Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Wax on... wax off. Wax on... wax off.

Dash started taking karate lessons in July 2010 (over a year and a half ago) but I only put him in one class a week, was inconsistent about making it to all the classes, and then I took him out for the summer. Not the best way to learn something as complex and skill-building as karate, but necessary. With summer camp eating up most of our discretionary funds, it was a budget thing. When he went back to classes in September—twice a week this time!—most of his buddies from the previous class were already blue belts and he was still a white belt. Not a big deal, except occasionally when he saw that he had better form than the blue belts. Then it rubbed a bit.

HIZA GERI! (knee kick, to you and me)
Fast forward to this past week, when he told me that yes, absolutely beyond a doubt, he did want to take the promotion test for blue belt. I was dubious, because while he does have good form and can punch and kick with the best of the blue and white belt students in class (yellow belts, not even close yet, sorry), he has absolutely no recall for the Japanese terms that Sensei uses or the patterns in the kata. He watches the other students and faithfully does exactly what they are doing. I'm concerned that he won't be able to perform solo or be able to answer questions that are directed at him. He'll be required to announce the kata that he's performing, "tai kyoku sono ichi!" and to perform it solo without error, which he hasn't done yet. I decided that it was a good idea for him to go for the promotion, if for nothing else but to have the experience of taking the test under his belt (a hopefully blue belt, sometime soon enough). Sensei will let him try again and correct mistakes that he makes until he gets it right at a later time.

Dash has got the right feet and hands up, the blue belt doesn't.

He may have had a breakthrough today, though. I've been trying to figure out the best way to activate his memorization skills, and realizing that we are utterly failing with the flash-card method. The blocks, punches, turns, and steps in the kata have been confusing, and I floundered to give him something to visualize: "Imagine the shape you're following is like a capital I!" I told him. But the rest didn't make any sense.

Working on fighting stance (Dash has the right foot forward)

In the car ride on the way home from class today, I'd been really trying to figure out a way to break down the kata in a way that Dash could practice it in his head, anywhere. A pattern came to me and I got him to repeat it with me. There are 20 steps in the tai kyoku sono ichi and three stages with hands and feet working in unison.

The arm movements are:
1. block, punch, block, punch, block, punch, punch, punch (ki-yai!)
2. block, punch, block, punch, block, punch, punch, punch (ki-yai!)
3. block, punch, block, punch, block (end)

The leg movements are:
1. turn, step, turn, step, turn, step, step, step (ki-yai!)
2. turn, step, turn, step, turn, step, step, step (ki-yai!)
3. turn, step, turn, step (end)

See the pattern? So easy to repeat once you get into the rhythm of it. Dash got so good at the repetition that once we were home, I pretended like I was a puppet and had him call out the moves while I performed them! I'll get him to practice himself a few more times every day before Saturday as well as get one more class in before then, and here's hoping he does well on his test!

Hey do you all remember what else is going on for Saturday? Rosie's bowling party! I've also got a cake to bake, goody bags to pack, and balloons to obtain. Can I have a clone for Saturday? I will definitely need two of me, for sure.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Hmm. What can I take off your plate for Saturday? Balloons? Pack the goody bags while the kids bowl? How about make the cake three colors instead of six?


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