Thursday, April 24, 2008

Endurance Round 2

"What happened?" I'm not sure where my body went, but Nilon's body fell on me and I heard and felt a sickening crunch. Why does it have to be the bad knee? There is probably another rule in there, but I don't have the wherewithal to figure it out now.

It was the class I dread. Me and Nilon for the whole two hours. To his credit he was perfectly fine and we worked well together. The only time was on the mats when we were trying to figure out a circular defense on a shoot type attack. Always one to modify what we were trying to learn, he tried something exotic after going under my arm and knifing my throat. As if that wasn't enough he tried a throw well beyond his ability and we went down in a pile. Both he and Teacher heard the bad noise and were honestly concerned.

It's an hour later and it doesn't look any worse for wear, but it aches more than usual. I'll count myself lucky for the moment.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Endurance Round

When I went to class last night I assumed that it would begin a period of several months of toleration, frustration and teeth grindation. I actually thought to myself how ironic it was that I was looking forward to Beard coming back to class next week. I even thought about skipping class, but realized Teacher probably wasn't thrilled, so I put on my big boy gi and went to class.

Irony - I spent a whole day preoccupied about class and it ended up being Little Sister and myself. Teacher asked what we wanted to work on. I wanted to go back to Roundhouse kicks and LS wanted kata. I wanted to continue on the roundhouse kicks, which in retrospect, was not a good idea. I wanted to refine something that was starting to feel good, but instead everything seemed to be firing poorly. My back started knotting up after about 10 minutes. Thankfully the kata wasn't too bad - for once.

Little Sister left at the hour mark, so Teacher and I ended up sparring for 45 minutes! I'm not going to say this was non-stop because it was filled me grabbing a body part that was injured in an exchange and jumping away to groan or shout. The important thing here was that it was 45 minutes! That meant that I was able to control my breathing and keep fairly relaxed.

The next morning I could barely get out of bed. So stiff and sore I ended up walking around like the proverbial old man for most of the day. A good night sleep and a lot of Ibuprofen took care of most of that.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rule 3

Rule 3 - You can do the technique perfectly over and over and soon as Teacher is watching you do it wrong. Or rather you might be aware of every bit of the technique that was wrong. Down to the angle of your hand, or just plan falling over after kicking.

There are two guys in class who are not bad, but they require me to be constantly on my guard. They are the kind of guy that constantly takes a poke at you when you aren't paying attention. I feel like the focal point because I never see them do it to other people. Am I permissive to this behavior? I can't tell. It reminds me of children that can't stop grabassing.

It can be argued that they are excellent for me to practice my situational awareness, but I find that it takes away from my ability to concentrate on the learning. One of these is Beard. Tuesday he says that he won't be in class for three weeks and was silently pleased because it meant that I didn't have to watch my back so much. Of course when I walk in Nilon shows up! I thought he was long gone. Now with a pot belly and long hair, he claims that he needs to get in shape. Still the same guy who explosively warms up and never appears to be listening. To add insult to injury Cook with be gone for 3 months, so it'll be me, Nilon, and Teacher. I hope Little Sister shows every once in awhile.

The highlight was working on roundhouse kicks tonight. Never a favorite because we warm up without having a target so it's all balance and finding the proper spot for chamber. For once in my life I was able to do it with no problem. Will miracles never cease! So he moved on to the water dummies for a target and I never received one critique. Granted I suppose I'm not supposed to be showing signs of incompetence at my "level" but I like having the correction. I guess a step up for me.

I believe I will endure the next three months with silent stoicism and if I can make my way through this I will be a better man.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just another...

No rules tonight, but it sure was a great class. Teacher was at his best with building blocks on skills. From basic hands and one legged balancing to side kicks for multiple attackers to reaction timing drills. Exhausting and thrilling.

Beard brought a guy in from way in the past. He's been off to Iraq and been through a horrible divorce. He doesn't have a lot going on so we might see him a bit more in class. Great guy.

Teacher has us practice our basic locks and I end up teaching new guy. I'm starting to think he's really getting me into the space to teach a few techniques very well, because each time I end up teaching the first new lesson. I'd like to eventually try to teach the technique to the same person a couple of times in a row if they were consistent.

I got kicked in the lower ribs and had to bow out for a second. I had terrible breathing again. I swear I'm breathing regularly and it seems very clear that I'm holding my breath. I have to force myself to keep my mouth open. I feel like mouth breathing doesn't make me look very intelligent.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Potatoe's rule 2

Colin told me several months ago that the secret to giving the side kick authority was by giving the last few angles of moment a bit of snap. I have to admit that this puzzled me because I just couldn't picture it. I was so proud that my foot was hitting the proper angle the moment of impact that I wasn't able to see another layer in the onion that is the sidekick.


Rule number 2 - Teacher will tell you over and over the same words, but until you are ready to receive the substance of what they are saying it doesn't work and doesn't mean anything.

Rule 2a - You will have a moment in which the same crap everyone tells you suddenly makes sense and you can change your form or behavior or mind enough to modify on command.

Teacher asked Cook and I what we wanted to work on. He got identical blank looks. This means side kicks and lots of them. That's when I had my epiphany (or rule 2a). I'm not even sure I can describe this accurately, but let's say that you are 9/10s complete with the kick. You've got your foot moving out - and this is the crucial bit -you are supposed to role your hip over so that the completion of this part of the kick has you looking over your shoulder, a slight crick your lower back and a perfect view of your kicking foot on target. To get this snap, just before you roll your hip over (if you don't know what I mean I'll have to go into that some other time), and you knee is still fairly bent, you have to recruit you glute and ham in a contraction that actually forces the hip over and leg shoots out.

I've heard this (thanks Colin) and it never sunk in until tonight. Now that I understand, I have to get the timing right. No easy feat for someone trying to maintain their balance and aim at the same time.

The rest of the class was a review of forward rolls, rolls into breakfall, and back breakfall. I rang my bell on those because I wasn't watching my own neck very well. I have to keep my chin down a bit on those. I had good time though. Then it was on to wrist locks. Kotegoeshi? So painful, but surprisingly less than usual. A good night.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Potatoe's rule 1

There are exceptions to every rule.

However, exceptions are rare.

Tonight I was filled with dread and excitement about returning to class. It was Teacher, Little Sister and Cook. Thankfully it went slow and easy, but I bruised easily. It's going to take a long time to develop the bruise layer again.

Here is the first rule - whatever body part is hurting and you want to protect; it will focused upon and abused during class.

Case in point - my knees apparently both have tendinitis in them. Or at least it feels like it. In the second hour we practice a grab with a kick in the back of the leading knee. Perfect.

After about 20 or 30 0f these it's my turn to kick. I can barely pick my leg up to do the kick. So I have to do more to get it right. It was one of those nights where no matter how much time and effort went in to tell me how to do it, nothing was going to work. I could do it on short folks, but anyone my height was a whole different situation. Painful.

Friday, April 04, 2008

PU review

Since there isn't much going on in terms of class until next week I'm just working on kata and pushups. I got to 40 pushups on knuckles this morning and switched to half height for 20 more! I think I'm still too sore to do more.

O Dan, Bassei, Neihanshi, repeat. I'm up to move 20 on Neihanshi. Tough to remember.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fake out

I was so excited. Last night was the big night to return to class. I had my bag packed two hours before it was time to go. Everything was in order. I left early to participate in the kid's class.

I get there and the sign on the door says, "no Karate till April 8th."

I went home somewhat dumbfounded. I practiced Neihanshi Chodan for a bit.

Wow, Teacher went on vacation. I thought that was only me!

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...