Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saturday Mornings

40 years ago Saturdays were a very important part of my training.

My wife was coaching a girl’s swim team for the YMCA and I was alone most days. Of course there were the occasional tournaments but the rest of the time I was mostly alone.


I would start the day traveling to Wilkes-Barre, Pa and have breakfast at Denny’s with Ernie Rothrock and some of his students and great conversations.


Then we would separate, Ernie to his school and morning classes. Me to travel to train with Carl Long (at that time he was teaching a Shorin system in the Shimabuku Ezio lineage). I would go there to train and sweat. And along the way I learned a bit about his system.


I remember learning to deliver front kicks from seiza position. Most challenging.


I also learned to think outside of the box a bit.


Of course our systems had much in common as well as different.


One drill in particular stuck with me. Naifanchi Shodan with turns. Placed a different complexion to the kata.


You begin doing Naifanchi Kata (Your version), about 1/3 way through the form (after the low block then step across section) You pivot on the balls of your feet when you step out with the right foot. Emding up 180 degrees facing the opposite direction. Then you continue the kata facing the rear direction.. Repeat the step 2/3 the way through the form and then pivot to the front. Then complete the form as normal.


The key is to work the turns till they are smooth and do not interfere with the kata.


This adds a new dimension to what Naifanchi can be used for.


I would work with Carl doing drills, kata and kobudo for about 2 hours in the morning. Then I would travel to Ernie’s school and as the morning classes were concluded  we would spend the afternoon running forms from Kung Fu and Tai Chi till about 3 pm. My classes would be during the week on Tuesdays. Saturdays would be for practice and questions on Chinese systems of training.


This lasted for about 3 or 4 years.

Then I would travel home. Tired but also invigorated wondering what  I would work on Sunday

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