Notes from New Orleans – 2009 JKA AF Summer Camp

Finally arrived at New Orleans after an overnight sojourn from the Bay Area. Headed straight to the French Quarters to break fast indulging in New Orleans cuisine at Beignet Cafe (beignets, jambalaya and chicory in coffee) … hmmm not for the feint gluttens. A couple more trips to the airport as designated “dojo shuttle” had to be rewarded with etouffee for lunch in Landry’s Seafood. This city is truly “gourmet capital” of the south. Others ate alligator in nearby restaurant Mulate and take-out Butchers Deli had delicious pork-belly mint cucumber sandwiches. Presently trying to revive from post-pranial slum as class starts in about an hour. 2hr training to work off our glutteny … stay tuned.

Class: BACK TO BASICS THROUGH KATA (Mikami Sensei and Osaka Sensei)

Sensei Mikami starts class the first half hour with “warm up” – we were not only warm but drenched! 30 minutes of rigorous drills beginning with in place knee bends to lubricate the ankles leading to score counts of punches, triple punches, blocks, kicks … you name it, every basic exercise we know compressed to a half hour. I was always so thankful for the 5-min breathers!

Sensei Osaka reviewed Heians through Tekki Shodan with such precision and technicality. He started from the very beginning – how to bow (at formal V feet together, start with half-step left then half-step right) and end in Yamei (also with half-step left then half-step right back to V feet).

HEIAN SHODAN: I felt like I was learning a brand new kata. On the Gedan Berai (1st move in Heian and all ready position for Kihon) an emphasis on bending the supporting right leg before driving forward to the block (as opposed to dropping into position. He stressed the hamni hips on the block and engaging the groin muscles to drive forward to the next oizuki. Hammer-fist has only a slight bent in the elbow targeting chudan. For the series of jodan age-uke, do not reach for the preparation open hand but open naturally before every rising block. On each of the 90 degree turns, squeeze groin muscles to contract to center before expanding to next position.

HEIAN NIDAN: first move begins from Yoi to form the “box block” – do not prepare