Thursday, December 28, 2017

Five Birds and a Fat Thumb

The class schedule is a bit spotty due to the holidays, but I assumed everyone would be back at class last night.  It ended up being me as the only adult other than Sensei Reed and six kids.  On top of that it was fight night.

Because so many of the kids are fairly new, sparring and prep for sparring took most of the class.  Jabs leading to a cross was a nightmare.  Reed has endless patience and knows not to get wrapped around trying to fix everything.  That being said, the repetition that he provides is awesome because within a few weeks I've seen the kids pick up all the basics.  Foot work seems to be the biggest challenge.  Telling someone and showing someone doesn't always sync for the kids.  In time they finally pick it up as they realize they have finer control over their limbs.

Eventually we got around to the sparring portion of the evening.  As part of that Reed and I did a demo of bowing and point system.  However, on the first start two of our judges immediately started sparring.  We had to start that all over, by explaining the judging.  So I had Reed punch me and I asked them, "which one get the point?"  They all had a different answer.  Needless to say, I almost beat Reed for once. However he doesn't know how to move to half speed so the kids couldn't tell what was going on.  For my troubles and bad technique I ended up spraining my thumb a bit.  Thankfully, it's on my left hand so I can type, but I'm a bit concerned that the swelling hasn't gone down. 

In the after class I just worked on my bird katas and did some refining.  I hadn't practiced but once or twice since the last class and it showed.  Lots of hiccups, but by the end of the hour I was able to get through Ka Ku Fa fairly well.  This morning I was able to get through Onna pretty good as a result. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Bruised And Birds

I'm still incredibly sore, so I was experiencing a bit concern about how active we were going to be.  I honestly thought it was going to be fight night again and didn't think I could face any fast movement.  However, I got in late and everyone was holding a Bo (staff) so I was pretty sure sparring was out. 

Sensei felt like it was a good day to start everyone on a basic Bo kata for some reason.  It was kind of fun.  The kata is Ten Ryu no Cone Sho.  I have no idea how to spell that, but the first couple of moves that we learned are pretty neat and have good bunkai.

That was literally the whole class.  I guess because it was so small he felt like that was a fun day.

After class we working on Ka Ku Fa and refining on all the other bird kata.  Lots of notes that I got to work on this morning in my ice cold house.  The heat is having a problem on our brand new furnace.  Yeah.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Rolling With Loose Intestines

Where to start?  In just two hours I feel like I've packed in enough to write a book, but I will spare you my blathering and just focus on the good bits.

Yesterday I was experiencing some severe digestive problems.  So the age old question came up  - do I go to beatings on the off chance I might need to exit in the middle of things?  I decided to go to class because I felt pretty empty which seemed like I would be less likely to have an accident.  

I joked with Mark that if I got punched in the stomach things would probably go badly for me.  Since we aren't usually that impact intensive in class I felt like I would be safe.  What I forgot was that Monday could either be basics or self-defense.  Much to my chagrin it turned out to be self-defense.  

To accelerate my discomfort we started out with jumping jacks.  I've never done such light jumping jacks.  Thankfully we only did fifty.  I was gritting my teeth by the end though.  

The class turned out to be to be super small.  Only four kids and the four blackbelts.  Reed and I ended up working with the kids on how to escape from a bear hug.  I'm not sure if this would ever happen in real life, but if it did these kids will be prepared.  

Our two new students Chase and Sage were totally down with all the work so it was pretty fun.  Only one part of the work was me getting elbowed three times in the gut by Reed.  Thankfully there was no blowout.  Then the next move was to grab my ankle and pull necessitating a two-hand break fall on the hardwood.  As a result I kept checking my inseam in the mirror to make sure I hadn't soiled myself.  Luck was with me.

As usual, I end up getting to Afterclass before everyone else which confuses me because I'm not usually the first person out of class.  But this means I get to work with Daniel Sensei individually.  As a result we completed Ka Ku Fa, but I don't think I retained any of it because Reed came in and said, "okay let's do jujitsu."

Thankfully Mark had warned me that this might be the case, but being forewarned doesn't mean that I was forearmed.  We do this so infrequently that I can only remember one or to things.  

The list from last night:
  • Escape from full mount using a bridge and cross arm grab.
  • Passing the guard with the "praying hands" - elbows in the inner thighs, force one leg down and move up.
  • Stopping the passing of guard by locking down one leg.
  • Breaking a one leg stop by pressing weight and using a foot to dig in their lock.
  • Doing an arm bar - "Olgo Plata" - foot across throat then fall into arm bar.
  • Defeating arm bar with two hand grab and then move to knees to start the process of moving to mount.
After going through these drills we got to "roll".  Oh god the pain.  We were also only using half power, but I still got mangled by Daniel and Reed, but I enjoyed every bit of it.  So fascinating doing the stuff I see on UFC.  I'm so sore today though.  Ouch.

In February we are going to be starting an adult class! Just late at night.  This will be a challenge to sell to the wife.  Urgh. 




Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hot Date After Fight Night

It was Wednesday and that means self-defense or Fight Night.  Before class we usually chat while we try to warm up a bit more.  I'm constantly worried about how slow I am off the line when it comes to a leading jab followed by a reverse punch.  For this school that is the bread and butter of point fighting. 

At my old school, we didn't get to go to tournaments because of the location (an island) so our sparring was a mix of reality and test of technique.  Since I've been at my new school I've had to retune and it's been really tough.  Points are awarded in a very rigid fashion.  For instance, a punch has to fully retract and a jab will never get you any points.  Keeping this in mind while someone is punching or kicking at you provides a lot of difficulties. 

