Just before the Wado Academy Winter Course I annoyingly, very annoyingly, sustained another ankle injury and had to miss out on the week's training in Guildford. I also had the same kind of injury in the other foot at the back end of last year and might have to look into things.
I did manage to make it down to Guildford for some beers and the camaraderie of others. That's still important.
On the Sunday, even though I had the foot injury I took a chair and sat in the dojo to watch the second lesson. Arthur Meek sensei was taking the brown belts and below down the bottom end, which gave me a close up view of their training.
Pinan Godan kata
The first movement of Pinan Godan relies on the same lag of Pinan Sandan with regards to the leg following the core body movement.
What I try to show in the video is that for the first turn, the angle is lead by the core body turn and you should be able to do 90, 180 or 270 degrees for example. It's not placing the foot first and then corkscrewing yourself into position.
On the gyakuzuki, do not twist the hips even more, hips stay facing forward in "shomen" position at the punch is activated by the top right hand corner of the back. It's not to turn both shoulders in a basic way. Do not hold the punch back by having a tense shoulder.
Pinan Sandan kata
One of the finer points of Pinan Sandan I have covered in a separate blog piece around managing the arms in movements 2 and 3 called Windscreen wipers in Pinan Sandan. This is important to grasp early on as it leads into the opening sequence of Seishan. A tense upright torso with stiff immovable shoulders does not help here.
When you pull back after the nukite, have it in your mind that you cannot pull with the arm, imagine that someone is tugging on it very hard. All you can do then is to pull and drop your body weight forward, using your weight against theirs. If someone is 100 Kilograms and you are 60 Kilograms then this isn't going to work very well when tested in the dojo. Students can end up playing tug of war but this is a false equivalence. When testing someone, the aim is to give them enough resistance to ensure they learn to move their body correctly. Then increase.
Pinan Yondan kata
The point I was making for the third movement was not to forcefully pull the arms back before pushing them out to make the X. After the second move with arms high, take the tension away and let them drop towards the side of your body, whilst your body begins to move forward. They will end up in that double hikite position with no additional effort and then you can shot the arms forwards.
Concentrate on the fluid movement from Steps 2 to 3. Do not momentarily stop back in that central spot, in a squat position with both arms pulled back. Yes, it's useful in the early stages of teaching and remembering, but later on, drop it. As soon as you relax the arms from Step 2, your centre should be moving forward already. Your arms lag behind your body, but that's another forthcoming blog post.
Running through Pinan Shodan kata this time.
The biggest test of your stance is across the first three set of arm movements. We are all human and of different levels of flexibility but we should at least see if our knees are moving or if our feet are not quite in the correct position, so we have a fighting chance of improving. Too often people are only concerned about the arm movements, if we work on both, our flexibility and range of possible movement will improve.
On the second movement, try to make the right hand travel high and straight. It doesn't not come in from the side. It is a full and not stunted motion also.
For the third movement, the "tetsui" strike is to the temple area.
Within this sequence, do not let the shoulders tighten up or else they will stay high for the whole section. Even though the "tetsui" is going up, the shoulders and weight should feel as they are going down.