I managed to return back to training for the first time this year a couple of weeks ago. My goodness how I had missed it!
Good points from the session:
- I retained my overall fitness, and finished the session tired, but not too drained
- The work I had put into sanseru over my break actually paid off, and I was able to keep up with the others, and work the applications to a similar level.
- It was my first ever black belt class and I was pleased that I was able to work at that level for the entire session
- It was very beneficial being able to spend more than 1/2 an hour on a karate session
Things which stood out for improvement (for me)
- Our school, while emphasising a practical, HAPV and bubishi-influenced approach, also does some sparring-specific/general techniques including the gamut of high and varied kicks. I'm not a huge fan of these, so I spent almost no time practising them on my break. It took me almost a week for my hamstrings and legs to settle down again! Generally, it highlighted to me the need to practise all areas of karate, not just those I consider beneficial or important.
- Choice of partner is important when doing paired techniques/applications. One partner had not done one set of techniques either, and we struggled to do sufficient practice for me to fix them in my mind fully. But he was an outstanding partner later on in a drill we had done before, and I learned a couple of new things from him during that session. My other partner for the day was very quick on the uptake, and we were able to nut out the sequence, and then the core principles of the applications we were doing. But, she was not able (willing?) to go up to a more fluid/less compliant 'speed' once we had started grooving the technique. After working with her, I knew the technique, but in a different way, it was not fixed in my mind fully either. It also made me question how I am as a partner - was I doing the best I could as a partner for them and where they were, or was I being a selfish partner - all take and no give.
- Being new to black belt, my school has a large curriculum that starts at this level. I'm back on a very steep learning curve, and I will need to make sure I can cope with and internalise the new information I am getting. On the technique level, in an hour and a half, I was introduced to 12 new techniques and two new applications from sanseru. On the principle level, we ran through an application drill I already knew, but which was altered by applying a different principle of power generation.
Did I say how glad I am to be back?