So here is a bit of background, I teach a local karate class, along with a couple of other sensei, one of these sensei does an earlier class than mine and that way we manage to gather those students avaliable early in the evening and those students who are only avaliable later in the evening.
Well today as I was slowly feeling the build of my river of worries and concerns I receive a knock on my door, and there before me is the imposing figure of the sensei who runs the earlier lesson, he turns to me and says "my mothers been taken into hospital, and I have to drive up to see her."
Here this is a moment where my own stupidity astonishes me, because I do not particularly understand why he has come to my house to tell me this, or infact why he is holding out a set of keys to the hall he uses to train his students, which includes keys to his equipment locker and the matts his students use.
A few moments later it twigs when he starts talking about his lesson and I realise he means me to take his lesson, now this is a long standing arrangement we have agreed upon in the past but never really used, so this should not suprise me, but suddenly my calm little river of worries is a Nile worthy extra big river. But oh well the guys mom has gone into hospital, (the guys in his mid 40s so it's not unexpected), and I have a bit of a job to do, so considering his class starts several hours earlier than mine and finishes a couple of hours earlier than mine, I have no choice but to grab the bull by the horns and set off without much prep work.
So without a pre-planned lesson I arrive a bit early and set up the Tatami, the equipment and the hall as best I know how, it's a bit diffrent to the usual set up, but whatever it'll work well enough for me and thats how I like it.
However it is half term and so I have something to my advantage in that the class is going to be smaller, many families are off and about their business and so I don't have to worry much about having a big class. An average class being about 30-40 students with 1 sensei and 2-3 assitant instructors, I am expecting a class of maybe 5-8 considering it's half term and I have no assitant instructors with me so I am happy about this.
Well about 5 students turn up and I am about to start the lesson, I start the kids through a basic warm up, and then as the warm up goes on, kids start trickling in a little late. In the end I have almost 20 students running through their warm up, and so I quickly change my plans for the lesson, with only 5 students and me I was planning a bit of a fun lesson, with some grappling and throwing work, but that goes out the window with some many students and just my, from a safety perspective, and so I work the warm up in one half of my mind and work out a lesson in the other side of my mind.
To compound the problems we have a new student who only arrived for his first lesson this week...
Ok, grappling and throwing is out, lets work something else, so I strike upon something that I can use, and stick with it.
I start the students out on working on Hiza=Geri, or Knee striking, we focus on developing force by springing off the foot, rather than pulling with the thigh and in a short order I have all the students, even the new one springing off his toes into a Hiza-geri and striking pretty hard and fast. And so I move on, building on the basic technique of Hiza-geri, I add in an ending technique, the hiza-geri is exactly the same, but with a flick of the foot we move from Hiza-geri knee strike, to Mae-geri front kick, striking with the foot.
I have to spend a little while forcing kids to pull back their toes before we move on to using a kicking pad to practise, because many of the kids ball up their toes and are at risk of breaking their toes if we move onto the pad too quick, but in the end we are working the pad with our front kicks, with a reasonable amount of speed and skill.
It's about this point that I start to catch a bit of trouble off one of the students, and rolling my eyes I tell him off and continue into the lesson.
We move on from Mae, to Mawashi geri, or round kick/roundhouse, and with the students struggling we slow down, break the technique into bits and practise one bit at a time till we have the students doing Mawashi geri with at least a basic shape that is similar to what it should be.
The miss behaving student tries to push again, and again I am stern and this time punish the student with pushups, explaining to the whole class that whatever they think they can get away with, they can't, I will not put up with missbehaving.
Oh well moving on...
Now we have three kicks, and adding in additional kicking techniques even with the amount of time we have spent on these is a bit pointless, so I cover the next half hour of the class in practising these kicks, both full pelt as we would in a self defence situation and fast but feather light as we would use in a point scoring light contact tournament.
Well I start to arrive at where I would normally be ending a lesson after about 1:20-1:30 minutes, and I realise that of course this lesson is a summer holiday lesson so it is a bit longer, and instead of being split into age groups everyone trains together for a bit of a longer lesson... right so I actually have almost another full hour to fill.
Again my mind kicks itself into high gear and I realise that if I keep up on these three kicks the students will get bored, if I try to add in extra kicks such as Ura-Mawashi, Ushiro, Yoko, Yoko-tuski, FumiKomi, Mikazuki.... then the students especially the lower and less experienced students are going to struggle with it, and are going to mix up the kicks and get mistakes later on, not to mention the power for these other kicks doesn't follow on, where as Hiza and Mae and Mawashi all follow on from the last in a sort of logical form.
So now I shrug and go for something fun, it's the holidays anyway, and I go for what all kids love doing, rolling around on the floor. Many sensei would just run this as a roll about or mess about lesson, but I hate wasting time with students, and I am pretty sure the kids will be able to divide the basic technique of Ukemi (break falling) from the kicks considering they use pretty much none of the same muscles, or even remotely similar movements.
Taking the students through Ushiro (backwards) and Yoko (sideways) Korobi Ukemi (break falls) is done, slowly, we start sitting down, move to standing but crouched on our haunches, and now I face one of the things I hate facing the restraint of my insurance provider.
According to my insurance I am not allowed to have students falling onto Karate 35mm plastic mats, from full standing, over and over again such as I would in an ukemi lesson, and so I must now bring out the crashmat, a large blue mat that in my opinion is one of the worst things to happen to breakfalls since... well... anything to be honest.
A crash mat takes away the feedback of falling on a hard floor or the much much firmer 35mm mats, it also takes away the need for a decent breakfall, and pushes people off mid fall making the breakfall less effective and less smooth or pure as a technique.
However I owe the kids the fun of jumping onto the mat and so I let the kids go through their break falls onto the crash mat.
Checking my little stop-watch clock I notice there is 10 minutes left and run the kids through some raceing games and a bit of a warm down and then send them on their way.
My lesson starts soon, but oh well, I will just have to go through my rituals to calm myself all over again in an hour... and I did.
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