Thursday, October 26, 2017

More Birdy

Wasn't it just the other day that I was crowing about all the new folks?  Well, we've kept Alex and Cirloo, but the two older guys didn't come back.  Was I too enthusiastic?  I'll never know unless they told Reed Sensei that they would have loved to come except the creepy guy in the flattop was too much.  I hope that isn't the case anyway.

Last night was a mix of self-defense and Bunkai from Matsu Kaze.  The took the whole class to get through one series of punch-kick combos, but it went quickly and was quite fun.  In the end we were told about a Kata only tournament next weekend.  Unfortunately, it's when I have another slew of guests coming through, so that's right out.  Sigh.  Something close is hard to miss.

Somehow I managed to cut some part of my big toe, but I didn't realize it until I got to after class.  It didn't really hurt until this morning.  I hate foot accidents because how much it effects everything.  Just walking becomes awkward. 

In after class I finished the third bird kata; Hakusuru No Onna.  This felt like a big accomplishment since this is the third Kata towards my 2nd degree belt.  Although it's not particularly complicated or overly long I have enough trouble now getting through it and looking smooth.  Daniel says that it comes in time, but I need to focus on looking more "birdy".  

Most of the kata I have done has been very "powerful".  The moves are jumping, blocks, kicks, and punches.  Now I'm moving to flowing, smooth actions that have little force.  Rewriting the syllabus as it were.

This morning I was practicing it over and over again with a Band-Aid on my foot in hopes that it becomes smoother.   

Here's the progress so far:
  1. Haku Cho
  2. Haku Cho Dai
  3. Haku Tsuru No Onna
  4. Haku Tsuru No Ottoko
  5. Kaku Fa
  6. Haku Tsuru
  7. Rohai Shodan
  8. Wando
  9. Ni Pai Po
  10. Kuryo Ni Pai Po
So I've got four down and six to go.  Thankfully I've got another year and some to get it down.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Veni, Vidi, Amissa

As with ancient conquering generals I took the field of battle, but with fairly low expectations.  I wasn't disappointed. 

It was fight night last night, but before I got into the mindset created by adrenaline and competitiveness I decided to focus on what I needed to happen.  I've been consistently disappointed by the lack of success in sparring while at my new school.  The root cause is that at my old school there were no point systems.  We went at it with vigor and tried to protect ourselves as best we could. 

At my current school sparring is solely focused on point based work.  So practicality is tossed aside for some fairly strict rules.  The torso and head are the only point areas, a leading shot to the body doesn't count, etc.  There are all these rules!

It's been a year and some and I'm getting better at that stuff, but I don't get to participate enough to remember each  time.  However, this time I wasn't going to worry about the final score.  I was going to focus on simple jab and follow-up, but I must say that went out the window pretty quickly.  Even with less advanced students I was so slow that everyone was picking me off with quick shots.  I lost four out of my five matches.  And none of them by sudden death.  Wow, that was depressing. 

However, since it was my birthday, I was feeling good overall and celebrating the fact that I could still get in there and pretend to know what I was doing.  I could see where things were going, but not fast enough to adjust.  Probably better than I'd ever done before though.

After class was just me and Mark.  We are both now working on separate areas which is a bit sad because having someone do the same stuff is really helpful.  However, I was able to refine a bit more of my third bird kata and get a few more moves in before time ran out.

This morning I'm feeling the various bruises from sparring and wonderful soreness that comes with good exercise.  It's good to be alive. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Three New Students!

I was running around in circles as per Monday afternoon protocol.  This means that I did not get to sleep very well on Sunday night and meant that I was pretty tired by the time I got home.  To remedy this I laid down on the bed for a minute in hopes that I'd suddenly develop the skill to nap and wake up refreshed.

This was not to be the case because the cats followed me and decided that I would be the perfect pillow for an afternoon snooze.  I ended up staring at the ceiling for 20 minutes and got up covered in cat hair and not one bit refreshed at all.

The familial stress has also started taking it's toll.  I feel like my blood pressure is sky rocketing so my face is hot and I have a mild headache much of the time.  To counteract this I need to be running and eating less.  Neither of which appear to be happening. 

