Showing posts from September, 2006

Fight Night

About once a quarter we have a sparring night. The last half hour will be dedicated to moderate contact matches mixed up between members regardless of their skill or size. I love it. When I first started MA I was horrifically overcome with fear and adrenaline about conflict. Now I wish we had fight night every couple of sessions. Teacher promises to make it a normal part of the classwork in preparation for the fall tournament over in the big city. I guess it's in November and I can't say that I'm anxious because of the cost of the airfare and lack of sleep I'd be experiencing. Before I got to the dojo no one even went, now it's considered part of the learning experience. Me and my big mouth.

It was a small class last night which is fun, but I was partnered with some of the young men and they have very hard arms. My bruises haven't healed very much at this point so it was a teeth gritting experience during punch and block exercises. Thankfully in the second hour …

Pain and Suffering

I know most of the people who read this have experienced bumps, breaks and bruises and I'm no exception, so I thought I'd post a nice bruise I got last night. I'm not sure how I got it or any of the other I picked up, but I'm creaking this morning.

So Teacher Slim was in and Teacher decided to make the whole evening devoted to mat time. I found that I'm definitely used to one hour of this compared to two hours. Beard is used to hours of breakfalls and hard landings, but I can honestly say that I'm good for about 20 and then I get up really slow after that.

We practiced most of our Aikido type moves. I gathered from some videos that Teacher Slim's Sensei in Washington, Chinen (sp?), utilized the locks and throws of Aikido without knowing it or co opted it somewhere along the way. No matter the history I can certainly vouch for the efficacy of the lock and throw. I'm also a connoisseur of pain at this point. The problem is that when my partner starts exert…

High Anxiety

I was feeling a lot of tension last night. After the last session and having teacher sit down with me for my "verbal" exam I'm a bit on pins and needles about my upcoming test. The class went well as can be expected, but when a belt test occurs he usually stops class at about 15 minutes before completion and then has everyone sit down leaving the person in question standing the in the middle of the room.

The standard test consists of a demonstration of all blocks, strikes and kicks usually done in repetition. Then a Kata or two. Previous to the test during the class there is usually sparring for a very long time (for me 15 minutes leaves me shaking with exhaustion - probably holding my breath). So after all these years I still can't tell when a test is coming other than the fact that teacher told me to expect it before the end of September.

During the first part of the hour we worked on stances combined with strikes after movement. I'm not sure if this happens to o…

Fat f&*!<

So I went to the doctors last week and just received my cholesterol test for the year. My bad kind of cholesterol is a bit high and the doc writes a note on the results saying that the bad kind is cardiocentric! Apparently I need more exercise. I'm trying to figure how I'm going to squeeze that into my schedule.

The Rumsfield Test

After what can only be construed as an awesome class Teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I was ready for my next rank. This in itself is unusual because he usually does a surprise test at some point when he feels you're ready. I realize that other schools are very specific as to what dictates a test, but we are unafiliated and so far I can't complain at the pace. It's not really a belt centric kind of place anyway.

So after stuttering about wanting to be in better shape (thinking of GonewiththeToe's testing months) he sat me down and we had a long discussion which could be summed up with, "Do you know what you know and what you don't know?" He had to use Kid Speed as an example. That guy is technically is a brown belt, but placed into a situation where he had to teach that info or even talk about it at length he wouldn't be able to. So he doesn't know what he knows. I almost didn't giggle here, but Teacher was in a good mood so he to…

lo cal

So after going to the doctors early in the week to look at a bump on my toe it was determined that I hadn't had my colesterol checked in over 8 years. So last night I had to start a 12 hour fast before my blood could be taken. Normally this isn't a big deal, but my wife has been on a diet that has a very low carb intake. I know that I really don't need that many carbs, but lately their absense from our diet is making me feel kinda flaky - as if I'm starting to have the flu.

That leads us to last night. Almost presciently Teacher didn't chose me to warm up the class and instead picked Kid Speed. I gather he wants Kid Speed to stop looking so outwardly bored. Which was fine with me as I could barely move faster than sloth speed.

