Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Last night was my first full two hour stint after coming back from vacation.  As you can imagine it was a challenge but that was mostly because I was sleep deprived.  I wanted to get back on my diet again in fear that I'll get a bout of gout if I'm not careful.  So that means no booze and cutting down on fatty stuff. 

I hate admitting it, but the drinks I do have really help me get to sleep.  With their removal I'm pretty much tossing and turning most of the night.  Not totally asleep and somewhat awake all at the same time.  The last time I did this it took three days to get my sleep cycle corrected.  I assumed that it would come quicker this time since it was only two months ago.  Wrong.

Anyway, it meant that I was dragging myself to class but, as usual, the attention to detail and activity level kept me going.  Class consisted of doing five of each of the last three katas.  15 kata doesn't sounds like a lot but after the first five I was dragging and puffing.  I can tell when I'm tiring out because the kicks start turning into a leg fling instead of a crisp action.

In the after class Mark and I just got started on the ten bunkai.  And then relearning the application series.  This time Mark is doing the other side of the application.  We got about half wayish - around the fifth step.  Being tired makes it a miserable affair trying to remember the smallest things. 

Hopefully Wednesday will bring a refreshing brain to the class and I'll feel less overwhelmed and stressed out.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Shūdokan 100!

As usual, I lost count of my classes and didn't realize it was the 100th one until just now. I had assumed that I should do something special that would require endurance and such, but instead after some work I got put in charge of Charlotte.  She's seven and actually a good student, but has no response most of the time.  Just a vacant stare.  

As I've mentioned I can barely stand working with kids because I don't know how to interact with them.  One of the worst things is getting instruction from Sensei that says practice this or that.  We all know that means that you keep practicing it until he says otherwise, but most of the young kids do it once and want to be done. Repetitive practice just doesn't go into the equation.  

My next frustration is that you can't offer "what would you like to do" and expect an answer.  I have to be directive and keep forgetting that little fact.  Despite my griping, Charlotte was able to learn the second half of a kata that I'm struggling through myself.  

The class consisted of warmups and then Mark and I were to run through as much as we can as it relates to the exam.  We didn't get very far because we couldn't remember the application to Nifanshi.  After a refresher from Reed we were back on schedule, but never got to through the bunkai for Kyoku Roku Dan.  Sigh.  The only way we are getting to get anywhere is by doing both classes.  I've got to get myself together to get both classes in or we are never going to move forward.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Shooting Stars

A blast of golden sparks played across my vision and cleared as quickly as it appeared, but for those few moments I was completely vulnerable.  As usual I would have loved to see all that in slow motion.  Probably a really cruddy block on my part; letting a hooking punch slip through and bang my chin.

This is what it felt like anyway

I've been off for a month and my practice has only been kata.  There hasn't been any exercise except for the occasional long walks on windy Scottish vistas.  Upon my return from my vacation I tried running, but I was only able to eek out a weak 2.5 miles.  So when I finally make it to class it turns out to be fight night.  Reed Sensei is getting ready to go to tournament this weekend and needs to get his head right, so that means we all get to practice a bit.  Thankfully we all had our teeth protection on.  The first time I've put mine in for over five years!?

To prep for fight night we have to warm up fairly well and do a bunch of speed drills coupled with a few tips on strategy.  And they we were ready to go.  Alas I was partnered with Reed right away and my glaring errors came to light.  The worse thing I do is stop fighting when he gets a good hit in.  If whoever is acting as judge doesn't see it then they don't stop action and I could get a good shot in, but I end up there getting tagged a second time because of this bad habit.

Something to work on should I ever go to another tourney.  I'm also very slow.  Or fast with really bad form and technique.  Sigh so much work to get back where I was. 

Yesterday I ran almost three miles.  I far cry from my big 5 before I left.  I'm hoping to run five on my birthday (Tuesday). 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

App Happy!

It was a momentous night.  And definitely one where there was a karmic balance in place.  During the first hour post warm up I was given the four girls. 10, 8, 7 and 6.  Woe is me. The ten year old, is an excellent artist, but vexes me because she is bored of the routine work and easily gets frustrated with her younger cohort.  The others are a challenge because you can only get them to focus on the smallest changes at any given time.  

I got them to work on a practice celebration.  For them it's three sets of blocking (downward, cross; downward, cross, kick; downward, cross, kick, punch) and then drills that move up and down the floor.  Then it was on to three kata.  This was followed by the application.  The application uses the bunkai in a two person series.  The girls actually do this reasonably well considering their age and relative sophistication.  After that we reviewed the wrist locks; opposite side grab and same side grab.  Pretty substantial based on the fact that these gals are very young.

After class I got to Daniel Sensei's place early and wanted to stretch out a bit so when he showed up I was ready to go.  He surprised me by wanted to start the application of Roku Dan.  Unfortunately, this was reaching really far back in his memory so we were only able to get the first couple of sequences before the rest of the folks showed up.  With Reed Sensei we were able to get about eight pieces together before I had to go.  It was just a massive moment for me and Mark.  Although we still have a lot to go, the fact that we were able to work on this was just a fantastic mile stone.  

