Karate training last night was given over to kata and, slightly different from usual, we split off into pairs to work on various things.
Firstly I went with K, whose kata is Ji'in, and who I am partnering for his bunkai. We went through Ji'in a few times and I firmed up the moves a little better than I previously had them. Then we chose the three sections K will be demonstrating for bunkai. K came up with a good sequence for two of the combinations but is going to go away and think a little more on the remaining one as nothing good came up right away. I like Ji'in. It's not one of the 'fifteen' and I believe the JKA have dropped it from their syllabus, but I'm glad to have it in my repertoire.
Next I partnered sensei for her kata - Hangetsu. As I had done this kata for my 1st dan test (back in 1989) I watched it and gave a few notes - only a few minor things (I haven't done it much myself recently). Then we tried out her bunkai.
My Kanku-sho was next. It was better than last time but I still didn't 'feel it'. The first three moves are deceptively hard and I think it can affect the rest of the kata if you don't start well. My bunkai sequences are: i) the main sequence of soete kaki-dori, mae geri, osae uke, uraken, uchi uke, and nihon zuki (not sure yet whether to include the turn and kasui-ken); ii) the morote jo-uke and jo-zukami tsuki otoshi; and iii) the haishu uke, mikazuki geri and tobi ushiro geri.
That last one I did with the haishu blocking and grabbing a punch that comes from behind, as I turn into the mikazuki geri I turn my assailant's wrist and when the mikazuki geri connects it is against the locked arm - a bit of an arm breaker. I then continue with the momentum round into an ushiro geri - not jumping, though I may attempt that with practice. This is keeping it fairly simple rather than coming up with a fancy explanation for the jump.
The jo-uke sequence was also fairly successful with the front arm being a taisho block to the assailant's elbow joint and the back hand grabbing the wrist simultaneously (against a punch). The next move then twists their arm and pushes them down. The jump and turn into shuto uke becomes a turn and throw (no jump) - it works quite well. I know this is traditionally said to be against a bo or jo, but I'm not to keen on the idea of catching a wooden staff (or metal baseball bat) that is being used to attack me!
As for the main sequence, I tried out the obvious bunkai but it didn't feel very satisfactory, so like K with Ji'in, I'm going to go and away and think about that some more, but I probably won't stray too far from it.
For the rest of the session we did more kata - all the Heians, Bassai-dai and Gankaku. I feel quite confident with these kata and I enjoyed doing them, they felt strong. My yoko-geri were particularly pleasing - my hips have been a little inflexible recently but they felt back in form, for that evening anyway!
It's about time this blog had a picture, so here's a nice one of Sensei Kanazawa doing the Kasui-ken (fire and water fist) from Kanku-sho.