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Showing posts from August, 2017

More Big Bird

As the Brown belts get closer to their test (on 9-8) I couldn't help be impressed with their knowledge and skill and feel a bit chagrined about my relatively modest learning curve.  I don't have to remember as much as they do, but after working on my new kata and adding a few more steps I realized this is going a very difficult couple of years.  I need to learn 7 more kata and still have to learn all the bunkai that goes with it.

The third bird is called Haku tzu ru no onna.  I'm probably not spelling that very well, but it's a lot of low cat stances and odd bird strikes.  I'm only half way and ran into some transition issues right away which is entirely normal for me.  I kept up, but realized that my learning felt slow and had to stop at one point because I couldn't absorb the info fast enough. 
Part of the issue with learning from some of the other high ranking black belts is that they have a tendency to talk about the esoterica.  So, whereas I need to practic…

I'm A Big Bird Three

Last night was an alternating Wednesday so we were going to be working on sparring.  With the additional material from Sensei's weekend seminar the content of class has become very interesting.

The class is broken into different groups after warmups to address the various levels of skill.  Last night the two brown belts were pulled to work on their test preparation.  They have a month or so before they go and they look pretty good to me.  I'm not sure how they'll do in the test, but they appear really confident and skilled.
While Mark worked with them I helped Reed with the kids on sparring drills.  The kids never seem to get to sparring because they are working on the new drills.  I'm fine with this because the drills are so awesome that I enjoy learning them with the kids.  Each one builds on the previous and before you know it we are working on a sophisticated drill that cuts through the basics of point based fighting. 
This is of great interest to me.  We never broke…

The Family We Adopt

Earlier in the day I received a text from Reed saying that Morris Sensei had passed away without further detail.  He'd been afflicted with Parkinson's for some time so it appeared the accumulative issues that go with it were finally too much for his system.  Morris Sensei was Reed's principle teacher.  They had met around thirty years ago.

I'd been under the impression that he and Reed were fairly close so I wasn't sure what the impact to the normal flow of things was going to be. At the end of class Reed told a Zen story that was a favorite of Morris.  While he was doing this he became choked up. He was not ashamed of being emotional, which I thought was pretty great.  He was showing the kids that it was okay to be open about it. 
Class warmup was more of the new sparring exercises which focus heavily on movement.  It's a lot of fun to move around in odd shapes and patterns, but it'll take awhile before any of that becomes second nature. 
While the rest of …

Post Seminar Fun Time

I think I might have mentioned before that Sensei has tried to make a consistent schedule which requires each Wednesday to be either self-defense or sparring.  The challenge being that the kids are literally being brought up from the beginning so putting them into the ring is taking awhile.

Last night we took a pleasant left turn.  Reed was able to get into a very elite training with Elisa Au Fonseca this last weekend.  She's the third top sparring champ in the world if I understand correctly and is definitely shooting for the Olympics in a couple of years when they do the demo for Karate.
Reed was able to get an invite and picked up seven pages of sparring exercises.  His normal follow up from that kind of thing is to immediately make everyone practice it so he can remember, but he locked himself down and followed the syllabus.  He did use new warm-ups from the training which was a nice change. 
As per usual, I got the four girls and had to work on Pinan Godan.  I feel like I might…

Super Death Killer Extreme

I ran down the hall to my wife with a big smile of childish glee, clutching my prize in my hand.  My wife was processing tomatoes for canning and had her hands full literally and figuratively so her response to my glee was a bit subdued.

"Honey!  Guess what I did?!" "Hmm,  what?" she replied distractedly. "I kicked a green fly out of the air and killed it!" I held out my hand to show her my prize.  The fly was slightly pulped and had one broken wing.  "Uhuh, that's nice," she replied laconically. "I know right!?" completely ignoring her lack of interest. 
Due to the amount of fresh vegetables in the house we're bound to get some bugs, but the unexpected birth of so many green flies was new to both of us.  As a consequence I ran around with a fly swatter killing as many as I could, but one errant fellow got out ahead of me so I lashed out with a beautifully timed front kick.  The top of my foot stunned the poor fellow and flung him i…

Keeping it 100

I could feel my teeth grinding at one point. 

When Sensei's eight year old daughter is "done" with class she only gives the very least in effort.  I can't imagine what she's like at home, but I imagine they feel more free to address her behavior.  Unfortunately, when I have to teach the young folks she is often an issue because I have to devote so much attention to her.  That means the group suffers.  I imagine I should just ignore her, but when she is partnered with another person they both get less done. 

Last night I had four girls of varying ages and experience trying to get through two exercises.   Each having less and less interest in the work as time went on.  On a good night everyone is pretty much on the same page, but as the time stretched on I seemed plagued by several issues.  The daughter and her partner started giggling which is a sure sign things are going down hill.  Then they started shoving each other.  In the other pair, one girl asked a questi…

Depression Stuff

My Buddy Colin Wee who runs Traditional Tae Kwon Do in Perth, Australia is an enterprising guy by anyone's standard.  So I was pleased when he approached me and several other martial arts folks to create some articles so that he could explore areas and how they relate.  I chose depression as a theme because of the issues I've been dealing with parents.  Below is the article I wrote for him and here is his.

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Depression, Symptoms And Its Treatment From the Martial Arts Perspective
Generally speaking, we all have ups and downs throughout the day, week, and season.  Most folks are not usually aware of the moods that pass by if they are fleeting and mild. We tend to become aware of our emotional state when it starts impacting our quality of life.  Because of cultural influence, this article focuses on the Western male.  I can’t speak to other cultures but I can imagine in most patriarchal ones the emotional response is similar.
Although the polar opposite of depression is mania, we’…