With our regular venues closed for the October school holidays, several of us descended on Kaizen Shoto Budo's Tuesday night class at Springburn Academy.
I always enjoy training with Pauline Walmsley as she breaks down the elements of a practice and then pieces them together so that by the end of the class, I always feel like I have learned something and improved in some way.
Tuesday began with some pad work, initially hand techniques only. Pauline asked that the person holding the pad moves and makes the striker work, whilst the striker should aim for as wide a variety of moves as possible (not just punches but elbows, open palms, hammer fists and so on). Training with Emma, I think both of us managed a good range of moves and it was an energetic start.
The next step was to add kicks but Pauline added these in stages. First up, we could only use snap kicks, then we could add thrust kicks and then finally swing kicks. Pauline explained that this wasn't to "dumb down" our skills but get us thinking of alternative moves. For example, an axe kick might be the natural reaction to a particular target but what if that wasn't achievable? Would an alternative hand strike work?
Initially I found I was hesitating when presented with certain targets but as time progressed, this was reducing. We have been working on response times to pads in our club and I think this was an interesting compliment to that; aiming to respond quickly but not necessarily with the same "reliable" techniques.
After several rounds of this, we moved onto parrying with an opponent. I always feel this is my weakest area and on this night I was struggling to parry well and wore a number of kicks. It was good to get some advice on my techniques in that I drop my hands when kicking and thus give my opponent and opening so that is something to work on. On the pleasing side, my stamina wasn't an issue through this high intensity practice.
Finally Hugh took some time to look at controlling distance and leading to takedowns. We were asked to look at single leg takedowns and hip throws but Hugh advised not to focus on the takedown and more on getting the position where they might work. We have been working on single leg takedowns in the club and this was an interesting variation. I was maybe 50-50 in judging the distance correctly for the takedown to work so again more practice required here.
We finished with some kata and cool down stretch to end a very enjoyable and very tiring practice. Jamie in our club has just started training for his Second Dan and has written a blog with his thoughts on the practice. Check it out here roadtoseconddan.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/18102016-paulines-insights/ and tell him we sent you!
Scott has been training in Shoto Budo since 2007 and is a 1st Dan Black Belt. He is working towards his 2nd Dan grading.