So going to class has become a bit of a talisman in that I'm doing things that are heading in the correct direction for a better and healthier me. 

I got to class and the news is that we are getting three new students!  Two adults and one eight year old.  I'm so excited.  The addition of adults is awesome in my mind because it creates some balance in the heavily child-centric class.  Of course that's not going to go away anytime soon, but interacting with adults seems so relieving. 

New guy Dan appears to be in his 50's as well as new guy Tom.  It's hard to tell anyone's age anymore (since tomorrow is my 51st birthday) and I know that I look younger than most folks my age.  Well, until they get close.  There isn't anyway to hid all those wrinkles and hair loss.  New kid Chirloo, is incredibly quiet.  I wasn't sure that he actually understood English, but he managed to get through class as best he could.  Of course I ended working with him for about forty minutes.  How does this happen?  I wanted to hang out with the biker and the serious guy.  Oh well.

Class was all about working on the Matsu Kazi kata and basics.  The folks getting ready for this weekend's tournament broke out and focused on their katas and such.  Mark and I worked with Chirloo as much as we could.  I always feel like we are missing something when we work with kids.  Too much info in one dose. 

I decided not to go to after class due to the concentration on tourney prep and that ended up great because I could go to bed early. Snoooorreeee.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beaten By Children

I thought we were going to continue with learning the Matsu Kazi kata, but due to the schedule it was self-defense night instead.  As a result we learned the bunkai from the first couple of moves from the kata.  

After a modest warm up that included leg stretches I realized I had stretched in who knows how long.  I felt like I was pulling every muscle.  I clearly need to warm up a bit more seriously before we get going.  And definitely work on stretching.  Ouch.

The mats came out and we assumed two rows facing each other.  One side is the attacker and one side is the defender.  We pulled moves straight out of the kata which I don't know if I'd use in a real fight, but every bit of knowledge is good.  You never know how something can be utilized.  

Reed asked everyone to partner up with some their size and I ended up being the odd man out and partnered with Adrianna.  I think she's around eight years old, but seems good about dealing with someone well over 150 pounds more than she weighs.  I had to do most of the moves on my knees which started fine, but by the end of that part of the class I was groaning inwardly.  

We did x blocks, captures and blows the temple.  This was followed by a very complicated grab that locks the arms in a horrible way that lead to a throw.  As the dummy that stung, but being low to the ground with Adrianna I was really just roll out of the lock as best as I could.  

The game afterwards consisted of grouping by numbers.  Reed would shout a number from three to five.  We would immediately group based on the number.  The first call of five caused considerable confusion as a bunch of kids hugged one another so I hugged them and tried to pry the others away that tried to join with my feet.  We ended up on the floor laughing, but I was disqualified in the first round.  

***

After class consisted of Me, Mark and Reed.  We went over the bunkai on the first of my three katas which were short and simple-ish.  Then we went over the stuff that's required for the purple belt test.  Unfortunately, it's a mish-mash in my brain in the moment.  Too much content at one time.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pine Tree Wind

The real name is probably "wind blowing through pine trees", but I don't speak Japanese so translation and transliteration are going to be messy at best when filtered through my soggy brain. 

It's been a while since I've been to class (one month to be precise) and since I'm just tired mentally, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Folks are getting ready for tournament, and the idea to teach everyone a new kata at the same time this quarter started last night.  So my timing was pretty good there.  Unfortunately, the tourney fall on my birthday weekend so that's right out, but I'm finding it difficult to swing those due to the time and money. 

The new kata is called Mata Kazi.  I'm not sure about the spelling, but so far we've only gotten through the first couple of steps.  I tried to remember this morning during my regular practice, but most of it slipped away.  I can recall some more of it while I'm typing, but a bad night sleep roughs everything up. 

We have a new student who I think might be in his 20's so that's a nice addition.  It was Alex's first night. 

Bassai in the park

Holy Cow!  So much time has passed since I've sat down and collected my thoughts for a quick update about my martial practice.  March wa...