Friday, October 30, 2009

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 gets it right and the Master practices the move until he never gets it wrong.”  Awesome.

Teacher Slim’s specialties are locks, painful locks, and brutal take downs.  Whereas my specialty is nothing.  Great teaching combo.  Anyway we started with kotegashi (wrist twist) which is fun, but when you work with younger folks with flexible wrists it becomes very difficult.  In steps Teacher Slim.  He introduces the concept of “softening” the opponent.   After locking the wrist up and bringing to your abdomen while turning, bring up your elbow into the face of the Uke and that will help he/she fall down easier.  Needless to say there was a lot of elbow-cheekbone contact, but the Uke does go down.

As the endless hour moved on I realized my anxiety to make a good lesson was being channeled into talking faster and moving faster which translated into a crappy teaching experience.  I really need to breath more and slow up.  Hell, even Teacher will stop and think and no one even blinks about that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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 Teacher looked at the class that was big as hell and filled with too many new folks and said maybe next week. I realized then that until the bulk of folks get the handle on blocks and kicks taking falls is going to be a ways off. There isn't going to be any sparring for awhile either. Sad face.

So it appears to me that I'll be working on the basics with everyone else and also teaching the same as well.

After Teacher and I had our discussion about being more assertive I've taking a more forward approach to the class. Having mostly new folks makes this easy and that makes correcting my long-time classmates a lot easier too. Maybe this growth will come along after all. I still find myself going over incidents and wondering if I would have handled it differently. Being assertive in real life is a significant change in the way I've handled myself so I see this as a long term project.

Bassai in the park

Holy Cow!  So much time has passed since I've sat down and collected my thoughts for a quick update about my martial practice.  March wa...