Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THE Class was Taught

Last night was a big deal for me. I taught my first Sabaki class. That is fight class. Gosh I had such anxiety about it. I have to thank my dojo mates for dealing with me.

I started with kihon, basic strikes, blocks and kick. I totally had a plan when I went in there. Just go through the basics, nothing fancy, but went I went so fast that I was under time, I started to make up kicks. Ever stand in zenkutsu dachi (front leaning stance) while throwing a round knee kick?? Neither have I, but lucky for me it worked.

After fitness and a water break, we went over my plan of attack. I had everyone line up at the back of the room so we could walk up and down the room throwing a jab, reverse, and a knee kick. Then we took turns strapping on the full body kicking shield and we practiced the combo against it. The next step in my master plan was to learn to defend against it.

Me And Ryan last belt test
Time flew by and I had 10 minutes or so of actual sparring time. There was only seven people in class so instead of regular sparring, I had them all circle up. I put one in the middle and sent people to spar him for 30 seconds. While this was happening, I walked around the circle and I would tag someone and keep walking. I would shout to stop fighting and the next person would spar the person in the middle.

I had a hard time explaining it, but while I was trying, Patrick said "Oh Boy!" cause he knew what I was doing. He got to go first. Pat sparred Manny, I walked around and tagged Ryan. When Manny's time was up I told him to stop. As soon as I did, Ryan pops into the circle. He just happened to be behind Patrick so that when Pat turned around, he got hit in the stomach. So round and round it went. We went about 10 minutes over time because it was SO MUCH FUN. I totally wanted to jump in.

There was one accident. J went to through a spinning back kick at Ryan and when he spun, he wasn't in total control and it turned into a spinning hook kick that got Ryan in the throat. I felt so bad, I still do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Teaching Karate~ The Path to Sempai

My road to black belt is taking a turn that I really haven't seen with most other people, teaching. I have been teaching a lot.
I have a kickboxing class on Thursdays that I am running. In Cardio Kickboxing, I run intervals focusing on drills that are karate related. There are tons of punching and kicking combinations, body weight exercises and balance  and flexibility challenges. Lasts about an hour, every drill is 2 minutes long with a 30 second rest. 

Sensei Liesha has asked me for help in one of the after-school programs on Wednesdays. There are 20 kids, ages from kindergarten to 5th grade. That age range is really hard. The attention span of a 11 year old is drastically longer than a 6 year old. Liesha usually has them in two groups but since this was the first time in this school, they made a mistake of putting them all together. So we start class together then split them up by age to work with them separate. Sometime this year, when there are two classes, it will be my class.

I am now also doing beginner classes. Sempai Scott had to start the night shift and so Michelle and I are running the class. That started on Halloween. I have helped in beginner a lot in the past and so Michelle and I are alternating the class between us. 

Now I get a text asking me to teach sabaki class. Sabaki is where we learn to fight. Shihan has a meeting and ask me to teach the class. That class seems like a lot of weight to me. There will be black belts there. I will be teaching basics to black belts. I have doubts about weather I can do this. I get tripping over my tongue even in the beginner class. I told Shihan that, but he said that I will be fine and can do it in English if I feel more comfortable. He says that teaching is one of the best things I can do to prepare for black belt. 

Shihan asked me to make up a class plan and show it to him before class. After kihon and fitness, I am thinking of teaching knee kicks. Basic jab, reverse, knee, and jab, reverse, switch knee Do that a few times up and down the mat. Then do the same with hotting the pads. Then I was thinking of having them partner up and work the defense of the combination. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brown Belt Blues

When I was an under belt, under green with stripe (3rd kyu), a new belt rank meant a new kata or two and  a slight increase in fitness. Yea, we did fight training every week. But belt tests focused on kihon and katas and as long as you sparred just once, you passed.

At 3rd kyu however, it seemed like there was a lot more on my shoulders on my journey to 2nd kyu, brown belt. The katas I had to learn, three of them, were all similar, were confusing me. As an upper belt the things I thought I was doing correctly, were now getting nit-picked. Okay nit-picked is a bad word, maybe tweaked is a better word, but it sure did feel like nit-picked. Seemed like all the pinan katas were running together and would often start a san kata and finish with a yon somewhere in the middle. Also trying to train for a fight so I could be eligible for the Japan fights next year. The worst thing was when testing for my brown belt, for the end of the kihon and katas, I was in front of everyone doing them by myself.

Things are even harder for me as a brown belt. Sensei tells me that this is the level that they lose people at. This is where it really gets tough. I agree. I feel the frustration. I am being corrected, but instead of just saying what I am doing wrong, I am told that I should know better at my rank. I am told that I am now a leader as a brown belt. People are looking up to me to show them how to do things correctly. No pressure or anything.

Shihan is already asked me about the next belt test and weather or not Ill be ready for it. Brings my anxiety level up but if I am not working towards something, I am simply existing. I don't want to just exist so somehow I have to push through this. I have to pull it together and get the new katas learned, perfect my stances, use proper fighting techniques and be able to teach.