Here is a way to improve use of the hips, or "koshi" in Japanese. Start in a shikodachi stance with an oizuki punch, and then execute a gyakuzuki punch in the zenkutsudachi stance. The front foot essentially remains in the same position, but the back foot, leg and hips are used to "kick off" from the floor as you perform the gyakuzuki thrust. Height should remain even throughout and the head kept as still as possible. The focus should be on getting the maximum power by turning the hips, first into zenkutsudachi and then back firmly into shikodachi. Repeat again and again, with hard punches delivered, preferably, on the makiwara each time.
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Aragaki Kancho supervised last Friday's evening training, which was a great honor for us. However, there is no practice session scheduled for this Monday evening at the Shinjuku Sports Center as the facility is closed the third Monday of every month. (There is, however, a free session on Sunday.)
Instead, and in addition to karate practice, we must find other ways to train and get fit. Yours truly runs and attends a gym, and I am coincidentally featured in Japan's Running Style magazine #5, which came out on March 21.
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo are continuing to meet and train together regularly in March, as the earnest spirit and desire to improve remains. There are various schedules, reaching into April and May, with one centered on practicing in the daytime at Shinjuku Cosmic Sports Center, another more varied schedule at differing locations, and evening sessions on Mondays and Fridays for supervised training (and occasional weekends for free training) at the Budojo (Martial Arts Hall) at Shinjuku Sports Center.
At the Budojo, one can see practitioners of many different martial arts, including kendo, iadao, jujitsu and so on, and so that in itself is an educational (and very Japanese) experience. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Stances - the placing of the feet, angling of the legs and knees, and the ratio of body weight load between either leg, are literally the foundation for all movement and techniques in karate. Thus it is extremely important to thoroughly know and practice the main stances that are employed in Gojuryu, as well as, preferably, memorize their Japanese terminology, as given below.
Ultimately, the stances become incorporated into a natural flow of motion, rather than discrete techniques - the so-called "no stance" of Musashi.
Rough translation & explanation
han zenkutsu dachi
han kokutsu dachi
neko ashi dachi
“Closed foot stance” (feet together – parallel and touching)
“Joined stance” (heels touching, feet open at a right-angle)
“Parallel stance” (feet parallel, shoulder-width apart)
“Kanji for “8” i.e. 八 stance” (feet shoulder-width apart, feet open almost at a right-angle, toes pointing outwards - not found in any kata)
“Three battle stance” (Feet shoulder-width apart, the toes of one foot and the heel of the other meeting at an imaginary line passing under the body - see image above right - toes angled inwards, the upper legs, abdomen and lower back tensed; when the feet are parallel, it is called heiko sanchin dachi)
“Straddle stance” (feet double shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outwards, knees bent to almost a right angle)
“Horse-riding stance” (Upright shiko dachi with the toes and knees turned inwards)
“Front foot stance” (feet shoulder-width apart, front leg forward; front knee bent so as to obscure the front foot, rear leg completely extended; 70% of weight on the front foot)
“Half front foot stance”
“Rear foot stance” (Reversed zenkutsu dachi – found in the kata Seipai)
“Half-rear foot stance” (found in the kata Sepai and Kururunfa – this nomenclature is primarily used on mainland Japan; in Okinawa, the "stance" is the natural consequence of turning the hips and feet 45 degrees in sanchindachi and has no specific name)
“Japanese letter レ stance” (back foot facing forward, front foot a foot-and-a-half step to the front and point outwards at 45 degrees)
“Cat foot stance” (Renoji dachi with 90% of the body's weight placed on rear foot and the rear knee bent)
“Stance from the kata Sesan” (modified Shiko dachi facing sideways)
Friday, 6 March 2015
Members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo continue to train together at various places and locations. Pictured is the second training session at the Shinjuku Sports Center near Takadanobaba station. Students work on kihon, kata and kumite under the guidance of sempai and, when available, Aragaki Kancho. If anyone is interested in joining these sessions, please contact email@example.com for details.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
From March 2015, members of the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo will continue to meet on a regular basis for training, albeit on a provisionally independent basis. The location will be the Shinjuku Sports Center at 3-6-1 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku. The detailed schedule is to be confirmed. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org