Showing posts from 2009

One-step continued

I hurriedly grabbed some time with the internets before class and spotted a move we hadn’t done in ages – the simultaneous block and strike.  I’d actually learned this when I took Wing Chun in High School ages ago and was surprised when it came up in class since TSD seems so static with punch, block, kick, block.  Anyway, it appeared to be well received and actually kind of challenging for our newer members.  I gather even after a few months of punch then block changing the pattern is very difficult.  Thankfully teaching it made it fairly easy, but Teacher had me constantly slow the pace so everyone could catch up.  Another lesson in teaching.  Do a lot of rote work so people can get comfortable.  I’m teaching to a lot of new folks.  Ugh.  I have a huge desire to skip to the practical demo and I need to slow way down.The two sisters were tested during the last hour and did pretty good so we have two new Greens.  Tonight one will have to redo her hyung/kata due to a couple of missteps.…

X block

In some attempt to provide fresh and interesting grist for the class mill, I dug back in my memory to find something that might grab the classes attention.  After reviewing even more videos on one-step sparring I got a memory jog!  For a very limited time in the very distant past we were taught the X-block.  Basically making a scissors with your arms to stop an overhead strike or front snap kick.  We haven’t practiced this block in years and it didn’t dawn upon me as to why until I was teaching the evolution.  I went from high blocks and low blocks to x blocks.  Here’s what I found was bad.  You block your line of sight, both hands are occupied and unless you are following up with a technique to take the wrist or heel it doesn’t leave you in a good spot to riposte.  I’m definitely learning the critical lesson in teaching – deeper understanding of technique by teaching and demonstrating.  I reviewed the lesson with Teacher and Beard after class, feeling that it went poorly.  Beard said…


I’m already planning for tonight’s lesson after studying some online one-step sparring videos.  I can’t believe the wide variety of style differences purported to be all TSD.  Never the less, I found a lot of ideas and grabbed one I like.During Tuesday’s class Teacher and I hastily pulled together a lesson for the second hour during the rest break.  I threw out a couple of ideas and we ran through the evolution of exercises that would lead up the final execution.I’ve always enjoyed how he takes a few basics moves and tied them together.  We tried that with a wrist grab into a lock and submission.  We broke it into small parts and tried to tie that together.  Only this time I was explaining everything and using Teacher as the Uke.  Sweet. After the lesson everyone applauded. 

1 minute Judo

This was from way back, but I wanted to show it again. Keep up if you can.

glumbert - 1 Minute Judo Lesson


Somewhere around the 10th punch to my chest and palm-strike to my face I started to think I better concentrate on blocking. We have a lot of different folks show up for class, no doubt for a wide variety of reasons, but our latest iconoclasts are the two sisters and their brother. They’ve been coming off and on for the last 6 months. Although I can’t get a lot of details out of them it appears that they are home schooled, are very active and come from a huge family. The two girls have taken Karate in the past and it must have been fairly hard style. Their blocks are definitely strikes.The older of the two, Strong Hand, Got placed with me in the first hour to work on one and two step sparring. Within minutes of some simple one-two punches I was splattered by her blood and inwardly groaning about the bruises I was going to be sporting tomorrow.We ended up stopping periodically so she could put some more band-aids on. What a mess. I hope it all comes out in the wash._____During …


I wasn’t much of a teacher last night; more of giggler.  Whether it was the flu or an external confluence of events, our class was down to eight.  Even that sounds funny because that used to be such a big number to us.  However, it’s the perfect number for rotation so that was pretty great.  By the end of the night we were having such a good time everyone was laughing.  I wasn’t helping the level of seriousness.Giant got his gi last night.  Size 7 and still a bit tight.  Dang.  I taught him a take down – capture a punch and pull the arm across the chest, take your other hand and do a jaw strike continue to twist the head and turn your hips.  Uke goes down easy.  He’s so big that he doesn't have to use any effort.  The strength in his torso far exceeds all of us together.  The 2nd part of class started with some mats out, but we never really went far with that.  However during the warm up I was showing the students how to roll and then slap to arrest the movement and also to practi…

