on a few occassions) and also had some of his students train with us outside of class, who were simply impressive. I can't wait till I do it again. Terry may not be able to make it. He has some weak, lame excuse about having to do an internship or something. (Yeah, that pesky "Real World" interfering with training, as usual) Hopefully he can train with Kyoshi Perry some other time.

After that trip is over, I'll be going to small gathering of people from karateforums.com held in Montana, which looks to be a great time. As big a talker as I am on those forums, it'll be interesting to see some of these people in person. Hopefully people don't expect too much from me...I just like to talk like I know a lot...All in all, another great experience to look forward to, I'm sure.

I've been doing some more work on the Naihanchi Shodan kata performed forwards and backwards, as opposed to side-to-side (another one of Kyoshi Perry's interesting contributions). It really gives the practitioner a great way to really visualize Naihanchi in application. The expansion of movement in all directions as well as how it mirrors itself completely is just a great training tool. Since our instructor is in Okinawa, us students have been turned loose to train on our own, and last week we hashed through that kata and focused a lot on the bunkai (application). I really do enjoy working with the other students in that dojo. Their inquisitive nature, experience, and skill level is really conducive to a critical analysis of karate, which is essential in getting better (as opposed to simply training and practicing). A refreshing change from other places I've seen. Fortunately, I've always been lucky enough to have these sorts of people around me after I started taking Okinawan karate.