Dangerous Dance Of Death
Sometime back my buddy, Bob Patterson, had an article about folks looking for support in order to fund a documentary on the Dance of Death. The skinny is in this article.
The reason this caught my attention was that I read those comic books as a kid and saw those ads for the "Black Dragon Society" and how they fired my imagination. This was augmented by endless viewings of kung fu movies on local cable access channels. How it would be a wonder to fly through the air or be able to whirl my hands in complicated patterns to make striking like a snake seem so effortless.
Three plus decades later I'm writhing around on the ground with a foot in the back of my shoulder while my arm is pinned in such a way that one sneeze would shatter my elbow joint and I think to myself, "man, he's got to improve his technique to make this hurt more".
When I had a few minutes to think about the session I asked myself, "where did that sense of youthful wonder go?" In the thick of action, when me and my partner are experiencing a smooth synchrony, there is a shared frisson of energy. This apparently only occurs when I'm learning, but much like staring at pictures of cute baby animals on the internet, it's a feeling of pleasure that only lasts for a relatively short time. After I crest the learning curve I need something more complex and engaging to get the same zing I get the first time around.
That being said I got a partial thrill learning the next bunkai for kyoku Roku dan last night. After you get put into an arm lock you get to a snake-esque move with your captured arm which leads to a shudo to the chest of the other guy, followed by a liver punch and then an outlandish straight-legged kick that throws the other guy in the air. Super fun!
As usual I get ahead of myself. Although class was the standard block of practice I got assigned to two little girls to work on their kata. Queue circus music. I have so little skill with working with little kids. No wonder my first Sensei got so much pleasure in assigning me work with them. Sadist.
I did have a moment of clarity in teaching when I realized that I could get one girl to do an inside crescent into her hand to sort out the move in a bunkai. Reed was watching out of one eye so I felt proud when he emulated it. I'm sure he would have done something way better and faster though.