Tuesday, August 30, 2016

No Warmup!

Although it happens on occasion it is fairly rare.  As soon as we bowed in Reed Sensei grabbed Mark and me and ran through the application portion of Nifanshi shodan.  So my warmup in reality was a lot of head twists and face smashes.  Not ideal, but the amount of time to get directly into practice was great.  We then got partnered with the young ladies (8 and 10) to continue the pattern and then switch sides.  This lasted for the entirety of the class. 

After class was just working through the bunkai for Roku Dan.  I keep thinking that it's going to go fast, but for the forty minutes that I'm there we dig further into the foot work and body placement.  However for the first time we were able to get through all 10 bunkai.  It is a lot to absorb, but we are doing very well.  If I could have stayed for the last half hour I think Dan Sensei would have started the first part of the application.  I hate that I can't stay longer.

I've got two pages of my Black Belt paper written.  I was going to turn it in on Wednesday with my testing fee, but I want to take another look at the requirements.  I think it's only 150 words, which seems awfully short.  If that's the case I'll need to take a look at my work and figure out what the heck I need to be focusing on.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sh┼źdokan 95

I'm trying to compare the time I've been going to the amount of classes I've been to lately.  I don't think the overall number is worth really remarking on because it's going to keep climbing, but since I'm closing in on 50 numbers are taking on a larger significance.  I think I've been going for a little over a year with periodic gaps due to construction efforts.  I'm fairly pleased by recent progress and part of this is tracking my new katas.  Learning the Kyoku-Dan kata has been kind of grueling at times due to the level of finesse that's required. 

This level of finesse bumped up another level last night when I had to go over each hand position and foot position until I understood why they were going where they were going.  I also had to slow it down which gave me a flashback of my old teacher telling me to not rush to the end.  Whoops. 

Regular class was a lot of kicking.  However Reed Sensei decided to stop using each others hand for support which lead to the worst kicking I've done in a long time.  The drill is one kick for me and one kick for him and it builds from there.  We are supposed to be able to do tens kicks in a row.  I didn't realize I had lost a lot of my balance over the last couple of years.  It was so important at my last school. 

After the endless kicking we moved to speed drill.  Uke attacks and the we move to a side and do a side kick.  I feel so slow, but Reed pointed out that one side was better because I was actually stepping out better and giving myself a lot more room.  Nice catch.  It made my left kick way better!

Then on to practice Anan a couple of times with Ivanna and then a run at Roku Dan. After class was the refining of Roku Dan and then work on bunkai for up to the fourth before my alarm went off.  Frustrating not to have more time. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Big Toe

After class on Wednesday I went to bed, but ended up tossing and turning most of the night.  I woke around 3 am thinking that I had dislocated my toe during the night.  I've definitely jammed my big toe in the past and this level of pain by-passed that.  I kept reviewing what I might have done that would have hurt so bad; a kick that dislocated, a break that's finally showing itself or a cramp?  

I finally got out of bed at four and called the nurse advice line and she thought it was gout.  Since I'm living a very healthy life at the moment I totally disagreed, but the pain was getting worse and worse.  It didn't warrant a visit to the ER, but I was starting to lose my ability to think rationally.  I couldn't put a bag of ice on it due to sensitivity and my wife managed to get me to gag down a handful of Ibuprofen to take off the edge.  

At this point I noticed my foot had to start to swell and I couldn't put any pressure on it at all.  After finding out that I couldn't get into my doctor I was directed to go to an emergent care center to get checked out.  My wife took me to the closest one and we walked in to the first appointment!  Unfortunately, she fell back on the same diagnosis - gout!  The only thing to do was get anti-inflammatories and put the bad foot up.  Two days later I could hobble around the house without gritting my teeth and by Sunday I could run again.  I was clear for beatings on Monday!

The nice thing about heavy duty anti-inflammatories is that my semi-persistent back pain is gone!  I hope this is a permanent thing.  It's wonderful.  

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Class last night was a relatively fast affair.  Mark is turning 66 this week so we chatted about age and worked on our last two bunkai until it was time to bow in. I'm starting to think that he's having a hard time working on this stuff, or at least, focusing on it.  After several years prepping for his Black belt I think this must be less excited or he's burned out working on this stuff.  He's not practicing outside of class and it's starting to show.  I don't want to be frustrated, but showing him stuff that we've already done is painful, but there is nothing wrong with him memory for older stuff.  

Classwork consisted of working Nifanshi shodan.  After running through it several times with Mia, I partnered with Mark and we ran through the application (bunkai ohyo?) several time.  I'm not sure that we have it down, but lots of fun.  About four or five sets of moves going back and forth.  

No after class unfortunately.  Dan need to be somewhere and Reed needed to get back home.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Random Fight Night

On Monday Reed let us know that we'd be sparring on Wednesday.  I'd rather he surprise us on the day of the because I get anxious.  I'm not sure why I get so anxious, because I tend to enjoy the experience after the fact. 

We started the class working on the second Kyoku.  The Kyoku kata are specifically Shudokan in nature.  Due to my weird entry into the confirmation period I only know the first and now the eighth, so Reed asked Mark and Sarah to get me to work on the second.  Thankfully the work we've been doing on the ultra complicated ones makes the second kata feel relatively easy, but I'm sure I couldn't do it any justice one day later.

