For the past two weeks, I’ve done less than half of my normal amount of training – just two classes per week – since I’ve been spending time with my parents in Tokyo and, most recently, Kyoto. In Mondays class this week, the first after five days in Tokyo, and today’s (Friday), the first since Monday, I’ve really noticed some improvements in my karate. My body has recovered, new muscles having been built from the mounds of good food consumed, and I’ve had a chance to think about the techniques I want to improve on and the adjustments I want to make. I spent three quarters of the two hour class today working on Kushanku – the kata which I guess you could say is the “culmination” of the five that proceed it (the pinan, or heian, series), ironing out little glitches but also trying to work on my body movement as a whole. Specifically, thinking about stopping techniques smoothly and with control; rather than throwing a punch and have your hand shake because you used too much power and stopped it so abruptly, actually controlling your fist so it stops exactly where in space you want it to. Maybe other karateka will know what I mean by this. Anyhow, it is one of the things I have been thinking about recently, and it was good to get back in the dojo (amazing that three short days feels like so long!) to put that theory in practice. Sometimes I guess less is more, even if you don’t realise it at the time.