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 ranks, etc.  I'm a little bummed that I can't help out Mark for the partner required portions of the test, but I don't know the material well enough.

After missing a week (the entry way plaster and paint is done!) it felt like I'd been gone for a year.  We were a small class and practiced zenkutsu dachi (one leg back, front knee bent) moving and then adding punches while we walked back and forth.  The punch was broken down into seven steps.  Talk about deconstruction.  Thinking about the mechanics at that level is wreaking havoc on normal punching, but I get the sense that I'm rebuilding in many senses of the word. 

Following that, we did some blocks (middle with strike?) which was considered very advanced technique.  Which led me to realize that the advancement connected to belt and test was predicated on doing basic technique very well.  Once a basic kick and punch was done well, the person could learn the next one and then test on that.  Whereas my introduction was learning a lot of techniques and slowly mastering then over the years.  There is a lot to be said for what is being done at this school in terms of teaching technique.  There is no hurry to learn a lot.  But what is being taught is pretty thorough and well-engrained before new technique is introduced.

After class Mark told me how he thought I looked relaxed and good at teaching the kids in the previous week.  I told him thanks, but how I was so stressed out about it.  Apparently, years of beatings made me look relaxed on the outside.  Makes me wonder about other teachers.  Do they hold tension inside while they look confident on the outside?  Probably.


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