The Tournament is Upon Us.

It feels like forever since I mentioned we are going to have a Tournament with the collective Dojo’s, well the time has finally come for it to become reality.

On Saturday the 22 of September at the Gordon’s Bay Primary School- starts at 9am. Entrance is free for spectators. It will be a great experience for all as we have a variety of events that should stimulate everyone’s preference.

If you want to come,please feel free to support us.

Within the Dojo training has really picked up with Kumite techniques and stamina building. Two rounds of Two minutes can really test you if you are not used to it. Griffin and myself will be competing in the Kumite events and we are going to do a Sword demonstration that he devised for us. It is going to be epic, just hope I don’t get knocked out in the first round- :)

Karate has really been great over this last two months, sparring brings another element to it that you don’t get in the Kata’s or predetermined actions. You start to get a feel for what your capabilities are, actual striking speed, your ability to block multiple strike with counter striking and multiple strikes as well as combinations- predictability is not a good thing in Kumite, your footwork needs to be done correctly to give you an advantage in the Zero zone( giving you the advantage of striking first while limiting your opponents striking ability and reach.) You start to feel what a punch can do to you, what your tolerance for taking a punch is and of course you start to learn the importance of a solid,strong stance- being light on your feet and being quick.
You always hear that you must train your speed,power and precision- these will make you good in Martial Arts.

Looking forward to writing a post after the Tournament with regard to my experience of it and of course how it went. Have a great day, keep training.

TKM

Back with a Bang

It feels like months since I have posted on my blog, with the karate being on a break for a month and a bit with our Sensei being overseas- feels like I need to find my feet in the Dojo and technology wise :)

We have been back for a while, mainly going over the grading forms, our next kata, and our kumite techniques. Some excellent news is on the 22 September 2012 our Dojo is having a competition day. We will have the following categories,
single kata’s , unison kata’s , musical kata’s , kumite(competition fighting) and weapons kata’s.

I am sure it is going to be awesome, I actually can’t wait to participate in my first kumite – they say its the closest we will get to an actually fight, but in a controlled environment. Griffin is also excited about it, he really wants to participate in the kumite and the unison kata’s – we get 20 minutes in class to go over what we want to compete in. So far all looking good, we have about a month to get to where we want to be.

Have a great week, should be updating more often now that I am back in the swing of things.

it all starts at the beginning

it all starts at the beginning

Two Weeks Later

Just a review of the last Two weeks in the Dojo:

It seems as if my confidence was super charged with my successful grading of the 8th Kyu, in the Dojo I am more confident of my abilities and seem to be learning at a faster pace.

We have gone over two new grading forms and two new kata’s which previously took us up to four months to learn, took us as few hours. Now while we have not mastered it, I am confident to say we know most of it. It is amazing what a different colour belt can do to a student.

I am excited for what the future classes hold, my fitness level is better, my stamina has improved and I am toning up, while boosting my self confidence. If you want to experience some of this please look at joining some form of Martial Arts. You will be glad you did.

While I am writing this post I am watching Under siege 2- with one of the greatest Aikido practitioners Steven Seagal. I will write a separate post in relation to him, but after watching him in action, you always wanted to try his smooth moves :)

Have a super karate week ahead,

The Karate Marra

Grading for the 8th Kyu

Today was my first grading with Funakoshi International Karate, we gathered at the Mondeo Primary School in Gordon’s Bay at 9am. We first lined up, were told of the process, then we begun.

We were called up one by one, asked to do our grading forms,kata’s and kihon( basics) in front of the Sensei’s.

Griffin was called up before me and did very well, when asked if he wanted to do basic Kumite he jumped at the opportunity, he enjoys that part very much.

When my name was called, time stopped, I went up- heart pumping a 100 times a minute,stage fright kicking in- tense and hardly breathing. By the time it came to basic kumite I was tired from holding my breathe :), but managed to complete everything.

When we finished we did sit-ups while our performances were rated and our certificates were compiled, quite a bit of sit-ups :)

Feedback from the panel was very good, the standards we are setting as white belts grading, was superb. Well done my fellow karateka.

