Friday, May 15, 2009

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 guy for me because I perpetually feel the same way.  Although lately it’s more due to fact that the last year had sporadic attendance to class. 

Technically we are both proficient in our strikes and blocks – Teacher is still pushing “in close” fighting techniques – be me and the other guy would only get so far before we’d have to break and take a minute breather.  Shameful really, but we both will endeavor to do less of this in upcoming weeks. 

On the aging front Teacher is experiencing the weirdest physical problem that I know is causing him a lot of anxiety.  He normally struggles with plantar fasciitis, but now his ankles appear to be retaining fluid and appear to be painful.   He’s definitely not one to seek out medical care, but he’s got be close on this one.  Ouch.

Caught a ridge hand across the bridge of my nose with a very large cartilaginous crunch.  Everyone stopped as I knuckled away a manly tear.  No blood after the sensational sound.  Dang.

We practiced diverting knee shots with our knees and elbows – oh god, do my legs hurt today. 

Caught my thumb in Teachers sleeve – snap.  Not pleasant.  No problem today though.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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 technique.  That, and I feel old and creaky.  At least Teacher and the other BB where in the same place.  The sister probably laughed to herself at our constant litany of discomfort. 

We broke from our standard drills to practice more reality based stuff.  Basically infighting.  Use of elbows and knees with a ridge hand or hammer fist thrown in for fun. 

The 2nd half of class was lock and throw review (aikido).  I was partnered with sister and she is so frustrating to work with.  I just played teacher to her and went over all the basics.  Every time I do the techniques on her there is no effect.   Her flexibility makes 99% of our moves worthless.  When we rotated I went over to Teacher and dropped him in a half second with too much force – we both realized that you try so hard with Sister that you end up overdoing it for everyone else. 

Dang I’m sore.

Friday, May 08, 2009

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 the class.

Worked on Tuesday with expansion.  Teacher is making nice combos that even the basic students can grasp.  Fun for everyone.  I focused on unwinding the torso for more power generation, but because I baby my knees I can get low and do it properly. 

Ended with knife attack training.  Tried the knuckle punch to the hand and ended up doing the knuckle to knuckle.  Hands hurt today. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

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. 

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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 three assaults in two months.  This led to a discussion on the schools responsibility, liability and what to do if he came back.  Apparently he’d been asked not to continue at the Judo school.  I hadn’t even realized that he was trying to go there. 

It got me to thinking about our open door policy to accept any students.  Does the Teacher have the right to be selective?  His approach of let them taste and then they move on has always worked, until Nilon.  I guess we were all assuming that he’d “get it” after some point.  Ah well. 

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