Friday, August 31, 2012

So Angry!

I went to class thinking it was going to be Cherub and me again, but shortly into our warm-ups Dave showed up on his bicycle.  

Dave is going through a rather painful divorce and he's only in the preliminaries.  He still hasn't lost his sense of humor, but it often takes on shades of frustration - still hilarious though.  For instance at the end of class he gleefully clapped his hands and said in a high pitched voice, "oh boy, I get  to go home now!"

I gather we are one of his few respites.  

Class was mostly just basics for the first hour, but Teacher grabbed an elbow block out of Pinyon Sam Dan.  It's as if you have your hands on your hips in exasperation, but you twist your body to knock away punches and such.  This is great because in reality hands in pockets make this the perfect tool for a cheap punch from someone.  

For us, we knocked the punch to the inside and swept the arm up and over, then rotated our body and take the puncher down.  Easy and elegant, but Dave and spent a good 30 minutes making a mountain out of a mole hill.  That took a lot of refinement.  About one and ten was close to correct.  I'm starting to think that's my statistic.  

We finished up class with a sticky-hands exercise that supposed to be easy, but the tension in Dave was palpable. Instead of a relaxed, sophisticated feeling of touch Dave just used 100% of muscle to keep my hand out of the way.  After doing this for a few minutes I realized what was happening and described what we were supposed to be doing.  It was still hard for him to relax; he needs an outlet to burn off the tension.  

I finished up with Teacher and it was super fun in that it was relaxing challenging and still a bit of a work out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lumpy From The Throws

Teacher called me up and said, "do you remember how many were in the kids class last year on the first day?"

I said, "I think around 30.  I was pretty blown away."  

"It's going to be over 40 this year" he said with some enthusiasm and exasperation.  

There's no way he can fit that many kids into the space and he came to the same conclusion.  It looks like he's going to have to split the kids class which means it'll be 5 to 6, 6 to 7, and 7 - 9.  He'll be burned out within a month or to.  Too bad we can't use the area on more days a week.  It' certainly be a nice treat for all of us to come more than twice a week.  

The odd thing is that our adult class is pretty much down to just a few folks.  Last night it was Cherub and me.  So we had awesome private lessons, but for whatever reason we got into throws and that was kind of a bummer because he's a lot shorter than I am.  We both struggled with the fine points and at one point I tried to pull Cherub across my back.  Instead of an effortless throw it turned into an awkward 140lb pull.  Ugh.  My back is tired today, but not spasming, so I'm very pleased about that.

We also leaned how to do the counter to the throw.  As soon as the thrower grabs your arm, your free hand has to come around the chin and move the throwers head around.  I got it right about once out of ten times.  Not pleasant to have someone fall on you though.  When it goes right, the throw fails and the thrower has to rotate due to the "follow the head wherever it goes rule".  It has been done very accurately and quickly.  Tough to accomplish for us plodding artists.  

In the end I think the count was around 40 to 50 throws without being to rattled.  I slept pretty well.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Roundhouse Renewal

Teacher called me up yesterday afternoon and let me know that he had taken ill and might not be able to do the whole class.  This was ironic because I had just finished telling him that I'd made a poor choice of drinking all night in conjunction with my wife's birthday and was miserably hung over at work. 

So class wouldn't be the best of the best by both of our reckoning.  By the evening, and a big dose of ibuprofen, I was able to rally and get to class early and warm up.  The class only consisted of Cherub, Beard and myself so I didn't feel any pressure to be super awesome.  However focus was off due to the previous evening's activities.  Long story short, I ended up kicking Teacher in the crotch with a poorly controlled roundhouse kick.

Although that didn't make him particularly happy he also didn't get upset either, but it did move him to focus on my roundhouse kicks.  So, for the next 30 minutes we spent a lot of time retooling my roundhouse kick. 