All in all a super experience to be had, now that I have completed the first part of the journey, I look forward to the next chapter – the kumite tournament at the end of the month.

Have great week, remember- keep training.

TKM

Almost yellow belt

Another week has passed, feels like I have been preparing for the grading non stop, and I still feel nervous. We had a mock grading during this week, what a rush, felt like I had stage fright. I am confident I will do what I need to do well. The good news is that Sensei said it looked fine – we are doing what we were taught, and how amazing it is to see how far we have progressed from the time we started to the level we are at now. From being shown the basics to implementing them in a sequence.

Sensei said something very interesting, a black belt is just a white belt that did not stop training.

Well, since exams are finished for now, keep a look out for more post from the me. Just an update as well, grading is on the 9th – not the 8th as per my previous post.

Also with the Kumite at the end of June 2012 I am sure once we grade we will start more with fighting techniques, strikes and counters. Can’t wait for the Kumite as well, reminds me of Bloodsport- Kumite, kumite.

Have a great day, remember- keep training

Regards
TKM

Another week closer to Grading

Another great week at the dojo, a lot of emphasis on our grading as I am having my first grading on the 8 June, we are practising our Kata’s in different angles, sideways,in different scenarios. Just finishing my exams so post are a bit limited, next month will be different.

Yesterday we were practising with an egg in our hand and had to punch through a piece of wood without breaking the egg- not as easy as it sounds as eggs do break lol.
Then we practised punching out a candle light- much respect to Sensei – not as easy as it looks – a lot of speed and technique involved.

After the grading I will have my first Kumite (Tournament) within our collective Dojo’s and Sensei is showing us different attacks, counters and blocks. Based on all the techniques she is showing us now I hope I remember to hit the opponent hahaha – strikes to the stomach and chest is 1 point, to the side of the head is 2 and if you turn your opponent around and strike his back 3 points. Looking forward to put into practise what we have been learning in theory. You must be fast, like catching a fly out of the air- speed, power and accuracy required to score and win.

Will post more in the coming weeks, remember, keep training, let your reactions become instinctive. Action with no thought ( don’t know who said that but I understand)

Regards
TKM

More Advanced techniques been done

It has been a while but with the grading and kumite coming up – there has not been a lot of free time for me.

The past few weeks has really been great at the Dojo, as time is progressing so are our skills as students. Basic moves that were learnt are now laying the foundation for more advanced techniques, combining moves to develop strategies for single and multiple attacks and blocks.

As the techniques improve so does our bodies adapt to the physical movements requires to do them, a great example is the side thrust kick, when I started it was hard to execute, today it seemed like I have been doing it for months-lol I have and it felt natural to do.

What is a huge advantage in Karate is that you are always learning, be it from the Sensei, or other students or how the principles of Karate fit into your life. Don’t ever be to proud to think you have nothing new to learn, that is the mind set of an ignorant person.

I would advise if you want to try something new, find a place that offers Karate, do a few lessons and see if it is for you. I have and I am really enjoying my time learning the Art of Karate.

Regards
TKM

Back after the school holidays

This week was the first week I went back to Karate after the school holidays due to other commitments, I am super excited to say it was awesome being back. We were going over stances, kumite attacks ,blocks and counter attacks. There so much for me to learn still, I am just glad I have the opportunity to experience Karate first hand, and not being a spectator watching a cool karate movie:). What was even more of a surprise to me was the amount of knowledge I have retained while not being at the Dojo for about a month, previously if I missed 1 class I would feel like I was a newbie the next time I went. This week I was full swing in the activities, my body must be remembering the moves,stances and words. Feels great to know I have progressed from when I started, but like all great things in life- they take effort from your side to accomplish them.

Have a great day, keep training and remember, you can do it if you put your mind to it.

TKM

A true Icon of Martial Arts- Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

The founder of Jeet Kune Do

The founder of Jeet Kune Do

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was born Jun Fan Lee- he used the name Bruce when went to America. He was born on the 27 November 1940. He died at the age of 32, yet he accomplished many things in those 32 years.

