December news

DSC_05512015 has been a great year, and I thank you all for your support. I haven’t yet had a chance to ask Umehara san, but in previous years he has hosted kakizome for us at the beginning of each year. Kakizome literally means ‘first writing’. The idea is to decide upon a theme for the coming year and write the Japanese kanji with a brush. My theme for 2015 was kojo, meaning improvement. Please start thinking about your theme now.

I am proud to announce that with your support, I exceeded my goals for 2015:

  • DSC_0428Improved the skill level at Sobukan
  • Hosted a Kudo competition in SA
  • Earned a black belt in Judo
  • Earned a purple belt in BJJ
  • Graded in Kudo
  • Won state and national BJJ gold medals

A number of members also won medals this year in BJJ and Kudo. We even produced two Kudo National champions in Daniel and Doug!

A few goals that I have for 2016 include:

  • Greater integration between our arts and skills
  • An increase focus on self-defence, necessitating a review of grading syllabus
  • Using leaders within the dojo to achieve a better balance in classes for all grades
  • Medals at the Kudo Nationals (including for myself)
  • Brown belt in Kudo


Important dates

Date Time Event
Mon Nov 30 7pm Senior grading
Wed Dec 2 5:30pm Junior grading
Sat Dec 12 3pm Bonenkai (EOY/Christmas party)
Wed Dec 23 8pm Last class of 2015 (one week holiday)
Mon Jan 4 6pm First class of 2016
March 18- 20 All day Kudo Nationals at Arnold Classic (Melbourne)



Merry Christmas!

Please bring your family and come and celebrate with the rest of the Sobu-clan at our Bonenkai (Japanese for end of year party). If you are on Facebook, please indicate your attendance here.

Where:   Himeji Gardens, South Tce, City

When:   3pm, Sat 12 December

Who:      All current and past Sobukan and Karate-bu members and families

DSC_0602What:     Kids will play suika wari (watermelon chopping) and try not to fall in the koi pond. Adults can have a few drinks while betting on which kid will fall into the pond first.

Why:      For fun! (Do we need a reason?)

From 7pm adults are invited to head to iDarts at 102 Wright Street in the city for drinks, darts and karaoke – with that combination what could possibly go wrong?!

We will have a short break at the end of the year – last class Wed 23rd Dec, and first class back Sat 4th Jan. Please note the change of re-opening date.


Grading tests

Good luck this week! We have quite a lot of senior white and yellow belts ready for their next grades, and a number of juniors at all levels ready and willing to test themselves. I wish you all the best of luck – but as you have all trained hard, you don’t need luck!

White belts testing for their first grades should be aware that there is an 80% pass mark. That means that it is possible to make a couple of mistakes, or forget some things and still be eligible to pass. Those who don’t meet the pass mark will be given time to work on weaker elements before being awarded their grade.

Please note that there will not be a Kumite class on Monday November 30 due to the senior grading, and the Kata class may be delayed due to the junior grading on Wednesday December 2.


Regular training and injury management

Basic principles of training for performance outcomes identify the following three important factors:

  1. Regularity – how often you train
  2. Intensity – how hard you train
  3. Duration – how long you train

Of these factors, regularity is key, particularly for martial art training. Skills regularly practiced remain in the short-term memory for easy access in the event of a violent conflict or combat sport. Regularity is essential for fitness, and I advocate daily training, although consideration must be given to the level of intensity and duration to avoid injury, illness and general burnout. Personally I train for 4-5 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and 2-3 hours on Fridays and only one hour on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays.

Dojo, new 049Intensity depends on your goals. For health, light training may suffice. At least medium intensity is recommended for self-defence training. Fitness and competition goals require higher intensity. My optimum balance is two or three very hard sessions (80-100% of maximum effort) per week interspersed with low and medium intensity workouts.

As with regularity, duration will depend on your life choices and commitments, and is perhaps the least important of the three keys for fitness goals. For skill development across a broad range of skills a certain commitment of time is required. This is the reason Sobukan training focuses on ‘overlap principles’, training that can simultaneously boost your skills in striking, throwing, grappling and/or locking.

Consider your training as a mathematic equation for a numerical value. The higher the number, the better progress you should make.

Period Activity Minutes Intensity % Value
Sun Short jog 20 50 10
Mon Sobukan Kata class 60 60 36
Wed Sobukan Kumite class 60 90 54
Tues Weight lifting 30 80 24
Wed Sobukan Kata class 60 60 36
Wed Sobukan Kumite class 60 90 54
Thur Rest 0 0 0
Fri Long run 40 80 32
Sat Sobukan jujutsu class 60 30 18
Sat Sobukan Kumite class 60 90 54
Weekly       310
Annual       16536

According to the schedule above, your body performs 310 ‘full value minutes’ of training per week, or a massive 16536 minutes (more than 275 hours!) per year. However, if this level of training is too much for your body and you injure yourself a few times in the year, each time requiring six weeks recovery, your annual training value will drop to 10540 minutes (175 hours) for the year. Your maximum value per week at your current fitness level may be 250 full value minutes per week. If you can train without injury, this will lead to more value minutes over the course of the year (13000 minutes or 216 hours) than over-training.

For these reasons, balance is essential. Train within your limits, but train regularly. Some injury and illness is unavoidable. Life gets in the way, often preventing you from dedicating yourself to training as much as you might like. During these times, I encourage you to focus on what you can do. If you are busy, afford your health some priority and do at least one or two hour-long classes per week. If your knee is injured, practice your punches and perhaps some newaza. If your shoulder hurts, focus on kicks, kata and jujutsu. If you have a headache, train lightly, and skip the breakfalls. However, if you are contagious, please stay home!

I encourage you to chart your training schedule according to your needs, your fitness level and your commitments to maximize your training value in order to achieve your goals. If you need help, come and have lunch with me in the city one day, or catch me after training.

Technique workshop - Blitz magazine


Life membership

IMG_7671I was delighted to recently present Umehara san with Sobukan’s very first life membership. Umehara san joined Sobukan on his 71st birthday and in November celebrated his 75th birthday! Additionally he has participated in demonstrations at various festivals and expos, at a rate of approximately four per year, and hosts Japanese calligraphy sessions for Sobukan each new year.

Umehara san embodies the Sobukan motto of healthier, happier, safer. In the time that he has been training, the 75 year old has barely suffered more than a sniffle. If he can do it, so can you!

Life membership means Umehara san can continue to inspire members indefinitely at no cost.

White Ribbon Day            

In support of White Ribbon Day and to help empower women to feel safe, Sobukan will offer one month’s free training to any women who take a trial lesson from today until the end of the year. Please introduce anyone you feel might benefit from training!


Kudo preparation weekly schedule

Please find a rough schedule below to assist competitors in preparing for the 2016 Kudo Nationals in March.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sprints Sobukan Weights and running Sobukan Weights and running Optional rest Sobukan

In order to peak in March, this is what our training schedule will focus on:


  • Strength and conditioning
  • Basic techniques and tactics
  • Eliminating individual weaknesses

January & February

  • Cardio
  • Combinations & counters
  • Sparring


  • Cardio
  • Your ‘game’
  • Weight control

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