First Sunday Morning Keiko
(Originally Posted on January 16, 2016 by Chouwa Karate – a nickname for Paul sensei)
Official Site of Rick Hotton sensei – Sunday Morning Keiko
I came to Sarasota, Florida not so much for sun, sand and fun, as I did for high level karate instruction from a fantastic instructor. A good thing too as it has been raining and cold since I arrived here. Cold for Floridians, not so bad for me as I’m use to far colder temperatures and rain is refreshing and cleansing. Snow is just white cold and I think I’m allergic to it. Everything is so green here, I figure it must rain all the time. I’ve been assured by higher powers this is not the case, we will see.
Arrived at Sarasota airport late New Years day meaning January 1st, around 8:30 PM after a short and relatively uneventful flight. The flight was slightly delayed due to maintenance issues, I wonder what that means. We went through some rough turbulence and the plane maintained its integrity. We landed smoothly to sporadic applause, smoother than taking off, as we seemed to be sliding all over the snowmelt runway.
I enjoyed the flight, it was short, taking only two and three quarters of an hour. My wife and I were met at the airport by our landlord who had graciously volunteered to pick us up and transport us back to our cottage. How great is that, I thought that was a European thing, it turns out it’s just a home sharing kind of goodwill gesture.
The cottage is magnificent, looking just like the photos on the Flipkey rental site where we searched for Sarasota deals. One of the so called “painted ladies” of the community.
Taking the “Painted Ladies” name from seven stately and colourful Victorian hillside homes in San Francisco, a group of homeowners in the downtown Gillespie Park area of Sarasota are giving the neighbourhood of vintage cottages a signature look by painting their homes in vivid tropical colours.
These traffic-stopping “Painted Ladies” are generally grouped on Sixth and Seventh streets, but the trend is spreading. You see colourful houses from 10th Street to Fruitville Road and from Orange Avenue to North Washington Boulevard.
A Painted Lady of Sarasota
I made contact with Hotton sensei and arranged to get to the dojo for the Sunday morning training. The groups first training session of 2016, Sunday January 3rd. A small group of dedicated karate-ka were waiting at the back of the dojo when sensei & I showed up.
Sensei had picked me up at the cottage and drove over to the dojo. Introductions were made to the group and we were ushered into the dojo. The dojo is a good size, it has windows at the front and a roll up garage door at the back. Huge industrial fans are placed strategically at both ends of the dojo, these are apparently very noisy and may only be for emergency use on those 100 + degree days that occur regularly in the summer months.
It was a moderate 74F this morning, pleasant for training with the rollup door up. Sensei led the class through a light warm up and then got down to business with some traditional karate . I took some notes and below I present them for your interest.
Hotton sensei in the centre of the group.
Moving into zenkutsu dachi keeping the front foot flat & in the correct position – thinking of pulling the body into the front foot & pushing out with the same foot.
Adding gyaku tsuki while moving forward, open the hip, close the hip not just turning on the spine but getting the feel of compression and expansion.
Partner up and same thing with jab and reverse punch as above.
Combination of jun tsuki, gyaku tsuki and mae geri.
Work on our mae geri (front kick) across the floor – smooth and fluid with softness, not tension. Combination of front kick and roundhouse kick.
Add another kick to the combo – front kick, roundhouse kick, back kick. For the back kick bring both feet together and kick out, kicking with the heel. Try to avoid falling off the line. Keep your centre line – don’t over rotate. These were the comments that Rick sensei would make through the course of our training time together.
Commenting such as – make it fluid, not static. For kumite purposes kick from the floor up rather than the traditional or basic bringing the knee up in front and mule kicking back. (There is more chance of having this blocked as it is telegraphed, the other way seems to be coming more from a blind angle.)
Partner work – back kick – both sides on all partner work – on target and control, adding speed and fluidity.
Age uke, hi – block practice from yoi, focus on the pulling hand – hikite, focus on the centre as you come up and utilize your body rather than just shoulder, keep elbows in, think compression, expansion.
Age tsuki, change the age uke to a punch – similar to Empi rising punch. Application to block your opponents punch with a modified high block that turns into a high punch. Practice to bring elbows in and compress to the centre and expand outward on the rising punch with proper alignment or path for the hikite – pulling hand.
Partner work on application – with partner more as a makiwara or punching bag. Partner holding arm in place as high punch to your head while you execute the hi block/punch in one motion. The block becomes a punch.
Soto uchi, outside block while stepping forward into zenkutsi dachi. Practice with your partner, uke holds arm out and torre steps in and strikes the arm with soto uchi, outside and inside.
Wrist grab where opponent applies pressure to keep you in place or to stop you from moving. Tori is in a fighting stance, make the connection with the uke by pulling him in by keeping elbow in to body and move your hip back to hamni, or half front facing position, push your hip back to shomen or forward while making a small circular motion. This is an Aki style of movement – by absorbing and desorbing or redirecting the energy of the opponent.
This should be and likely is a simple in and out type of movement but was a difficult concept to grasp and make effective. More practice required.
Fortunately I will have more wonderful opportunities to train with Hotton sensei. Looking forward to a seminar with sensei in Perry, Florida next weekend. Yea!
Perry Florida Seminar
Hotton sensei at his Perry Seminar, Group Photo