Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Improving yoko-geri kekomi kick

Whilst practicing Nijushiho kata, I have been disappointed with my kekomi kicks. The fundamental issue can be traced back to my knee injury 2.5 years ago. However, I'm not going to use this as an excuse. I am determined to overcome this and make my kekomi kicks awesome (again - because they once were)!

I have gone back to the beginning. Practicing from Kiba Dachi moving sideways. I video'd this to try to isolate what was going wrong. By running the video's back on my digital camera in slow motion I realised that the first part of the kick, raising the knee into position, was OK. The problem was in the kick out.

I was not thrusting with the hips.
I was not kicking from the hips.
I was stopping my leg from extending fully.

All of the above 3 points were caused by an internal psychological barrier which didn't want me to thrust and extend my leg. Probably because my knee injury was caused by stamping down into fumikomi (Jion).

As a result of not practicing the kick properly, I have lost quite a bit of flexibility in my legs too.

So, going back to basics, I am training by doing gedan kekomi kicks. But, by doing this, I force myself to thrust the hips in; to kick from the hips; and, make sure my leg is fully extended!

I have also started using my old ankle weights. I put both weights on 1 leg (= ~2.2 kg) and do 3 sets of 20 knee raises. Then switch legs and do the same. I also do 3 sets of 10 leg extensions from a chair (because I can't afford a Gym membership and my wife won't let me put a home multi-gym in the house :-O).

I have been doing this training for 1 week and today I noticed an improvement in my kekomi kick during Nijushiho kata practice. Fantastic!

However, I must maintain the discipline to keep this practice up because it's not perfect. Just because I have seen a slight improvement does not mean I should slacken off this training programme.

Today, I am better than I was yesterday. Tomorrow I will be better than I am today.

Determination Matters

During my 2 weeks break I kept up my running.

But, towards the end of the 2 weeks I had a really bad run. I started walking much earlier than usual. And from that first walk, it was stop/start all the way home. This poor run made me feel a bit despondent.

So, the next day I set my mind to do the run again but, do it better. I also had karate training for 2 hours beforehand. However, by setting my determination, I was able to go for a good run. It wasn't 100% all the way home but, it was much better than the previous day! The determination in my mind made all the difference.

Today, I went for my run-karate-run routine and was able to complete both run sections without walking! Yes! Interesting, the feeling of determination was still there today. The determination to try a bit harder.

Mantra: Today I will be better than yesterday. Spoken with determination.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Run Martin, Run

Did 2 hours karate training at the dojo today. Then went for a 2.5 mile run - which I completed without walking any of it. Even the evil school hill towards the end. Good progress - twice this week despite a crap diet.

I watched my son going through some katas during the training today. I thought, "Hmmm, he needs a few pointers.". Then, towards the end of the lesson, he did Heian Sandan in his own time & speed - and it was very good.

The other night I worked on some of the problems I noticed with Nijushiho on the video. I wish I could fit more sessions in - but it's a bit of a domestic rollercoaster at the moment.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Frustrating progress

I'm one third of my way through my vacation time. It's a bit up and down.

My work on Nijushiho is coming along quite well. I got my son to video me doing Nijushiho on Saturday at the Loughton dojo. I then analysed the video to see where I needed to improve. Boy, oh boy, do I need to improve!!! The kata was slow and dull. It needs to be faster and sharper. Faster transition between the moves. More kime to create the sharpness. The kicks are awful so I've set up a routine using ankle weights to increase my leg strength and get those kekomi kicks looking much more stable (idea put both ankle weights on one ankle to increase the resistance!). There's a number of other things too.

But, this is the name of the game - self improvement. Today I will aim to be better than I was yesterday. I am a bit hard on myself in terms of slow progress, I really should make an allowance for being ill (multiple bilatateral PE). It frustrates me that I am further away from the standard I was at 6 months after becoming shodan.

However, things are moving forward. I ran 2.5 miles the other day - that's a good break through. I have also got my micro improvements for Nijushiho that I am working on. So, don't be too hard on myself!