Ueshiro Midtown (Hombu) Karate Dojo
As our lives
get busier, it is very likely that karate training will compete
with career, family and numerous other demands for our precious
time. However, not knowing when danger may strike, we cannot allow
ourselves to become mentally or physically unprepared. Our training
must be consistent and regular if we hope to be ready for decisive
moments which require us to act.
the need for daily training with the demands of a busy life, I
have developed a technique that I call Micro-Training. It combines
physical techniques with visualization to assist in keeping my
body and mind prepared for battle. Luckily, the urban streets
of New York City are ideal for this training, but deshi anywhere
can apply these principals to develop Micro-Training opportunities
in their daily lives.
-Natural walking stance can be practiced everywhere we go! Every
step you take is a unique training opportunity.
-Subways, buses and boats are excellent teachers of balance. Try
Shizentai-dachi (natural walking stance) or Naihanchi-dachi (turning
out the heels) to discover the secrets of a strong foundation
while the movement beneath tests your balance.
-Waiting in lines can be turned into a training opportunity by
â€invisiblyâ€ transferring all
your weight to one foot. Focus on your hara and concentrate. No
one will know you are training!
-Solid doors are excellent for conditioning the knuckles and fingertips.
There is a door on my route to the office that exits the subway
whose wide metal plate and substantial weight provide a perfect
surface for Tomoe-zuki (circular block and punch).
-Revolving doors are perfect for either fingertip conditioning
(imagine a horizontal fingertip pushup), elbow conditioning, or
for practicing a basic chest block.
-Every elevator button is a targeting exercise â€
focus on the target and with a tight fist and straight wrist,
touch the button with the knuckle of your index finger.* When
alone in an elevator, the dimensions of that box are sometimes
perfect for Sayu-zuki (double side punch).
-Light switches, toilet handles, and closing a car door are all
opportunities for targeting our toe-tip kicking techniques.
-If you sit at a desk at work, you can condition the toe tips
with gentle tapping on the floor. The wooden surface at the front
of my desk is perfectly positioned so that when I stretch out
my leg, I can practice a side-kick by turning my heel out and
gently touching the edge of my foot to the wood, locking in the
striking position of the foot.
-Numerous studies support the fact that visualization can significantly
improve performance of a given task. When moving through crowds,
try to visualize an attack coming from each individual you pass.
Feel how your steps draw you near to that â€opponentâ€
and picture which technique will be used to neutralize them.
-When standing in a group or on a crowded subway, focus on the
neck of a nearby person and notice how you can observe the actions
of their entire body. Taking into account the various â€innocentâ€
bystanders and your entire surroundings, picture an attack coming
from this person and exactly how you will react to that attack.
Visualize and practice in your mind the necessary actions including
a strong foundation, a tight fist and steady breathing.
-Crowds can be excellent teachers of the â€Ma-aiâ€
concept â€ In normal conversational situations,
we are usually distanced further from people than most karate
techniques would call for, except for perhaps kicking techniques.
In tighter crowds, (again, subways and elevators are perfect hereâ€¦.)
you have the luxury of absorbing and sensing the tight proximity
and close range ma-ai required of most karate techniques.
-Always be aware of your surroundings. Position yourself in places
that allow for the maximum view. Identify any hostile persons
or any other threats to your personal safety. Take mental note
of exits and all possibilities for strategic advantage.
substitute for consistent, regular training, repetitions of kata,
working with partners, and the physical and mental conditioning
that is possible within the dojo. However, Micro-Training can
be used to supplement our regular training and weave karate more
deeply into the fabric of our daily lives.
* Hanshi has noted that even when hitting makiwara or doing push-ups,
most of the weight should be on the index finger knuckle, which
naturally leads if the fist, wrist and forearm alignment are correct.