Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on our sparring stances.   While the 50-50 weighting we have been working on is not new, I have put a much stronger emphasis on lowering your stances, ensuring that your back foot is at a 45 degree angle and, most importantly, staying engaged in that position for the entire match.   When done correctly, this stance gives you the best foundation from which to launch a variety of techniques, change from offense to defense and back as required and make effective speed and direction changes.  The important part of that previous sentence is, “... when done correctly.”  This is not an easy stance to perform for an extended time, which brings me to another area of focus – getting into “karate shape.” 

“Karate shape” is just that –  building the strength, stamina and speed you need to maintain an effective stance.  Our stance is based on very strong legs and core muscles – so over the past few weeks, you may recall (or your legs likely do!) the drills we have done up and down the gym using ballistic movements and repetitions.  And while cross-training helps – i.e. doing other sports or activities to build strength – the only thing that will improve your stance, is performing that stance – over and over and over! 

As I mentioned in class, many of you will have the opportunity to test for your next belt level in June – we will continue our focus on practising your required katas, using your renewed leg and core strength and keeping the bunkai for each one top of mind.

The winter Olympics provided lots of inspiration from extremely dedicated and talented athletes.  One of the interesting comments made by a former athlete was that he used the competition as a reward – a place to showcase all the hard work and training that he had done in preparation.  He did this at first to change his mind set to get past the nervousness he felt as the competition drew closer – then he came to realize that the competition really was his opportunity to highlight all the efforts he had made.  We can use that same thinking as we prepare for gradings and competitions – treat it as your reward – and your opportunity to showcase your commitment, dedication and hard work.   

“The brick walls are there for a reason.  They’re not there to keep us out.  The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. “  Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Enjoy your training!

Shihan Gary Sabean – Head Instructor

Announcements:

  • In addition to Soke Sensei’s visit to Canmore in August, we have just learned that he will visit Edmonton for a workshop in April/May.  The dates are not finalized yet, so please stay tuned for more information. 
  • Best wishes to Sempai Mariah Blunt as she competes in kumite at the Junior North American Cup in Richmond, BC later this month.  Mariah qualified for the tournament based on her bronze place finish at Nationals in January. 
  • If you are interested in trying out for the Karate Alberta Provincial Team – contact me.  The next training camp begins on Friday, May 9.  
  • Karate Alberta will hold its next tournament on May 31 in Red Deer – more details to follow in April.