So far, my blog has included my take on training, random observations and input from the club. However, with Hugh suggesting that November's National Course could be a time for me to grade, it is time to get more focus.
Therefore, my plan is to keep a regular diary of training between now and November, along with thoughts on my own progress and hopefully some photos.
It makes sense to take stock of where I currently am so here goes with an entirely subjective review
Kata is getting better but the Hangetsu and Kanku katas in particular need work.
Pad work is not bad and power levels particularly on hand techniques feel good. I do need to work on improving my stamina and technique on some of my kicks.
Parrying needs a LOT of work. I feel this is my weakest area. Still walking into things.
Ground work is odd. I really enjoy it but feel I have hit a plateau and need to improve here in terms of balance, movement, weight control etc.
That's a starting point. I'll talk to Hugh this week and see if he agrees and then we can see how things develop.
"Scott", said Eric, "you have 10 minutes to teach the group something".
What do you do when asked to teach a group of your club mates? I usually start to recall favourite practises from the past or particularly things I have enjoyed that we have not visited for a while. By coincidence, I had been thinking about a variation on our takedown sequence so now was my chance to try this out.
To begin, I asked my group to pair up with partner and try out the first six moves of our punch-kick-grab sequence. This was to give everyone a chance to get familiar with the techniques before I moved onto the next stage.
This was where the variation came in. Normally we practise takedowns by lining up and coming at the defender with a punch, kick or grab attack. My practise was to have one person in the middle of a circle and they could choose their attacker by looking at them. After four takedowns, a new person would take over in the middle.
I felt this was useful because, whilst the defender was controlling the pace, there could be variety in the distance covered by the attacker. For example, If an attacker was already close, the defender had less time to react to the attack. The defender also had to get orientated to their opponent each time they changed direction.
This seemed to go quite well and, asking for feedback at the end of my 10 minutes, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Phew!
I would like to build on this a bit further, perhaps a next step where the defender is not choosing the attacker and has to respond. Eventually this could build up to multiple attackers that the defender has to deal with. It will be interesting to see where this can go and fortunately it looks like I will get a chance to try it out as Hugh as already said he will ask me to do some coaching "any time" over the next few weeks.
Until the next time, keep your thinking caps on.
Scott has been training in Shoto Budo since 2007 and is a 1st Dan Black Belt. He is working towards his 2nd Dan grading.