The black belt is associated with a certain stigma among many different types of people. To them, if you achieved a black belt it can be brushed off with a simple comment such as “well you couldn’t stop someone shooting you so….” or something else along the lines of “Wow you could totally kick someones ass!”.
To me, these comments can be quite irritating even if the last comment can be taken as some what of a compliment. Only those who have train in martial arts or who have witnessed someone close to them learn the art can, in my opinion, hold a proper understanding of the importance of this belt.
In a proper training environment (and by saying this I am not referring to some of the ‘cash cow’ dojos that are lying about where if you pay the right price you can buy your black belt) the belt represents many things, such as:
Years of diligent practice.
Patience through the progression up the ranking system of the martial art.
Overcoming the steep learning curve of martial arts, including both the physical and mental aspects.
Pushing yourself to the limit.
Taking martial arts into your daily life.
The reason that the fifth point is mention is because, if you have been learning your martial art for long enough, you would have probably incorporated some of your training into your daily life routine, whether you realise it or not.
To cut it short, the black belt represents a level or personal, mental and physical commitment to an art that not everyone can achieve. By earning this, it puts all of that commitment into something that you can wear with pride, an item you can cherish and a state of mind no one can take away.
You’re small and having trouble fighting? I got your back!
By the way all you tall handsome and gorgeous people reading this, these tips might annihilate your enemies as well.
I am doing great in my karate, I am focused, I am nailing those kata and techniques! But there was always that one tiny problem~
My sensei are just as Dutch as I am, men and at least 1.80m (or 5,9″ in the U.S.) which leaves me with quite some neck pain at the dojo from looking up all the time!
After hitting puberty everyone flew up to the clouds and I was left on earth here with my 1.60m (or 5,3″). This basically left me for years like this:
Well at least I’d make a cute Pikachu.
Sounds familiar? Sadly my first few (shorter) Sensei left before the kumite sparring got real (and everyone outgrew me) and I was left for a couple of years with only tall Sensei. I am very grateful for their teachings but they never had the same problems being so Eiffeltower-y tall!
Now don’t you worry my fellow member of the allegiance of tiny people who are secretly really awesome.
ANSWERING YOUR PRAYERS:
#1 NEVER back out.
Look going back is a great movement to immediately go to the frontal attack again, but let’s face it:
As much as we’d like to, we need to take a huge step back to evade that huge leg swinging our way but we cannot cover the distance that has made between you and that tall son of beach!
This will most likely still be the reality for us then…
#2 Nagasu/Inasu (inasu is similar)
So what the fridge are you supposed to do?!
Means parrying, or moving with the attack, to evade a blow, often while countering. The body is moved slightly off of the line of attack so that the attacking technique is evaded, but at a close enough angle that the power of the opponent’s attack can be used to increase the force of the counterattack.
Get out of the way of that incoming train! Sidestep, left, right, just MOVEyour pretty butt out off the way!
#3 Alright, I moved now what -> SEN
You got out of the way right? Congratulations! You took your first step in releasing your punching bag status! Now this next one is great:
Sen It means attacking simultaneously with the opponent as in nagashizuki. It implies that the ‘defender’ will be able to complete his attack first, and/or displace the opponent’s attack.
You want to attack me? Sure, but you’ll regret it.
Hey if it works with a KATANA then a leg or arm should be no problem, right? Sensei Õtsuka Hironori II (R.I.P. 2015) and his son Sensei Õtsuka Kazutaka which I had the privilege of training under in several seminars.
More options? HECK YEAH!
#4 Sensen no Sen
This means to attack when the opponent’s intent to attack is perceived, thus pre empting the opponent’s attack and catching him/her off guard.
Stretch your arms out around you, make a circle with them. That my friend, is your personal bubble, your space.The trick is to attack as soon as someone is wanting to burst that bubble. Don’t be shy, but timing is crucial. It is definitely tricky to master, but if you do, your sparring partners will start hating you in a very good way.
#5 Hold your guard up high
This is a golden tip for our very punch-able heads. Keep your guard up a little higher than you’re used to. In Wado, we tend to keep our firsts not higher than chudan height which is great: if you don’t have a head to defend. Our faces are chudan height for our tall sparring partners making us vulnerable to their punches.
It won’t expose our lower areas because that is not relevant for our opponents!
And THAT, is how you made your Pikachu into this:
That is one badass ushiro-iron-tail!
Karate, as many as our fellow martial arts came from Japan and China.
They were basically MADE for us small people! And don’t forget: bigger limbs mean less speed. They need to travel longer than ours! There is no ultimate karate-ka body figure, everything has pros and cons, figure out how to use those pros of yours!
Here’s my submission for the UDON Capcom Fighting Tribute!
always been a fan of these two ladies from Street Fighter 3; Third
Strike. The implied rivalry between these two in their intro animation
captured my imagination when i first booted the game up. I was glad to
have a chance to paint a duel between this ninja and karate-ka. This
painting will show up in the art book that will be released in September
of 2015, so pick it up if you get a chance!
