Friday, August 31, 2007

Technical aspects

Nothing really funny or overwhelming noteworthy, but we had an awesome time. A total time slip. We started out with a combo exercise after doing kicks for a half hour. The roundhouse still frustrates me to no end, but that's what the practice is for. I'll definitely have to do that on my own more often. I've been working on side kicks for so long that all others got rusty.

So the combo was an upward block (jo dan) combined with a punch to the solar p that then moved to a neck grab to knee strike. Executed smoothly you get the feeling that the other person would never know what hit them. I had to learn a few things around this combo. First, go as low I can on the strike so I can use the upward block to keep uki's arm up. Then, second, keep my elbows up as I slide my hands in for the neck head grab to further my control of uki's arms in the short time I'm doing the move. I have a tendency to keep my arms down, since we've been taught that so often, it's now become hard to do anything different. And, third, when grabbing the head for a knee strike, you're actually grabbing the neck with fingernails down with slightly interlocked fingers. You don't even have to use muscle as it naturally guides the uki's head forward to the proper kneeing position.

So I learned that the harder I strain for the knee shot the shorter my stroke it. The more I relax for the strike the higher I bring my knee up. It was like a full foot difference -wow.

Cook asked Teacher about practical sword use. I was intrigued because we rarely bring out the weapons and this seemed interesting. Teacher used the common sword draw hand movement and turned it into a self defense move. Uki sticks a gun or knife in your kidney and you do the sword draw. Basically, you reach across with opposite hand, take their hand (making sure not to get stabbed or shot) and do the draw. This brings their locked wrist/hand up and over your head and then as you move down in the "strike" position Uki must roll or flip to exit a very painful wrist/elbow/shoulder lock. Fun as hell. It's like all those dumb movie stunt man moves that requires the stunt man to do all the work while tori effortlessly moves out of the way.

I only said "I'm sorry" five times this evening. I made sure that I was making contact and that I was doing it correctly. Day one of the new me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

3 Times

Since I've started I've heard this three times, "I wished we met more that twice a week."

The first was from my own mouth during the first year.

The second was from a student who has come and gone.

The third is Cook.

Funny how that special type of enthusiasm comes and goes over the years.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bloody Nose and Bruises

I missed a post last week and I'm not sure why, but I had a good time playing instructor with Cook. Most of the class was dedicated to simple instruction and some basic work on movement. It felt good to have some practicle knowledge and have the ability to impart it so that it's understood.

So tonight we got started on time (will miracles never cease) and immediately started on one-two drills. I've seen videos of this kind of thing and I guess it's very formalized in some Tang Soo Do schools, but not us. For the beginners it's a time to embrace the basics and for the more experienced students it's time to work on our speed, ingenuity, and accuracy. I was paired with Check for the first hour and that went well. I felt like we were really exploring our weak areas and fine tuning some older stuff that doesn't get worked on often.

After the break I got paired with Beard. As always his skills from Judo make him a fierce opponent and force me to concentrate on everything I've ever learned. So we started working on two part attacks which require the other person to respond with three different moves. At our level (hah!) we are expected to show a lot of imagination or, if not that, very good skill. Almost immediately Beard did a great attack where the leading fist drops after a punch attempt and the lower blocking hand circles up to do another strike it the absence of the first. I got the first two, but forgot they can keep coming. After a poor block I felt a light contact on my nose and didn't think anything about it until he broke off contact. I can't say that I've ever had a bloody nose from the top before but they bleed just like any other kind. What a mess. I ended up doing the rest of the class with a band aid on top of my nose and that made me think I had my glasses on.

Still paired with Beard, the rest of the night was pretty awesome. I would occasionally show some good skills, nothing great, but they always make me feel good. At the end of class, after I had taken some jarring blocks off his kicks he mentioned something that almost stopped me cold.

He said, "I think you need to stop saying I'm sorry when you make light contact. I think you need to start talking to yourself in a positive fashion - like, 'I'm going to make contact but it will be precise.' I think this is messing up your distance and ability to make decent contact."

He was right! Time for a mantra. I will punch and kick correctly and with the right force!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Red Jaw

I was actually looking forward to coming to class tonight. I have to admit that there are times where I'm either dreading it or too exhausted to contemplate the exercise. However, after such a long hiatus I've been looking forward to going back with some regularity.

So Cook came early and I asked permission to start teaching him the first kata. Teaching kata is so difficult. I think the art is determining how much detail you should give a person. I definitely don't have that. I have the tendency to talk too fast and try to correct every little thing.

Sensei was big on basics tonight. Which I thought was great just for my own development. Block drills and movement. Great for the new guy and great for me - the old new guy.

The second hour was all ground work and fending shoots to the hips and legs. The one that really sticks out in my head is the catch of the back of the neck. We form a cup over the yuki's neck and ride our middle fingers past the ear lobe and then press the nerves in the jaw. Holy cow! Dropped me like a slaughtered hog. This required very good timing, but once achieved was very effective.

From there defending and attacking into a kick while you are on the ground. Tough but fun as hell. It was rather sobering that you'd probably get a busted rib if your timing was off and it probably will be in a bar on the floor. But once we had them down we learned a nice submission on the foot. I wasn't paying attention and Check kicked me in the lower abdomen with her free foot. Keep that other knee up!

By the way, when I said I wasn't sore last time I was incredibly hasty in that statement. I spent the weekend taking ibuprofen hoping that I wouldn't die. Getting back to shape is going to be tough, but I've started.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back! again...

Sensei asks me, "how do you feel?"
"I'm fat, old and hung over - well maybe not in that order - more like hung over, fat and old."

A month of indulgence made my face look like a wadded up bundle of sheets. Pale and blotchy with heavy lines under my eyes, I endeavored to work as hard as I could without pulling an myocardial episode.

So I'm back, again. Sensei has been calling regularly to tell me what's coming up and see how I was doing. After one month of 12 hours days, six days a week I've been feeling pretty frazzled. On top of this my wife and have had a not stop stream of visitors and social obligations. The real icing to this cake has been an almost constant battle with a flu that never seems to completely clear up. Even last night Sensei commented on my slight nasal honk.

The night before was my wife's birthday. I stayed up way too late and and drank way too much for a work day. I was groaning most of the day at work, not being terribly productive when Sensei called because he was getting two new students and wanted the class to be filled out. The proved to be an excellent excuse to get to class.

The two new girls didn't start that day. They just watched a bit and promised they'd be back in the future. However we have a new guy who started while I've been in hiatus. I'll call him Cook. Tall and thin and what seems to be the perfect attitude for starting out in beatings, he was a pleasure to work with.

Anywho - I'm not nearly sore as I thought I'd be. Yeah!

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...