Today marked my fourth session with Leicester Karate Association as I re-learn karate the Wado way. As a Black Belt in Traditional Shotokan and it's offspring Tsuyoi Ryu and after a twenty year break, I toured many of Leicester's Best and Worst Martial Arts schools looking for my new Martial Arts home. I've now settled on a new club, a new association and a new style.
So far settling into Wado has been a disconcerting journey, I'm often lulled into a sense of familiarity only to have the mat pulled from under me when a technique or kata is presented with a small but crucial difference. The focus on pressure-points is particularly unusual for me (although I know some Shotokan schools do teach these to some extent). I am pretty much a beginner when it come to this. Last week I made the mistake of admitting this to Sensei Chand, who then kindly demonstrated a range of attacks on me, leaving me with some attractively coloured bruises and recurring cramp in my left calf for the next three nights!
As kata goes, my part-knowledge is more a hindrance than a help. Some sequences of movements from the basic kata are so ingrained from years of practice that I have really struggled not to revert back to them, especially when moving at speed. For the last two weeks I have been working on the Wado version of Bassai. This is similar enough for me to get through but has higher stances, more disjointed moved, and no crescent kicks. I'm hoping that when I approach kata I remember less well; jion, chinte etc, that I'll be able to adopt the Wado approach more readily.