A great article by Naz Sensei......
A good training night
The pleasure of learning, much like many other arts, is in the ‘journey’ physical and mental – surprising ourselves with progress and those moments of epiphany. And part of this process is learning from other teachers, exploring tangents and bringing those lessons back to our clubs to experiment with.
As our teacher Sensei Ron has said, we should question what we do (sincethis is the European way) but since Shotokan training methods are well proven perhaps it’s more about choosing how we should use these techniques.
Therefore after reading Sensei Matt Price’s interview in the July issue of Shotokan I decided to visit his Leeds dojo recently (he has three), where I was very warmly welcomed. Sensei Matt is a many times kata and kumite champion and now the JKS England squad coach. With an emphasis on competition kumite I wanted to learn about their training techniques.
The first hour was excellent traditional kihon with perhaps a greater emphasis on ‘in-out’ speed and consequently using the body’s forward momentum to add power (in additional to that generated by compression and rotation).
The second hour was about competition kumite training and we used pads and light weight boxing gloves. The focus was on speed, combinationsusing hands and feet, hitting hard and developing stamina. All these combinations and many others can be seen on the web. We did these using different formats: having to strike within 3 secs from a 3 meter separation,groupings of ten, alternatively with our partner in one min intervals, using bags or reacting quickly to instructions etc. There was even a bit of extra ‘fun’ stamina training competing against our partner starting from a prone position. All of these we can explore at the club when Sensei Ron thinks it appropriate.
Personally, I’m not interested in competition kumite. However, learning to use combinations at high speed to ‘overwhelm’ an opponent is certainly worth learning.
In addition, it took me two days for my legs to recover( and I work at fitness) so therefore stamina training is essential not just for kumite but to avoid tiredness ( mental and physical) preventing us injecting our ‘whole’ into kata and kihon.
My overriding lesson was that in order to perform those techniques fast and well with a lot of power we need to strive more towards developing excellent basics as our core and to make our karate more flowing, more natural, less forced ( for example regular dynamic stretching will help).
So I’m going to continue with the excellent teaching at our club, occasionally go to other clubs to learn more and experiment with these combination finishing techniques with speed and power.
I would highly recommend visiting the Leeds Karate Academy and seeing Sensei Matt Price on YouTube demonstrating kumite.