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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Big Sh┼źdokan 50

I guess I should express some enthusiasm for making it to my 50th class, but in all actuality I haven't passed a year and relatively speaking I haven't learned a lot of the syllabus.  

That being said, I've enjoyed the class immensely and love the folks there. Progress feels slow, but every time things speed up I can barely keep up.  So maybe the pace is just right for me. 

Monday night I helped teach the squirrelly kids basic movement to "wear them out".  All that I succeeded in was to tire myself and doubt that the kids were getting the point.  

The rest of the night I spent teaching Sarah the beginnings of the staff routine, Chattan Yatta.  She's got a lot of experience in her old school so she was able to pick up a lot faster than I originally did.

Fitness Report

Living in the Rose City can be a trying experience in that life here is a never ending exposure to delicious food and wonderful beers.  As my friend likes to say, "sometimes you have to pump the brakes!" referring to slowing or stopping the cycle of visiting a new restaurant or brewery every couple of days.  

So I do what most people do; I find something different to get me motivated. I'm back up to 205 and I'd rather not be there since it's not muscle.  So I bought some weights off Craigslist.  This had to be the shadiest thing I've ever done. 

"Cash only, no check" muttered the barely articulate man in a heavy eastern European accent.  The boxes were brand new and I assume must have fallen off a truck somewhere.  Clearly not what he had in the pictures as they were photographs he must have pulled off the web somewhere.  I quickly loaded the boxes and took off.  

The other part of my healthy regimen is to get back to running/jogging.  I say this so often that it all sounds like a joke to me.  However, after reading the book "Born to Run". I got motivated by the idea that I could possibly run longer than my best three miles.  

To this end I ordered a kit to build some running sandals.  We'll see how this pans out.  I did a test last week to the end of my street and, low and behold, it wasn't bad.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Inauspicious Return

After a month of having an unsettling bronchiospasmic cough that still appears once in a while I was pretty excited to return to class.  I think I've been out for almost two months at this point.  

I got in late by my standard (five minutes till) and no one was there.  Which always leads me to think that I may have gone on the wrong day or they had a holiday and neglected to mention that to me.  However, I had a text chat with Sensei and knew that everyone should be there.  

Before we got started a very muscular man came in with his 6 or 7 year old son. I didn't get to chat because we started to line up pretty quick, but before Sensei rushed in I overheard him talking to his son.  It was along the lines of "I know you don't want to come sometimes;  I know it's fun when your brother is here; sometime we have to keep coming to build on things...".  I was impressed because this was a very big man.  The kind I associate with brash, over the top personalities that come with steroid laden work outs and gold chains.  However, this guy was extremely mild and obviously a thoughtful and caring parent.  So point to him for breaking my mental stereotype.  

Although his son seemed hesitant and shy, he opened up nicely during the class and participated fully during the class.  Sensei does work with the kids very well.

After bow-in Sensei grabbed me and we went through Chattan Yata (the staff kata) again.  So much for my warm up!  He fine tuned six areas that had fallen off in my practice and then I literally spend the next forty minutes practicing the kata and getting those pieces he mentioned back in alignment.  

This got me to thinking.  Of all the practice I do - over time I manage to lose components of kata and technique regularly.  I remember all the forgotten stuff as soon as it's pointed out, but my memory apparently can hold so much if it's not constantly being reemphasized.  To test this I was trying to do some of my old TSD katas this morning and for the most part they are only living as pieces. I'm sure I could relearn without too much effort, but I assume my focus should only be on the task at hand. 

The last ten minutes of class was spent on wrist locks!  Finally something I could do with some confidence.  As I assumed - there are only so many variations on a theme, but always something done a little different.  I definitely brought a bunch more then they were teaching and they were okay with that.  

The way I was taught:
  • grab same side wrist with thumb up
  • grab same side wrist with thumb down
  • grab opposite side with thumb up 
  • grab opposite side with thumb down (kinda dumb, but you need to know how to get out of stuff)
In each of those there should be an escape and or a lead in to capture and lock. Shudokan (or whoever donated these techniques) allows for rotation in a grip where TSD does not.  Both are effective.  So I feel like I expanded by personal canon and maybe got a little respect from the gang.  Weeee.  

The reason it was inauspicious was because I was sweating so profoundly I couldn't believe it.  The work with the staff was so completely tiring that I had to periodically stop for a drink of water.  My shoulders are screaming today and my neck feels two inches thicker than it should.  Nevertheless, it's awesome to be moving again!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Off Task

Hey loyal followers and anyone else that makes it to this page!  I haven't posted in a bit because of family issues and an unfortunate cough that has turned out to be bronchitis.  I'm looking forward to seeing the end of it, but I'm only on week two and I've been told the minimum is four to six weeks.  I'm going to try to return to class tomorrow to see how I do.  I'm almost up to 50 classes and I love a milestone, but to what end I'm not sure.  Just that it's a nice round number.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Story Time

One thing that I very much like at this school is the "story time" component.  Apparently, the original gringo got his stories from the Japanese master and would periodically tell them.  In time each school leader would repeat them so after awhile everyone would get the details; a verbal history as it were.

These stories are where the kata came from and how they have changed and why.  Yesterday's story was about the elbow techniques that we have to know.  The basic ten moves we have to know for the first black are performed with another person (Uke) who pretty much just throws a straight punch.  But because there are ten of them my poor memory struggles to get past four or five.  Everybody seems to be making a mnemonic to remember, but so far that hasn't happened for me yet. 

The story of the elbows is that Ichigawa was in Europe (Switzerland?) with Morris Mack Sensei.  He had a dream that included a kata of elbow techniques.  When he woke he approached Morris and said I think this is for you.  Morris said thanks and learned it, but didn't think much of it.  Over time that kata became the ten techniques we know now.  While we learn them Reed Sensei also shows the things that have changed even through his sojourn;  an open hand here versus and fist there.  It gives the feeling of acting out living history. 

During the warm ups I was telling Reed that I really liked how I wasn't constantly fighting injury in this school.  This is germane because I woke up this morning with a mangled neck again and shoulder again.  I can't figure what I'm doing that flairs that but it was completely gone for the last couple weeks.  Sigh.  I've also started running again which makes my legs completely fried.  Stretching feels I'm pulling scabs.  I definitely have to work that in more regularly. 

One of the teenage students, Kyle, is going to be off for the summer.  I told him that I hoped I'd be farther ahead by the time he got back.  He said, "If youre better that would be great for me to learn from and if you're not it'll give me an opportunity to resume where I left off".  Either way he wins.