Journey to a new style...

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by _Simon_, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Okay... the time has come!

    I'm finally (after much, much hesitation and deliberation haha..) enquiring about new styles, as I'm honestly just itching to get back into dojo training.. and feel mostly ready health-wise.

    It's been an incredibly rough, painful, hellish and emotional 8 months or so.. and I still have a bit to go in terms of recovery, but I feel ready enough to try getting into training properly again. And it really marks a big step for me, as I definitely wasn't in this position a little while ago.

    So the plan is to try a style for about a month or so to get the feel of it and see if it clicks with me. Very different to how I decided before, which was just training because I 'felt like I should', out of obligation almost. So suffice it to say, I'm very excited :).

    I've gotten a call back from a karate dojo just around the corner from me, I asked if i can sit in and watch and they said people tend to get more out of just giving it a go, so they invited me to train so looks like I'm training!

    It sounds really awesome, it's a small dojo, and has gone through a few changes of style affiliation over time, and I think they operate more independently now, originally he trained in Kyokushin (and personally graded to Shodan under Sosai Oyama!), then Ashihara, Shintaiikudo, and taught in all of these, now with all his experience has organically sort of formed his own style, which incorporates all his previous styles plus including some Aikido principles as well (which he teaches as well).

    Definitely sounds more up my alley, I'm really excited :)
     
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  2. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    sounds good ,,have fun.
     
  3. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Good luck in finding the style you want and staying healthy.
     
  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Good luck let us know how it goes.
     
  5. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    That's great news, Simon. Go and have some fun, bro.
     
  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Thanks so much all, excited and nervous :)
     
  7. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Well... first night done! Was fair nervous approaching and trialling out a new style, but it was awesome and learnt alot already! It's more of a fusion, and generally called Aiki karate, combining karate and aikido principles.

    Really different stuff than I'm used to! But I caught on relatively quick enough. Awesome instructor, really attentive, not a drill sergeant hehe, and very warm.

    We worked on different sabaki footwork, the 12 steps it was called, then doing this with a partner, blocking and reverse punch. Using different techniques with the footwork. Worked on shuto mawashi uke, and mawashi uke with a partner.

    Then the next bit was interesting, we partnered up and put a bo on each of our haras, and worked on activating the hara. Had never done that before, it was basically tensing at the lower abdomen, then went on to try extend ki through the hand that was grabbed, but starting from the hara and extending out to the hand.

    We then did this blocks, but blocking with the whole body (not just doing hard karate blocks that I'm used to), essentially utilising ki and the hara to unbalanced the opponent. I think the idea is to keep your centre, and displace theirs.

    I was watching Sensei demonstrate on one of the students many times, and to be honest at first I did think the student was putting it on (falling too easily etc), but after actually feeling it myself, performing it myself (after much guidance I managed to just get it haha), and also having it done on me it truly is the real deal... Was just fascinating how effortless it was! We then did it from seiza/kneeled position, partner grabbing my hands and me trying from there. And barely without much movement at all from activating the hara and extending it through the hands I was able to topple him haha, never experienced that before.

    It was refreshing his approach, and we talked about my Kyokushin training and how he moved on from there too when he thought that he wanted to continue to be training many years later and not be crippled, I laughed and agreed. He even mentioned how Sosai Oyama was injured a fair bit at times back in the day.


    But one thing I'd love clarification on (if anyone could respond that'd be great) is the activating and moving from the hara. Is it basically a tensing of the lower abdominal muscles? As some of you may know, I have pelvic floor tension myalgia (overtightness of pelvic muscles), and I'm definitely feeling a bit sore and quite tightened up after tonight haha.. Was it possible I was doing it wrong, or is this what using your hara involves? Any aikido-ka or anyone I'd love some input on this and would appreciate any info. As I'm not sure I can keep up that practice, as I need to work on relaxing the area. I didn't get a chance to ask, I may next week.


    Whether I stay with the style I don't know at this stage, I'll go 3 or 4 times all up (they only train once a week..) then plan to trial elsewhere. I really did enjoy it alot though, the dojo members were great, and very welcoming and helpful.

    A big win all in all, feels like a fresh start :)
     
  8. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Okay, I've been for a few sessions now and have really enjoyed it :). The people there are great, really warm, welcoming, and no display of ego or alpha-ish behaviour.

