Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Observations of AAKF nationals 2011 (Atlanta)

Karate competition is different than other sports, it is based on Shiai –testing each other for future development rather than winning trophies, it is based on one chance win or lose rather than accumulating points and it is only one aspect of karate, a mean and not an end.

The true winner in competition is the one who reflects and take lesson into future training.

If I won any competition, the following day Sensei Nishiyama would never tell me how well I did, but rather point at the many areas that needs work, and he will use the Shinai to help (not so gently) correcting me more than any other day.

It was partially to keep me humble and mainly since competition will magnify your weaknesses and habits so it is a learning opportunity we should not miss.

In the past nationals in Atlanta, some athletes did very well, but karate is limitless and there is always plenty of space for improvements.

I was very proud of the Power brothers who performed beautifully, and even when Barry and Brian had to fight each other they gave it all but with love as brothers.

Shiri, Taichiro, Kamil, marcus, salma and everyone did great and gave it all.

Of course each person has different weak and strong points, but here are some general points that I felt need work:

On the attack, move foot first, body center second and than technique. A lot of times I saw shifting the body center too soon, which makes the initiation slow and expose space for counter. Also it makes it difficult to make pressure and causes floating at kime.

On the Amashi Waza (shifting back using distance and than counter) footwork, the switch from back shifting to forward counter is too slow, and that is for 2 reasons: first, over using the legs, the body center should suspend the legs (ukimi), and move the legs, the legs should be soft and the feet light.
At same token, some people over shift the center, jump back, and create a lot of space between.

Zanshin – most dangerous moment is after kime since we are at optimal distance for our kime, which is usually optimal for opponent if we miss. Many people let go mentally and physically after kime.
In kime as one delivers energy they should also be recharged physically, and have the mental awareness, monitoring.

4. Kime –mainly in the kata kime should be complete, pressure to floor and contraction of total body musculature, to the point that next technique just happens without a choice, effortlessly, as reaction.

Many people transit from one technique to next before completing kime.
Of course, to say that at kime we give all breath, maximum pressure and contraction is general since every kime is different depending on purpose.

5Kumite stategy – many competitors need to think more of making strategy to create chance rather than rush to attack and be faster.
Using the space and distance effectively should be considered more as important part of strategy.
To make strategy and set up, one has to accept the opponent’s attack and be comfortable and confident with the attack and anticipate and capitalize on it.

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