For the last how ever many years I've been doing the roundhouse in such a way that I can place my toe anywhere I want it, but it delivers zero energy.  So the work began on creating the "whip".  As we do with certain strikes (shudo in this case) the effort begins at the shoulder, then elbow and then hand.  I literally crack the whip with my fingers being the point of contact.  The trick is being very relaxed until the moment of impact.

So to translate this to the kick I had to break each part of the kick down and make some rather large (at least in my mind) adjustments.  In the end the kick starts now from the shoulder twist, to a torso twist, leg in position and then finally whipping into the target.  Although that took a half hour to sort out I saw an immediate change in power transfer and the impact on the water dummy was pretty impressive.  

Teacher ended up leaving class early; looking rather horrible and I finished class with kata work.  Both of them are working on Sa Dan (number 7), but I don't feel totally confident telling them what to change.  I mostly focused on stance, and some other refinements. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Flipping And Falling

Tonight we had our characteristically small class; just five of us.  This is actually optimal because it means that Teacher will work on more and more advanced technique which is a rarity when we have new folks.  Class will be dedicated to bringing them up to standard.

I missed last Thursday which sounded like a tragedy.  Dave took his first steps in falling and throwing.  I would have loved to have seen it, but he made some breakthroughs about how to run his body right for the fall.  This means a lot to me because I don't have a lot of people to throw in class unless Beard shows up.  He's dyed in the wool badass when it comes to throwing.  He's got a black belt in Judo and has had it for 20 years.  He can do the most amazing things falling through the sky. 

So Teacher says that we'll redo everything practiced on Thursday to really help Dave integrate what he learned.  I was stoked.  Another rarity for us.  Throwing has been relegated to the "maybe we'll practice it some day, but that's not really our technique".  

So they pulled out the pads and doubled them up, to which I laughed because the 1" mats really don't do too much to absorb shock and doubling them doesn't do much at all either.

And for the first time I was able to do decent throws after 8 plus years so I felt like a million bucks.  Teacher worked some excellent magic about foot  and hip placement and I was able to balance people on a hip!  To which I hollered "dancing with the stars!"  After which Cherub buried me into the floor with the completion of the throw.  Thankfully, I'm the best faller after Beard in the class.  

I'm currently sitting back and drinking some Rye to celebrate what I consider a momentous occasion. I took more falls in one night then I have ever taken before (I guess around 25) and only the last one was kind of crappy so I banged my knee up a bit, but I'm still jacked.

Buddha Brings The Pain

We periodically get new students and it's worth celebrating in my mind.  Their arrival always reminds me of the time I stepped through the doors and started this particular adventureOur class has had fairly low numbers as of late, but we picked up another young guy awhile back.  

The youth class is good up to certain point, but Teacher will pull from that group once the kids are either too big or so sophisticated that they might quit from boredom.  In this case while the kids class is on hiatus for the summer Teacher invited an interested youth to join the adult class.  Buddha has the most placid features I have ever seen.  His expression rarely changes and his eyelids seem to be always at half mast.  He looks exactly like pictures of the buddha at his most serene.  

Since I'm usually silly I can get him to crack a smile once in awhile.  He's very nice, but doesn't talk much.  

So last week Teacher decides to work on pressure points.  This is incredibly interesting and, like other esoteric techniques, takes a lot of practice to get right on various people.  Unfortunately, we don't practice these very often. 

In this class we focused heavily on points around the face, head and neck.  While I practiced with other adults Teacher stayed in the corner with Buddha and concentrated on doing a few techniques really well.

Since Buddha is about 10 or 12 he has a few friends that watch the class the sidelines and occasionally giggle about the inherent silliness of it all. Near the end of class Teacher pulls me over to the door and has me pick up Buddha by the lapels of his gi.  I've got him off the floor and he applies a mastoid realignment that almost had me urinate by accident.  Needless to say he was dropped post haste to the delight of his friends.  I wiped away a manly tear and turned to Teacher who beamed at the new, quick learning student.


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...