February 2014

Could it be? Has the first month of 2014 already slipped by? With a continuing heatwave, we are waiting for some students to resume their training routines this year. A number of changes are in the works!

We have implemented a new student management system. Rather than the manual sign in book and a plethora of excel spread-sheets, we now have a computerised sign in system. I have been taking photographs and will issue student membership cards with your unique student number soon. This will help improve communications and record-keeping.
We will be trialling a new class structure – please see details below.

I have started recording the syllabus for self-study outside of class. The yellow belt syllabus has been recorded. Next I will record the kid’s five Heian kata. It may take a little while before these are available to students, but they are in the works. Please be patient with me!

I know that many students who were unable to attend the Dec 2 grading are keen for a make up test. We have a new addition joining our family within weeks, and I will try to select a time and date for this test in the near future, but may need to wait until after the birth…

Thank you to Umehara san for hosting our annual kakizome session on Saturday 11 January. I have selected the following character, which in its simplest form can be translated as progress. If you have three ceramic cups of warm sake, spin around three times, squint your eyes, and tilt your head to the left, you may be able to view this character as a man dragging a heavy load forward. I have deliberately chosen the base form of this kanji to include multiple meanings: personal progression, assisting my students and family in their development and continuing to carry the dojo forward.

shin / susumu / susumeru

New class structure 時刻表
While almost everyone – well adults, at least – articulates their reason for commencing as one or more of self-defence, health/fitness, competition, or self-improvement through the auspices of martial culture, we maintain or lose or motivation for different reasons. Age, gender, occupation, physicality, psychology, background, health etc all play a part in our enjoyment and the perceived relevance of training. At Sobukan, we have quite defined groups of students who enjoy particular elements of our training more than others. Some enjoy high intensity, highly competitive training, some enjoy exploring ancient fighting methods from kata and associated practices. A rare few are equally interested in all aspects.

Managing the different expectations is a delicate balance, as some everyone wants something different. Until now, my intention has been to focus less on what students want, and more on what they need. However, the diversity of our student base requires a change in approach. From this week, we will trial specialised classes for adults, so that students can take more responsibility for their own learning. The classes will be shorter, but more of them to fit busy schedules.

This week I will trial a new class structure for the adult’s classes. After a trial period, I will meet with some senior students to discuss the merits of each structure and make a decision on the future of the classes. Currently, here is what I have in mind. An explanation of each class follows.

6pm – 6:50pm: Kids class
7pm – 7:50pm: Kata class (adults)
8pm – 8:50pm: Kumite class (adults)

6pm – 6:50pm: Kids class
7pm – 7:50pm: Kata class (adults)
8pm – 8:50pm: Jujutsu class (adults)

Friday? – to be confirmed, plan to commence by mid-2014.
6pm – 7pm: Kumite class (adults)

10am – 11:30am: Jujutsu class (adults)
12:40pm – 1:30pm: Karate-bu (Japanese school students)

Class explanation
Kids: Combination of karate and judo technique and etiquette with a self-defence emphasis, taught in a fun, safe manner. Ages 5 – 14. Parents may join in with prior arrangement.

Kata: Sobukan syllabus class, with a focus on drills from Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu, karate, judo and training exercises unique to Sobukan. Skills will include striking, throwing, grappling, submissions, chokes, arresting, weaponry and defences of the same. These classes will be technical and relaxed, with medium intensity. This is where you learn the ‘art’ in martial art. Participation in these classes will be required for belt promotion. Ages 12 and above.

Kumite: Physically challenging sparring class, with a focus on developing and implementing skills learned against progressive resistance. Classes will focus on combinations, counters and conditioning, and training methods will include shadow sparring, bag and pad work, and various forms of contact sparring including boxing, kickboxing, shoot-fighting, kudo, grappling, slap-grappling, and MMA sparring. Ages 18 and above.

Jujutsu: These classes will focus on arresting and wrist locks techniques from Hakkoryu Jujutsu, Judo throws, chokes and joint locks and grappling from BJJ. Ages 15 and above.

Karate-bu: Similar to kids classes, but training is held at the Japanese Community School and participation is limited to students of the same. Instruction in Japanese only. Ages 5 – 16.

Sobukan goods 総武館グーズ
You can now purchase Sobukan merchandise! Surely never was there apparel so trendy!
Approximate prices follow. I know there is a way of ordering directly, but for the time being, please email me any orders to save on delivery costs.
Men’s hoodies (women’s available soon) – $80
Kids hoodies $50
Performance T-shirts (quick dry for training) $55
Women’s tracksuits $90
1lt drink bottle $30

jumper_hoodie kids_custom_hoodie performance_dry_tshirt stainless_water_bottle_10l womens_custom_tracksuit

Kotowaza 諺
精神統一 Seishintoitsu
Seishintoitsu is a romanticised concept often found in Eastern martial art movie, but one that has inspired many a student. It is a spiritual goal of many advanced martial artists or religious folk: the ability to focus all energies on a single goal. It is the joining of spirit and body. The samurai required this devotion to their duties in order to make the sacrifices required to serve their lords and bring honour to their families.

Technical lesson 技の紹介
前蹴り Maegeri – front kick
One of the simplest, most versatile and most effective kicks is the humble maegeri, or front kick. This is usually the first kick a new student will learn when entering the dojo. While there are many variations, let us look at the basic maegeri. The basic premise is to kick an attacker directly in front of you, so there is no need to spin, jump, twirl or somersault. Therefore it is a relatively safe kick to use, and you can use it to stop an advancing attack, push away an attacker, counter punches, wind or double over an opponent or even to finish a conflict.

The four steps of the kick are repeated in any straight kick. Failure to execute any of these steps can lead to the kicker injuring themselves or being exposed to counter attack. They are:
1. Up: raise the knee until it is just above pointing straight at the target
2. Out: kick the foot out and make contact with the target (more on this later)
3. Back: bring the foot back, maintaining balance
4. Down: place the foot back on the floor in a controlled manner.

The part of the foot used to kick depends on the target. See the table below for details:
Target                                  Weapon
Foot/ankle/knee               Heel, with toes angled outward
Groin                                   Instep/ankle/shin, with toes pointed down
Body/throat/face              Ball of foot – foot outstretched, toes bent up and back


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