It's just 5 days until the kumite competition and in the last couple of weeks I've tried to ramp up the training to two or three sessions a week. With a full time job and family, finding 6 hours of free time every week just isn't possible, but for a short period running up to a competition it's just about manageable.
Having focussed very heavily on sparring practice in almost every session, and having an average of 1:3 win to lose, I'm resigned to the possibility that luck rather than technique will get me through my bouts. I know I'm not really ready to compete, but at the same time if I don't do it now it'll be come something I avoid, so I am officially "in the squad" for the foreseeable. If there are any opponents reading this, here's a few pointers: I'm pretty slow and static, won't be throwing any three point kicks, and rely quite heavily on an ashi barai, gyak combo!
My total immersion in Wado and Leicester Karate Association is nearly complete; I'm really please that Sensei Chand has raised the profile of the association by affiliating with Aiwakai and the EKF which gives us greater access to training and competition opportunities, as well as attracting new blood. I've somehow managed to become the media officer for LK too and am now managing the social networking output (twitter and facebook) to try to keep everyone informed of upcoming events.
Last Sunday was our first Black Belt club and a chance to stop fighting for a couple of hours and practice kata - Wanshu and Niseishi - both of which I really like - unfortunately I still need to pin down the pinans and crack Kushanku before learning Chinto and improving my Seishan if I want to grade for 2nd Dan at the end of the year.
All in all a very busy few weeks for me as lesson by lesson I unlearn Shotokan and become a Wadokai karateka. Watashi no kouun wo inotte kudasai.
Whilst I wouldn't say I ended 2010 on a downer, there was a definite low-ebb in my pre-christmas post about my achievements versus my karate self-image. If you leave the Martial Arts in the first couple of years after getting your black belt - you leave on a high. Returning after several years,or even decades can be a tough choice - and re-learning the basics, or facing up to the truth that you can't do that jodan ushiro-mawash any more can be hard.
But after a short break I've come back fighting - literally! On the 30th of this month the Hon Yoso Kai Tournament takes place, an invitational competition for Wadokai practicioners from around the country, and I'm competing. In kumite.
I'm not under any pretentions that I could medal or even necesarily survive the opening round,but it's given me a purpose and something to focus on. Each class is focussed on kumite now until the big day so I can "forget" kata and kihon for a few weeks and really try to improve in one area, competition sparring.
I think, just like Lewis and his belts, I need some milestones to help me along the path. I may be bruised and battered, but I'm having fun again!