Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Smallest Measure

I suppose it was only a matter of time where I'd get a bit frustrated with Mark.  We are always working together and pretty much always on the same stuff.  We both show up early to class and work on our stuff so we can squeeze in as much practice as we can.  

About half way through class he started forgetting what the next move is.  Finally, I asked if he was having low blood sugar; the change was that rapid.  My guess is that he must have the same problems with me.  I can remember what's next, but attention to detail fails me as time goes on.  I notice that I can't remember my foot placement, but it gets better each week.  Mark can remember all that, but forgets the next move.  I guess we are perfect for each other.  

Progress is being measured by increments.  Reed Sensei went over our Kata and chiseled away at small issues.  I think I had more than six things to work on.  This mornings practice found me me going over piece after piece.  

We can now tear through the bunkai.  Although I find my technique is still in question we don't have to think about what we are doing next.  We are also about to get through our original side of the application without too much hesitation.  When we switch sides we run into a lot of difficulty just getting through the first five steps.  So much more to work on before we even look smooth.

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I found out that the confirmation is a very private closed event.  I thought my wife would be coming along to take video, but no one but the practitioners are allowed in and video is absolutely forbidden.  Wow!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Minor Milestone

I wasn't able to make it to Monday's class since I had to pick up my wife.  She was returning from a trip up North and it fell dead center in the middle of the classes.  As a good husband I swallow my tongue about my desire to get to class, but honestly I'm always a little glad to miss a class here and there due to wear and tear on the knees.  I just hate missing practice.

This was made painfully clear since it'd been a week since I got to work with Mark and we struggled warming up.  I really hope this was just due to focusing really hard on details, but it felt like Mark was really disoriented.

He said that he had to take multiple falls on the hardwood during Monday's class.  He was so sore that he got yelled at by his wife and doctor (who is a friend).  To get ahead of that we set up pads in case we were going to practice that stuff last night.  Although we didn't I felt better about being proactive.  I have no desire to get dropped over and over again. Reed Sensei is awesome, but he's only forty.  I think he might forget how fragile his two old snowflakes are.  

We did a test celebration last night for the lower belts.  To this end Black belt folks don't participate, but he wanted us to join in to a degree so he had us use components of our kata to emulate portions of the work they were doing.  

We finished up by practicing our katas a few times before time ran out.  After class we worked on application and fine tuning foot work.  Then we switched out so Mark and I could start getting a little farther.  We were able to get to the end, but it wasn't smooth. However it's a bit of a milestone in that we now both know both sides of everything.  The next four months are going to be making it as smooth as possible.  

An example of how rough I am is I get thrown down and need to get back up to stop a punch, but somehow while I was doing that I ended up cutting my achilles meat with my own toenail while getting tangled up.  Ow.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Moment Of Respite

Sensei Reed has the blackbelts in class on a text group so he can let us know if we are going to have afterclass .  99% of the time we have the class.  It's held at Daniel Sensei's parents garage.  As I've mentioned in the past, due to it's lack of insulation it can either be incredibly cold or equally hot during the summer.  

Due to the brutal cold snap we've been having going to afterclass is daunting.  I don't think I have circulation problems, but after an hour my hands and feet hurt.  And then it feels like it takes a day and half to get my body temperature up to normal. However, the second hour of instruction is fantastic because we have a narrow focus on the moves and get a lot accomplished.  

So it was equal parts sadness and glee when afterclass got canceled last night.  To compensate I went to class early.  This means that Mark and I can work out for a good half hour before class starts.  Unfortunately, for both of us our combined memory isn't always helpful trying to remember some things.  

Last night we ran into the same old block with our Oyo.  Unable to sort out a transition from one set to another we looked like to guys acting our age, Hah!  

Class consisted of:
- 3 x Kyoku Roku Dan kata
- 3 x Nifanshi ShoDan Kata
- 3 x 10 bunkai for Kyoku

We didn't quite make it all the way, but had a lot of refinements from Reed Sensei.  The class was far to quick.  Even though I wanted that respite from the conditions of the garage I feel like the clock is ticking constantly.  May is right around the corner.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Snowpocolypse Now

The Rose City is not known for snow at all.  The location secured from the ocean by a mountain range should ensure a moderated temperature all year around, but as each year passes the winter gets more wintery and the summer gets more summery.   This year the snow has come down and remains due to sub-zero temperatures. 

