Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Kata 2

After warm up Reed Sensei got me back on Kusanku to introduce me to the next couple of pieces.  Since I actually haven't seen the complete kata I have no idea it's overall length or complexity.  So it's kind of fun to iron out the components as they come.  

Periodically Reed will stop and work through a piece of the kata. When I asked he said he hadn't taught this one in five years!  I don't know if I could remember anything if I stopped doing it after 6 months.  He certainly has a phenomenal memory.

After that it was back to the elbow techniques. This time I was trying to test my knowledge by going first, but I was only able to get through the first five and still needed hints.  We got through the two bunkai and application and then moved up to Mark's third kata's work.  I hope I'm helping him memorize this stuff because it comes slow to me.

The heat is almost unbearable outside, but the sport's club where we have class is nicely air conditioned.  For some reason I don't cool down that much when I'm changing out, so I'm perspiring before we even get started.  I'm wearing a light gi and it feels so close and clingy.  Yuck.  

No running or weights due to travel and I'll be leaving town tomorrow for the rest of the week.  I'm 200 lbs this morning.  Hopefully I can keep it under control.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Kata!

As I've mentioned before Sh┼źdokan is very focused on kata.  The preset movements act as a foundation to everything done at the school.  First comes kata, then the bunkai and finally the application.  

Unlearning the casual brutality of my old school is not difficult, but I often look back fondly on how tough it used to make me feel.  I miss the physical contact, but not the injury so I console myself with the excitement of learning new stuff as a replacement.  However, my learning curve is a bit modest.  At six katas, I'm still getting fine tuning tips and reminders about footwork etc. 

To my pleasure, last night Reed Sensei hit me up with, "let's work on a new kata tonight" again.  Before that started Mark and I went through the ten elbow techniques and then worked on the Kyoku series.  

The Kyoku are specific to Sh┼źdokan meaning that they aren't supposed to be shared openly.  That being said they feel fairly normal in the scope of kata, but their bow in and out are unusual.  Working with Mark on their bunkai and application didn't take that long since we'd worked on them in the past I could kind of remember them reasonably well.  

My new kata is called Chattan Yata Ku San Ku.  I have no earthly idea if I'm spelling that correctly.  Apparently, we borrow several kata from Yata from Chattan (or maybe that's the other way around?).  Reed Sensei tells me this is black belt kata which will have some jump kicks.  We made it through the first leg so now I have something new to practice!

Exercise note

I'm trying to keep consistent with the running.  I got up to 2.5 miles, but it was littered with stops and one of my calves gave up on the return.  Assuming I have time tonight I'm going to try again and see how it feels.  

I'm keeping up with the weights, but's relegated to the weirdest most broken up schedule I could imagine. For instance I did shoulders at 5 this morning.  What the hell is wrong with me!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Low Legs, Lowest Legs

It was a fantastic evening.  I had been having a difficult time keeping a regular schedule in the last month mostly due to season tickets to our local Women's soccer team and a lot of social obligations. So actually getting to class has become a pleasure as well because it acts as a stabilizing force in an otherwise chaotic schedule.

There are 10 techniques and I notice everyone has there mnemonic.  Here is my new list:


  1. Stop 1
  2. Stop 2
  3. Stop 3
  4. Waiter 1
  5. Waiter 2
  6. holding
  7. Slippery
  8. Elbows
  9. holding
  10. Knockdown twist
Of course, this morning I can't remember what I call number 6 or 9, but I'm getting better!  


I worked the rest of the class with MaryAnn Sensei on her application of a Gojo Ryu kata.  I'm about a foot and half taller than her which is great for her because of the Aikido-like management of the attacker.  I walk up behind her and grab her arms which lead to a complicated arm lock (because I don't let go), a heel to the groin, followed by a Judo throw.  I think it's a Harai goshi or Hane Goshi, but unlike a Judo throw there is no way to exit and slap.  So you just eat the mat with your arm drawn up behind you.

All 40 throws. The Harai and Hane are tucked in there.

When it was my turn to be the defender I was operating at the height advantage/disadvantage.  I have to squat lower than MaryAnn's hips to do the hand work and the throw.  After four attempts I ended up having to stop due to burning knees and thighs.  I'm sure I'm not doing something correctly, but this is for MaryAnn's next rank so I doubt I'll need to work on this anytime soon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Exercise Note 2

The heat in the area is showing no signs of going anywhere so I grabbed my running sandals and hit the road in 100 degree, arid heat.  The strange thing about being in such a dry stretch is that it didn't appear that I was sweating at all.  I am fairly used to perspiring a moderate amount trying to move my 200 lbs around.  I realized later that it was probably evaporating as fast as I was producing it.  I never felt uncomfortable, but I only ran for 13 minutes netting me a 1.3 mile run.  Not very exciting, but with reconstructing my gait and a slight fear of overdoing it in the heat I thought I did pretty good.

I only took one pause at the turn around, but I did feel sorry for people out in the heat as I trundled by.  A man chasing his stomach while his lovely moobs swayed to a mild beat has got to put anyone off their chow.  I wonder how my wife can tolerate the site.  However, this might explain why she has the lights off in the bedroom when I come to bed.

