Bushin Fighting Spirit

Sparring Seminar (Randori): This Thursday – 1st July at 7.30pm (Studio 1 downstairs)

Randori is sparring or fighting, literally translated as “seizing chaos”. Randori is an essential element of training to practise the application of techniques under stress and pressure, similar to a real fighting situation. In Bushin it makes up an enormous part of practise. Students spar from their first session and every session to test to see whether the techniques work. Its vitally important to learn basic forms and movements and immediately test them out to refine and develop them.

To be a good fighter, other elements take emphasis such as distance, timing and speed. There are many ways to practise randori with varying degrees of contact and rules…non-contact, semi-contact, continuous or point sparring, coupled with using different kinds of protectors and gloves. You should learn to be an all rounder and have a good level of skill at all types.

The seminar will focus on basic fighting principles and strategy with a few tricks of the trade put in for good measure. We shall be throwing in all types of randori into the mix. Most importantly you will learn the Bushin way of randori, not trading with your opponent, but learning how to take them out swiftly and effectively.

If you have any protective wear (gloves, shinpads, box etc.), then please bring them along.

See you there!

Breathe and Relax

I’ve just come back from a site visit to South America. One site was in the Peruvian mountains at high altitude, 5000m above sea level. A place where air is a rarer commodity than the stuff that was being dug out of the ground. It was really hard to do anything. Even taking your jacket off left you out of breath and light headed. Despite altitude preparation, medicine and health checks a lot of people on the trip suffered. A few fainted, a few were sick and most needed oxygen. I was one of the few that was fine. Not because I’m a tough guy or because I’m fit, because altitude can affect anyone. It was because I knew two important things: breathing control and a relaxed body.

When we train it is important to keep regulated, uniform breathing. As your body works harder, it demands more oxygen to feed the muscles and the lungs. If it doesn’t get it, it stops working as well meaning you tire and lose mental concentration. Thus as you increase your workload you have to increase your breathing with longer, deeper breaths while keeping a calm mind. We practise this every lesson with breathing control (chosoku), meditation (zazen) and internal energy work (kiko). Don’t let yourself go, slump over and pant like a dog. Keep disciplined – straighten your back, open your chest and make your lungs work with slow, deep breaths.

The other thing is a relaxed body. This is something that beginners suffer from more…simply trying too hard, being too tense and making the body work much harder than it needs to. As you get more experienced and skilled you learn to streamline your movements, relax parts of your body that aren’t needed and become efficient. Its a bit like walking. You can stomp your feet hard in the ground and pump your arms or you can just fall forward letting your body’s natural momentum propel you forward.

If you combine breathing and a relaxed body you move faster, do more and tire less. Its not something that comes easily. You have to work at it and constantly remind yourself to do it, regardless how fit or experienced you are. This is a technique I used a lot when I was competing: When I was out of puff I would step back, switch to the defensive using footwork and bodywork. I would make sure my shoulders were relaxed and take deep breaths. As my opponent went on the attack I would simply absorb and evade until my mind and body calmed down. Then I would switch out of neutral and into top gear, catching my opponent off guard and tired from attacking.

So next time you train, keep disciplined and make a conscious effort to breathe and relax. See if you feel a difference. Then the mountain you have to climb may not seem so tough.

June Update

  1. New article on Bushin. We have posted an article written by hotcourses.com on our new testimonials page. Its a great article…take a look. http://www.bushin.co.uk/testimonials-4/
  2. Testimonials. On the same page, there are a few of our testimonials but are a little out of date now. It would be great to get some more recent ones, so, especially some of the new guys, please would you be kind enough to write a few lines and send to me and I’ll post it on the site. Also, you can post them on our google site as well. http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=bushin&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl.
  3. Updates. Please subscribe on our website to get regular updates. You don’t get any junk, just posts from the websites written by me. I shall be emailing less, so if you want the latest news and updates, please sign up (you can always unsubscribe later if you don’t want them).
  4. Sparring seminar. Next Thursday will be our regular monthly seminar focussed on sparring (7.30pm July 1st, studio 1). We shall be practise a range of sparring techniques and strategy, along with different types of sparring. If you have any protective kit (gloves, box, shinpads etc.) then please bring them along. I guarantee you will come away with lots of good tips and ideas.
  5. Grading. Next grading will be August 26th, so start going through your syllabus now to tick off techniques you are learning. Don’t leave it till the last minute.