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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dishing It Out with Sensei Uri Wolff

Sensei Uri Wolff "dishing it out"
I can't believe that it's already been a week since I had the pleasure of attending the dojo opening of my "Dojo Brother" Sensei Uri Wolff. Uri has been teaching for several years. I have attended two of his previous openings. 

However, this one, the most understated of them all, was also, for me, the most meaningful.  I expect it is because this one represented the greatest change in Uri's karate life. This is the one marking his setting aside other pursuits and dedicating himself to teaching martial arts full-time. This dojo is the doorway to his dream.

Uri's workouts are always... workouts. While I and my students use our training time for training and save our physical "workouts" for other times, Uri runs two-hour classes. 
This allows him to integrate the two, much as our (un)common instructor, Sensei Michael Rosati did and does. 

Hundreds of pushups, jumping jacks and kihon (basics like punching and kicking) later, the lesson really begins. This one was devoted to Yakusoku Kumite (Prearranged sparring). I really enjoy working out with Uri's students, especially his senior students, who are happy to have someone to work with who "dishes it out" and enjoys "taking it" as much as they do. 

Uri's prearranged fighting sequences are probably 5-6 steps longer than any I have ever seen. For example, first the Opponent tries to punch you. So you block, punch to the center, hit him on the head as you go past, throw in an elbow for good measure, wrap your arm around the attacking limb, bring the head down, knee, change direction, take down, throw in a kick while you're at it.... I should ask for a Users Manual at the beginning of class and just following along to see which juicy targets might be on the menu for the evening.

I am about 2/3s Uri's height. My arms and legs are barely half his in length. This discrepency in body type gives me an excellent vantage point for testing out the practicality of Uri's multivariate karate applications. Some of his techniques are a bit of a stretch for me, but most are exceedingly practical. The only thing that is impractical for me is remembering them.

Whenever I mention my self-diagnosed "age-based disability" to Uri, he smiles and says: "You just need to come more often". And that is exactly what I intend to do.

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