I was going to turn in my Black Belt paper and test fees this week, but we have a holiday Monday and then I'm off on vacation for the rest of the month.  I guess it'll have to wait till October.  Crap, I'm not going to remember anything!  Very frustrating indeed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

No Warmup!

Although it happens on occasion it is fairly rare.  As soon as we bowed in Reed Sensei grabbed Mark and me and ran through the application portion of Nifanshi shodan.  So my warmup in reality was a lot of head twists and face smashes.  Not ideal, but the amount of time to get directly into practice was great.  We then got partnered with the young ladies (8 and 10) to continue the pattern and then switch sides.  This lasted for the entirety of the class. 

After class was just working through the bunkai for Roku Dan.  I keep thinking that it's going to go fast, but for the forty minutes that I'm there we dig further into the foot work and body placement.  However for the first time we were able to get through all 10 bunkai.  It is a lot to absorb, but we are doing very well.  If I could have stayed for the last half hour I think Dan Sensei would have started the first part of the application.  I hate that I can't stay longer.

I've got two pages of my Black Belt paper written.  I was going to turn it in on Wednesday with my testing fee, but I want to take another look at the requirements.  I think it's only 150 words, which seems awfully short.  If that's the case I'll need to take a look at my work and figure out what the heck I need to be focusing on.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shūdokan 95

I'm trying to compare the time I've been going to the amount of classes I've been to lately.  I don't think the overall number is worth really remarking on because it's going to keep climbing, but since I'm closing in on 50 numbers are taking on a larger significance.  I think I've been going for a little over a year with periodic gaps due to construction efforts.  I'm fairly pleased by recent progress and part of this is tracking my new katas.  Learning the Kyoku-Dan kata has been kind of grueling at times due to the level of finesse that's required. 

This level of finesse bumped up another level last night when I had to go over each hand position and foot position until I understood why they were going where they were going.  I also had to slow it down which gave me a flashback of my old teacher telling me to not rush to the end.  Whoops. 

Regular class was a lot of kicking.  However Reed Sensei decided to stop using each others hand for support which lead to the worst kicking I've done in a long time.  The drill is one kick for me and one kick for him and it builds from there.  We are supposed to be able to do tens kicks in a row.  I didn't realize I had lost a lot of my balance over the last couple of years.  It was so important at my last school. 

After the endless kicking we moved to speed drill.  Uke attacks and the we move to a side and do a side kick.  I feel so slow, but Reed pointed out that one side was better because I was actually stepping out better and giving myself a lot more room.  Nice catch.  It made my left kick way better!

Then on to practice Anan a couple of times with Ivanna and then a run at Roku Dan. After class was the refining of Roku Dan and then work on bunkai for up to the fourth before my alarm went off.  Frustrating not to have more time. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Big Toe

After class on Wednesday I went to bed, but ended up tossing and turning most of the night.  I woke around 3 am thinking that I had dislocated my toe during the night.  I've definitely jammed my big toe in the past and this level of pain by-passed that.  I kept reviewing what I might have done that would have hurt so bad; a kick that dislocated, a break that's finally showing itself or a cramp?  

I finally got out of bed at four and called the nurse advice line and she thought it was gout.  Since I'm living a very healthy life at the moment I totally disagreed, but the pain was getting worse and worse.  It didn't warrant a visit to the ER, but I was starting to lose my ability to think rationally.  I couldn't put a bag of ice on it due to sensitivity and my wife managed to get me to gag down a handful of Ibuprofen to take off the edge.  

At this point I noticed my foot had to start to swell and I couldn't put any pressure on it at all.  After finding out that I couldn't get into my doctor I was directed to go to an emergent care center to get checked out.  My wife took me to the closest one and we walked in to the first appointment!  Unfortunately, she fell back on the same diagnosis - gout!  The only thing to do was get anti-inflammatories and put the bad foot up.  Two days later I could hobble around the house without gritting my teeth and by Sunday I could run again.  I was clear for beatings on Monday!

The nice thing about heavy duty anti-inflammatories is that my semi-persistent back pain is gone!  I hope this is a permanent thing.  It's wonderful.  

Class last night was a relatively fast affair.  Mark is turning 66 this week so we chatted about age and worked on our last two bunkai until it was time to bow in. I'm starting to think that he's having a hard time working on this stuff, or at least, focusing on it.  After several years prepping for his Black belt I think this must be less excited or he's burned out working on this stuff.  He's not practicing outside of class and it's starting to show.  I don't want to be frustrated, but showing him stuff that we've already done is painful, but there is nothing wrong with him memory for older stuff.  

Classwork consisted of working Nifanshi shodan.  After running through it several times with Mia, I partnered with Mark and we ran through the application (bunkai ohyo?) several time.  I'm not sure that we have it down, but lots of fun.  About four or five sets of moves going back and forth.  

No after class unfortunately.  Dan need to be somewhere and Reed needed to get back home.