He is most remembered for his contribution to modernizing Martial Arts in the West. In those days few Americans knew about it. He played a significant role in creating the awareness of Martial Arts to the West.

In 1959 after studying Gung Fu ( Cantonese Spelling for Kung Fu) he came to America, where he studied at the University of Washington. To make money, he taught his American classmates the art of Gung Fu. While teaching students he me Linda Emery- who would later become his wife in 1964. During this time he was approached by a council of Chinese Kung Fu practitioners- he was not allowed to teach foreign (not Chinese) students Kung Fu. A fight was arranged – if he lost he would stop teaching Kung Fu to the foreigners. Bruce Lee defeated his opponent in 3 minutes, but Bruce was disappointed that he could not do it sooner and with less effort. This was the starting point of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do ( The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

In 1965 Brandon Lee was born and in 1967 Shannon Lee was born, during the period of 1966 – 1967 Bruce starred as Kato the sidekick in the his series The Green Hornet.
When his father passed away in 1971, Bruce went to Hong Kong, his popularity was great here and Golden Harvest offered him a 2 year contract, in 1971the movie Fist of Fury was made- breaking all records for Chinese movies, in 1972 the movie The Chinese Connection aka The Big Boss was released, once again breaking his previous records. At the end of 1972 Bruce was a major star in Asia,

He then joined with an American production company and Directed and starred in Way of the Dragon, then he made Enter the Dragon. One month before the release of the movie Bruce took a prescribed painkiller, he had a severe side effect went into a coma and passed away on the 20 July 1973. Enter the Dragon was a huge success, grossing $200 million.

Bruce Lee left behind a legacy that is still practiced today,Jeet Kune Do -basically it has very simplistic moves, exploit openings in opponent, simultaneous blocking and attacking.

Here is a link if you wish to know more

Who didn’t want to go learn Kung Fu or Karate after they watched a Bruce Lee movie. I remember wanting to be just like him, I think he had a positive influence on Martial Arts as we know it today.

Thanks Bruce Lee

Have a great Martial Arts day.

The Karate Marra

Information gathered from The Bruce Lee foundation ( Linda Lee’s website) and wikipedia.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet

Basic Tips 101

When you are involved in a situation outside of your usual every day life you could very well freeze, unable to respond to the situation. I am hoping that through my tips to you, you can hopefully analyze a situation and respond appropriately. The following are just a few tips that everybody should know.

Firstly situational awareness is very important. Don’t go into places you know could lead to bad things happening. Don’t walk in an alley alone late at night, don’t go alone to unfamiliar places at night- try to go in the day. Don’t invite strangers into your house when you are alone. Don’t go to places that are notorious for crime. I know this sounds like common sense but a lot of people still end up in dangerous situations that could easily have been avoided.

If you are attacked the first thing you need to do is stop the attack on you. Over time we will cover scenario’s that you can implement. A good example is – if someone grabs you from behind and tries to force you to a car, you need to stop that attack. Your biggest advantage is that the attacker will not expect you fight back.

Once the attack is stopped, you need to incapacitate your attacker, this can be done in a variety of ways- this will be covered in more details as we progress along. Remember, eyes, ears, throat, side of neck, crotch and knees are classic weak points on the body. Crotch not so much for females but the rest should apply :)

Lastly, escape once your attacker is down. Don’t try to fight with them, the initial surprise that you had could be lost once the attacker recovers. Get to a place with other people or a place of safety.

Looking forward to our next session. Enjoy you day.

The Karate Marra

A bit about Karate

This post is about the origins of Karate and a bit on the Styles of karate. I don’t know everything so I got some help from the web :)

Too me it is primarily about learning different responses to different situations in the real world. So if a guy punches you, you have a few options and through the training you will choose what best fits the situation.

Karate is primarily a stand up or striking martial art that emerged on the island of Okinawa as a blend of native Okinawan fighting styles and Chinese fighting styles. The term karateka refers to a karate practitioner.

