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Finally.... Nidan

While we waiting for the results of the exam Reed, MaryAnn and me lolled in the back practice area amusing ourselves with anecdotes and stories about the test that had just finished.  But time was moving on and the advanced belts were passing through to the locker room and leaving and I still hadn't been called.  

When we lined up to start the test the room was absolutely packed to the gills.  Twelve of us were testing this time which is a fairly large number for the room.  Add to this twenty plus judges and at least 10 testing partners.  The room was 90 degrees and we were already sweating profusely from lightly warming up.  

Since putting the twelve of us on one line proved impractical we were broken into three lines to give us space to move around.  Unfortunately, I placed myself on the far left of the room due to my rank and the length of my kata, but a 7th degree blackbelt placed himself in front of me which was frustrating.  I wasn't sure how to manage that because who kne…

Fragile Male Ego 2.0

Here's the pattern.  Practice at home when I can.  Go to class or private practice.  Get corrections, repeat.  Wake up in the middle of the night going over moves in my head or get cramps in legs because I didn't drink enough water.  Repeat.

I've got eight days before the test.  I can't believe I'm typing that.  We keeping working on detail work that Reed indicates should be related to the level of skill I should be at.   I'm meeting with Reed every day now and the heat is near unbearable in late August.  

He doesn't say I'm ready or not and I'm not asking.  I don't think I can bare to have him say it's 50/50.  The truth is that I have to be better than I was last time and I have to have judges that like what they see.  Urgh. 

I realize I can only do as best as I can, but I'd rather be done with this.  I really don't want to be in Ivana's situation where she had to come back three times.  I can only imagine that she kept going back …

2 Weeks To Go

The testing cycle is coming up in a few weeks (Sept. 6th) and I haven't found any anxiety yet; just the desire to see a success as I'd rather not practice this stuff so much anymore.  

We've added a few things and corrected a few things, but in the end I'm whittling away at small things to make myself look presentable/passable.  

Since this is a retest I'm slightly off schedule and figured I'd be testing by myself or a small group. That sounded nice because I didn't want anyone doing the same testing package as me for comparison and contrast.  I felt like the last time Olivia looked so good that it weighed against me.  Of course, I've improved and have a more appropriate partner in Reed, but I felt better without that comparison.  

As luck would have it, our sister school from Eugene will be putting up several people also working toward their Ni Dan. Hopefully I'll be shiny and awesome in comparison to them.  

I'll be trying to squeeze in as much pr…

Punishment Round

After a somewhat strenuous Black belt only class, in which I showed some nice improvement, we all headed down the hill to the school.  

I was feeling some degree of pleasure because I was given corrections and was able to deal with them right away.  Not always the case for me.

Sensei closed out the Black belt club with discussions on how to deal with test stress.  This was more oriented to our Brown belt who could potentially be testing along side me.  She's pretty young and is juggling the options.  She's never been to Yakima so she's considering do the test here in the Rose City.  

I hate the travel and expense, but I love going to the mothership.  It's a nice experience and it's great to see all the high ranking folks from around the region.  It confirms a deep bench for our Style/school even if it is just a regional thing.

Regular class started with movement.  This consisted of back and forth attacking and blocking. Although we haven't done this in awhile I did…

Notes On A Hot Day

Jeeez, I'm not really good at this posting thing lately.  The main focus is on the esoteric these days.  Smaller and smaller detail work.  It appears to be paying off as I received many compliments from my co-students and teacher last night.  I was a bit concerned about how I'd do because I'd been on vacation for two weeks and was only able to practice two or three times.  

We met on Wednesday of last week and I got a full sheet of notes.  I picked the lowest hanging fruit and started working on those pieces.  We went over the first five kata last night and everyone agreed that I was much improved.  This carried over into the normal class where we worked on two more and ripped into them with great detail.  

Exhausting due to the heat and a bruise on my foot that I picked up on vacation from walking so much?  Anyway it turned out to be a right to bed night.  

Today my foot is aching furiously.  I'm off to call the doctor.

A Little Collection Of Notes

I'm still grinding away at my practice and occasionally learning a bit of new stuff, but lately I've been teaching a bit more than practice, but it's all stuff I needed to work on anyway.  

Most of the time I've been working on Ni Pai Po which is modestly long and somewhat challenging.  However, I'm teaching it as I refine it.  I had no idea how difficult it was to pass timing on how rewarding it is to see the other person get it!  

My next big goal is to be lower in stance by the end of every kata than the start.  That goes with the assumption that I'm rising during the middle of the kata.  

I've been working with my new bunkai partner, Reed.  Which is nice as we look better matched than I did with Olivia.  We are simply practicing the basics and haven't amplified the standard stuff we usually use.  Reed usually leaves that to the last couple of weeks.  Stressful to me, but that's how he works.  

Other news:
I'm now using a blood pressure cuff twice…

Head So Big

Hey All,

Just another episode of "practice, practice, practice".  It's been tough to get motivated to do my daily practice (the entire test with shadow bunkai), but I'm trying to do a little each day so I don't forget stuff.  Mostly I'm working on two basic stances, cat and long split (Nekoashi Dachi and Zenkutsu Dachi respectively).  

Sensei had told me to video myself as much as possible and it's provided to be a cruel mistress.  Even when I think I'm doing better in practice, review doesn't pull any punches.  I've been doing this for three weeks or so and really trying to do a few things better.  That would include depth of stance and balance.  Two things that are so simple yet equate to the backbone of what everyone is going to see and judge me on.  

As I suppose all men must do, the farther I squat down the more I have a tendency to lean forward.  I've been forcing my back straight for awhile, but it means that I have to struggle with my…