Post class note

Class Tuesday was fine and went quick.  I didn’t develop any particular insight into my own skills, but settled in and just participated and taught when asked to.  The newest folks don’t hesitate to ask me on technical matters which I kind of like.So Teacher calls me up yesterday and tells me that he thought I was doing better with Teaching.  We went into a long discussion about the various students and their skills.  Unfortunately I still have a long way to go when it comes to teaching.  Teacher has a spontaneous approach to what the lesson might consist of, but he’s been doing it so long a majority of his work is pretty flawless and everything dovetails nicely with the theme of the night.  Mine stuff is pretty basic and pretty bite-sized.  He ended the conversation with, “I noticed that you seem more relaxed when you’re teaching.”  And that I need to count with more authority.  I guess my quiet wheezing doesn’t motivate the class very well.

Teaching 3

Somewhere between yelping in pain and standing on my toes for the umpteenth time I began to grin.  I had just experienced something naturally without thinking about it.  In our 2nd hour I was teaching one our newest students, Cop, wrist locks and was being constantly interrupted by other students with questions about technique.  It was then I realized I felt comfortable with educating someone else.  Normally my mental experience is something on par with, “what if they ask me this A – I don’t know A!” and so on, but last night I was able follow my own track so I knew exactly where I was going and just stick to those things.In retrospect I wish I had a laminated card so I could go over the techniques (wrist and shoulder locks) in some semblance of order.  I feel like I confuse the students because I’m often dredging up memories instead of focusing on the technique at hand. 
---Another class with 15 folks!  The room is packed.  Grinding the basics in is very tiring mentally and physicall…

Speech and Teach

Teacher took an unexpected turn Thursday by starting a long speech about Karate/Tang Soo Do.  I’m not sure what spurred that on, but it was nice to see everyone pay attention and try to absorb a bit of history on the art.  The second half of class included my lesson on crescent kicks.  Thankfully I had talked to teacher for a bit before I started because my normal “get faster as I get stressed” technique appeared to be in check.  I started everyone off with some front kicks to warm up and then move to a quick speech on the inside crescent.  I keep in same position while they got used to that and then had them move forward with the kick.  Since then they seemed so comfortable we went to outside crescents and I could see right away that that was a more difficult skill to absorb.  I ended up using a pad so they could see where to bring the power in that kick and noticed that several people, although low, could generate a lot of force without losing balance.  Cool!We ended the class with …

Lesson 2

Last night was my second attempt at a lesson.  I only had the vaguest idea of what I was going to do, because I figured Teacher was going to keep things basic.  When he split the class in the 2nd hour and placed me with Teacher Slim I definitely didn’t do well.Teacher Slim, who rarely comes to class anymore, has a very eclectic teaching style.  Basically, whatever comes to him he will teach.  So super advanced technique will be taught hand in hand with some basic skill.  Teacher Slim also has 4 black belts and is probably pushing 60, but he can snap me like a wet towel so I find “teaching” with him to be very intimidating.  Plus, my teaching style is very methodic and poorly timed.  So together the students in our group has a constant questioning look on their faces.  -segue-
Teacher asked us a question, “what’s the difference between a professional and a Master?”  I was about to spout out, “the pay,” but held my tongue. 
He said, “the professional will practice the move until he ge…

Back to the beginning - again

I can't believe that so much time has gone by since the last post. At least I'm going to class regularly again, but (I'm having a hard time remembering to post the next day and then class comes up again and I forgot what I was going to write about.

After I got back from vacation I was in for a surprise. Teacher warned me, but I still couldn't believe it. Our class ranks have swelled unbelievably. For the first time our class has a consistent number of members (around 14). In repsonse Teacher has stepped up his game on teaching. He's become more concise, more timely and impressive in his ability to match the class to the general skill level of everyone. I find myself a bit bored and then force myself to focus on my form and movement. The classes are flying bye at incredible speed.

Now that I'm trying to teach segments I'm finding that matching to the class is incredibly difficult. I came somewhat prepared to work on breakfalls and basic slaps, but…


I’m very behind in writing because life is complicated, but I just wanted to jot down a few notes about my last class.  I talked with Teacher about doing a section in class as he had suggested.  I picked side-kicks and told him what I’d be doing.  I took up a majority of the 2nd hour, but it felt like a longer time.  It’s tiring to do all the thinking as well as the work.The lesson:
- side kicks
- side kick with step behind
- water dummy practice
- partner drillsThe first three were pretty good, but the partner drills were pretty crappy.  We really needed folks of similar height and flexibility to start off, but it didn’t go that way.   Short, tall, flexible, not – argh!


