Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Exercise Note

As part of my getting healthier I've been required not only to revamp my diet, but regulate my exercise.  Just a few years ago I worked out regularly and ate poorly, but in the last two years I've been eating horribly and only getting occasional exercise.  This has caught up to me in a big way; not that I'm fat, but my blood tells a terrible story of bad eating, drinking too much beer and horrible genetics. 

I had a soft entry into my current diet when I started the whole 30 about a month ago.  Since I started that I've lost 12 pounds and this morning I'm 193.  The doctor wants me to on remain on a fairly rigid diet for another 60 days. 

In addition to attending Karate twice a week I need to be doing some exercise for 40+ minutes at the very least two more times week.  To that end I started jogging again yesterday.  I ended up doing one mile in 14 minutes.  A speed I think most people would do walking.  Hah! 

I decided I'd be philosophical and keep in the "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step" mindset.  I'll add a little bit more on Thursday or just do the same.  I just have to use thinner socks or use my running sandals.  My toes weren't too happy with my choices apparently.

Push-ups were pretty horrible this morning - I could only manage 20 due to feeling just plain week.  Lost of muscle I guess?  I wouldn't have thought it possible with the amount of protein I'm putting down, but maybe the loss of the the extra me is losing my leverage. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Big News

At the very end of class Reed was going over the criteria for the upcoming celebration (testing of under black belts).  Mostly fixed routines and then techniques for the various levels. 

Mark's new Blackbelt places him in our formal line a little bit differently.  When we address the shomen (the front of the room, usually with a small alter, but not us since we are just renting the room as it were) we stand facing various directions.  The bulk of the students face the Sensei and front of the room in order of rank.  The Blackbelts stand to the right or left of the Sensei facing one another, completing the sides of the box. 

Mark now stands beside me and Ivana on the left side facing MaryAnn.  I guess when you get up to 3rd degree you move to the other side.  I'll have to ask sometime. 

For class we practiced a lot of basics and then worked on kata for the rest of the time.  The note for the evening was that when we are doing Chatan Yata (a staff routine) and have to change grips on the staff - a problem area for me - I was shown where specifically to do the exchange.  I have to switch a lot earlier essentially.

When we lined up to bow out, Sensei mentioned in passing that he now had a plan for me.  My ears perked up, but I didn't think anything about it and he didn't go into detail after class. 

Later in the evening he gave me a call and said that he had a conversation with his Sensei in Yakima.  Basically he said, "I've got a blackbelt from another school that's been here for a year, what do I do with him?"  Since the brown belt just passed his test there is now an inducement for me to move up even though I don't have an official rank within Shudokan.  So Reed got the approval to move me into a testing track!! 

He gave me a bunch of details, but after we hung up I couldn't remember a damn thing.  I think I'm going to be working with Mark (the new blackbelt) for his second degree and I'll be doing the same thing.  I'll find out more on Wednesday when Reed said he'll give an expectation sheet. 

I'm so thrilled!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Missed Opportunity

I ended up missing Monday's class since I had to go back to the East Coast and do some family business for a long weekend.  The frustrating thing is that once I'm going regularly to class, breaking the pattern by just one class seems to throw me out of kilter. 

For instance on Monday I missed an introduction to European blocking.  This is a two person exercise in which there is a sequence of five moves ended with a throw.  Since I missed Monday I had to start out pretty slow and never made it past the forth exchange.  My partner, Sarah, was a pistol and loves to move fast and hard.  I find her precision and strength a welcome respite from the less aggressive/assertive folks in the class.  I can't wait for her to move up the chain in testing to where she obviously belongs. 

  • left jab, right reverse punch, right front kick
  • right back fist, left punch, left round house kick
  • left jab, right reverse punch
  • right coquette block low, punch, side kick (can't quite remember this one)
This was the last class before the big trip to the test in Yakima.  I gather this gather this occurs three times a year and folks travel in from all over the country.  It's a big deal because the amount of time before you are even eligible is measured in years.  So the best bet is to start young!  Ha!

I gather there is also protocol issues.  If your direct teacher is, say, a forth degree and you are eligible to test at the same level some folks will not test because they don't want to insult their teacher.  My best guess is that most of the teachers could care less, but what are going to do?  It ends up forcing the teacher to take their next level exam.  Yuck.  I guess the wife of the head guy has been stuck doing this off and on over the years.  I think she might be in her 50s and has a 6th degree.  Grueling at any age. 