    There are a lot of very foreign concepts to me that Sensei teaches which I'd love to learn more about, and it's definitely a different style and blend of karate and other MA principles.

    My favourite quote Sensei said which I'll remember: "Sometimes you've got to go through the hard to get to the soft." Definitely resonated with that, and it sounds like we've been on similar paths. The pain has been up and down, and usually am a bit tightened up after class but it hasn't been too bad from it. I'm definitely seeing just how much I've trained myself to be so incredibly tense during training, and I'm learning to profoundly relax more during training.

    Keeping this dojo on the top of my list of possibilities :).

    For now I'm going to move on to try out something else. Not sure what to try out next, potentially Taekwondo which will be very frightening and a very different experience haha. Can't wait, feel like there's a renewed confidence in training again :)
     
  9. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Good luck with your search.
     
  10. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Cheers dude ;)
     
  11. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    the way it was explained to me was keeping your hips under your shoulders. the feeling of being pulled by your belt comes to mind.
    maybe its a way of saying to move your entire body as one unit rather than shoulders first or the feet first with the rest of the body needing to catch up
     
  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Yeah that makes sense, it was briefly mentioned in my previous dojo in a similar way. I guess it's a movement starting from your centre, but in terms of unbalancing an opponent it seems a little more than that, and was fascinating when it worked... like a tensing at the hara which you extend from there throughout the body to direct energy out as one unified forced, rather than just using isolated arm strength, like you said.

    Thanks mate
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    OK, putting myself out here trying to explain something that really can't be had through explanations, but I don't want you to injure yourself by trying too hard in a wrong direction. :) Everything that I've learned about using your hara or tanden involves NOT tensing. Tensing up your muscles has a tendency to decrease the effectiveness of what you're trying to accomplish but, at the same time, may make it almost impossible to actually feel for those that haven't practiced it a lot. Contradiction I know, but most people work through it. With your issues, I didn't want you to try too hard and hurt yourself.

    The best description I heard of it was "weight underside". Beginners, in trying to keep their weight underneath them at all times, tend to tense up their core to accomplish this. Once they've practiced enough, they usually find that they can do the same thing while keeping the muscles in their core relaxed. Having relaxed muscles allows for a much greater transfer of energy from you to your opponent because you aren't fighting your body's movements.

    What I guess I am trying to get at is that you don't necessarily want to think of tensing, you want to think in terms of movement. It just doesn't require much movement at all to unbalance your opponent when your entire body weight is making said movement.
     
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  14. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Agreed
     
  15. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Ah that's awesome, thanks so much for the explanation. I think I get what you're saying, and understand it's a hard thing to describe without the experience of it to play with.

    That makes a lot of sense actually, and probably why I was confused, as I did initially think using hara and ki was more about relaxing and not forcing movement with strength and 'trying too hard', but working with natural flow and energy. Finding and moving from a centred place. And yeah I appreciate your concern, as I didn't want to learn how to tense more, which is the opposite of where I'm trying to reach haha.

    So it's more of an awareness as to your body and alignment being more centred, and moving from there in a relaxed and natural way... I'll have a play with that...

    Much appreciated :)
     
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  16. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Relaxed for sure, but not natural. If it were a natural way of movement, we wouldn't have to practice so hard to learn to do it correctly. :)
     
  17. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Haha true! Although, there are plenty of natural ways of being which we've just forgotten about, but yeah makes sense it would need training :).

    I wonder then what the other style of using your hara is that I was shown and drilled, maybe it's a preliminary way of learning it and then like you said you can do it without needing to contract there..
     
  18. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Understanding "hara" depends on who's teaching and who's learning, But, Simon, learn all you can to understand it and utilize your understanding in your movement.

    The shoulders staying over the hips is balance and back health. If we're stand up fighting and I get your shoulder's off your hip line, you ain't going to be standing for long. :)
    And any time your back is a little sore, pay close attention to keeping your shoulders over your hip line throughout your day, no matter what you're doing. It will make your day a lot easier.

    Also, hara can be used to increase both speed and quickness in a big way. BIG.
     
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  19. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Brown Belt

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    Thanks Buka, always appreciate your wisdom and experience, very helpful. *bows*

    I'll definitely experiment with that. Ultimately I want to not only be able to train in a more relaxed and natural way, but live everyday life from that. From what the last little while has shown me, that's a priority hehe
     

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