Crick, crack.  Crick Crack.  “Jeeze,” I thought to myself.  “Is this what my wife heard over the years?”  With the plethora of new students Teacher is making a very solid beginners lesson plan which requires endless repetition of the kicks and work on stances.  In our discussions last year before my Brown Belt exam he was emphasizing that I needed to be an example in form and so on.   The primary example is that I present the stance in it’s most traditional form (Japanese not Korean).  Let’s just say that I have a very difficult time having the top of my leg in parallel to the ground.  So he explains to the class that because of my age some the things that should be done and emulated aren’t going to happen.  Well, pride goeth before the fall.  I forced myself in a lower stance (still not the parallel) and felt pretty good about it because it wasn’t too uncomfortable on my knees – and then noticed the clicking noise.  That just doesn’t sound healthy.  Long story short – I’m back on the…

A Well Executed Day

I normally jot down my notes either the night of class or the next day before work gets started,  so this is a bit behind since we have class tonight and I’m writing about something that has happened almost five days ago.The class was invigorated with some more new students so we actually started fairly early and has a small rest break making our class closer to the 2 hours that I say we do, but normally don’t.  Teacher is still on the formula, so I was able to apply a few things after our talk to the class.  When I was leading the warm-ups I simply didn’t ask permission and told people what to do.  I led people in counting and did some corrections and hints through out the class.  The hardest thing to do for me is to consciously get my mind in the correct place.  I’m doing a lot of self checking and stopping myself from placing the way I speak and think in the pejorative.  I find this exhausting and distracting.  However, it keeps my mouth shut more often.  Probably a nice break for …

The Big Talk

I think I may have mentioned that Teacher and I talked briefly about what’s next in my development.  After class last night we met for an hour and half on what’s expected of me for my Black Belt.  I don’t think I can put everything into a nutshell, but it felt like a particularly intensive therapy session.  I came in thinking that we’d be talking about physical requirements and how to figure that out based on my age, but Teacher wants to focus on these things:- be assertive (without being a dick)
- teach portions of the class in a more formal manner
- be more situationally awareI left thinking I rather have a hard physical test (which he assured me I would) than the above.  Situational awareness can be worked on all the time, but the other things are going to require to me face aspects of myself that are a struggle.  By my very nature I’m easy going to a fault and avoid all conflict.  However I’ll do this to the nth degree; so much so that it creates conflict in other areas.  Unf…

Fat On One Side

I was blabbing with Teacher last week and he had mentioned in passing that Beard would be testing.  I had forgotten that and was wondering why Teacher was dragging his feet about starting class last night.  Teacher has either become formulaic or stuck in a rut; either way I’m enjoying it.  This is the formula:- Run through all strikes
- Run through all kicks
- drills using above
- variation drills
- break
- kata/hyungs
- light sparring
- testing (last night anyway)My concern is that this will go by the wayside now that testing is done for a bit.  Even though I’ve been back for a week I’m enjoying the regularity and consistency.Little Sister and Beard both tested for their rank last night.  It’s interesting to see them both do something similar with their decades of age difference.  Beard, at 50 plus, was pulling some super low stances, but was shaky on basic kicks.  I have never perspired that much in one setting.  It was a bit better than Tuesday.  When we were st…

Panic and Pain

I was talking to Teacher before class telling him how I felt.  It felt like the day before tournament.  A mini panic attack induced by adrenaline.  Lots of shallow, rapid breathing.  Of course, as soon as I talked about it I could breath fine.  What a head case I’ve been.  I’m not even sure what’s kept me away for this long, but I’ve been generated plenty of excuses or finding any reason not to go.  The standard is my wife saying the weather is nice and that we should do something special.  My first impulse is to blow off beatings and hang out in the lawn with her.  Let’s just say that I followed that impulse a lot this summer.Class is more of the same from the past, but it was awesome to come back and get moving again.  I think I’d been psychologically and physically preparing for the last month or so.  I’ve been back to the gym working out and running more to get my heart squared away.  I found out that it really doesn’t.  Something about waving your hands and feet in the air doesn’…

