Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just Move

Although this didn't necessarily come up during the last class it has been sticking around in the back of my head since last week.  Teacher noticed that during some of the structured one-step and two-step practice that I had a tendency to freeze for moment while I thought of the technique I wanted to use.  The more I thought, the slower I got on response time.  


So he told me this story:
"When I was teaching ballroom dancing to a room of 100 people I would run into the occasional moment where I couldn't remember what I had just been talking about.  So I would just start talking about something until I could remember where I was - just a space filler.  After I while I realized I just needed to move and things would just flow."


So I took this info and did what he said.  In the next exchange I didn't think ahead and just let myself do something.  To my surprise I was able to move smoothly and definitely.  How often do I forget that I have all the base work inculcated and had it for years?  Now it's just trusting myself to let it out, and to do that I just have to move.  So easy, but so hard to come to terms with.


---


On Tuesday's Class we had our old compadre, Dave, show up after a couple of months off.  I had thought he had moved away, but he's going through a brutal divorce which makes him unpredictable and tense at times.  I think class is one of his only physical outlets.  I hate sparring with him because I get pummeled due to his lack of restraint.  You can see the frustration and anger pouring out of him.  Probably the most realistic fighting we have in the class.  


Teacher pulled out a cane and some Escrima sticks and then the beatings began!  My reedy, pipe cleaner arms hate anything to do with sticks.  I don't wear those bruises with pride because after the first block I'm mostly controlling a spastic relax that goes with the anticipation of pain.   Not very martially arty.  


Unfortunately, I was partnered with Beard and the cane.  That stupid handle is perfect for catching and twisting with unparalleled discomfort.  I'm not sure I'll remember the techniques as it's a rare thing that we bring them out, but I was able to get a few under my belt and blinding pain is great to help recall a few things.  
---
Last note - Teacher pointed out that my open hand strikes were actually contacting in the wrong place.  I was making contact just under the meaty part of the palm instead of the meaty part itself.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boost Of Confidence

The basic structure of the class starts with a bow in and then we do a 15 minute warm up led by yours truly. Usually before the bow in I try to warm up and pre-stretch so the actually warm up isn't too much of a shock to the system.  During the warm up one of the things we do is practice balance with our eyes closed.  We have to stand on one foot and count to ten.


If there is any time in your life that you feel great about yourself I strongly encourage you to do this to completely remove that silly notion.  Some days I have wonderful balance on one foot, but never both and ten seconds usually is the max anyway.


Teacher was watching from the side during the warm up and pointedly focused on trying to get us a little better balanced once class started.  Obviously regular practice is going to be key for us, but he was trying to give some hints to make it better.  He had us adjust our feet, changed position, moves hands, etc.  By the time we'd been working on it for around ten minutes my legs were shaking so bad, any balance was out of question.  Teacher had the discretion not to roll his eyes too much.


So the confidence was pretty low at that point.  Thankfully he moved on, but it was still eyes closed stuff.  We partnered and made contact with our partner and then have them strike twice.  The deal was that if you placed the blocked shot in the proper place, you end up dictating where the next shot is coming from.   For example if I drag a blocked hand down and across so the next shot from the other guy would punch high (face) and so on.  


That part of class worked out pretty well.  There was no occasional thud of fist to flesh so our small group was doing very well as it relates to distance and use of power.  


We took a break then rotated partners which left me with Teacher.  Since I'm supposedly better than some, Teacher always gears up whatever lesson we've been working on.  I often feel like I'm struggling to understand whatever he's imparting to me and then I struggle to recreate without looking too foolish. 


His variation on the exercise was to have returned strikes after the blocks.  Mind you, this is with eyes closed.  The first few exchanges made me very nervous since I didn't think I could get the distance so I punched really carefully and very far away.  When he took his turn I could relax because he has zero problem landing a shot directly on my chin without any problem.  By that I mean it's perfectly placed and absolutely controlled.  

He obviously noticed my discomfort with the distance thing and had me close my eyes and grabbed my wrist.  He then would call out a body part and have me touch it (all with my eyes closed!) and I was able to do it without any problem!  


So with confidence restored with tried the exercise again and I was able to lay a fist on him with proper control 95% of the time.  Unfortunately, I smacked him in the face a couple of time due an either fantastically place shudo or poorly placed semi-roundhouse.  No blood though.


We finished up class with a small sparring session.  Little Sister was in town from college so we got to go first.  The moment of note was when we did a simultaneous spinning back kick that ended up locking our legs together.  We got great laughs as we hopped in syncopation, trying to extricate ourselves without losing balance and not opening ourselves up to another shot.


I came home thinking I was super ultimate man.  Yeah beatings!



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...