I've got too much going on to go to the test.  This breaks my heart a bit, but we have guests coming in and I'm way behind on work at the house.  There is going to be a lot of hustle with little rest so I'm out of luck.  Maybe in years to come I can either go and watch or actually test in my adopted style.  Sensei hasn't mentioned it, but I don't think he talks about it much and I am, after all, the odd man out.

While I was out on family visit I had to go off the diet a bit, but I was relieved to be still at 195 this morning!  I feel wispy and thin, but my pants fit great.  Alternatively, I'm having nightly cramps in my calves.  Nothing severe, but just enough to wake me up and make move my feet in a way to relieve the pain and then fall back asleep.  The regularity makes me feel like I'm missing something in my diet or something.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prep Mayhem

Sensei called me in while I was on the way to class and asked me to get everyone bowed in and warmed since he was stuck in traffic.  I had to ask him the word he used before we reply "Oni gashemas" (sorry can't spell it).  He told me it was "Hajime mas"; or "begin we will".  I felt so bi-lingual. 

I started the class with bow-in and exercises and the, boom, we were on it.  I guess Sensei is starting to feel the pressure of getting everyone up to snuf for the testing.  Mark seems way better, but there is going to be some stuttering in some of the things he needs to do.  He'll do better with a better partner though. With me he can practice, but he doesn't look good because I pause too much and it ruins the flow of the routines. The ladies shouldn't have a problem, but I really don't  know how to judge their work.  To me they appear soft, but that might be what is desired for their level of work. 

We ended up bouncing from one thing to another.  For a chunk of class three of us worked on the Rohai, but then before we could finish the kata, we started working on the Bunkai.  Which, thankfully, was pretty easy.  There are two pieces and one is just a block and trip.  I was partnered with Ed and our height differences made things a bit comical.  However, since he's new to our school I love something he does after the action - he actually gives me a hand up!  I'm pretty sure that was verboten, but what a lifesaver.  I felt since he was doing it for me, that I could reciprocate.  Ed is a bit thick in the middle and getting up is a bit of challenge so giving him a hand was "easing his way" while he gets used to our type of methods.  I can only get away with this so much, because I'm supposed to get up with one of the three methods as a matter of course (because of the black belt).   

I'm off to the East Coast for the weekend to spend some time with my family so I'll only get one class in next week.  Then all the eligible folks head off to Yakima for the big do.  One day I'll get to go!

Diet note - down to 195.4!  I definitely don't remember this weight.  I'm not sure how well I'll be able to hold on to the diet this weekend, but my pants fit great right now.  I think I've lost 10 pounds in 9 days?  How much extra was I carrying anyway?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rohai Razzle Dazzle

Tonight was another class where we carried on the theme of Celebration Preparation.  I'd only had enough time to practice the Pinan Sandan a few times and had already lost a few of the steps.  On top of this the diet (now on day 6), with it's lack of carbs has left me light-headed.  Great combo.

However, providence interceded and instead of working on Sandan we started yet another Kata.  This was for the Green Belts, but since I didn't know it they threw it at me to learn.  This Kata is Rohai Shodan.  The setup and stances are new -  I guess like a bird or something.  It has the feeling of white crane or something along that line.  I have to admit I'm happy that I can pick this stuff up fairly quick since Sensei likes to put me in front of the class to lead the kata through where we had just learned.  I'm very honored that he does this, but god knows how many boo-boos I'm perpetuating with the others.

At one point he broke down the dymanics of a punch to make sure how we activated our chest and back muscles.  It's certainly more thorough then I've ever heard before.  I'm envious how he juggle all the different balls in class and still have times for lessons like that. 

We ended the class with a game of jumprope.  Brutal because if you mess up you have to do pushups!  Everyone got through okay - this time!

Diet note - 197.8 this morning!  I'm not sure when I've seen that before.  3 years?

Story Time - The Knife And The Hammer

The Knife And The Hammer

A story by Tater

A young student approached the Master with his observation about how he was very accurate with one hand, but not strong whereas his other hand was strong, not accurate.

