Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Little More Action, A Little Less Conversation

Teacher called me a little earlier in the day and asked me to teach a section on side kicks.  He’s been experiencing some tendonitis in his arms and has been struggling with plantar fasciitis off and on over the years.  So my responsibility was fairly low, but I thought about it all day and tried to get my thoughts organized for class. 

When the time came I thought I was rather thorough, but after class I thought I might have gone on a bit much.  I spent a good 20 minutes breaking the moves down and getting everyone to focus on the little things.  Ah well, it was nice entry into the move to encourage thinking about the dynamics.  Storm, the advance TKD kicker, brought up a conversation about putting a snap into a kick.  He can put that last 5% of the move into nice twitch that really snaps beautifully, but trying to get folks to recognize that is really difficult.  I finally told them that it was an advanced technique. 

After class I met with Teacher for some beers and he wants me to take over the class for January while goes out of the country.  So I’ll get more time in being the sensei.  Hopefully I won’t have to do the kids class; of course I didn’t think about it till today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Choking

I had Teacher around the neck in textbook choke when a pain shot through my arm.  The next thing I noticed was that I was laying face down on the mat. 

We had rare few folks show up last night due to the weather, so we got to work on some very advanced techniques.  Normally this either fun or painful or both.  It was more painful last night than fun, but it went quick. 

Any technique that requires that delicate balance point of action and thought is absolutely difficult to me.  I never realized I was such a strong rote learner as it relates to physical things.  So when we change around things and I start to think most of what I do is plain and fairly unimaginative.  This has a tendency to get me down pretty quick.  When I see the others really exercise their imagination I’m very impressed because I bring nothing to the fight.  I make the ideal Uke because of that quality. 

So the first hour and some we worked on all our techniques from the knees to borrow from some of our Aikido lineage.  This is something I don’t care for at all due to tender knees in the first place and then trying to take folks off their balance from that position means that I have to do the technique perfectly.  That’s the reminder that I’m not as good as I think.  I end up using muscle more than half the times I do the work.  Thankfully I got to work with Dave most of the night so we laughed a lot. 

The last part of class was devoted to escaping holds and chokes.  Teacher likes to utilize a multi-axial approach to escape.  The first point being that the escape needs to start before the lock is fully in place and synched down.  After that he’ll do a draw down on the choking arm with one hand and then with other he’ll work over pain points with the other.  These include the “funny bone”, small digit manipulation, knuckle strike to the back of the hand, and nerve roll on the forearm.  The last one hurts so acutely that  have to spastically try to get a way. 

After a half hour of that I could barely move my arm, my neck was red from gi-burn and fingers barely worked.   When the folks would exit the choke my fingers wouldn’t clear my body and end up getting bent backwards.  Not a fun night in the scope of pain management, but surprisingly educational.  This morning my arm feels heavy and sluggish. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sticks And Stones

I think I’ve used this title before, but it always seems appropriate after blocking kicks for a few hours. 

The essence of these classes being that the best block is not being there or, at the very least, stopping it before it comes to full fruition.   This is all and good, but I’m not Mr. Speedy so my ability to read a kick is really important. 

The ability to read anything is tremendously important of course, but the kick I have really bad problems with is the outside crescent (or the axe kick).  When the kick initiates it totally looks like a front snap kick and then I fall for the lower block and end wearing foot sunglasses. 

Last night we pretty much reviewed all the kicks and all the potential blocks at infinitum, but I had to admit my pleasure in that I was gaining in flexibility and control.  Normally, my back will let me know if I’m pushing it with it tail tell pull across the lumbar, but for whatever reason by the time we got to high, fast kicks my body was fairly ready to go.  However, I’m very sore today and getting fairly stiff as the day goes on.  Unfortunately, I’ve got legs day at the gym tonight.  Ugh.  

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tater–Crusher Of Children

I’m not of huge fan of kids in general, but I’ve gotten better with more exposure to them in class.  As a secondary instructor I do feel a little pride when they see me in town and say hi or I get told by parents how much I’m mentioned.  Ego massage is such a great binder. 

So last night I’m helping out Teacher with the kids.  While they do upper blocks I’m supposed to walk around doing chops to their heads to make sure they are doing things correctly.  In this case correct would be my downward strike being deflected. 

A few of the kids didn’t have quite enough of an angle so I’d do the strike and they’d end up bopping themselves on the head with their own fists.  I immediately felt guilty about that and wondered if they’d show up again for the next class.  I think I’m probably over-analyzing again. 


In the regular class we barely had anyone show (10 seems small now!) and we focused on spinning kicks.  I don’t recall ever having a whole class working on variations and drills and it was great fun, but old age snuck on me when I wasn’t looking.

Dave, Trucker and me are all roughly 45 by a few months and we all have limitations physically.  Dave has rough knees and some flexibility issues, Trucker crushed a vertebrae and has constant back issues and then there’s me with my back and knees.  Thankfully, my knees have been coming along because I haven’t been running, but my back has been playing around with me. 

The exercise that started all this was the semi crescent block with one leg and then a jumping crescent with the other.  Great fun, but my back would “pull” a lot of the time with one side.  Very uncomfortable!  We switched out to a roundhouse that rotated to a hook-kick.  One out of ten felt dead on, but every poorly executed one sent electricity up my spine. 

After cooling down a bit at the end of class I could barely get my sweat pants on.  Dave said to me, “I wasn’t trying to be 20 again.”  Swine.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Piss Poor Posting

I've found it extremely hard to sit down and right about class for the last month, but tonight I'm pretty wound up and figured I spend a few minutes typing down some thoughts.

In the past few posts I've been focused on the new folks and how much they mean to our class.  But I should have mentioned that there is this feast of famine dynamic that plays itself out.  Consistency in numbers really helps everyone learn because we all build at relatively the same time.  Each time new folks come we have to start out at the basics again to bring them up to speed.  Since you don't know if they are going to stay you still have to go through the motions.  We all also know that reviewing the basics is really fantastic, but it makes for a boring class.  Teacher is fairly good at not letting that happen so I think we are relatively blessed in this capacity.

So tonight we had a family start.  Three folks obviously very tight and interested in something new.  However the Dad is probably around my age and this looks like it's going to be a challenge for him physically.  None of then looked too bad through most of the class so they might end up staying.  I'm more worried about the new gal, who's a blackbelt in TKD.  If she doesn't integrate she'll take off and that would be sad.  One of the nice things about her is that she is very attractive.  After grappling with Dave (sweaty man hugging) it's a real pleasure to work with her.  Plus she can kick like a mule.  So, of course, I ended up hugging with Dave all night.  Not that it's bad, but change is nice.  The truth of the matter is that we work great together and there is no ego between us.  It helps that we are the same age.

The new gal joined us as we addressed injuries tonight.  I was concerned about my back which had been acting up in the last week - so much so that I took Tuesday night off.  Of course with all the kicking we did tonight it hurts, but not in a bad way.  We'll see tomorrow.

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...