The thing about Beard is that he contains this huge amount of knowledge encapsulated in a person with little or no patience to explain extremely complex concepts to people with only the slightest idea about he’s talking about.
We had another huge class and because Teacher Slim was there we broke out the mats for almost the whole two hours. Slim teaches in the most non-linear fashion so you do a couple of techniques and ask him what he thinks and he’ll teach a dizzying array of alternatives while leaving you gasping in shock and awe.
To wit –our base technique was to block a punch at the elbow and bring our up our other arm (into what could be shoulder/neck choke), but moving to take down. You can either use you thumb in the neck (preferred) or press the shoulder (tough). So I’m practicing with two of the new folks and Slim comes up and shows two variations – one with a throw that blew Dave and Swimmer’s minds. Clearly beyond what they knew they’d be in for. Slim, thankfully, didn’t demo on them.
Beard came in at half time and participated in the various groups on the mat. Eventually working with me and my two folks. Whereas I’d like to think I’m gentle and repetitive he makes this pin-point focus on a very esoteric issue. In truth it’s really important and I’ve love knowing it, but he’ll get caught in that stuff and the new folks stand around with a dumb look on their face.
He ended up getting a bit distracted by Teacher so I was able to work on basic falls with my guys. I don’t know how anybody teaches this stuff. I mean I know all the hints and basic exercises to get them ready for the falls, but as soon as we do one they revert to reaching for the ground or landing on an elbow. Clearly something that takes a lot of time to get used to. In this case it was killing me because I’d have to stop them from landing poorly putting a huge strain on my already sad back. No head injuries so I was feeling pretty good about it.
Beard’s final touch of frustration and genius was the knee and balance. After we take someone down we are supposed to kneel on their liver (assuming you throw them on that side). Depending on where you land the person you throw can shimmy out pretty easily if you’re not careful. Beard’s expertise in Judo allowed him to show us an escape – don’t try to move the guy with your hip upward, try to move the hip on the floor under. I liken it to holding a cat (when they don’t want to) and then can rotate in their own skin. It’s a beautiful move, but my back was clearly screeching from the work of it.
At the end of the night by back was sore, I had a charlie-horse on my right leg, my right knee was slight swollen (wtf? Where did that come from?) and gi burns on my neck from the collar and the throws.
Tonight will be an added bonus in helping Teacher with women’s self-defense class. Three hours of getting punched in the balls. Wonderful.