Weapons! I love weapons night! At our dojo weapons training is totally optional. Anyone green belt and higher is welcome to come to weapons class and pick a weapon to train with. I chose bokken the first night, with the intent to eventually work sword and fan together (which is a huge goal for me and my coordination-deficit body). Monday night when we started class, Hanshi asked each student what weapon they wanted to work on, and divided the class appropriately. Short weapons (sais, kamas, nunchaku, and the like) in our original training area, and longer weapons (bos and swords) in the new training room (the ceiling is higher in there). So Sensei-Hubby and I take our bokken and begin to review what we had previously learned - shomen strike and block and tenkan. Then along comes Hanshi. He points to the wall, where he has a rack of several live blades, and says "pick one and come on." What? Was he serious? Absolutely. See, he wanted to teach Iaido, and it's a bit difficult to really get that down with a bokken. So we practiced drawing, striking, and resheathing our swords. It was fun, but very difficult to do properly without looking at the sword.
I only did the first class Tuesday night, because Hanshi-C wore me out. An hour of kicks. Front leg mae geri, yoko geri, and ushiro geri. At the end of class he was talking about jump-spinning crescent kicks. After class, I respectfully suggested the purchase and installation of a harness for that one.
I trained in both classes Thursday night. First class started out with kata. We split the class up, and Hanshi C worked with me on perfecting Heian Godan. There were a few places in the kata where I needed to solidify my stances. Like after the jump. I bobble. I just need to slow down a little and focus on the technique instead of trying to force the speed. I'll get there.
Then we partnered up for some sanbon kumite for a while. I really need to start remembering to pull back my block when I counter...I'm not getting that reverse body torque.
We finished first class with self defense against knife attacks. Forgive me for not knowing the official terms for these techniques. The first one we did was for an attacker facing you pointing the knife in your face. You put your hands up in a "Oh please don't hurt me" kind of way. Then you snap your hands in - one hits the attacker's arm just behind the wrist, the other hits his hand. Knocks the knife right out of his hand (if you do it right of course). I love that one. The other technique we worked on was defense from a knife thrust. Inward block, tai sabaki, grab attacker's wrist, tai sabaki back, and lock the shoulder to bring him down. That one's fun, too.
Second class was a lot of kata. Hanshi started with having us form a square. He then threw several scraps of paper onto the floor inside the square. Each scrap had the name of a kata on it. We took turns picking a scrap and performing that kata. Hanshi said that in traditional tournaments you don't get to pick your own kata. The judges look at your rank and determine what kata you should know and you randomly draw from a selection of those kata. I was the last one to have a turn, and I ended up with Tekki Shodan. One of the other new brown belts had drawn that one before me and requested another draw because we have not learned that kata yet. I could have done the same, but I have been studying on my own (one of the advantages of being married to a Sensei) and wanted to see if I could do it. Before I even began, Hanshi praised me for being the only one to perform my kata correctly. Everyone else had faced the mirror, with their backs to Hanshi. I faced Hanshi. In all honesty, I only did it because in Tekki Shodan you face the same direction the whole way through and I wanted to be able to see Hanshi's face to gauge how I was doing. But it felt good to be pointed out to the blackbelts for doing something they should have done. Anyway, I went very slowly, but I made it through the kata without forgetting any moves. I just need to keep myself from "dancing" through half of it.
After that little exercise, we split up for kata. Hanshi and one of the blackbelts worked with me and another brown belt on Tekki Shodan. Then just for fun he ran us through Empi. He got a good laugh out of my "jump." It's a 360 degree turn in mid air, so instead of attempting the jump, I just slid back to where the others were landing. I got there - and I didn't break my neck in the process.
About 40 minutes into class, Hanshi tells us to have a seat in our little sitting area (we have those blue chairs and a couch at one end of the dojo for parents to sit and watch class) He ended class with a history lesson - how karate came to America. Post-war Japan, Funakoshi saying karate was an "art" so that he could continue to teach it, the American GIs training in the dojos, and then bringing it back to the west coast when they returned home. Hanshi loves history and loves to talk, so it was a great way to cool down and still learn something.
And that's my dojo week in review.