This means that business throughout the city is having a problem staying open because employees can't get to work.  In the case of class the place we go closed last week because they couldn't get anyone there to open up.  To add salt to the virtual wound our after class is held in Daniel Sensei's uninsulated garage.  It was in the 20's(F) last night and the garage was probably only around 60 at best.  Blue and white feet were definitely the word of the day. 

This is the third week in a row in which we might only have a single class during the week.  The new environmental problem is slightly warmer weather combined with freezing rain. 

Last night I went to class very early to warm up and thankfully Mark was there.  We worked on the Nifanshi Oyo and could barely remember how to put it together.  We hadn't practiced it for three weeks and it showed.  It's incredibly simple, but we couldn't remember the next move from the very start.

After class started MaryAnn and Reed both helped us remember the moves and then had us fix a few bits and pieces.  One of those was the shin kick.  Neither of us was putting any effort into timing or intensity. After that we both put a LOT of effort into it and this morning I noticed a considerable amount of bruises up and down my leg.  Ouch. 

I should mention that Mark was doing all this with his finger in a splint.  He had his finger slammed in a car door by a 7 year old.  It basically popped open like a grape.  I couldn't believe he hadn't gone to a doctor.  So we were really paying attention not to touch the finger! 

I led some warm ups and then Mark and I traded sides (attacker vs defender) several times until we felt comfortable.  I'm not saying we were great, but it was quite nice to remember the moves in their proper order.  MaryAnn was already to go traditional; which means one side does their side for months.  We had to tell her we both knew each other's side and just forgotten. 

I got to after class first (which is normal, but I don't understand because I usually leave last?) and got to grab Daniel Sensei for a run through of the ten bunkai.  For the first time I was able to go through them with a fair degree of recollection.  I sure wish I could practice those everyday.  I have no idea how to trick my wife into this, but if I could do that I'd be way smoother than I am now.

We finished up by working in the Kyoku application.  We worked out a few rough bits and then switched sides till I ran out of time. 

The only note from last night was that Reed said that he'd love to work more on the Elbow techniques, but since those aren't a requirement we need to focus on the application.  I got a laugh, thinking to myself that it seemed obvious that we need to focus on what we need to know. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Knee Cah Joe

It sounds like my Indian name doesn't it?  However in this case it means wrist locks.  Or maybe joint locks, but last night it was all about wrist locks.  Thankfully Noah was able to tell me it was Nikajo or Nikkyo. 

I'm very proud of my locks.  My old school took great lengths to train us to be able to apply them in a variety of forms and angles and yet I find myself being educated in news ways with Reed Sensei.  Usually a lock is applied by capturing your opponents hands against something.  In this case they have grabbed you by the wrist.  We use our other hand to hold it in place and then angle the wrist so the pressure goes against the joint in some horrific way.  

One thing I don't recall working on was escapes and counters.  We worked so hard on setting up and getting into position that I don't think it ever came up. The two big ones are getting super close to the other guy and getting so far out that the leverage is ruined.  I could feel that rush of understanding and being surprised that I could still be surprised.

The big treat last night was that Mark and I switched places in the application series and got about halfway through the routine.  That was a kick in the pants because it went so fast.  I'm still worried about my attention to detail.  So many little things to worry about.

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My Indian name
a short story by the Tater

I used to work with Troy.  He's a Cowlitz Indian.  I was fascinated by his stories of dysfunctional tribal politics combined with a traditional thread tying his life together while frustrating him at the same time.  

I told him that I had been frustrated by my inability to track down my Lene-Lenape ancestry (this was before cheap DNA tests).  As a consequence I was robbed of ever getting an Indian name.  

He approached his grandfather one weekend to see if they could help me out. As as result I got the name Piah Kiah Ootlach.  It means Burns In The Sun.  

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