Big Class

After being off last week I wasn’t really thinking of any surprises when I walked through the door.  The kids class was finishing up and they had about five kids altogether.  My presumption was that we’d have the same, but low and behold 10 people showed up!  I led the warm-ups and then Teacher took us through the basics (strikes till your arms fall out and kicks until your knees shake).  I realized in the middle of this how sharp his eyes are for quick correction.  There is a constant litany of “turn your foot more, bend your knee more, bring your leg up farther, etc.” during the basics.  I tend to get cocky and he still corrects me on sloppy technique.I was partnered with a new guy (Swede’s Dad) and warned him about protecting his shoulders during all the Shudo’s and Hammerfist practice.  I explained that it’s like throwing a baseball over and over again with both arms.  It shouldn’t be done at full intensity during practice until thoroughly warmed and then you still have to watch i…

Age and wisdom

In the evening after class, I often think of clever titles or themes for the post I’m going to right, but you should know you (the reader) never gets to see any of them.  I’m usually groggy because it’s later in the evening and my internal clock is trying to relax me after getting smacked around by kids half my age.  The newest theme that has been cropping up is one of aging.  When does a striking/kicking based martial art become no longer appropriate due to the age of the practitioner?  Taking into account that several folks over 40 are in phenomenal shape (not me) I can’t help but wonder if I’m making myself worse off when me and my partner have to stop and message our knees while the teenagers look on in a mixture of humor, disgust, and pity.  I was partnered for bit with the returning black belt last night.  He’s a really pleasant, nice guy who likes to laugh, but he’s gained a lot weight in the last few years.  So he’s coming back to Karate to get some fitness going.  The perfect…

Weather, whether

I may have mentioned in the past that where I live we have rare decent weather.  I’m talking counting on both hands the amount of connected days of nice weather in the last five years.  This is a price we pay living where we do, but something strange happened this year.  We actually have nice weather for once.  And it’s been going on for three weeks.  Weird.  I’m only mentioning this because the local sport is to determine people’s moods by how bad or how good the weather had been.  The standard mode is that people tend to stay home when it’s really bad out or go play when the weather is nice.  This makes class suffer, but no one complains because we all understand.  So, at the end of three weeks of sunshine class consisted of me, a sister and one of the old black belts.  The minimal class can be very much like a private lesson, but the intensity is demanding.  I get frustrated being corrected and corrected over and over again on a move that I’d rather use muscle on instead of proper …

Pilgrim’s Progress

I’m not sure it’s possible, but I think I did a little better last night.  There wasn’t too much huffing and puffing and certainly no dark spots dancing before my eyes.  I am, however, incredibly sore, but not in spots I figured.  It seems like all my connective tissue had withered and now it fighting to regain some resiliency.  The worst is the top of the forearms near the elbow.  I don’t know enough of my own physiology to figure out what’s happened here, but I presume that the shudo practice on Tuesday must have done it.  Without Driver and Beard the class consisted of Teacher, me, India and Giggles.  India and Giggles are teen-age girls.  Teen-age girls drive me batty.  I’m not the first one to thrown stones in that I like to have a good time and joke when I can, but teenagers can have these giggling fits that are unstoppable.  It makes me want to practice a chokehold.  Thankfully Teacher can help them focus.   At half time Beard, Sister 1 and little Brother came in to add size to…

Out of Shape

I knew it’s been some time since I’ve done any type of vigorous exercise, but this was ridiculous.  We were probably 10 minutes into class after warm-ups, doing a block/strike drill.  Teacher wanted me to do an inside crescent kick immediately followed by a side kick.  All of you know you just have to keep your balance and it’s a snap.  Well, after two sets of 20 I could barely breath.  And if I didn’t get my heel pointed all the way around to the target my hips would bind on the side kick.  Grueling.  Maybe because it’s been so long since I’ve been, but for once the utilization of the hip snap to get the shoulders moving really seemed to work for once.  I didn’t fight myself too much and I was doing pretty good.  My lower back seems tender though.  We did some katas/hyungs at the end of class and picked up a few pointers that I had forgotten.  ---After the kids left one of the guys told us that he saw the cops put Nilon on the plane to the big city with handcuffs on!!!.  Apparently t…


In my defense:
- She's tall for her age
- She punches without restraint
- She's flexible to the point where locks are not functional
- She's about a foot shorter that me

So the attacker comes in with a punch, you do a cross block into grab (so you end up holding their right hand in lock with your right hand; standing behind the arm standing next to them). Then you hold their locked wrist, and brace their elbow across your chest. You take your left hand palm their jaw. Holding on that annoying pressure point.