The History of Karate

In early times, natives to the Ryukyu Islands developed a fighting system that was simply referred to as ‘te’. The largest island in the Ryukyu chain is Okinawa Island, which is generally considered the birthplace of karate.

In 1372, trade relationships were established between the Ryukyu Islands and the Fujian Province of China, and this eventually spurred several Chinese families to move to Okinawa. These Chinese families began to share Chinese Kenpo with the native Okinawans they came in contact with, which was a blend of Chinese and Indian fighting styles. Through this, traditional Okinawan fighting techniques began to change, even if many families simply developed their own styles of martial arts in isolation. Still, there were three general styles that emerged and were named after the areas they developed-Shuri- te, Naha- te, and Tomari- te. The differences between the three styles were small and more about emphasis than anything else, as the cities of Shuri, Tomari, and Naha were all very close to one another.

The fact that weapons were banned in Okinawa in the 1400’s by the invading Shimazu clan (Japanese clan) was a factor that spurred on the development of not only martial arts and karate in Okinawa, but also the use of inconspicuous farm tools as weapons.

As relations with China strengthened, the blend of the more traditional Okinawan fighting styles with those of Chinese Kenpo and the empty handed Chinese styles of Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Gangrou-quan, became more obvious. In addition, Southeast Asia influences were also brought into the fold, though perhaps to a lesser extent.

Sakukawa Kanga (1782-1838) was one of the first Okinawans to study in China. In 1806, he began teaching a martial art he called “Tudi Sakukawa,” which translates to “Sakukawa of China Hand.” One of Kanga’s students, Matsumura Sokon (1809-1899), then taught a blend of te and Shaolin styles, which would later become known as Shorin-ryu. However, it is a student of Sokon’s by the name of Itosu Anko (1831-1915) that is often called “the Grandfather of Karate.” Itosu is known for creating simplified kata or forms for less advanced students and helped karate gain more mainstream acceptance. Along with this, he brought karate instruction to Okinawa’s schools and the forms he developed are still used to a great extent today.

Characteristics of Karate

Karate is primarily a striking art that teaches practitioners to utilize punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and open hand strikes to disable opponents. Beyond this, karate teaches practitioners to block strikes and breath properly.

Most styles of karate also extend into throws and joint locks, with the extent of this dependent upon the style. Weapons are utilized in most styles as well. Interestingly, these weapons are often farm tools, as the use of them originated during a time when weapons were banned in Okinawa by invaders. By using farm tools, Okinawans did not bring attention to the fact that they were practicing to defend themselves.

Basic Goals of Karate

The basic goal of karate is self-defense. It teaches practitioners to block the strikes of opponents and then disable them quickly with pinpoint strikes. When takedowns are employed within the art, these tend to be used to set up finishing strikes.

Karate Substyles

Budokan

Goju-ryu

Kenpo

Kyokushin

Shito-ryu

Shorin-ryu

Shotokan

Uechi-ryu

Wado-ryu

Though karate is clearly the most popular of the Japanese martial arts styles, it is not the only important Japanese martial art. See below for more of the styles that make up the arts in Japan.

Aikido

Iaido

Judo

Jujutsu

Five Famous People in Karate Not Already Mentioned

Gichin Funokashi: Funokashi headed the first public demonstration of karate in Japan in 1917. This led to Dr. Jigoro Kano inviting him to teach at the famous Kodokan Dojo there. Kano was the founder of judo; hence, his invite allowed karate to gain Japanese acceptance.

Joe Lewis: A karate tournament fighter that was voted the greatest karate fighter of all-time by Karate Illustrated in 1983. He was both a karateka and kickboxer.

Chojun Miyagi: A famous early karate practitioner that named the Goju-ryu style.

Chuck Norris: A famous karate tournament fighter and Hollywood star. Norris is well-known for appearances in several movies and the television show Walker, Texas Ranger.

Masutatsu Oyama: The founder of Kyokushin karate, a full contact style.

Information gathered from Aboutcom website – if you need more information regarding the History Of Karate please visit

http://martialarts.about.com/od/styles/a/karate.htm

 

Regards

The Karate Marra

Our second tournament

We had our annual Funakoshi International Karate tournament on the 1st June  2013 at the Molteno farm in Grabouw.

