I just arrived from a wonderful class and I am still excited!
I got invited to join Kobayashi Sensei's Ashihara class in Shanghai.
It is my first time in Ashihara and I must say that I enjoyed the experience a lot.
I mean, two hours of Karate under a Japanese instructor in a room full of Japanese-only gentlemen... what can go wrong!?
We did a lot of kihon (that I really needed), some partner drills based on footwork and evading low kicks (gedan mawashi geri) and then I got to spar with everyone! Yes, Sensei included.
That was great because in most dojos visitors are not allowed to do kumite with the regular members.
Safety concerns they use to argue, but today I got to interchange blows with everyone, what was great.
For what I have seen, Ashihara is a lot like Kyokushin, but not so restricted by rules. In Kyokushin sometimes (most of the time) I feel constricted by the tournament rules but in Ashihara it seems to be a bit more relaxed. It may be only this dojo, but it was a wonderful kumite session anyway.
Now I can add Ashihara to Shotokan, Kyokushinkai, Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu and Shito Ryu, and to Taekwondo (ITF and WTF), MMA, BJJ, Wing chun, Judo, Kali/Escrima, Muay Thai, Kendo, Capoeira, Boxing, K1, Kickboxing, Kalaripayatu (armed and unarmed), Fencing, Aikido, Kobudo, Tai chi, Krav Maga, Sanda and Mugendo, as the Arts and styles that I have tried.
Not that the more the better but... when was the last time you stepped out of your confort zone?
PS: when I say "confort zone" I mean "your own dojo".