Friday, January 16, 2009

Forging Ahead

Well, this last few days has brought some serious progress. My brand-new Shueido sais showed up this afternoon, and I've been spending the time since doing things one-handed, while playing with one of them. They're really nice - a bit smaller through the tines than I was expecting, but a nice weight and balance.

Last night's karate class was small, likely due to the abysmally cold weather that we (and nearly everyone else) seem to be having. I got to get Tokumine no Kun vetted by Sensei to make sure I really had it down, and then we went on to the beginning of Sanchin. I hadn't quite registered how darn short Sanchin is! I'm about 1/3 of the way through in one fairly short session. Which means that unless there are unexpected complications with either this or Kusanku Sai (which I can't wait to try with the new sais), I'm pretty well on track to have all my required material down by the end of the month. The muscle clenchng is going to take some getting used to. I keep remembering to tighten one part and then noticing I've let something else fall loose. Oh well, that is why I wanted to get it down now - so that I have time to ingrain all this before I have to perform it with people beating on me.


Becky said...

Ah, sanchin. The bane of my existence. It really is a short kata, but it is so hard to get it right! One thing that helps me is to try to focus on bringing everything towards my belly button.

Michele said...

Shureido sai...awesome! I have a pair but they were damaged during a sai vs sai seminar session. I like the smaller tines because I find them easier to manage.

Regarding Sanchin...I have to agree with Becky. It is such a tough kata to do correctly.

Abi said...

I have heard a rumour that our Sanchin has recently been changed (they can do that, apparently). Given that it is one I haven't yet learned, and the change is supposed to be for the better, I am not very worried about this.

Now, I was wondering if you could give me a bit of advice (please). Last week our Kiaido Ryu class expanded massively, and included among these people were a 6 year-old girl and a 10 year-old boy. We have not had children before, and I wondered if you could give me any pointers about the sort of things I should remember when dealing with children? I have never done this before and am anxious not to damage them, but I am also keen to make sure that they get a good learning experience.

Kiaido Ryu is a mixed martial art. I think that it is mostly based on karate, but we appear to have acquired techniques from the majority of martial arts. There are elements of sparring and grappling, and we also use pressure point techniques. I realise that this is a bit off-topic, but I get the impression that you would be able to give good advice on the subject!

Perpetual Beginner said...

It seems like there are dozens of variations of practically every kata I can think of, so changes to Sanchin seem par for the course. It'll be interesting to see what they've changed.

As to working with kids - in some ways it's much like working with adults, in others very different. Physically, of course, you have to be conscious of scaling everything down to child-appropriate. I'd be very careful with joint-locks, children's joints are usually softer and more flexible, and when combined with the smaller size, it can be very easy to do unintended damage. Lessons sections generally need to be shorter, moving from one thing to another before boredom sets in. It's rare to find a child who can spend thirty minutes working on just one thing. When the kids want to be there and learning, they're a joy to work with, because new physical motion seems to come so easily to them - teaching a shoulder roll to a six-year-old is about ten times easier than teaching it to a forty-year-old - but most kids really haven't learned the trick of buckling down and concentrating even if they've had a cruddy day.

Basically, I'd say that with kids, even more than with adults, you have to be sensitive to the needs of the individual child, and present them with the things they're ready for in ways they can deal with.

Hope that helps!

Abi said...

That was very helpful, thanks! Yesterday's session was much better than the one we had last week in terms of child-friendly organisation, although I didn't have as much to do with them his time. It is embarrassing how little difference in co-ordination there is between the 6 year-old and me. I am taking her to one side and taking her through movements slowly when it all gets too much for me!