Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It sometimes takes a punch in the nose...

How many times have I told beginners in Karate to keep their hands up when sparring - and their hands go down. Always, it never fails.

And the one day they get popped on the nose - sometimes it breaks it, sometimes it bleeds - they remember and all of a sudden their hands stay up. Some of them even tell me I was right...  Well guess what ?

By the way, the same thing happened to me a long time ago. Since then I have consistently kept my hands up...

"When you are ready, the teacher will show up".

Actually, the teacher might have shown up earlier, but you did not pay attention. It is the same with teachings. You may have been told how to do it, maybe times and times, but until you really needed to learn, you just did not listen. 

Last June I had the honor to demonstrate Tameshigiri in front of Soke Katsuoh Yamamoto and a vast crowd assembled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his founding Yoshukai Karate. 

I had planned to demonstrate Rokudan Giri - a classical 6 cuts exercise. 

  1. Left to right Diagonal downward cut
  2. Right to left Diagonal downward cut
  3. Right to left Diagonal downward cut
  4. Left to right Diagonal upward cut
  5. Right to left Diagonal downward cut
  6. Left to right Diagonal upward cut

I was cutting through a roll made of two tatami mats

It all went well for the first three cuts, then on the fourth one, the target got airborne and fell from the stand. Only 2 layers of straw had not been cut.

I stopped there as if this was exactly what I intended to do, and everybody - but me - was satisfied and impressed with my demonstration !

Two weeks later as I discussed the event with Patty Heath Sensei my instructor from the Big Green Drum Dojo in Pensacola, she asked me if I had lined my back hip with the target. I told her I had not, for nobody had ever told me to do so. To which she suggested that probably it had been told to me, but I had not remembered it. And very likely this is what happened. 

The next morning, I installed a double mat on the stand, aligned my back hip on the target, and performed a nice and clean rokudan giri ! 

I was so pleased and impressed that I cut a second target, with the same success !

Morals of this story :
  • If you want to cut, line up your back hip with your target...
  • Always listen to Sensei.
  • If you are the Sensei, sometimes it may be better to let a student struggle with a problem before you tell him how to solve it.

Train hard