Day 2

My second lesson as a member of Tai Shin Kai Karate.

I got my gi but it was much too big for me. Frustrated at constantly receiving gigantic uniforms with the assumption I’ll grow into them (I never have. Not once.), I went to talk to Sensei to ask for a smaller one but he had already started class, so I made do. He later told me it’ll shrink considerably in the wash, and then to sow the sleeves and pants inwards as much as necessary. He does the same to everyone, so it’s not just because I’m short which comforted my slightly.

Just having the uniform made me feel more competent. I could pass myself off as one of them. Nay- I am one of them now. If I may be so bold, I believe I’m getting much better. I’m becoming familiar with the unfamiliar techniques, adjusting to new stances (the fighting stance I love- the guarding hand is not held at the chest but at the stomach, which is awesome) and beginning to learn my kata’s.

I said in my last entry that Ho-sensei uses physics to explain techniques- torque, rotation, resistance etc. I discovered tonight that he also discusses metaphysics: the path of energy and where it can be drawn from. A steady stance to draw earth energy through the feet, a deep breath to draw fire energy through the crown, and water energy which is released outwards from the centre. And even if you don’t believe the spiritual aspect, it’s extremely good physical training anyways. Ho-sensei expects students to train as hard as they can all the time because, as he described in one of his infinite lessons, that striving to beat yourself by even a little will some day add up. It’s challenging, but rewarding.

As far as skill goes, I cannot say but I believe I am almost the
equivalent of some of my class members. I am finally learning to add strength to my strikes. Not only speed (which is important, obviously), but something behind it, the "killing force" as sensei describes it, which aims to drop an opponent with one blow. A difficult thing to do, he acknowledges, but it’s what we train to achieve. A little bit scary hearing him use the term, but I respect it. Although this is my first lesson of applying newfound strength (my reverse punch at its best now has enough power to stagger someone), I have much, much to learn, and greatly anticipate learning it. I am reassured by my progress, even after my first lesson. What I look forward to most is randori, free sparring. It will help me best understand the nature of karate, while seeing what areas I need to improve on, and what weaknesses I can find in both my sparring partners and karate as a style. I think it will be the most useful teaching exercise I can undertake.

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