The day was a bit too cold for my liking but a great time was had by all. We started off with a demonstration from the senior students _great to see a well coordinated demonstration in martial arts.

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Griffin and myself started our day with a weapons demonstration (nunchaka’s ) we did exceptional as the nunchakas is a very advanced weapon

After we did our demonstration it was time for the unison Katas -this is when 2 or more people have to do a kata as one, it becomes more difficult the more people that are involved.

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Then we had the junior girls kata.

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Then it was the boys junior Kata

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Then it was the senior Kata

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I got a gold medal for this event and silver in the kumite.

Then it was time for the kumite

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Gold medal for Griffin

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Griffin and his friends

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Heinrich

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Ally also won a prize at the tournament

A super cool day at the Karate

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Remember to keep training, anything worthwhile takes time and effort

Regards

TKM

The day of the our second Grading

IMG-20121201-00426IMG-20121201-00411IMG-20121201-00423The Karateka's  The Karateka’s [/caption]

This day has arrived super quick, the final grading for the year. It feels like just yesterday we participated in our last grading. I am glad to say that all the participants did an excellent job, and we have all successfully advanced in our Martial Arts training.

 

I was calm until about 5 minutes before we started, then the nerves started :)  At least this time I think I performed much better than the previous grading, we had to be there at 9am for Griffin’s grading, he did very well, so proud of my little boy, he seemed so calm – I wonder what’s his secret :)

 

My grading started at 10:30 – I was called up first- nerves stretched, heart racing, muscles tensed and hardly breathing – I completed the requirements for the 7th kyu. When it was done I thought I had been competing for 10 minutes, while I think it was only 3 – 4 minutes. All in all a great feeling to know you are being recognised for work you have done, all the hours you have put in is for something. A great sense of achievement being felt.

 

A huge thank you to all the judges and Sensei Smit, as always it was a great grading for me as a participant. Your training has paid off, I can see a huge improvement from when I started as a white belt to now. I can’t wait to start learning the next kyu’s kata and grading forms, not to mention more advanced sequences. Whoooaah

 

On Wednesday we will be getting some training on Krag Magrav ( hope I am spelling it right) guest visitor at the Dojo, looking forward to that- we are having our final training session on Saturday the 8th- waiting to see what 2013 holds for me in my martial arts developments.

Thanks to Sensei Smit for the hard work she puts in our training, always shaking it up so that we learn and have fun at the same time.

 

Keep training,

TKM

William and Griifin with their certificates

William and Griifin with their certificates

The Training is Bring Back Memories

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Yesterday we had another awesome training session, I know I keep saying they are awesome but I can honestly say the training is great. We are getting ready for our upcoming grading and we are still learning new techniques.

Training the body is starting to become easier after the injury, stamina is starting to build up again, all things are going good so far.

Yesterday Sensei mentioned that the fact that we show up for karate is a part of our grading, when we show up we show that we are comitted to attaining our next belt and we are adhering to our values as karateka.  

Yesterday we started learning about the foot sweep concept. This is a fairly easy concept, yet to implement it takes precision and timing. we were learning combinations and how to utilise the technique in a kumite- given that we are still relativly new to it , I think we are starting to get the hang of it. This started me thinking a classic movie where a famous quote still stays with me today

 ” Sweep the leg”

from the movie that I think inspired me to want to learn martial arts from a young age in my life, still love the way that the story unfolds.

A classic to remember always.

       

Keep Training,

Regards

TKM

 

 

 

 

Training hard for the 7th Kyu

 

 

 

We have been back at the Dojo for a few weeks now, just couldn’t upload due to internet problems. Designed the above header in the interim.
The injury lasted just over a month, thank goodness it was just a bad sprain and not broken, training hard to get fit again. I have put on a few pounds from the lack of excersice.

