Sunday, July 31, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Ever mindful of how grueling the Brown belt test was, my focus has been directed at my cardiac fitness. Luckily one of my friends is a physical therapist and has a impressive knowledge in sports training. Unfortunately, he reckons that I need to focus on anaerobic exercise as it matches my level of activity during testing.
About two or three weeks ago I tried emulate what that might be by taking a look at various workouts on-line and mirroring what I could. My normal workout is kata, rowing machine, kata, burpees, etc. If I can do 40 minutes I’m impressed with myself. I’ve estimated that 170 bpm is my anaerobic threshold and my PT has told me that I need to get up there and work at that for 30 seconds or more and then bring it down to 165 or less for a few minutes and then drive it back up.
So Dave calls me up and asks me to go running with him as part of his routine and I think to myself, “what a great idea. I’ll be able to confirm my level of fitness in an objective fashion”. I told Dave that I’d probably be able to do a mile, but after that I couldn’t say. No problem we’d run as far as we could, follow it up with walking and then sprint up hill on a 5K course. I should have known ahead of time that I’d be pushing myself well beyond my capabilities.
The first mile was entirely pleasant, I was pushing 160+ most of the time so a small hill would blast me past 170. It’s the perfect interval training! And then we got to mile 2. I wasn’t blacking out, but I definitely just couldn’t get enough air – what a horrible feeling. Objectively, I thought this was really exactly what I needed, but subjectively the feeling of suffocation is about as worse as it gets for me. On top of that Dave looked very relaxed and not out of breath at all. If I had the energy I would have been bitter and jealous.
By mile three I was mostly walking fast but he had designed his course with the hills at the very end of the track and as agreed upon earlier we had to run up the hills. Perfect for anaerobic work, but now my legs weren’t cooperating. The simply weren’t functioning. I’ve heard people say that it’s like moving through molasses and I would say that was very accurate, but on top of that I couldn’t breath. On the last hill I was faltering and had to restart the running many times and just fell over at the top. Dave hauled me to my feet and made me walk around for another 10 minutes. He’s the devil.
When I was somewhat rested I wanted to show him my test kata and could barely get through it. No balance or strength. Yikes.
Today I feel like someone beat me with hammers. Ugh.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I had to miss Thursday night class because of work pushing it’s nosey requirements into my life. I had some visiting folks from the mother ship in the big city and had to squire them around. It’s not like they were bad or anything, but I had to get them back to the airport after an exceedingly long day. I just had to remind myself, “this is why I get paid”.
Class was still going on for a bit when I showed up so I said hi and made an appointment to hang out with Teacher on Friday. I’d put together a few more pieces and parts to my kata and wanted to find out if I was going in the correct direction. Here’s were I’m at, but I’ve got a slightly different ending after the double punches.
Instead of the jumping axe at the end I’ve got some hand work. Teacher made it very clear – “This is a kata that a green belt can do, but you’d better be doing the techniques all at a Black belt level”. Yikes!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I talked to Teacher this weekend and told him that I’d gotten a bit further with my test Kata and was hoping to meet up with him to check my progress. I really didn’t want to be moving on and have him rework a bunch of my stuff. I’m not terribly smooth with the few things I have so to have major changes would be a bit anxiety producing.
We met early yesterday and I went through my starting sequence, one long pass and second sequence. Teacher corrected a few pieces and changed around the entry and substance of the second pass. I feel kind of bad because he’s such a part of it and won’t have any surprise, but I’m guessing he wants me to look good in front of the other Teachers.
Needless to say I’m getting rather excited by the test, but not having a clear idea of when it’s going to occur makes me a bit anxious. Preparations for something nebulous make me nervous of course, so I’m just focusing on the kata and my cardio. Currently I’m using my rower every other day to grind out 5000 meters and that pushes my endurance to it’s limit. It’s roughly around 25 minutes at 160 bpm. I follow that with kata work and I can burn 500+ calories in a hour. I’m hoping the alternating exercises will pay off in the sparring and whatever they throw at me.
Dave has offered to take me on a running date, but I’m not much of a runner. However, I’ll try to make a mile on Friday night on his normal 3 mile cross country course. It’ll be a good measurement of muscles and fitness.
As usual, the ramp up to testing brings Teacher Slim out of the woodwork. It felt like a year since I’ve seen him in class, but he was in his regular jovial mood and still applied a wonderfully painful twist to everything we did. I mention his presence because for my Brown Belt test he simply asked me to spell Tang Soo Do. I was grateful for the rest break, but I couldn’t spell to save my life. At the end of class he asked me some basic Karate terms in Japanese. I only know a few of these, but wondered if he was going to ask me that on the test. I just made my flash cards!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Now that my system seems to have settled from my vacation I’ve been focusing on fitness and my kata. Although this won’t help me aerobically or anaerobically I thought it was pretty kick ass.
Such a simple set and so good.
My kata is coming along finally. I don’t have anything very fancy so the form is a standard “I” shaped form. I’ve taken some hand techniques from our 10th hyung, Neihan Shi Cho Dan, but Teacher has had me simply focus on things that I do well and where I can demonstrate that I’ve mastered the technique (balance, execution, etc.). I’ll try to get some video of that so I can check my own progress and express chagrin at my horrible performance.
Friday, July 15, 2011
I went down to Central America to visit my wife for a couple of weeks and had a great time, but as it relates to my practice I was pretty bad. Our schedule is usually very compressed so there is little time or space to practice kata or technique. However, during long rides I was able to start the mental work on my Black Belt test kata. I’ve got the first eight moves nailed down and after last night I’m ready move to the next four or five.
Upon return to the States I ran into a rather frustrating phenomena – persistent diarrhea. It was if as soon as I had water in Northern America my body went into total shock. I’ve been home almost a week now and I’ve been barely able to get through a work day and I definitely haven’t been to the gym. After a four days of meds I thought I could do class last night, but I was dragging hard. One of Teacher’s favorite questions is, “are you alright?” when I’m panting. Last night the answer was, “no”.
Each day I’ve been incrementally better, but today seems to the closest to a low level of regular health. This weekend I’ll construct the next four moves or more. And then try to get a bit of cardio in. Boy do I look skinny.
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