The important part of this note (really not all about self-loathing) is that my legs don't hurt at all, but I have a small amount of tenderness on the tip of one toe that must have been rubbing incorrectly. Talk about a great progress.  My knee didn't show any sign of wear or tear and my legs feel comfortably exercised without the gripping pain from my last go round.

I squeezed in a shoulder work out while we watched TV later in the evening.  It feels great to use weights again after all this time, but I must admit it's a bit upsetting to use such small amounts.  I'd rather keep away from injury though and I'm keeping my eye on the long path.

For those of you interested in near barefoot running here's the site I eventually chose because of the price of make it yourself shoes Xero Shoes.




Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gettin' Swole

Since my crippling run on Sunday I haven't put on the sandals for my next run, but I would say I'm more or less back in working order.  All the pain I experienced several days after is gone and my legs feel a bit stronger.

The problem with going for a run is that we are going to be hitting 100 today.  The only time to run being late in the evening and that's when I'm trying to get ready for bed.  A conundrum since I need to get back out on the road.  It might be a short run (1 mile), but it'll be getting out there for a little bit to toughen those feet up and work on my technique.

Just as I left the house last night my wife said, "have fun", which I rarely think about anymore. While I attended at my old school I made her say, "break a leg" as way of fending off injury.  That honestly didn't work since I was fending off injury constantly.  And now when she says have fun it appears to have the opposite effect.  Last night was an unfortunate repeat, but it started with a moment of enthusiasm.

Reed Sensei asked me if I was ready to learn a new Kata!  I was very excited by this even though I could work on what I have for some time, but I ended up spending the class working on the staff routine with Sarah.  Again the class went quickly because of the focus on refinements, but I didn't get learn anything new.  Sad face.

I got home and had some energy after dinner and descended into the basement and actually worked out with the weights.  Finally putting a light workout on my chest.  My morning push up regimen hasn't been able to keep up with my aging muscle mass; giving me the appearance of a post-menopausal B cup.  I really don't like taking my shirt off.  This is one very important reason to get the weights.  Of course I don't want to hurt myself so I had to take it easy last night with very light weights and two sets.  Maybe in a year I can build up to something more.  At the very least I'd like to have some tension in my muscles.  I hate looking in the mirror and seeing something that looked like a man, but now a melted candle shaped one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Burning Thighs

My foray into barefootish running lead to an immediate physical blow back.  I finished a mile and half loop and felt pretty good until the next day.  The idea is that because you are moving so carefully you insulate yourself from impact and thus running doesn't cause any issues to knees and back.

What is not mentioned is that if you are still out of shape your body is going to be pissed off after a surprise exercise session.  I got up on Monday morning barely able to move my legs.  My left knee felt liked it had been kicked by a mule which is an unfortunate sign that I overdid the exercise.  On the flip side I had zero problems with my feet.

So it was off to class in the evening with my normal pattern of trepidation, but it this case it was founded on the concern that I could barely walk up the stairs.  Thankfully we did a bit more warm up than usual and I didn't suffer horribly when we had to run around the room five times.  The class went smoothly.  I ended up doing the elbow techniques and staff routine with Sarah the whole time.  She's better at picking everything up than I was.  But  I could be an awesome teacher as well.  Hah.

I got home and told my wife how it was going to be the last cool night in awhile so we should go to an outdoor brewery and enjoy the evening air.  She agreed, but later asked to take the bikes.  I thought to myself, "well this is going to be challenging", but it wasn't far so I thought we'd be okay.

The next 45 minutes almost led to a divorce.  My wife, who is always flawless in directions, decided to take a different route.  Again, I wasn't worried, because she always finds routes that are usually faster.  We ended up converting a 15 minute ride into the tour de France.  I have never been so agitated.  It was like she was choosing a larger hill at each bad turn.  My already burning legs were on fire.  I had no idea there was so many hills in the Rose city.  Lactic acid aside, I was also only riding a bike that only has three gears.  More suited to beach cruising our pleasure bikes turned into mobile torture devices.  My wife, however, had the indignity to never appear to be out of breath.

We eventually got to the brewery.  I waxed philosophic about how the ride home would be easy, but my newly shredded legs were like pushing a rope.  By the time I got to bed I could barely walk.  Today was hilarious because I had to walk down stairs to leave and I had to clutch the railing like a sailor on the deck of ship getting tossed in massive waves.

This should be a running day, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Exercise Note 1

I purchased some Bowflex adjustable weights off of Craigslist this week and started a modest work out routine yesterday.

In the evening I did an 8 mile bike ride followed by a half mile run with my new sandals.  I should mention that I ate a huge amount negating any of the positive effects I was working towards, but I woke up feeling a bit fitter.  I'm sure it was all psychological, but I'll take it.

As promised, running in sandals turns out to be a less stressful activity that one would think.  Because you are conscious of your feet, you become careful about the force you place on them which evens out your running.  I also had to make sure that I keep my posture upright.  I realize a half mile isn't saying much, but my feet and legs appear to have no issues.  I'm not sure how this is going to pan out as weather gets colder, but I'm anxious to try a longer run when I get back from our weekend.

My goal is to run regularly for a month.  When the scorching heats the area I don't even want to go outside,  limiting my time to the evening or the morning.   We'll see how that goes.