I wanted to share some observations, (some serious and some not) regarding this weekend’s training with Mark Kohagura
If you wait for your opponent to move, you are already too late.
It takes a lot of experience to be able to react to your opponents actual decision to move [which happens before their actual movement].
Mark said that Sensei Ohshima prefers outside to inside. Inside is a 50/50 proposition. Mark was unwilling to eliminate inside as an option but said, “you have to be sure ” and “if you are wrong, there are consequences”.
Being behind your opponent is a huge advantage.
Mark demonstrated the kick to the groin as an effective technique when you are behind an opponent. He commented that Sensei Ohshima once described the technique as “devastating”.
Mark demonstrated the side-step, mawashi-geri combination as an effective technique in kumite. Mark also highlighted the floating ribs and under the arms as key points of attack that will prevent an opponent from continuing.
Mark commented on a boxing maxim which says, “whatever your opponent wants to do, don’t let him do it.”
Arun and Priyam from the Tri-Cities dojo are maybe the cutest couple ever! Congratulations to Priyam on making brown belt.
Don’t “helicopter” on the four knife hand blocks at the top of the pattern in Heian Nidan. Make sure to bring your balance together when pivoting for the blocks.
Make sure to keep your fingers together and your thumb tucked for the knife hand blocks in Heian Nidan. You should also keep your thumb tucked during kumite. If you leave your thumb extended during kumite it won’t be long before you are injured.
In Tekki, you should endeavor to make the blocks meaningful. Mark demonstrated the mid-level augmented blocks with sound effects. Special Note: Mark totally ripped off the Fred Pool sound track. WOOUMP!!
Mark described the foot sweep, augmented mid-level block in Tekki as a “returning wave” movement.
Don’t lose your horse stance and don’t “rise up” in Tekki.
The final punch in Tekki does not include a sideways lunge.
Mark said that in the beginning [of kata practice], we practice on getting the moves down in the right order, and that’s ok. But as you progress, you should try to “bring the kata to life.”
Stances are for beginners. Assume a more natural stance so that you can do “anything you want.” I interpreted “anything you want” as being able to do both mae-tae and gyaku-zuki. To be able to move quickly to execute oi-zuki and to be able to kick from both the front and back leg.
Mark noted that Sensei Ohshima says that you should always sense trouble if your opponent appears to be standing naturally with his weight slightly forward.
Working with Joel on the mae geri , gyaku-zuki combination was amazing! He is so fluid in his movements and his kicks are invisible but deadly. No flash, no extra movement, no change in level. The only thing you are certain of is that you have been hit and you never saw it coming. How did he do that?
By augmenting the mid-level blocks in Tekki, you are engaging the “far side”. I don’t fully understand what Mark meant by this but Ron Thom agreed. Two Godans said it, so it must be important.
John from Seattle should shut up and be happy he is rich!
I was impressed (again) by the depth of talent in Seattle. I mentioned that I would like to occasionally make the brown and black belt practices on Sundays and received two recommendations on the practices led by Ron Thom. I received one endorsement for Nihad’s practice and a comment that his practice was “very hard”.
John from Seattle is a natural teacher. He was patient when I had difficulty with the gyaku-zuki, mae geri combination and slowed his response to match my stilted attack. Watching his eyes is unnerving. I don’t think of myself as being easily spooked – but seriously – when he looks at me it puts a big fat kink in my Wa.
Blaine from Portland – you should have been here. Two people asked about you.
Kelly, the Tri-Cities white belt said that he is looking forward to making brown belt and facing me in the Good Will Cup. Another white belt, Derrick, who is as tall as an Oil Rig, echoed Kelly’s comments. Wow! What a great incentive to make sure I don’t slack off in training.
Colton – congratulations on your black belt in July. I haven’t forgotten my defeat in Vancouver. Train hard! I’m coming.
Kudos to Pam Logan for planning this event. Her reputation succeeded in attracting some seriously major talent including not one but three Godans.
Ann from Tri-Cities is the Sherlock Holmes of hydrology and a great conversationalist.
Arun from Tri-Cities shared about the difficulty of scoring against a larger opponent like Tri-Cities Mark . Mark Kohagura responded but what was interesting to me was the look in TC Mark’s eyes that said, “yes, and I am resolved that you will never score against me again.” Arun, I feel your pain. That guy is seriously scary.
Mark Kohagura recommended fumikomi as a simple but effective technique for older students. He said that if you practice 500 kicks per day he guarantees results. Hmmmmm. Only 500 kicks per day? Thanks Mark. Seriously??! ! Thanks Mark.
Mark also mentioned that with a bigger opponent, you win by “attacking the edges”. He recommends fumikomi and using blocks as an attack against the opponents elbows. He also recommends attacks against the eyes and throat. He especially likes the throat because it is a big target.
Rob Powers recommends that female students take the time to study the vital points shown in the back of the Kyohan and incorporate them into their training early in their career.
Rob also likes the eye attack for women. He demonstrated a knife hand where the fingers are vertically stacked but the thumb rests naturally and is not tucked. By sliding the stacked fingers along the side of the opponents face the thumb is in perfect position to gouge the eye.
Rob commented on natural talent versus consistency in training. He has seen over-and-over that consistency trumps talent.
Rob said that big, strong guys need to learn to relax their shoulders. He says that big guys are naturally tense, so that they may think they are relaxed when in fact they are still carrying tension. He said there is another level of relaxation and if you find it, your karate will improve significantly.
I apologize for being so verbose. I am writing this while sitting in my local pub named “Fire on the Mountain”. Bridgeport Brewery on 14th and Marshall makes a spectacular “Kingpin” double-red, amber ale that comes in at about 7.2% alcohol. Fire on the Mountain’s “Red Hornet” amber comes in at 7.5% and is even better! Yahoo!!!
Kline Bentley, Portland Dojo, FBA.