It is so weird how your toe can affect your balance, your speed and power, bottom line – dont get injured :)

We have been going over our kata’s and grading forms, building upon the last grading forms, adding more complex moves and sequences until we get to the next level of our matial arts training. The sequence of moves that we are compiling is become more complex, but after a period of time I am sure they will start  to feel like second nature. We are putting 6-8 sequences together, when we started we were doing 1-3, so we have definitely improved on that front.

We had a session of “sticky hands” this is where you start to develop skills to feel you opponent his movements, to anticipate his movement, misdirect him through your own movments. We are still on a very basic level with this, but I can see how this is going to be a super exciting part of our Martial Arts training.
On the 1st December we will be grading for the Dojo, Griffin will be grading for his 8th Kyu( yellow Belt) and I will be grading for my 7th Kyu( Orange Bet). I am priviliged to have made it this far, and hope that I can continue further, since the time I have started till now, I can see a major difference in what I have learnt.

Till next time, keep training.

 

Regards

TKM

 

The Day of the Tournament

Looks like the olympics in the Marra house

Looks like the olympics in the Marra house

The Day of the much anticipated Tournament has finally arrived, I couldn’t sleep last because of excitement- Our first Kumite.

We got to Gordons Bay Primary early this morning, allowing us time to go over our sword demonstration a few times before the official proceedings began.

We started with a breakdown of how the day will go, then we had demonstrations from the senior black belts with combinations of punches, kicks and blocks. Followed by some very good kata’s and excellent weapon kata’s. All in all a superb demonstration, once they were done they became our judges for the day.

After an excellent opening, the day went on to unison kata’s – this was a difficult event as all the participants were great, but in the end there is a winner to be chosen.

Then came the weapons kata’s this was a non- judged event within the tournament- Griffin and myself took part in this with swords, I am sure everyone enjoyed our demonstration, from the catcalls and cheers we got when we were done.

Our next event was where I won my first Gold Medal, for individual senior kata’s but for under the brown belt section. The feeling of excitement with a combination of nerves and adrenaline leaves you with a euphoric feeling when you are declared the winner. I can see myself doing this again.

Then Griffin took part in his division, junior. He came second and was awarded a silver medal, so proud of my Champion Karate son.

Then he went on to do kumite, after a super tough final he came second- once again to claim a silver medal. Well done, pictures are in this post.

Then came my final, my nerves are racing, all the training I have done for the past months is culminating to a peak – my adrenaline is pumping, I want to win, time slows down and speeds up at once, I don’t know how to explain it – but I will do it anytime again. Through the fight I lost my balance and was knocked backwards – I rolled through it easily – afterwards I asked Gail, was that cool- she said it must have felt cool but it didn’t look so cool hahahha. Also it looked as if my opponent hit me so hard I rolled backwards :)

I got Gold in my division for kumite, so Two Golds for me and Two Silvers for Griffin.

Looks like the Olympics at the Marra’s residence :)

In the excitement afterwards I knocked my toe somewhere and I think I broke it. Hopefully it is only sprained. What a bittersweet day, I am looking forward to the next Tournament.

Keep training, I hope you enjoyed the post.
TKM

Griffin and me with our swords

Griffin and me with our swords

A Taste of Weapons Training

Sempai Wickus
Sempai Wickus

The days really seem to be flying, a few days and then the 1st of September will be upon us.

I missed a lesson in the week due to feeling slightly sick, think the change of season is coming soon, feels warmer when I practise and lighter when I leave the Dojo.

At the last lesson we practised for what we want to do at the competition on the 22 September, myself and Gideon were practising for Kumite, if it was a real competition he would have won all the time :). Really a lot of technical details in terms of striking, blocking and position that you have to take into account. This week we started with our weapons Kata’s, as you can see Griffin wanted to do a Katana Kata, looks good so far – all he can do is practice and get better.

I opted for the more unconventional nunchaka’s, it is heavy, hard and not as easy to control as you think. My back is nice and sore today, lol, but with practice I will be doing the nunchaka’s kata’s with the kumite at the competition, maybe a unison kata with Griffin, will see if he wants too. Really feels different to utilise a weapon, looking forward to further training in the future.

Have a great weekend, keep training and improving your skills.