It was a good crowd and we practiced more infighting and hand to hand stuff because teacher Slim wasn't around. The made me think about what I had read on another blog, gonewiththetoe, in which she is going through some real har…

20 Ways

Not very many people last night. This can potentially be a really great night because it means that the class is like private lessons or it can mean that the night will stretch on for some endless amount of time if Teacher is uninspired. We warmed up on our own and bowed in informally. I was partnered with new kid who moves quickly and ends up causing a lot of pain. To develop our kinesic sense Teacher Slim turned out the lights and we did Rondori for about 15 minutes. Rondori is the slowed downed sparring designed to get the practitioner to focus on technique, balance and such. In the dark you have to focus on contact with your partner so you know when they are hitting or kicking. New Kid tends to move fast with little control and that translates into painful blocks. Everytime I think the bruises in my arms heal I get another. I was under the impression that in time the nerves would withdrawal and the density of the bone would expand to the point that such things wouldn'…

Goodbye to Doc

We had a full night! It's unusual that we have so many of our class show up once. We had a guy from the kids class move up and join our class. He seems very serious and I was later informed that he has been home-schooled most of his life. I guess this indicates abrupt social skills, but time will tell. Nutbag showed up and appeared to be having a good night. I got paired with him as usual, much to my chagrin, but his arms appeared to be even more sensitive than mine and Teacher Slim loitered around focusing him somewhat so the practice went well. I got another insight from this. I think I've been intimidated about his innate skill and disgusting youthful vigor. Last night he didn't appear to have either going for him. I'm the man. Last night was Doc's final night. He's been coming for about a year or so off and on as his schedule allowed. His mere presence reinforces the idea that martial arts practitioners can come every walk of life. As one of the…
Oh yeah! Fear the knuckles of death.

Night of the Boobies

It was the night of boobies. Check was back after her surgery break and the new gal, Kick , started out. Traditionally Check wears tight shirts anyway, but it was an arresting view in a clean, tight white top. Kick was wearing a traditional gi that exposed a tremendous amount of cleavage. So much so that I couldn't help but notice a nice red bikini top. Hard to concentrate... Why don't they wear Sports bras or something?So on to the evenings exercises. No crazy Nutbag to drive to distraction, but I got partnered with Check most of the night and I've forgotten how tough her arms are. I was examining the line of bruises forming from wrist to elbow last night. Not much better this morning.

Foreign Exchange

I've had a day more to think about my time in the city. I wish I were able to express what occurred better, but I'll do what I can. I went to the dojo on Thursday and meet a few of the people working with kids. Very pleasent kids and the teachers seemed very good at working with them. Highly enforced manners to teachers, instruction and each other. Very formal, but nothing over the top - everyone still laughed and had a good time. I was warned that I wouldn't be able to "play" that night because they are big on having the visitor watch first. The Sensei came in and confirmed that, but it the beginning it appeared that he was going to give me the option to join the class, but found out that I could come back the next day so I sat out. It was probably the smart thing to do to see how the class was structured, but I was aching to get in there. Formal bow in and respect to the founder and then exercises that lead to more and more complex moves. Nicely done.…

Best Day Ever

I'm back from the big city. I got to go to a dojo on Friday. The Sensei had me watch the first session and then I could come back and participate on Saturday. Two hours of electricity! I'll write more tommorrow. I went to bed on Saturday night thinking to myself, "this is my best day ever." It was great at work meeting everyone and making good relationships and then on to beatings where everyone was nice.


So last night was pretty exciting. By this I mean that Check and Teacher Slim returned. Check just stopped in for a visit to let us know that she was alive. Teacher Slim however remained the whole evening. Which, in reality, is a mixed bag. His eye is extremely sharp for the things that I need to work on and he's okay with telling me about it. He also demos moves to the fine edge of screaming pain. He has never hurt me, but he sure can make me yelp on occasion. So I got partnered with Nutbag again last night. Which is fine, but at the end of the night I figured out why he ends up frustrating me so. It was like when I was working out with Beard - they both don't like to do the regular exercises over and over. Which, is unfortunate for me, because I need to do those basics over and over in order to learn them. After awhile Beard got over it and started focusing on technique and he became one of my favorites to work with. Now Teacher appears to be partnering me with N…

New and Old

I'm going to the big city tommorrow. We my new found enthusiasm I thought I'd visit a school while I was over there. I'd been poking around on the internet a found a couple of places over there and made a few calls. I can remember the first time I spared and the jolt of adrenaline and how spastic and jumpy I was - pure fear. Years later I'd like to think that is slowing down, but I'm not sure by how much. Teacher encourages me to concentrate on progress I've made; measured against itself. Everyone is different, but it's tough to see people coming in and picking things up so much faster or seeing Kid Speed express so much physical mastery at 15 as I stuggle at 39. Hah.

