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7-5-07 Leyn Burrows Karate

Worked out Thursday, and I’ve been procrastinating on writing the summary. Procrastinating because most of the class was about critiquing my kata, lots of bad form comments. But the lessons are in the comments, so here goes.

I think Leyn had a different theme before he started watching my forms. We began the workout with some stretches and modified warm up exercises, rolling our shoulders back for a number of counts and then forward for a number. We did a couple of secondaries and a couple of Sanchins. We moved over to the heavy bags (one upright and one torso with head). We kicked and kneed the upright and punched the torso.

Leyn then had me do kata, while he watched. I did all the kata from Kanshiwa to Sanseiryu. And from the first Kanshiwa I think Leyn changed his class theme. He immediately started talking about balance; think feet before hands. He gave me a couple exercises to help me think of my feet before thinking of my hands and the technique I was about to implement. One was being in a shower, feeling the water on my head, and not doing anything until I could feel the water on my feet.

This shifting or removing the focus from my hands to my feet is designed to keep me from moving while implementing a technique, whether it is a block, strike or kick. He did say it was acceptable to be moving while blocking, but that both should finish together.

It’s also designed to maintain my balance. Over the past weeks I can recall him saying get your legs under you more than once every ten minutes. As usual I made my defensive comments, probably out of Yondan rank pride, which holds no water when the Sensei is a Seventh Dan. So, my “I do kata fast” reason was quickly relinquished and replaced with the proper method: stop the flow, and set before you strike.

Another bad form comment came on Leyn’s critique of my Konchin kata. There were strikes performed while still in the process of stepping, but that was secondary to the leaning elbow strike moving right into the horse stance scoop techniques, which were dubbed bad form. As Leyn demonstrated, after the leaning elbow strike, you don’t scoop while still leaning. You straighten your spine and get you legs under you, as you come up into a horse stance. And, then you scoop and toss. It reminded me why Jonathan’s kata always looked so good.

Leyn didn’t leave the hands out altogether. After one of the Sanchins during the doubles, Leyn described how the hands need to be focused. He said the Spear Hands need to strike though, fingers remaining tight and focused through the target before the grab. He told me to picture the tiger paw as an example of the strength the hand and fingers should have.

Leyn began to be profound in his discussion on the need to be balanced. He started to use examples like the hand’s palm and knuckles as a picture of balance; one hand open doing wrist blocks and the other closed making fist striking gestures. He said everything should be in balance. If you’re strong, you need to develop your flexible side. Otherwise, when you’re one dimensional, the side that’s developed could drift into bad form.

There were a couple of other lessons, like the eight form, and the critique of my Sanseiryu, but I’ve beat myself up enough for your pleasure. We’ll address the eight form another time. It’s something Paul and Rick D. know, otherwise how would they know how to move so well while sparring. Ask them to share it with you. If they don’t, I’ll show it to you when I get back.

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