After that we set up for sparring.  This presented a challenge.  We had four adults and six children.  None of us (except for Reed) has any real experience judging.  My few runs at tournament didn't require me to participate in the judging side of things.  Although it shouldn't be tough, the basics, or the lack there of, turned much of our work into a slapstick performance.  The head judge should be bowed to after each awarding of a point.  This turned into bowing to the other opponent and then back to the judge and so forth.  And then at any given time Mark, who has trouble hearing, would just start as if the Judge called Hajime.  Of course at any given time two corner judges would be children under 10.  Their take on the proceedings could widely vary depending on their attention span. 

I was able to shut Mark out at 3-0, but I did get 2-3 with Reed.  This is phenomenal because I rarely score on him unless he makes an error.  This gives you an idea on the judging.  

After class was dedicated to working on Anan.  We rotated working with one another and really focused on a lot of finesse things, but I was itching to work on Roku dan.  However Reed has it in his mind that we need to work on Anan as a group.  As he says, "learning kata is a group activity". 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Four Month Learning Curve

The big excitement from last night was that Ivanna taught me the last couple of moves of Roku Dan!  She was thankfully fresh from teaching Mark the same thing last Wednesday.  Right on the tail of that I was able to learn the tenth bunkai related to this kata.  

I'm trying to measure the success so far.  Four months to learn the entirety of the kata and the 10 bunkai.  That's not to say that I'm actually refined to the point of comfort, but it looks pretty good.  I'm sure the last two sequences will need to be refined, but I love that the bunkai absolutely matches the actions taken in the kata.  It makes it easier to remember.  For instance, the last bunkai blocks the kick, steps in with a reverse chop to the ribs.  Uke grabs your wrist and you do a twist and push.  Boom!

Anyway, I'm down to eight months to have all the bunkai locked into place so I can start on the application.  I can remain consistent Reed might be able to confirm us sooner, but to have the level of flow I see him and Daniel execute it might take several months more.  Hard to say.  

An addendum

I think I'm about halfway through writing my thesis which I've been wanting to get out of the way.  

I usually ask the advanced students if they want help in their practice.  I.E. can I be the Uke?  So last night Ivanna says, "go ahead and choke me".  Well that just led me into getting kicked and punched.  I'm not so sure about my volunteer efforts after that.  

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Anan

Following our five hour experience in Eugene and adding a hour and half drive afterwards I didn't end up practicing the new kata until the next morning.  Even then I was only able to get through a few stretches without it falling apart.

It should have been absolutely predictable that we were going to work on the kata at some point soon, but I was surprised when it became the content of the class and the after class.  All other content was moved to the side in order to cement the moves as quickly as possible. 

After reviewing Anan with Reed I was given the task of teaching it to Ivana.  I felt somewhat intimidated since she's several ranks above me, but she's got a rather pleasant attitude so whereas we didn't get far we were accurate.  After we ran through as much as we could I was given the task to play judge on two of the brown belts while they ran through five kata.  The rule is one compliment, one correction and then move on.  No second attempts because time was compressed.  I felt odd because I'm correcting a guy that taught me the kata, but he hasn't time to practice and the kata was looking frayed. 

After class it was running through Anan over and over until I had to go.  I was sad because it's another week that I'm not closer to the final moves of Roku Dan.  It's not that soul crushing because I have plenty of new stuff to work on, but it would be nice.


Monday, August 01, 2016

5 hours

Sensei contacted me on Thursday to see if I could travel up to Eugene with him to work with Albert Sensei.  He and MaryAnn had several questions about specific pieces of the kata then needed to work on and then, if time permitted learn a new kata.  My job was to learn the new kata with Sensei and hopefully act as another repository for knowledge. 

I didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet Albert Sensei, one of Reed's teachers for over 14 years.  The drive is an hour and half out of the thorn city so my whole Sunday was going to be shot (and more than likely, get me in dutch with the wife), but as usual I felt honored to be invited along and wanted to get a look at this level of training.  A kind of "peering behind the curtain" kind of thing. 

Albert Sensei is an unassuming man with a peppy, upbeat attitude and a non-stop patter.  He clearly loves to teach and educate.  He wants to make sure you understand exactly what he means and this can mean he'll give a long story to get there.  Apparently patience isn't my strong suit when time is on the line, so I would inwardly struggle with some of the stuff.  I'm starting to think "keep your mouth buttoned up" is a base level martial art thing. 

While Reed and MaryAnn when through a rather extensive check list of questions I practiced Roku dan an ungodly amount of times with Albert occasionally checking in to correct the movement of my hands and their relative moments to one another.  I'd like to say I'm more refined, but I'm back to thinking about what I'm doing and it doesn't look so good.  Back to starting and stopping.

When they finished their questions Reed and I learned Anaan, a Ryu (sp?) school kata.  Closely related to Goju Ryu, many of the blocks seemed right from the canon, but other portions have flowery, ostentatious hand work that is very reminiscent of Chinese kung fu.  You can definitely see the influences.  I ended up taking video of Reed doing all the steps in fear that my attempts to remember would be too feeble to be helpful later.



 When we were trying to learn a piece Albert had me lay down into a crunch position because, "I was the youngest one".  Hah, I'm pretty sure I was as old as he was. 


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