Thursday, February 20, 2020

Still In Prep Mode

I'm not sure how it is that I don't remember this time of the year from years past.  Clearly Reed and the others that normally go to tournaments during this quarter tend to focus on the little preparatory things, but I don't remember this level of involvement before.

Monday we focused on our katas that we'd be doing for tournament.  By that I mean it was working on details until we were blue in the face.  Which is nice to be honest because at home practice is usually once or twice run through with no one but myself.  It makes it hard to be objective.

Last night was back to fight night.  After a lot of interesting drills, which broke up our previous moves into different patterns we started matches way to late.  The style of tournament we are practicing now is more international.  There is a three point system which really emphasizes kicks to the head for three points.  The matches are 12 points and three minutes long.  They feel like forever.  To prepare for this style we added a huge amount of kicks to our repertoire.  I normally love kicks, but I'd forgotten how exhausting they are.  That's a lot muscle to energize over and over again, but against a shorter opponent I do way better than I thought, if I can regularly take shots with my legs.

Only one match and it was against Todd who always wins, but I got him 12 to 5 due to kicks.  Whoop.  

I immediately went home and gobbled ibuprofen to get ahead of the worst of the pain.  I guess this what we do in our 50s.  Ugh.  More stretching for sure.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Post Tournament Review

There is so much to talk about, but I'm not sure how much I can put into a cohesive story.  Of course, I'm not sure how much I write is cohesive, hah!

I decided fairly late into the process to go to tournament with my Sensei and Todd.  Normally I would have planned ahead by a couple more weeks and Sensei would have better numbers for the organizers.  Then we would have probably planned our weekend better, but such is life.  

We ended up leaving at 5 am, driving three and half hours and walking into registration at the last minute.  We were still dressing up when the first staging was occurring.  Thankfully there was around two hundred competitors so the little kids took up most of the first hour.  

The tourney was in a high school gym and the floor space was broken into 6 "rings".  The entire time I was there, except for the final grand champion fights, every ring was in use.  Totally a 6 ring circus and incredibly well organized.  

I registered for four events.   Black belt kata (men's open), Black Belt kata (men over 45), Kumite black belt men open and Kumite black belt men over 35 heavy weight.  

For my first kata I got an 8.5 which didn't place me due to the amount of competitors.  My second kata, which I thought was great was an average of 8.4 I think.  Still not good enough to place.  

We had to wait around a bit for Kumite so Reed and I thought we'd warm up during which he punched me in the mouth while we were moving fast.  No damage, but I thought I was going to go into competition with Kim Kardashian lips for a minute, hah!

Our open group of men turned out to be the friendliest folks.  We got chatting and laughing, but when it was fight time everyone was very serious.  I liked that vibe quite a bit.  It relaxed the atmosphere.  Todd told me later that the low color belts had a lot of testosterone.  We didn't seem to have it in our crowd.  

I honestly felt that I wouldn't be competitive due to the lack of experience in the last fifteen years, but to my surprise I won my first two matches.  I lost the third and figured it was no big deal.  I had my equipment off and got surprised when they called me again.  The single elimination thing really threw me off.  So I got another match in and lost that one and was finally out.  However out of a group of 12 guys I ended up fourth!  What the heck!?  
Micheal and Me.  Not elegant.

Mr. Rice and Me.  This is the one that ended my reign.

The next kumite was black belt men over 35 and and heavy weight.  We all asked what the weight cut off was and they said it was our preference.  What?  Finally an old timer said that the cut off was 175 lb.  Well we definitely all met and exceeded that.  

My first and only match was with Eric, the guy that ended up as grand champion.  It wasn't much of a contest.  I did a 0-3.  I felt that I got one point, but the judge was a AAUW guy and sorting out the action was so weird.  He never stopped us and both Eric and I got confused because we would reset and he would say "I didn't say yame."  So we'd launch as fast we could and the first person would get the point.  Sigh.
Eric and me.

My Sensei, Reed ended up in the grand champion round so we stayed pretty late.  We stopped for dinner on the way back and I ended up getting home at 9.  A long day.  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Long Reach

I know that I'm taller than most folks, but I never considered myself "tall".  So the emphasis for sparring this week was all about reach.  It turns out that I've got a big advantage in my class group anyway.  For the first time in sparring I'm getting decent points!  I'm not necessarily winning all the time, but way more than ever before.  

This revelation coincides with my decision to go to tournament this weekend.  Sensei and Todd decided to go, and I didn't really have a reason not to other than it's a very long day.  We need to drive three hours to get there and have a long day and then drive three hours back. Urgh.

The unfortunately side-effect to all this activity in sparring is that I'm fairly mangled this morning.  Learning to throw a punch from far away has made my right shoulder tender.  Warmup drills caught my small toes on my good foot making them uncomfortably sprained.  A side kick at Todd smashed my good foot into his knee, bruising and bursting the top of the foot.  My pinky must have caught a gi or something as it's swelled up this morning.  I'm going to be getting some ibuprofen in me soonest.

Toe news - I finally went back to the podiatrist about my bad big toe.  The joint is filling in which explains the lack of mobility and pain.  I'm supposed to work on it until such point that the pain is intolerable or constant and then it's time for a fusion.  It's not what I expected though.  A lattice across the top and a screw through the side.  The good part about this, other than the recovery period, is that I would gain 40% mobility and an absence of pain!  Winner.   So I guess it's something to look forward to?

My prep for tournament is buying a few things.  I needed to buy a new jock protector and new gloves.  The new protector is so nice in comparison to years past.  It comes in nice compression shorts and has a little pocket to hold the protector.  Super nice.  

