Years ago I achieved the green belt in the Shotokan style of Karate. For those of you who are interested in that style the ranking (in Switzerland at least) follows this order (from lowest to highest):
Now, keep in mind that this was very heavily based on memorization of katas, and not quite so much on skill level. However, I will admit that my skill probably ranked at the appropriate level.
I haven’t trained in close to four or five years. I can’t remember any of the katas, but every once in a while I’d review the techniques, but not do any serious training. I read a few manuals, familiarized myself with some moves that I previously hadn’t understood, and learned a few new ones. Oddly enough, I’ve learned a few new moves from manga, especially Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, which actually portrays martial arts quite accurately.
But I really haven’t done anything to actually apply them. So this semester I’ve decided to start attending the Shotokai Club at my university. Why Shotokai and not Shotokan? Because I don’t want to shell out $40 every semester.
It’s also worth noting that in this case, the reason they go by Shotokai, is because there was already a Shotokan Club. The only real difference is that this style is full contact (veeery nice), and emphasizes flexibility and speed.
I decided a while back, that I’d be keeping a record of my progress on this blog. So if you’re interested in my path to human weapon-hood, then by all means, check back here every Tuesday and Saturday.
To start off, this one will be a little shorter, since all we really did was a basic introduction.
The most important thing I learned today, right before training, was that apparently I can touch my toes. I haven’t tried in a few years, so this came as a surprise, considering I’ve never been able to.
We did some range practicing, and basic punching (using punching pads), and kicks (using punching pads). Apparently my basics are stronger than I thought they were, as it didn’t take long to get close to performing the techniques properly. One of the permanent members actually commented on me having a good punch. The straight kick was giving me trouble at first, but after a few pointers, I surprised myself by delivering some pretty decent kicks.
It’s interesting that I’m making more progress in this one night of training, than two years at the other dojo all those years ago. Maybe my mentality has changed? I have a stronger body now? I don’t know what it is, but the basics are coming back much faster than I thought they would. It helps that I remember most of the techniques I ever learned. I run into trouble when you try and put them in a certain order I have to memorize.
Also, in this club, ranking is determined by skill, not memorization of katas. Who knows, maybe I’ll deserve to wear this green belt soon enough. (Green belts are instructor level in Shotokai.)
PS: My legs hurt.