We did a very long warm up with plenty of movement drills, which I have come to love because it's not something I think I do well in sparring.  And then it was on, but we really only had about fifteen minutes of actual time to do matches and those were fairly informal. 

I sparred Reed and Mark several times and tried some old and new techniques and generally felt better about the whole thing.  Although I didn't get any points on Reed I've begun to realize, with him, I don't mind about the lockouts because if I'm keeping score in my head of what's happened I know I'm getting something here and there.  That makes me feel better because I know he gets the benefit of the doubt in our judging and he's that good as well.

My final match was with one of our ten year old girls.  She didn't seem motivated, but no one else wanted to have a go, so I let my guard down at one point so she could give me a shot.  I hope I made her day. 

What it's like in class when I fight. I'm the guy on the right (not really)

I wasn't able to go to afterclass because my wife and I had a hot date before she leaves town for the week, but I have noticed in the last two days that my frustrating katas have finally started coming together!  I no longer dread them because of all the stop points.  I have a few, but they are rapidly disappearing.  Which makes the kata go way faster. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Stretch For Old Man

Preparations for the Quarterly testing have begun in earnest.  In our school testing is called Celebration for the colored belts.  I believe this is to put a positive spin on something that folks normally stressful and try to get people to see that progression is something to be celebrated.  

As per usual, Mondays mean I'm going to be tired because I didn't get a good night sleep.  However, I've been trying to keep my regular schedule during the weekend as much as possible so I get a good night sleep during the start of the week.  This appeared to be working as well because I was able to go to sleep around 10 pm.  This means I could get up at 5 without any problem.  

Alas, the plans of mice and men often go awry and I was no different.  I was awoken at 4 am by the retching sounds of my cat.  For those of you not familiar with this incredibly upsetting noise, it resembles a broken pump trying get started until the mess gets ejected.  Unfortunately for me I didn't move fast enough and caught some hot fluid and chunks.  Even after cleaning up I was unable to get back to sleep leaving me as a shambling wreck for the rest of the day.

As part of some lost moment during the day I ran across this video.  Quite the revelation as it relates to stretching.

Skip to 5:30 if you don't want all the other tips.

Anyway, I had a pretty good class with the girls.  Another revelation was instead of trying to get them to follow my lead, I simply have them show me what to do and make them go slow.  Due to the katas I'm learning it's hard for me to go back to the basics and remember the moves.  So I have the girls go slow and show me.  Somehow that's making it easier for all of us.  

I tried the stretching after class and found it to be quite nice!  The upward, supported stance didn't do much for me, but the wall one I can feel profoundly.  Yeah!

After class - report: Helped Kyle work on his Kyoku Shodan Oyo.  It was fun to remember all the bits and pieces and be somewhat helpful.  Then I learned a bit more of Ka Ku Fa.  
I hate to curse myself, but all the katas are coming a bit easier!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ka Ku Fa dose 2

Sensei Reed says that he is an auditory learner and as such tends to teach that way.  I would have said that I'm a visual learner or practical learner.  In the sense that I need to act it out, but in truth I need all of these to learn.

I hear Reed or Daniel in my head when I'm coming up on a move.  They use funny comments so you can remember what the move should be.  I also visualize their move and try to act it out.  And finally I need to do so often that it's muscle memory so I only need to worry about things like depth and intensity.

Why this?  Well, it was back to my fifth kata, Ka Ku Fa.  I'm endlessly worried about keeping all these separate and the first four have given me pause just trying to keep compartmentalized.  However, Reed is okay with giving me more to absorb if he think I can manage.  I'm just never sure I'm ready of course, but he clearly has a sense of things.

So now I'm practicing in the morning and in the afternoon.  Now the stories from MaryAnn Sensei are making sense.  For years she's been practicing at work when everyone leaves for lunch.  I now realize she had to because she had to.

---

Class was supposed to be fight night, but due to illness and other holiday reasons, the class was only six color belts and three of us Black Belts.  However, Reed forgot the helmets and pads for the kids so we did self defense instead.  Strangely, helping the kids get things straight is exhausting because it requires so much attention. 

After class was simply working on Ka Ku Fa.  As a result I was able to do it this morning up to the point we left off.  It's different enough that I don't confuse any part of it with the others.  I'm about half way through by my guess.  I'll be practicing all weekend I believe.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Big Bird Five

Talk about the sound of inevitability!  I'm truly struggling to keep the four kata I have in my brain separated and as of last night Sensei Reed has added the fifth.  

The difficulty is that the kata are similar in that they have similar moves and similar structures.  As a result I've been practicing the woman and man kata as much as possible to get them really set, but I keep dropping a piece or two and having to start learning them over again.

I'm trying to figure out a way to identify areas of freezing, but the worst part was that I went back this morning to do the "of woman" kata and couldn't remember anything!  How frustrating!  Hopefully I can recall it tonight when I'm more awake.

So last night, during the second hour, he introduced to the first part of Ka Ku Fa.  Even more challenging.  Sheesh!

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I've been worried about my health recently, knowing that I have a doctor's annual coming up.  So I've been trying to clean my diet and get back to running regularly.  My body isn't too keen on the running part.  My legs are sore and always seem like I'm overdoing it.  I have to remind myself that I took a long time off and returning to regularity is going to take a bit.  

During the first hour I was supposed to lead basics and decided to work on kicks.  What fun.  I was wheezing right away and by the time we got to side kicks I thought I pulled a thigh muscle.  Wow.  I actually had to stop for sec.  

It turned out to be an ibuprofen evening and bed early.  

Full Iron Circle

When I started at the Shudokan school five years ago, MaryAnn Sensei was working on her San Dan and as part of that she would teach me the k...