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.   

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Mop The Floor

Illness and seasonal obligations are making the class fairly slim which can be a nice thing.  It's similar to a private lesson in that the attention is comprehensive and specific.  However it can be grueling.  The intensity is much more so you must come to class focused.  

There was only four of us for both club and class.  During the club I spent most of my time working on my Nidan Kata with our fourteen year old black belt.  She recently passed her exam and tends to get placed with me to help me with my "elementary" kata.  She's incredibly detailed in her reviews.  I feel like I have to nurse my ego at times though.  I'm like four times her age and have been practicing Martial arts for an accumulative time of two decades at the very least.  And then she points out all the stuff I need to correct, which by the way, are all accurate.  I shrivel a bit on the inside.  Shouldn't I better?

In regular class we mostly worked on bunkai after a protracted warm up my MaryAnn.  I'm finding that I'm very inflexible in my back/torso.  When did that happen?  Freakin' Fifties.  You never know what part is freezing up until it sneaks up on you.

Reed is absolutely amazing in that he takes from each of our kata and rotates us through all kinds of techniques.  I was Todd's for his white belt stuff and then he'd be my Uke for the complicated Goju stuff I was doing and back and forth it went.  I can pick stuff fairly easily, but asking Reed for assistance to suss out some tidbit can be painful.  He'll need to do the technique a few times to figure out the question and that means I'm going get my face ground into the floor fairly hard.  I never tap soon enough with him.  

Although I wasn't in any particular pain when I got home I took some Ibuprofen as a prophylactic.  I ended up sleeping nine hours!  I guess it took more out me than I thought!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

So Four Monks Walk Into A Bar...

New Kata alert!

Reed told us about a week ago that he wanted to jump ahead a bit in our katas to learn Shisochin.  I gather Goju-Ryu isn't really big on assigning meaning to their kata, but our teacher's teacher was somewhat religious and would connect something to everything.  In this case the kata was about honoring the dead.  And for whatever reason this time of year seems to be a good time to remember folks.  

So while we were learning it last night I asked what the words actually meant.  We know Shi means four, but that was about it.  So while we practiced Reed dug through  
his books and figured out that it meant four monks.  That's about it.  Sigh.  Not much of a story connected because that's the way of their school.

In regular class we practiced and went through the whole thing.  However today I was having problems remembering it, but thankfully I have videos from Chinen to help me remember.  Last night after class and this morning I apparently forgot a section.  Sigh.

Back to practice between teleconferences.  

Watch this guy rip through it.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Three Shots To The Chin

I remember once reading that if you're in a street fight remember to clench your jaw.  I think the rationale was that it's supposed to suppress a knock punch or broken teeth.  

With this in mind I tried to clench my teeth when I was working with Cooper.  We were doing bunkai for one of his katas which after a small exchange end up with a back fist to my jaw and then two follow up punches to the same spot.  

The first time we did it with contact I got that famous jangle letting me know that I definitely didn't have my jaw tight or that possibly it didn't matter.  Ouch.  


At black belt class I thought we were going to learn a new Goju-Ryu kata, but for whatever reasons I got pointed back to learning the second of our Kyoku katas.  I'm learning those to get ready to be a testing partner for Cooper when he goes for his Black belt exam.  I've got three more to go.  The tough part is that each one has more and more bunkai connected to it.  Trying to remember that is difficult. I gather the fifth one has 8 bunkai!

The Nidan isn't much harder than the first pattern wise, but what I did find challenging is that there is a lot of stuff going on.  There's even a new stance, kiden dachi.  It looks like a painful ballet move for me.  Ouch.

That and shoveling tons of mulch had me sleep a nice sleep!  And now to practice.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

GoJu Basics

I do go on about the basics, but learning a whole new style certainly has a way of dictating what you need to focus on.

My work life and social obligations have been complex enough that I've only been able to get to class once a week.  I'm always in fear that I'm missing and falling behind, but Reed pointed out that we are way ahead of the schedule because we on a three year program.  Being three kata in means that we are "ahead".  

This means that we work on the basics.  That means it's doing muashauke's and sanchin dachi's until we're blue in the face.  So that's what we'll do and then on the side I keep learning the Shodan kata for a upcoming brownbelt so I can be his partner.  So life feels pretty full.

Of note - part of sanchin is that you a proper stance so that you are strong in certain ways.  To check this another person hits you in certain ways to confirm that.  One of these is a kick to the groin.  Although your knees aren't touching you should be able block enough to stop the shin to get to the groin.

While we were practicing we tried to do the "tests" while we were in our best stances.  One of those tests is that kick.  However the kick is done with the shin, not the foot.  As the shin comes up between the legs the lead knee jams it up and the other thigh traps it.  

Unfortunately Olivia used her foot and went up without friction into my crotch.  Ouch.  Thankfully she didn't put any gas into the kick.  Lesson learned.


Side news!  My old buddy Bob Patterson is alive and possibly kicking.  He actually moved to my part of the US.  Who knows - we might get to meet in real life!

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 fi...