Turns out my Hogworts house would be Slytherin,
whose students tend to be cunning, ambitious, resourceful, shrewd and
determined. I agree with most of these, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider
myself cunning. Ah well, surely Ms Rowling knows me best.
Across the pond in the US of A, I would
have been assigned to the Ilvermorny house of Wampus. What the fuck is a Wampus
you ask? Well they have been described as magical panther-like creatures that are
fast, strong and almost impossible to kill. Wampus house is sometimes
considered to represent the body of a witch or wizard. It is also said that
Wampus favours warriors. Which is crazy ironic, cos I used to be quite the
Karate-ka, until my body gave out on me.
Next up, the wand. Rowan wood with a
Unicorn hair core, 9 ½" and Rigid flexibility. Apparently rowan wood
generally selects a clear-headed and pure-hearted witch or wizard and is surprisingly
badass in battle. The Unicorn hair core, like the wand user, will be difficult
to turn to the dark arts. However, both are prone to melancholy. Isn’t that
nice. My wand can share in my depression! Finally, the flexibility indicates my
adaptability, which apparently is a lot lower than I would have thought.
Oooohhh the most important one: the Patronus.
Presuming I had the skill to conjure a Patronus, it would have been a dolphin.
Huh… didn’t see that one coming did you? Me neither. Dolphins have a bunch of
symbolic meanings attached to them, mainly peace and harmony, protection, playfulness
and joy, inner strength and cooperation.
So, there you go. Now you know more about the
witchy version of me than you ever wanted to.You may have guessed, but I had an assignment due today, and so discovering the wonders of Pottermore seemed like a great idea.
Have you ever felt like you aren't enough or as good as your classmates? I mean, I'm yellow belt, when I fight with a white belt I'm like "ok, I can, yes...", but then when I fight with a yellow belt or an orange one i always lose and I feel so bad ;-;
Oh dear I feel this one Anon. I reaaaaally do. I was a pretty allround karate-ka until puberty. As a short blue belt I didn’t know how to fight against tall people. AND I’M STILL BATTLING THIS PROBLEM TODAY. Because a black belt doesn’t make you grow any taller. So yes when I have a hard time against lower/same grades as mine, I really feel inadequate. But I know that I’ll get better with every fight. I never really lose, I learn. I know the feeling sucks but hang in there! I know we can do it! We’ll both get better with every match.
I love karate, I really do. But sport karate has never really been part of my routine. Sport karate does ADD to shaping a karate-ka. But it does not add to karate itself in my opinion, not as a martial way.
Positive sides to sportkarate:
Athleticism is great
In sparring, your reaction time is very fast
The focus you see during competition is real
It is great for a generic public to look at, it adds flavor to the karate dish!
And to me, that’s about it. But in my opinion this is what it comes down to:
Kumite - a game of tag
Yup, a game of tag. Tag, you’re it, I scored a point! Oh and the running around screaming when they think they’ve scored a point?
Ugh. Think I’m over exaggerating?
This is just a small example, search YouTube for kumite championships and you’ll find it allover. I’m not saying that this is a disgrace for karate, it is just how a sport evolved. Or in my opinion, devolved. Where is the real fight?!
Kata - A beautiful play
Now, I admit it, I love watching kata championships, it looks awesome. But in the back of my head there’s always this little voice whispering: this is so not… realistic? In any form, shape or way? Aren’t they going a bit too far with this?
European Karate Championships 2015 ITA va. ESP Male team kata final. So pretty to look at!
I will only quote what Hanshi Suzuki Tatsuo (8th Dan Wado karate) said about kata competition:
“In my opinion, kata competition is not a good idea because, in competition, competitors want to get high marks so they over exaggerate the movement, losing the original movement of the kata. Karate kata is not a form of gymnastics. When doing kata in competition, hardly any people have an opponent in mind while doing it. It is not necessary to ki-ai many times in one kata. Once, twice, or at most three times is enough, too many, is a waste.”
So, I am wondering how the budoblr community sees this. Seriously, I want my opinions challenged and questioned because I am pretty critical! Karate for olympics in 2020, yay, or nay?
Here’s a treat to the Two Best Friends Play fan community! It’s a video of two Okinawan Goju-ryu karate masters demonstrating sanchin, featured in today’s Karate Master 2 episode. In short, sanchin is a practice where a karate-ka must control his breathing and apply tension to all of his muscles while a partner strikes his body with kicks and palm strikes, with usual targets being the ribs, the shoulders, the thighs and the testicles. The objective is to sharpen the mind and harden the body.
It’s painful to watch and not for everyone, obviously, but it’s living proof of how incredible these people are. Don’t forget the large, grisly callouses they’ve developed on their hands due to makiwara practice.
Morio Higaona, the older of the two masters, was once described as “the most dangerous man in Japan in a street fight”.