This article is the class notes for 01/23/2012. It contains:
1) Revised Testing Procedures
2) Pinan Series
3) Pinan Application
Revised Testing Procedures
As I mentioned in my other article, I have been working to revise how I test people in my classes. After a lot of thinking, it is clear that formalizing instruction is unnecessary with such a small group. I instead looked to a better method of tracking who has learned what. I previously had a list of test requirements, but with the constant pressures of a military school, no one ever was here consistantly enough to ensure everyone got all of the lessons. I would regularly end up reteaching someone something while someone else learned it for the first time. To fix this, I now track when someone has been taught a technique or kata so that I can track who is ready to test and who needs to learn more without much effort. Tonight I tested it with Elle, running through everything she has learned to find the gaps in her training.
Tonight we started some more work on the Pinan series. After six months of only working the Naihanchis, it is great to be teaching new katas. Tonight was just meant to teach the pattern and introduce the moves to the students. We went through Pinan Nidan, Shodan, and Sandan. Ryan, one of the other black belts, was commenting on the difference between my way of doing the Pinans and his Korean version of Pinans. His come from Japan so they call Pinan Shodan “Pinan Two” and Pinan Nidan “Pinan One”. This comes from Gichin Funakoshi changing the order of the first two Pinans because Pinan Nidan is so much easier than Pinan Shodan. It is always interesting to see the differences in styles.
After running through the katas we worked on the application of the moves in Pinan Nidan. The main thing I was explaining is the hidden movements in the kata. The opening movement, a hammer fist strike, is easily seen as a strike, but it can also be used as move to break a hold. We then went on to look at the ineffectiveness of a low knife hand block and the differences of a forward stance versus natural stance. I concluded with the idea that there are applications that are not performed in the kata. Instead, the kata is a method of remembering how to do them. For example, in Pinan Nidan, the karateka punches three times down the middle in the kata. One application is the wari-uke block that is done to defend against it. This should be practiced and seen as application, even if it is the defensive application to the move in the kata.
No class would be complete without a little fighting. Ben and Ryan padded up and went at it for a while. The wore head gear, chest pads , and hand pads. There was no points or time limits. They simply practiced throwing some punches and working on taking the opponent to the ground. Ben has about 100 pounds on Ryan, so this was excellent practice for both of them. Ryan is substantially faster and has a few more years of practice under his belt, that helped offset the weight advantage. The highlight was Ben grabbing Ryan by the head and thowing some powerful knee strikes into him. At one point I looked over and the fight had gone to the ground. This is more realistic and was great to see them getting the practice.
We ended the lesson with Tegumi – Okinawan Hand Wrestling. I have read in a few places that the Okinawan children of the 1700s and 1800s would have been very familar with grappling because of always wrestling each other for fun. To me this shows the need to fill the grappling gap in modern Karate. As such, we wrestle almost every class for a few minutes. There are no gender or weight divisions, we just have fun and appreciate the challenge. Some of us, myself included, have some expereince wrestling. Others, again myself included, have taken combatives classes at the Air Force Academy and mix some of that training into our wrestling. To help explain what this looks like, I took some video of us doing it. Hopefully this will be the first of many videos to accompany my class notes.