Without fail when this is applied to me I'm in so much pain I can't breath. Without fail I haven't been able to apply to this anyone but someone my own height.

So Sister1 and I are partnered practicing this. During the demo I was unable to strike teacher just due to the lockout and position. I get Sister1 in position and ask her to hit me with total conviction that I have her locked up tight.

I end up sitting on the floor groaning, holding my kidney. Nice work Mr…

Time passes slowly and a bit quickly

By my last post I can see that time has gone by a lot faster than I anticipated. If it hasn't been work it's been school work slowly eating at my ability to get to beatings.

My muscles are so flaccid it makes me nervous to go because that's when the injuries seem like they occur (this is a lie - I find they occur when I'm feeling at my best and things get out of hand). Tonight the worst was when I was thrown the newer folks let go my hand and I'd get dropped unceremoniously on the mats. Not cool on the backside. I got partnered with Nilon at one point and missed the block which led me to a punch in the ear - ouch! Later I unintentionally popped him in the jaw -oops. I mean, I felt bad and all, but I'm celebrating now.

I can't believe I let him get to me the way he does - and I know I've ranted about this guy in the past, but he's like a bad penny always showing up. I hate that I have to mentally prepare myself to deal with him. As we put the mats awa…

Strike Again Harmonious Fists

Let's say that everything has a tempo.

I find patterns instructive and powerful tools for learning especially within beatings. For practice, getting a rhythm going just seems to create an expansive, hypnotic feeling. It's where you can let go of what's going on, step outside of yourself and look at what's going on in an objective fashion. Of course, I realize that this same pattern is the direct cause of problems in sparring or other one/two step applications because it builds up an almost neural pattern - a trap of repetitive training.

Last night I realized that without Nilon we established an otherworldly tempo of counting during the warm ups. Even if everyone finished the move at a different time the counting was always on the mark.

Later when we were doing partnered punching and movement drills I noticed the detrimental side of the rhythm. If a person has no rhythm then long-term drilling is subject to constant failure. It wasn't helped by me constantly stoppin…

Douchebag Chronicles

I had to leave class immediately.

I had to leave class immediately or I might have burst into laughter.

I ran up the stairs with a rictus like grin - smiling so hard I thought I'd tear the skin on my face.

Bob from Striking thoughts mentioned that guys like this will eventually have someone rain on their parade.

Tonight the rain came and the only disappointing thing about it was that I didn't get to bring the rain.

Nilon strolled into class a half hour late, but was on task and was fairly focused. But at the very end we had sparring. What a night it was. First, our new teenage girls showed that were tough as nails. Their session started off with a profound smack in the face that sounded like a gun shot. Whoa! Then came Beard and Nilon. It was epic. Nilon tried to bring the fight to Beard - literally trying his half-ass made up Judo moves on a guy with a Blackbelt in Judo; who's had it for over 20 years. I could see this going bad quick, but Teacher never made a move …

Douchebag Analysis

By the calendar it appears that a month has gone by since my last attendance to beatings. After a rich diet of beer and finishing other peoples meals for a month beatings was going to be hard. Thankfully everyone else appeared be doing about the same after the holidays.

Things haven't changed much with the group. Still a plethora of teenage girls with some of our original gang. Teacher is out of a lot of instruction due to a rotator cuff problem - even punching is painful.

Nilon is there of course. I was mentally prepared to see him so it was no surprise when he showed up late and joined the warmups, which I was leading, fouls the count by either shouting extremely loudly or off by a few beats and then precedes to do his own thing during stretching. Nilon is devotee to long distance running, but never figured out how to stretch. He is about the most inflexible person I've ever met and refuses to put time or effort into the process. So he gripes and ends up doing whatever. A…