Sunday, February 24, 2008

Private Lesson 5

Each refinement knocks a piece away from the bad form or bad balance. For a moment I felt like a sculpture and Teacher was the artist slowly chiseling away the imperfections. That is until my legs got too tired to hold me up anymore. When the legs tire I tend to stand up and and then my balance goes to hell. So we had great progress while I was fresh, but as I got tired we had to move on to the next thing more frequently.

In O Dan there is a transition that requires me to switch to the hind leg and then come around with a crescent kick which is complimented with a downward block. This is challenging to me because if I don't do it correctly, my body spins past the desired end point. So today we worked on where I'm looking and keeping my head up. Two simple things that erased a lot of problems.

After that we went to knife attacks. I realized as he got the bowie knife out how I really dislike these exercises. I mean I know why I don't like them - I'm not great at the defense and these are the most likely to occur in our town which adds an aspect of unwanted realism.

To my surprise I was able to go through about six that really worked well and a few that are really fantastic. These attacks are based on a straight forward thrust and slashing. Nothing to do with someone who knows how to really fight with a knife. So my confidence got a boost, but I had to take a lot of shots in the belly before I really started moving my torso.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Private lesson 4

"This is what Teacher Slim looks for....", "This is what Teacher Slim looks for...."

The third time I heard this I started getting mildly panicky. Teacher keeps referring to what Teacher Slim is going to be looking for - as in my Brown Belt Test. I can't believe I'm experiencing panic over this. I know the source - the fine tuning we are going through is bringing up all kinds of things I feel I should have had down pat by now. The angle of a foot in a kick, the placement of the leg in chamber, the accuracy of a punch, the creativity of a counter-attack, balance in a particularly difficult Kata, etc.

I have an additional concern. Sunday I started having some problem breathing. It felt like I couldn't get any air and passed in about 20 seconds, but it happened three or four times. It was as though I had sprinted up steps and needed an extra breath to get a little more air. This agitated my wife so she called the doctor. The next day I got for every damn test in the world. Needless to say after all that they find out I have a virus of some sort. Since we are on the end of the world the results won't get here for two weeks at the most. Great. In the mean time it lethargy and occasional shortness of breath - which sounds like me anyway!

For whatever macho reason I couldn't bring myself to tell Teacher. I feel like I've given him so many reasons for poor performance that this would adding insult to injury. So I huffed and puffed during our lesson and looked generally out of breath most of the time. Thankfully his back is bothering him so we didn't get to far into throws or take downs. I was rusty!

My poor knee groaned through one take down. I've been nursing this damn thing for three weeks now and the one time I have to do a quick drop it shrieks like tore it open. No pain today so I count that as a blessing. I was worried that I would be paying a price this morning.

I starting to fear the test - not for it's difficulty, but that I won't do my best.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Private lesson 3 (Toes, turns and twists)

With my quad/knee slowly on the mend I thought I'd give beatings a try this weekend. We both skipped last week due to prior engagments and that was fine for me. Apparently more rest for my knee is better.

We started out with first kata to make sure everything I learned was still there since the last two weeks. Thankfully it was, but as this is prepratory to Brown Belt testing (it's not even a secret anymore - hello stress out) everything is picked apart for analysis. So if I set up in a poor stance I corrected immediately to which Teacher responded to with praise. I rather do it right the first time of course.

He had me work on side kicks for a while and taught me a litte trick. When I go into chamber with my foot - making sure it's really high of course - was too make sure I had my kicking foot in the 90 degree with my toes as far up as I can get them and the kick and my balance are almost perfect in execution. He had me watch myself in the mirror when my chamber was low. I had no idea how ineffectual the kick looks. I guess it could be at least somewhat of a shot, but it looks horrible as the line goes from the floor to the full extension.

As we worked through a couple of katas - done at the slowest speed - he pointed out something that's come up a few times. The body as a unit. When we do throws we have to land with the body as a complete unit. When I turn I have to make sure I do it as a complete unit. Not something I've been practicing.

Finally, how is my foot placed in the final part of the kick. It is not supposed to be horizontal, but pointed slightly down to make sure the heel is the striking point.

Practice, practice and to wonder what the test will entail and when.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Book Meme

Pat mentioned this. It'll keep my mind off of things for a bit.

"Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!) Find Page 123. Find the first 5 sentences. Post the next 3 sentences. Tag 5 people."

Be that guide whom love sustains.
Rise above the daily strife: lift on high the good you find.
Help to heal the hurts of life.

-from Signing the Living Tradition

Depressed for no good reason

When I was young I could have sworn we healed overnight. In contrast I'm stronger and much more agile than I was back then, but so easy to break and so long to heal. The lack of activity is eating at me. I'm doing katas standing up just to remember and working out at the gym has taken on a new level of non activity. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes just doesn't give me the same umph.

Be patient....

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...