Kyokushin Class 1

Last night I went to Aikido of Scottsdale where I worked out with a local Kyokushin karate club that shares that dojo.  The Sensei is, I believe, a Nidan (2nd degree blackbelt) but I’m afraid I can’t remember his name, so I am sorry about that–I am very bad with names!  When we first met at the dojo I was saddened to hear that the last Shorin-Ryu practitioner that came to work with them had been very disrespectful, and so I hope that I was a better representative of the style (although I did not respond often with “osu” because I am not used to it, so I am sorry for that as well).  He and his student (whose name I also forgot but it begins with a “J”) that worked out with us were both nice and he seemed very knowledgeable.  Because he is from Hungary there was a bit of a language barrier, but after a little while of working with him I think you get a better feel for what he is saying.

The class itself was pretty intense.  The warm-ups consisted of running nearly a mile outside, then doing sprints back and forth in the parking lot, then doing stretching inside  After that we moved on to working kihon waza (basic techniques) out of low kiba-dachi (horse stance) which is something I haven’t done since I trained in Shuri-Ryu in Illinois (Shorin-Ryu does not have a low kiba-dachi), then working some more kihon and slightly more advanced waza out of sanchin-dachi (hourglass stance) which is much lower and wider in Kyokushin than I am used to from either Shuri-Ryu or Shorin-Ryu, and then we worked a variety of kicks up and down the mat, some of which I have never used before.  Overall it made me feel rather out of shape, but I think I would have done a lot better if it hadn’t been for the running–I am a horrible runner and always have been, even when I was in excellent shape.

We moved onto sparring after all of that, so I was pretty worn out already.  We (“J” and I) traded off sparring with Sensei and each other, and it was very obvious that the Sensei is very good and has tremendous conditioning–hitting him was about as effective as hitting a tree.  I found it very difficult to change my fighting style to the Kyokushin method of facing your opponent and keeping both hands up by your head.  In all of my sparring I am used to a side-facing stance and being very mobile, but in Kyokushin you get very close to each other and trade punches and kicks until someone can no longer continue.  I also found it difficult to simply accept strikes to the body and ended up blocking more of them than I probably should have been.  My other problem was that I kept wanting to punch them in the face and the Sensei was telling me to throw combinations, but all the combinations that I work include punches to the face so I was a bit thrown off.

The class was a very good learning experience, and I plan on going back every now and then, though I am not sure how often since it interrupts my normal training schedule to go there.  I took quite a few punches and kicks to the body and I am only a little sore from that, which I consider pretty good since we don’t do full contact sparring in Shorin-Ryu, and my legs are very sore but I suspect that is mostly from the running and working out of the low stances I am no longer used to.  The Sensei at Kyokushin Arizona is accommodating and knowledgeable, the classes are intense and educational, and I can assure you that if you go to train there you will be in much better shape than me in very little time!

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About Noah

I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I started training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu. I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Richard Poage. I have been training with him ever since, and currently hold the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him. In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014.

One thought on “Kyokushin Class

  • Evergrey

    Hi Noah!
    Interesting… We don’t really do anything from horse stance here. It’s mostly forward, open, or fighting stance. I often throw combinations that include blows to the head and face, I just pull short of making contact with those shots.

    Here, we are supposed to keep our guard up, but are certainly allowed to block shots to the body as well. You just have to learn to get your guard up high again very quickly. Also, there are a number of stances we use to fight. Sometimes it’s the side stance, extended arm in the front, sometimes it’s the more straightforward one, which people tend to use a bit more often in full contact. All of our kumite has some level of contact, however.

    Totally feel you on the “like hitting a tree” thing. Because man… there’s nothing that’s quite the same level of unsettling as punching someone as hard as you can, and them looking back at you, unflinching, and laughing in your face. Talk about unbalancing!

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