Time Shift

Holy crap, times fly. I've had ups and downs and many times that I didn't feel like I was moving forward and actually moving back. I wished I could have kept the details over the years, but trying to express what was going on was very difficult. I guess writing down feelings takes more concentration and ability than the average guy might have. Regardless of my abilities I feel like I've recently come through another frustrating period of learning.Over the last couple of years I'd run into a problem with one of the other classmates. This would usually consist of the other guy "picking" on me. For example a fellow student would take a "shot" at me or put me into a submission hold. Being unable to do much I'd have to sit there and wait for them to let go. So I get angry. I realize that there was a maturity level involved; me being appropraite while the other person is being a dumbass - that kind of thing.The classic is with the new guy, Nu…

Progress report

I've been doing this for one year and one month. I have a green belt. Tonight we got a new student, Beard. Beard has a blackbelt in Judo. I'm naturally a bit intimidated by his background, but he has chosen to start our class as a white belt. I felt a moment of superiority because of my flexibility, but that was immediately overshadowed by his innate sense of balance and ability to move. We spent the second half of the class working on locks and throws. Beard proved that he could take a fall extremely well. His slap of the mat was always beautifully timed. So Mr. P, Beard and myself worked with Teacher Slim on techniques for just about an hour.


Great class! Standard warm up, but it's just Mr. P., Kid Speed, Smallness and myself. The second hour was devoted to Rondori. Rondori isthe slowed down version of an actual fight. It gives the participants time to think of their moves without the highspeed interaction. In our cases rondori gets faster and faster until Teacher screams yame (Japanese for stop) I sparred with Mr.P for some time and then Kid Speed. Kid Speed seemed quite worn out, but for a 12 year old he beat the bejeezus out of my legs. Following that we had to go through the last four katas and he was awarded his first Brown tab!Kid Speed is a Filipino guy that moves so quick that it belys the imagination. I remember hearing that the hand moves faster than the eye, but connecting the idea that something is controlling that high speed hand boggles my mind. Did I ever move that fast? I doubt it. Watching TV in a dimly lit basement really doesn't lead to fast movement.


I should take a moment to introduce some of the students in the school. Tonight's focus is on Mr. P. I've lived in various spots up North and due to the small population I tend to run into people I've known in the past. I met Mr. P over ten years ago through his Mom. Due to an eclectic up-bringing and some interesting career choices Mr. P had a lot of rage and a deep fixation on conflict. Much like myself he had dabbled in different martial arts. Although from my perspective he appeared to love boxing.His interaction with our teacher taught me an important factor - it's hard to unlearn compared to learning something new. The common line that started showing up was, "that's great, but lets work on what we learned."Anyway the visiting/departing sensei of some hard style Karate visits with his one protoge and we do our warm ups and break into twos for various exercises. After some rotation of partners I was able to see Mr. P cut loose. Uninhibited s…

First days

I've changed the names in order to protect the innocent. Mostly me. It should be known that before all this I was interested in the martial arts ever since I saw my first Kung Fu movie on the local cable channel. I talked my parents into taking me to Karate when I was in something like 1st grade. I don't think I lasted very long because I don't remember much. Years later I took Wing Chun Wushu. It seemed to be so cool when I was in high school. I didn't last very long there either. Interest in girls and an interest in avoiding getting punched in the head helped me move along.As I write this some time has passed since I started - two months or so. I'm such a geek. I keep practicing the Katas in hopes of improvement.After learning the first Kata Kecho Hyung Il Boo and a couple basic kicks and punches I was tested for my first green tab.

The Get Go

My Wife and I were trying to be socially aware so given the opportunity to spend money for a good cause we leap at the chance to get out off house during the endless dark and fierce driving wind. The lure of a free glass of wine and folks outrageously dressed in their finest with Xtra tuff boots was too much to pass up. The local parks system had set up a service organization to help in the maintenace of the trail systems that sprinkled the local area. In order to make money the time honored tradition of the silent auction was put into play. The auction sheets were placed all around the edge of the room and I haphazardly placed low ball bids on interesting items. Long story short – I won the bid on a month of Martial arts class. When I was paying at the end of the night I found that the instructor was none other than the local liquor distributor. I talked my friend Adam into coming with me. I've found out that you can learn a lot about a guy via the martial arts. Maybe it's…