"You see," said the Master, "we are usually dominant with one hand or the other and some people are slightly split with their talents like yourself.  As we learn our arts we try to even out our skills so that we have a little of the knife in both hands and a little of the hammer in both hands.  At some point in your future, after you've practiced enough, you'll be as good with both hands as you are one side now."

The student thought about this as he picked his nose industriously. 

"Or maybe not in your case," said the Master.

"Hunh?" said the student.

Sigh he sighed.  "I rest my case."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Celebration Preperation

I like getting to class early and that usually gives me some time to do a bit of early warmup to loosen up.  I sit most of the day and jumping into class can be a bit stressful on my tight tendons and muscles.  This also means that I occasionally get to lead the warmup which I enjoy, but I can't always remember the sequence of exercises.  With the introduction of the hancho(?) exercises, I put those into practice when ever I get the chance.  And everyone seems to enjoy them.

On this particular occasion Sensei had to get some Gi pants for our new guy Ed.  Ed is on the shorter side, but built like a anthropomorphized beer-keg.  So finding clothes to fit him has been entertaining to watch.  His pants are way too long and are now rolled up to his knees. But, at least, he can kick now.

The term testing is really only used with Black belt level exams.  Sub Black belt testing is called Celebration - A demonstration of techniques, kata and application.  I'm unused to this format, so I'm often looking over my shoulder to figure out what's going on.  It's seems basic, but since I don't know what's next or what I'm doing it's a bit of a challenge. 

It starts off with basic technique, but everyone does it at the same time. The only difference being that as your level of experience moves up, your technical skill needs to be shown at the same level.   So we do kicks and punches and then three kata.  After that we did an application of the Pinan Sandan kata, but I'm not sure that'll be in the Celebration, but was fun to get all the creaking old folks to move around a bit.

On the diet front - I weighed in at 199 this morning.  This is about as low as I can get with my regular diet, but that always allowed way more crappy food.  Now that I've joined my wife on the anti-inflammation diet I'm really hopeful to see that number drop down to 195 (which I haven't seen in many years).  The biggest part of this being the lack of dairy, most carbs and sadly beer.  We'll see how low I can go by next Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sh┼źdokan 70

Thank god it's my 70th class because I couldn't think of a snazzy title for this post. 

Due to the sudden heat wave in the Rose city I was more than happy to go to beatings since the place we use has air-conditioning.  Strangely enough the heat is dry and drying.  You can almost feel the moisture leaving your skin.  Even with the air on I was damping my gi just during our warmup.  I guess it could have been enthusiasm. 

My wife has been experiencing sinus problems for a couple of years now and hasn't been able to completely get rid of it, so she became excited when she heard a friend finally get rid of her problem by going on an anti-inflammatory diet for a month.  So my wife did a bunch of research, and as the supportive husband, I'm going along with the process.  At the very least I'm hoping to lose some weight, but by and large, I didn't feel bad before, so who knows how this will make me feel.  Today is my first day and the change is breakfast is weird.  No grains or dairy.  How I miss thee. My start of diet weight is 204lbs.

After warm-ups we were split into groups and I was placed with a group that was working on a kata.  After we got started, Reed asked if I knew this one or had been working on it.  I hadn't, but once we got about half way I realized that it was close to one of mine from Tang Soo Do!  Pinan Sandan.  That makes learning go fast!  The refinements that are part of the Sh┼źdokan school are great.  I don't recall my last teacher having the knowledge that's being pressed here about foot placement and movement down to such a fine detail.

Right after we more or less mastered the refinements, Sensei had us pair up and use the moves in a bunkai sort of thing.  An inside crescent kick, an elbow block to arm grab -> into arm bar then a big rotation into a laying arm-bar.  I was paired with Sarah who has a brown from another school and has opted to go white and work her way back up.   

I finished the evening working with Mark on his application.  We now can do both sides, but after a couple of days off we are not smooth and have to remind each other of the actions we need to take.  Lots of stuttering. 

The question of the day was how do we contend with a dog attack.  Our new guy, Ed, had been horribly mauled by a dog so we went with all sorts of ideas.  I'm not sure what's the best approach is as I always thought getting the dog on it's back to stop mobility would be best while other were all about poking the eyes (which I think is a hard target at the best of times, let alone when chopper has  your arm in it's mouth).  Ed showed us the scars and all I could guess was that it was a big dog because the scars are profound and all over him.  Yuck.