Showing posts from March, 2015

Rebuild The Base

Class took a slightly strange turn last night.  Instead of test prep, we worked a strange augmented block.  Not that the block was strange, but that it was initiated from a side chamber.  I guess a lot of any art probably looks odd from the outside perspective.  The trick at the end of this was the disclaimer that we (black belts) would need to execute the block at the very last moment.  This causes me to rethink everything I'm doing and thus look and feel very clumsy.  Relearning, retooling whatever the word might be.

This was prep for Pinan Shodan.  Which has tantalizing similarities with my Pinan Sa Dan.  It will be interesting as we learn more of the Kata to see their similarities.

A new old person showed up. Olivia has her Shodan (1st degree black belt), but hasn't been able to attend due to her college schedule.  Hopefully she'll be able to continue to come regularly.  I am finding that our 4pm time is pretty terrible for most folks.  I love it because I get home early…

Flex And Fall

We had a nice warm-up which included stretching.  I mention this because this school doesn't really focus on this too much.  I guess if you are working on flexibility it needs to happen outside of class.  Since the kicks and work we do are pretty basic, flexibility isn't an issue.  I have to give this approach a lot of respect because the athleticism required for fancy kicks and dynamic moves wouldn't have been great for me.  I would have tried to do them and been sore all the time. 

That being said, I ended up getting thrashed quite a bit working with Kyle on his next self-defense moves.  Uke leads with a left jab, that arm is captured in an arm lock followed by a takedown, move into shoulder lock and rollover.  Then submission.  After 30 minutes of that I was creaking.  If Kyle did the take down slowly I ended up falling slowing and that always hurts.  Once we got up to speed I could take the fall normally.  Unfortunately, I would have to take it slow for him and that pu…


Assuming the test was a bit anti-climactic to my co-students, I was wondering how they were going to be emotionally post celebration.  I assumed a renewed attitude to get it right next time.  However, class was restricted to four of us.  People were out sick or obligated and none of the kids showed up because of spring break.  Which didn't make it feel like we were going to jump in with vigor.  Ivanna was out sick and Mark did, at the very least, look more focused. 

There was a couple of young guys working out in the room when I got there who ended up joining us.  Sensei talked about prices and some other basic class stuff when I got to work on my stuff.  A young lady came in a bit later.  I assume she must have been a previous student she started working with MaryAnn on a somewhat advanced technique. 

It was back to the Bo (staff) for me to iron out even more technique issues.  Mostly focused on stance and then Sensei had me focus on staff positions.  Then on to work with Mark.  D…


I put my big boy gi pants on and went with the other black belts from our school and went down to Eugene.  It was a two hour trip with two hours spent getting there and then two hours back.  I finally got home at 11pm.  It made for a very long day. 

First thing of note was their school.  An old auto shop that had been refitted at some expense.  It must have been 2000 square feet or so.  Two full rooms.  That school's leader was a fifth degree (go dan) which gave the proceedings a very authoritative feeling, but the big deal was the Shihan and his wife (another super high ranker) doing the judging.

So many degrees I got sunburn.
The fun bit was being in a room with only blackbelts.  Everyone was very convivial and most people were mostly focused on warming up.

21 Black and 2 Brown
I can't claim that I totally understood the scoring system, but the candidate had to perform 10 kata, then they had to break it down into sections with another person and then perform the whole kata …

Surprise Celebration

I knew something was up when I walked into class last night.  Chairs were set up all around the periphery and mats were on the floor.  Most of the kids were there running around and a few of the adult students were fussing around.  My presumption - we were going to do a dress rehearsal for Celebration (nice way of saying testing), but I was incorrect. 

Sensei Reed hadn't gotten to everyone at the last minute, but we were doing the Celebration last minute for the colored belts and on Friday the black belts and candidate Mark were going to Eugene to test! 

Apparently the head cheese got double booked and it was either that or waiting until May and driving to Yakima (five hour drive?).  So the three black belts and Mark all decided Friday was good.  I'm invited along, but not sure if I want to burn half a day for the experience.  I want to be there for Mark and celebrate if he's successful and be supportive if he's not. 

While the kids tested I was helping Mark through th…

Meat Collar

I'm too lazy to research if I've used this title in the past, but it's appropriate this morning.  I'm having a hard time looking side to side and it made driving a challenge on the highway.  It feels exactly as if I have a thick collar of gristle wrapped around my neck making move difficult, but painful. 

I'm more used to the lower back spasm that tells me I haven't been careful. I think anyone over 40 knows the neck pain I'm talking about.  Hell, I've done this sleeping poorly and woke with the same neck pain that lasted for a couple of days.

The flip side of this discomfort is that it is a direct result of Kyle getting ready for his test on Friday.  His portion includes two self defense scenarios which include escape from a full nelson and a throw from an attack from the rear.Unfortunately, I was the punching dummy for him for most of the night.  At the end of class he was telling me that he wanted to ask MaryAnn Sensei if I could be his dummy (Uke) d…

Uke or Ookie?

With only two more classes to go before the celebration testing, I'm probably showing more excitement about the whole thing than anyone in the class.  I just realized that they've done all this before and it's new to me even though I'm not doing anything other than standing in a corner (I think...).

After warm up I got partnered with Mark to practice his 10 elbow techniques.  Now that I've done these a few times,  I'm starting to remember the overall pattern.  We went through them three times which left me a bit bruised since I was the Uke the whole time.  I always thought it was pronounced yookie, but everyone in this class says Oo-kay.  The Uke's job is to give himself to the Shite (it's pronounced sch-tay, not like the Irish saying the poop word).  Ideally, if I present perfectly all ten times then Mark will not have to think; just react.  I am the canvas on which he paints a masterpiece of technical prowess. 

Well, I don't know if we reach the …

Shūdokan 30!

Thirty Classes!  It's astounding to me that so much time has passed.  At eight classes a month, plus some after hours practice with the black-belts I feel like I've been there for a year.  My original idea to try a different style every month pretty much went out the door after the first couple of classes.  While not super warm to my presence, I have felt welcome enough to be taught at my level of skill.  The folks that have been going there have been doing so for a long time so my guess is that the bonhomie that I normally associate with a class is probably normal for my time here. 

Next Friday is the big test!  It's exciting to see everyone get geared up psychologically.  At the old school testing felt very random and it was targeted at one person at a time.  Here it's based on a three or four month cycle in which all people are tested (not me) for their next rank.  So the little kids will be working on their ranks and the teens will be working towards their regular…

Hiatus Week

I'm out for a week due to house work project backlog.  We bought a 100 year old house when we moved to the Rose City and it needs constant work.  This month we are replastering walls and ceilings.  Brutal dust and physical labor. 

So just practicing my three new Katas in the morning and hoping I'm not missing too much at class.