Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seminar with Shihan Fugiwara

The Japanese term "Kiai"
means shout of spirit
On Saturday we were lucky enough to have Shiahn Fugiwara came to our dojo for a training seminar. He is truely a great man. When he is around, everyone's Kiai is louder, punches have more snap, and kick are higher. He has an air of importance about him and you want to have his approval and praise.

While Shihan F got ready for class, Sensei K warmed up the class with various dynamic stretches. Then Shihan came out and we started Kihon. When we got to kicks, he had us hold on to our belts. This is one drill I hate. It is not so much that it is hard to do. I don't like to stand out in class and my balance on one side, is not so good.

Shihan wanted us to work on our spinning back kicks, so he was pairing us up. Some matches were obvious. The two brothers, who weight about 125 each, were together, the two biggest guys were together, but soon there were just four of us. Sensei K, Kenny, Shihan's Ushi Desi (live-in student), Tristen. and me. At first Shihan F was going to match Sensei K and I up, probably because we were the only women. Then my Shihan, told him no, that I am too strong, so I got matched up with Tristen and Sensei got Kenny.

At first my kicks were very less than desired. He wanted us to kick and then spin back around to our original stance. I think my kick was too round. When I kicked I couldn't help but spin around. We kicked 10 times each leg and then switched with our partner. I think about the 7th or 8th round, I started to "get" it. It just clicked. My leg was going straight back and then coming back to place almost by itself. My speed increased and so did my accuracy.

Then we practiced our 1,2 or jab, reverse. Again at first I wasn't so good, even though I have been doing this for a year. I am so used to practicing by hitting the pad, not trying to hit the person behind the bag. Shihan F came by and told me to stop hitting the 'skin' and to aim for the spine. So I aim for Tristen's spine, imagining my fist going right through the pad, through his chest and hitting his spine. I knocked him back some. Then he had me kiai, which I hadn't been doing. Now the power increased. The louder I got, the more power I had. Funny how that works. After we picked up small weights and practiced in the mirror the same combination. We did it so long that the 2 pounds weights started to feel like 25 pounds.

Now it was on to round house kicks. Shihan F, himself, held the pads and one at a time we kicked them, 10 each leg. He called us up belt order from white to black. I was called third. I think I was a little over anxious and might have kicked a wee bit too hard. He stopped me and told me, and everyone else, to ease into power. Tendons need time to stretch, so they don't pop. He tweaked my kicks some but then said it was a good kick. He complimented Sensei K on teaching me.

The class got split up again, but this time he split us up into thirds. Each group had a heavy bag to take turns doing round house switch kicks to the head. A switch kick is when you are standing in a fighting position, with one leg forward. You switch your stance, making the other leg lead and then quickly kick with the new back leg.

Shiahn F walked behind us with the shinai. A shinai is a long bamboo stick with slats cut into it. You do not have to be hit hard with it because when those slats touch you, they catch your skin and pinch and pull it. He would hold the shinai near our heads and tell us not to move it. I would be doing okay until he would come to fix me. I couldn't think whenever he was behind me. He would come up and put that stick near my head, and I wouldn't know which foot to put forward. During one round I got so flabbergasted that he hit me and then my confusion grew. I think he hit me 6 or 7 times before I could remember how to kick. (it wasn't a hard hit)

The class was 3 hours long. So worth it. I think that sometime, I would like to go visit him at his dojo. We headed to a restaurant to eat and then Shihan F left us to go back to Connecticut. That is a lot of driving for one day. I am so glad he came.