Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shamo- Part I: Ryo Narushima's Basic Training


(Warning: Shamo contains a lot of blood, nudity, and sexual content. Please read the manga with that in mind.)

Shamo is about a 16 year old boy who goes to prison after killing both of his parents with a knife. I know what you're thinking: "What the hell does that have to with training!?" Yeah, that's what I said, too. Even so, Shamo is one of the coolest fighting manga I've come across. I'm not going to go into the story a lot, because a lot of it is drama not related to training or fighting, so I'll just skip to the good stuff. :D

While in prison, Ryo (the main character) attends a Karate class taught by an adult convict named Kurokawa. In this class, he learns the vital skills necessary to keep him alive in a place where everyone wants to kill the kid who stabbed his parents to death. The first skill he teaches Ryo is the Seiken.

To perform the Seiken close each of your fingers, starting with your pinky, placing the tip of the finger at it's own base. When all of the fingers are closed, squeeze the forefinger to tighten the fist. The punch is thrown from the waist, the hand rotating from palm up to palm down and ending by striking with the knuckles of the forefinger and middlefinger. The opposite hand comes back to your waist as the punch goes out.

Here is a list of the Karate techniques that Ryo is seen practicing:
  • Middle Straight Punch (Chudan Seiken Zuki)
  • Backfist (Riken)
  • Knife-Hand Strike (Shuto)
  • High Block (Seiken Jodan Uke)
  • Inside to Outside Middle Block (Seiken Chudan Uchi Uke)
  • Low Block (Gedan Burai Uke)
  • Middle and Low Block (Seiken Uchi Uke Gedan Burai)
  • Front Kick (Mae Geri)
  • Side Blade Kick (Sokuto Geri)
  • Roundhouse Kick (Mawashi Geri)
  • Sideward Elbow (Yoko Enpi Uchi)
There are a fair amount of techniques listed here and if you are unfamiliar with them, Youtube has a lot of good videos to demonstrate the proper execution of these skills. You'll probably be better off putting in the Japanese name for the technique, rather than sifting through all the English-named techniques hoping it matches up with the original. The proper stance for practice will be covered in the videos you find.

Ryo Narushima's Basic Training: The Workout

  1. Middle Straight Punch
  2. Backfist
  3. Shuto
  4. High Block
  5. Middle Block
  6. Low Block
  7. Middle and Low Block
  8. Front Kick
  9. Side Blade Kick
  10. Roundhouse Kick
  11. Sideward Elbow
  12. Fingertip Push-ups*
  13. Knuckle Push-ups
  14. Sit-ups
This workout is really all about reps. Don't forget to warm-up and stretch. The goal here is to build muscle memory, endurance, and strength in these movements. That means, you have to do a LOT of reps. I'll lay out the levels for you for the workout.

Beginners: 25 Reps of every exercise. Strikes and blocks should be done left and right sides.
Intermediate: 50 Reps of every exercise. Strikes and blocks should be done left and right.
Advanced: 100 Reps of every exercise. Strikes and blocks should be done left and right.
Very Advanced: 200 Reps of every exercise. Strikes and blocks should be done left/right.
SUPER Advanced: 500 Reps of every exercise. Strikes and blocks... yadda yadda yadda.

I recommend you start at beginner, unless you are already a shodan or nidan, because you already know what you're doing here. Osu!

The obvious question is: When do you move from beginner to intermediate and so forth? The answer is that there is no definite time frame, but if the beginner workout is killing you, you won't get anything out of attempting the SUPER Advanced version. Something that may help you figure out when you're ready is whether or not you are able to complete the push-ups and sit-ups without stopping. Don't expect to reach advanced, very advanced, or super advanced quickly. This is taking the long term into consideration, here. However... if you are capable of doing the very advanced or super advanced workouts, you'll definitely be a whole lot tougher.

*NOTE: Fingertip push-ups do not always have to follow the rep count. You could do 25 fingertip push-ups as a beginner, 25 minus the pinky as an intermediate, 25 minus the pinky and ring for advanced, 25 using just the thumb and forefinger for very advanced, and 25 with just your thumb or forefinger for super advanced. You can also start attempting handstand fingertip push-ups once you are doing pretty well at the advanced level.

That's all for today. Good luck and train hard!

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