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 up sparring between point based and reality based activity.  I always wondered why I had such a rough time at the tournaments.  Each time I learn something new I just sit there in amazement about how much I missed. 

My favorites are:
  • a punch must be followed by a retraction
  • a leading jab will almost never be rewarded with a point no matter how awesome
Those would have been nice to have known. 

My "help" consisted of me being the Uke so the kids could see what they were supposed to do.  I got a lot of taps on the jaw and thumps in the belly which always makes them pay attention. 

After than I went over to help the Browns. They were supposed to try to complete a test in forty-five minutes.  Good luck with that one.  Basically, they have to do everything once and fast with no waiting between each component.  It doesn't leave a lot of time to breath or catch your breath.  They seemed pretty good about the whole thing though.

After class was held at Reed's house again.  This means sitting in traffic for twenty minutes and enduring a feeling of endless detours, but the worst party is getting home to my wife who gets grumpier than me if she doesn't eat something by that late.  I'll be happy when they move the after class back to my neck of the woods.

I was practicing my two bird katas so Daniel Sensei was given the task to start me on number three, Haku ichi Ryu no onna.  I'm not sure I'm anywhere near the spelling on that one, but it's much like the others.  The big issue for me is going to be able to keep them separate.  This kata removes all the time breathing and changes the strikes once again.  Instead of eye pokes or punches I'm now doing palms to the heart.  You'd think they could have mixed these together. 

At least when I'm doing them I feel a long lineage of people doing these things since the first days when some guy practicing the kung fu version taught it to the first Okinawan guy.  The kata feels so unlike a Japanese thing and so much like a Chinese thing that I still get a chuckle from time to time.

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