Remember that blog post I wrote last December? The one where I mentioned wanting to start a karate club?
Of course you do dude. You’re the only one that reads your own blog. Duh.
I love talking to myself.
Anyway, about that club. Well, I started that club. I named it One Karate of Oakland (which I affectionately call “OKO”). It’s now an official “meetup” group on meetup.com. “Official” means that I now pay $12/month to keep the account active. And we just had our first official meetup this past Saturday here at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
And I forgot to take pictures. Damn.
I mean there was only two other guys besides me that came. My friend was supposed to come with me in the morning to have made it four people total, but he flaked out on me at the last moment. No good bastard. haha.
I scheduled a two hour block of time to practice. I think it was a good 50% doing, 50% talking. I mean you know, I couldn’t help but nerd out with two other experienced karateka about everything I had been reading and learning. Warning: In case you ever meet me, don’t start asking me about karate or martial arts because I will inadvertently end up tearing you a new ear-hole.
But of course too, we had to discuss how we wanted to structure our training. Can’t obviously cover everything in two hours. What I did for next time though is wrote up a basic structure that’s tweakable depending on mood and whim. Have a look at it:
Warm-up (10 min)
Kata (50 min)
• Focus on learning one kata (“form”) or related series of kata
• Drills, exercises related to that kata
• Combative analysis of kata
Games/Exercises/Concept drills [group choice] (50 min)
• Koryu Uchinadi two-person drills (McCarthy)
• One-step (Miller)
• Scenario training
• Conditioning (pad work, etc)
Warm-down (10 min)
• Stretch, etc.
As mentioned, both of the other two were experienced karateka. One was a student of “Ryukyu Kempo”; the other was a long-time student of a school of karate known as “Doshinkan” (hmmm…you’ll have to type that one into Google for yourself). The “Ryukyu Kempo” guy was actually originally from Southern California where his school is based. In fact, what’s funny is that his teacher runs that school out of a judo dojo in Bellflower, CA where I had actually gone for a free judo trial class about 3 years ago when I had first considered cross-training. He even flies down there once a month to train!
What’s cool is that now I know some other local karate people to geek out with. Twisting each other’s joints and learning about leverage and pressure is just so fun man! So I’d say it was a successful meetup. Of course, it’ll take some time to streamline our sessions together so that we can make that doing/talking percentage look more like 80/20 or 90/10.
I guess you could say that this group was a long time coming. I’ve had the idea since Detroit and I’ve been living here a year now in Oakland. The impetus was that I stopped boxing this month to save money while I look for a new job and I was starting to get a karate itch (in my leg specifically). Who knows if this group will grow any larger than the 4 people that have signed up for it. I’m planning to have these meetups once a week on Saturday (for now) in the grass by Lake Merritt. I’m also going to include some kata practice into my weekly schedule. Yeah, sue me. I’ve been a bad karate student. I’ve only just been boxing the past four months. Whatever. I had a goal in mind with that. I didn’t have a goal with karate. Now I do.
“One serious problem, in my opinion, which besets present-day Karate-dō is the prevalence of divergent schools. I believe that this will have a deleterious effect on the future development of the art…There is no place in contemporary Karate-dō for different schools. Some instructors, I know, claim to have invented new and unusual kata, and so they arrogate to themselves the right to be called founders of ‘schools’. Indeed, I have heard myself and my colleagues referred to as the Shōtō-kan school, but I strongly object to this attempt at classification. My belief is that all these ‘schools’ should be amalgamated into one so that Karate-dō may pursue an orderly and useful progress into man’s future.”
-Gichin Funakoshi (Karate-Dō: My Way of Life)
Hopefully I’ll remember to snap some pictures for next time.