Thursday, March 12, 2020

Full Iron Circle

When I started at the Shudokan school five years ago, MaryAnn Sensei was working on her San Dan and as part of that she would teach me the katas she was working on.  Here I am five years later doing the same thing!

As part of good learning we are told to teach to really absorb what's going on in a kata.  The four kata I have are relatively simple and short in length, but teaching represents a challenge because I tend to parrot what I've been told, but I don't know a lot of the "why's" and "what fors".  

Since my usual partner, Olivia, has been out to family issues Mark has been nice enough to work out with me.  As part of that I've been teaching him the four Goju-Ryu kata I know.  So that completes the circle for to a degree.  We touched on them Monday and as of yesterday he had all four down by the end of the second class.  He still struggles with pattern, but considering it was about five hours, he did a great job for someone who lists his own memory as being really short.

I'm feeling better and better with them and I think I might jump ahead and take alook at the next one to see how complicated it is.  Whoop!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Covid Dachi

The slow and insidious creep of Covid 19 in our region is impacting lots of things, but in respect to karate all the regional tournaments have been canceled.  That means that our focus for the last several months just ground to a halt. 

Reed uses a text string with all the black belts to give us news or ask questions.  As of this week this has turned into how do we deal with this issue of transmissible disease.   No one wants to miss class, but no one wants to wrangle with a case of the flu.  As a result we are now focusing on kata and pretty much zero contact.  

Thankfully we have a nurse in class and she gave us the info we more or less need - wash your hands a lot and don't worry so much if you're healthy.  The social distancing is probably good for the population in general, but the concern is over blown for healthy people.  If your old, if you have respiratory issues or immuno-suppressed then you might need to hide out for some time.  

This has allowed for us to focus on kata for a big stretch.  Since our new bb club is so close to the class we don't lose 20 to 30 minutes of driving.  So we are getting two plus hours of practice and instruction.  

For me it was back to Goju-Ryu basics and fine tuning my first three kata (Geki Sai Dai Ichi, Ni and Sanshin).  During the regular class it was all foot work, meaning that I had to do sanshin dachi for a half hour before he had me work with Cooper on his stuff.  My legs are pretty tired today.  

I definitely have to practice more though.  I'd forgotten a few items as per usual.  Sigh.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Bugs and changes

With the corona virus being in our backyard everything appears to be a bit impacted.  Work has required every one to work at home and cancelled all but necessary travel.  I hadn't really thought about anything beyond that, but last night Sensei mentioned that he's not going to the upcoming tournaments out of an abundance of concern.  Especially the ones where there are travelers from Southeast Asia going through multiple airports.  Yikes!

This means that the next tournament I had planned on might be in jeopardy.  Reed said we'll continue to work toward the tournaments as if we were going.  I guess it gives us a focus.  

We tried out a new place for the black belt group.  Mark has houses all over the area and has a basement near the club where we have our regular classes.  It's massive.  I think like 3000 square feet.  It's broken up into a lot of rooms, but it worked out for us.  Reed split us into skill groups so no one was stepping on anyone's toes.  The ceilings are a bit low with texture, so hands and knuckles beware.  This could be a new potential home base for us and certainly reduces all the driving we normally do.

The evening class was mostly occupied with working on a kata we all knew and tearing it down in various ways.  And then Mark and I tried to teach Cooper the second Kyoku kata.  I was enthusiastic, but with two teachers and one student I think we could have been better.  He's a good student so it went well even though we had poor instruction.  

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.

Full Iron Circle

When I started at the Shudokan school five years ago, MaryAnn Sensei was working on her San Dan and as part of that she would teach me the k...