Friday, May 11, 2012

Fred Flintstone Feet

There is a little known affliction of martial artists from hard style schools – it’s called Fred Flintstone Feet.  Most of them have experienced it one time or the other, but didn’t realize that it had a diagnosis. 

We had a personal record of cases last night; four in total.  Trucker is still recovering from a broken toe, Teacher broke or dislocated his pinkie toe in the first 10 minutes of class coming off the ground and catching on his pants. 

I smashed three toes into Truckers shin and later had a kick or fall on to my other foot.  And then later Dave through me over his leg, but had trapped my slap hand so my elbow and all 200 pounds of me when straight down on his foot.  I could tell by the his face that that was going to leave a mark. 

Teacher called me today to commiserate about his toe (completely black today) and I related my rather disrupted sleep due to pulsating feet and general sensitivity.  Strangely, none of us complained about any other pains in our bodies when the toes are mangled. 

Teacher has occasionally added a touch of reality based fun stuff to our classes.  This is based on his tireless collection of altercations in our towns small number of bars.  Some he’s heard about from the players, some are from what he’s witnessed and some of them are from things he’s participated in. 

A few weeks ago the bar near where we hold classes had a fairly epic brouhaha.  Eight fellows from a boat took umbrage to something the bouncer said and it was on.  Unfortunately there was only three bouncers.  Said altercation led to one of the bouncers on the floor on all fours while his opponent took an impressive kick right to his face; rearranging his nose at an unfortunate angle. 

So our exercise was to start off on all fours and see what we could do before he showed us a few neat ideas.  Basically, we needed to remember to get one hand up at the very least.  Moving is awesome of course, but we managed to plant an inside hammer block/strike or a punch down strike/block.  If done with good timing and power the kicker is spun so that their back is to you and then they are sad. 

Great class, but throbbing leading to FFF syndrome is nothing to laugh at; unless it’s the other guy.   

Monday, May 07, 2012

In other news

I thought I’d depart from the normal “dear diary” format of the blog to mention that I had a small fitness milestone yesterday.  I ran in my first 5K and finished in 30 min and 27 seconds.  My normal practice runs are around 33 minutes so this was quite nice for me. 

I’ve never been in a mass start before and I was incredibly disheartened when all the people surged ahead of me within the first few minutes.  However, my pace being what it is (slow and even) I ended up picking off a multitude of people as the course progressed. Mostly these were elderly folks or parents with small children, but I’ll take victories where I can.  The last half mile saw me upping my pace and then sprinting to the line.  I only did this because a morbidly obese women kept passing me repeatedly.  That kind of stung. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Elbowski

Of all the deadly things we have in our arsenal of weapons the elbow seems so underrated in Tang Soo Do.  I should clarify.  In our forms we use it quite frequently, but it just doesn’t seem to be used to much in one step sparring.  I can’t help but think this is because it’s a weapon of infighting and brutality for the most part and the majority of the one step drills favor an arms length or legs length distance. 

So when Teacher starts encouraging it’s use during drills we start taking notice.  Dave, in particular, loves using it whenever he gets close and has caused me some pains over the last year because of that. 

As I mentioned we’ve always viewed it as a blunt force object, but Teacher has started stressing that like all other parts of ourselves that we use, the elbow can be used as a sophisticated weapon.  Last night we elaborated on a technique we started on Tuesday. 

The original exercise is to close in while blocking roundhouse punches (think redneck fighting).  Those punches from the side are met with an elbow slightly under the bicep.  The elbow swings in an upward loop that carries the punch over your head.  Bob’s your uncle – you can punch at the liver and kidneys at your leisure.  The more advanced technique was to choke out the guy with his own arm.   Fun, but the other guy had to be shorter or it turned into a greco-roman wrestling match. 

Last night’s variation - there was no blocking before the elbow interaction.  The dependent factor being that you had to have exquisite timing to pick off that arm and move it over your head.  Needless to say, we all got a lot of elbows in the biceps and forearms.  No one looked particularly happy at the end of the night, but we were all smiling.  Bunch of sickos. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Trips, Flips and Whips

The first thing they need to teach you in taking a fall is that your body must land as a unit.  So no falling by piece, i.e. shoulders, lower back, buttocks and then legs.  By the time your legs get to the ground they resemble the end of a whip. 

Normally, we practice breakfalls and rolls before we do any mat work, but for whatever reason Teacher moved into throwing the Tater around first thing.  Ostensibly, I should be able to take those falls without warmup, but Tuesday proved to be an exception.  That first trip into a throw led to a brutal whiplash.  When my eyes retained focus I saw the gang look a little concerned. 

Cherub said, “Wow, you should have seen your eyes!” 

I gather they rolled around a bit.  Even today my neck is telling me a story.  Ouch. 

The second part of class was very close in-fighting.  This is very difficult for me since it means that I need be able to pick off strikes when they are just a foot away.  Not my best place. 

I noticed the week before that those punches were way easier to pick up when my opponent is shorter than me.  The eye gaze down makes it easier to see more.  When I have to look straight across or even slightly up I miss so much more. 

Of course in close the use of elbows is strongly encouraged and I took one from Dave between the Ulna and Radius that we both heard clack and crunch.  Big bruise on the inside and nothing to show on the outside. 

The final lesson was around controlling balance to prep for a throw.  Fun fact – if someone comes at you to clench (not at the waist) drive you hand up and move that head back.  The rest of their body keeps moving forward and, boom, the easiest throw you’ve ever done, because you didn’t do anything. 

In order to keep track of the class progression and prep for testing I made a cheatsheet of what is expected for the 5th gup test.  He liked what he saw and wanted me to write out a syllabus for all ranks.  Yikes!  I have some work to get out of the way.

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