Friday, February 07, 2020

Fight Night Fight Prep

It appears that Sensei is keeping to the plan where we use the entirety of Wednesdays to prep for sparring.  

The first forty minutes are warming up and then a specific lesson.  This time it was defense of counter punch.  Basically blocking with front or back hand and then reposting.  Very energic.  As usual, I thought I was going to be out of shape, but the excitement kept me going throughout.

I got two matches in.  My first was with a new yellow belt who beat me three to two and one against Daniel who beat me three to one.  Not my best work, but this was nice because we used coaches.  So we stop after a point and the coach would tell you that what you were doing wrong.  I wasn't fully committing kicks or punches!  So that was a big help.  I also tried using some strategy by moving to the weak side of my oppenent, but that went poorly as he knew what I was doing.  Sigh.  Even though there was two more losses under my belt it was nice to hear what I needed to improve on.  Next week!

A nice acknowledgement from Sensei.  He pointed out that point sparring is vastly different from self-defense and shouldn't be considered in the same boat, but still great to do.  Bunkai and application are the focus for self-defense.  Intriguing.  I wished that we had the standard matches where we could try to use any of our moves.  Maybe if we had more days to practice.

As a result my bad big toe is acting up pretty badly, so much so, that I've made an appointment with my foot doctor.  Time to get it sorted.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tourney Bound?

Hey All.  I went back at it last night.  "It" meaning I went for the two hours since my cold has passed and my regular level of fitness has returned.  That level isn't great, but since I wasn't getting thrown or swept I didn't wear myself out getting up over and over again.

First Hour
The work of the moment in class is tournament prep.  March has four tourneys so refinement on kata and sparring practice is the focus in class.  I haven't been to a tourney in years so I'm hoping to get at least one.  So we spent some time on figuring out what kata's I should choose.  I need two.  I ended up picking Wando and Ni Pai Po.  There both part of my last test.  I could remember the pattern, but a lot of the fine detail was left to be desired.  

Second Hour
The class was mostly devoted to refining the two kata.  I ended up working with Olivia most of the evening and had to eat a lot of crow when we worked together.  Comparing against Olivia and Daniel is brutal.  They are way beyond where I'm at.  

I'm feeling an extreme amount of soreness as a result of trying hard for two hours.  My general fitness is still coming back slowly.  I'll now ruin that by going on vacation Mexico for a week.  At least I'll walk quite a bit in the evenings.  

Friday, January 17, 2020

New Year, Into The Deep End

Hey Tater Tots!

It was time to pull off the proverbial bandage and jump into the deep end of the pool.  Although I was feeling pretty out of shape I decided to go to both hours of class on Wednesday night.  The temperature was cold in Reed's garage so movement was the only way to keep warm.  

First hour
Reed assigned Mia to me.  I was to go over the first two katas Kyoku sho and ni dan, their bunkai and then Oyo.  Thankfully they are very active and I got warm quick.  Half of it was probably due to me being out of shape so mild exertion was fairly stressful.  We did that for the whole hour.  

Second hour
Wednesday is traditionally the time we have sparring practice, but it's the first thing to go by the wayside if someone is prepping for exams.  Since we had a moment to breath in schedule, as it were, it was time to get back to sparring prep.  

Before we started Reed pulled Olivia and me aside to review our four Goju-Ryu kata.  We practiced that for about 15-20 minutes.  Then it was sparring drills for another 20 minutes.  Then it was only to the good stuff.

Unfortunately I got the short end of the straw so I only got one fight and it was with Mark.  He, as a rule, is not very aggressive in a match, but for whatever reason he was extremely cagey.  I didn't have any openings to try something interesting (wheel kick) and had to fall back on rushing in.  The final score was 3-1 and I got two cautions for contact.  Not my best work.  

I'm missing a conference when I go on vacation next week.  Which is a bummer.  I've never been able to make one.  Competition season is now warming up and sometime in March is the first one.  I wonder if I can make one for once.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2019 Wrap Up And Review

What a year.  I got my Ni Dan in September, had my 53rd birthday in October, which weirdly signaled my realization of my age, and over the course of the year I lost twenty pounds and have kept it off due to diet.  

In the end of the year, when I should be learning a bunch of Goju-Ryu stuff, I ended up getting waylaid by life.  

At work we started a massive project that meant 10 to 12 hour days, my wife and me started putting a bathroom in the basement (where I'm doing 99% of the work) and as the year started winding up my Mother started going down hill.

As I've mentioned my Mother in past posts, the horror of dementia finally came to a head last month when my Mom got a cold, but previous to that she started experiencing difficulty swallowing.  At a certain point she no longer took water and was able to wave off assistance.  She'd put into her medical requests to take no further assistance so she went down hill in about two days.  My wife was able to get there and hold her hand as she passed away and I was able to get there two days later.  The sense of normal sadness was replaced with relief for her and us.

On the flight home I was surrounded by sick people sneezing and guess what  - I got sick for the last week.  I haven't had that much difficulty throwing off a cold in ages.  So I missed another week of karate as a result.

Last night I finally went back with some sense of concern that I might not be ready to do the whole two hours.  I spent the first hour teaching Kyle Ni Pi Po so I wasn't worn out, but decided to go home early and hit the hay early.  

On a side note I got Sensei a karate clock for his garage.  It was nice to be back and get the laughs and get moving.   

Still In Prep Mode

I'm not sure how it is that I don't remember this time of the year from years past.  Clearly Reed and the others that normally go to...