We've just finished a session of ground work. It was great fun and everyone mucked in with 100% effort and concentration.
Ground work is my weak spot, so when I run a ground session I'm most definitely out of my comfort zone. But the more you do it the more you enjoy it and start to learn the little tricks and positions. It's the best way to learn - not by getting into static positions, but having a go. Working the basic holds is like learning any technique, but the trick is finding your way into them.
We covered breakfalls, breakfalls from being lifted off the mount, recovering position and reversals. Then we did a little push hands (just the basic soto uke push hands), but on the ground again. One person on top, the other on his back. From there we used push hands to find ways into locks, strikes, holds and counters.
Finally we trained freestyle - again, just ground grappling. A bit like play fighting - it's a lot of fun, a great way to work on your strength, and discovering the strategies of moving, countering and trapping - a bit like chess!
The last part of the session went back to "regular" karate - a few kick and punch combinations to loosen off.
Ah - what's all this ground work about then? Isn't this supposed to be karate? Well yes. Ground work teaches you many useful things, not least the ability to get used to getting close in to somebody. Something lacking in, dare I say, *most* karate dojos.
But it's all there in the kata. The patterns, principles and ideas can all be found in kata. We're just doing them at a 90 degree angle instead!
I recommend all karateka should experience grappling and ground work. Incorporate this into your training and you start to work in different dimensions.
Tomorrow I'll probably be aching all over :)