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Showing posts from 2018

Post Vacation Review

My wife and I got invited to our friends house in Mexico and it was the perfect antidote to the cold temperatures and endless darkness of the Thorn city. Even now I'm looking at my cold fingers while I'm typing and wishing I was back down there looking out across the bay in my shorts. 

At the very least I was able to get back in time to get to class last night.  We are going into a tiny bit of shutdown for Xmas and New year so I was anxious to get to class and get some directed practice in.  

At the Black Belt class we jumped right into a test practice.  Since I'd been practicing and fairly well, I thought, I gave off the energy of confidence.  However, the first two kata got somewhat messed up, we missed a kata somehow and then I didn't depend on myself and ended up forgetting where I was in a kata.  Not a great show.  However Reed said that we were ahead of schedule and looking reasonably well.  

We were also told that the blackbelts prepping for testing would be headin…

Daygrinder and Bluetoe

It sounds like the title to a new buddy action comedy set in a dystopic waste land in the future, but in reality it's just two facets of my life from the last week.  

The Bluetoe refers to the color of my toenails last night while we did a run through of the test in Sensei's garage.  Alas, his wife had forgotten to turn the space heater on earlier.  Although we couldn't see our breath, the room felt like it was in the mid 50s (f) the whole time we were there.  We were extra vigorous just to keep warm.  No dilly-dally for us.  I believe we finished in about 45 minutes.  Record time.

About two weeks ago I bit down extra hard and knocked a chunk of tooth off a molar.  The pain was exquisite.  After the dentist had removed the shard and repaired the spot she said that I needed to get a night guard as I showed signs of grinding my teeth.  After making an appointment I realized that I forgotten to mention that I wear retainers and my teeth can't actually touch one another at n…

New Guy Dave

Our text feed was filled with people saying they couldn't make one or both of the classes last night.  Although that's a bummer generally speaking, it means that the class was going to be small or a private lesson.  I used to be frustrated by that, but now I'm definitely down with the attention to detail it provides and the longer periods of time we can spend on single parts of exercises.  

The black belt extra class, which meets at Sensei's house between the general class and the adult class requires a drive to the South which can take anywhere between fifteen to 40 minutes depending on traffic.  For whatever reason I got all green lights and ended up second.  Very unusual for me.  The class ended up being Mya, Mark, Sensei and me.  Perfect class.

We went through as much of the test as we could in forty-five minutes.  By the end we had made it through seven kata and their bunkai.  Not bad, but the slow up was due to Sensei's attention to detail on the bunkai.  It me…

Finally! I Get To Teach An Adult

It's not that we aren't helping each other all the time, but acting in the role as a teacher specifically to pass recent knowledge is pretty exciting.  

The two folks that made it through their year of confirmation have both decided as of last night to follow the track to Ni Dan using the Birds package.  

Blocks of Kata and their associated Bunkai/Oyo are called packages in Shudokan parlance.  In my case I'm doing the "bird" package.  At least five of the kata are straight up white crane kata derived from an ancestor of ours that when to China to learn martial arts.  So we have the version that has been filtered through Japanese culture, but it's pretty recognizable by anyone for what it is.  The remaining kata were selected over the years as the default for one reason or the other.

Starting with me (or my skill level in this year) we were given the option to select a different package which contained five Shotokan kata and five Riuryu kata.  I stuck with tradit…

A Rat!

Sensei sent out a message on the text chain letting us know that someone had contacted the local code enforcement officer about running a business out of his garage.  Namely our class!  Consequently he didn't want us there to practice between classes until he sorted it out. 

A side effect of this issue is that it has lit a fire under Sensei about finding a place.  However, a brief conversation about rent prices really shocked me.  Just finding a space in an out of the way strip mall costs around $6000 freedom dollars!  How does anyone stay in business?!

We all realize that if we had our own place it would be so much easier to train.  Some of the students train three classes in a row twice a week because that's all that's available.  That's really pushing it for some of the kids in school.  By the time we get out of the last class (8:30) I'm ready to hit the sack and they still have hours of homework.  It doesn't make for a conducive learning environment. 

By ye…

Forgotten Notes

Hey Everybody!

Oh man, it's been a long time since I've posted.  Where did the time go and all that?  I keep forgetting to write in the blog the day after.  Too much going in life, but I am still remaining as consistent as I can be with class and practice.

As I mentioned in previous posts I'm on the log slog towards my Ni Dan (2nd degree) test in early May.  If I didn't describe it in the past each exam in the Shudonkan school is from a different style.  This is a reflection of the schools roots, when it was simply a place for anyone to practice.  So many people from many styles would come and hang out, but instead of cross pollinizing the school chose to learn the style of the other folks as best they could.

So the first test, Sho Dan, is a smattering of some in house (proprietary) kata and technique and some ground level stuff from other Okinawan school.  The second degree is mostly bird kata.  And when I say bird kata I mean it.  It's 90% white crane from Wush…

Ten In Thirty

I apologize for not writing frequently, but that's mostly because I update the blog while I'm at work.  The issue is the new job doesn't have a lot of slack time for to think deeply about my Karate practice.

I recently started moving my practice around so it resembles the test as closely as I can make it.  This means I do all ten kata in a row.  Because I'm not stopping to do the Bunkai between each form I can basically do the whole thing in around a half hour. 
As a result I've found my weak spots in my kata which is great, but absolutely infuriating. I had definitely thought I had everything nailed down way better than I do.  I also learned that I need to practice this everyday because little practiced katas have a tendency to fall apart when not touched upon at least every three days.
I think I've mentioned that I had a few weeks of 10 to 11 hour work days and as a result I have crippling pain in my left hip and right ankle.  I literally sat so long I compresse…

So Much Wando

It's been a couple of weeks!  Work turned into a bit of a nightmare.  I've been working 10 to 12 hours days for about 10 days straight now.  The exhaustion didn't leave me much time to do anything, but eat dinner and go to sleep and then do it all over again.

The emergency is slowly resolving give me some more time to myself.  And maybe I'm getting used to the long days, but in any case I was able to go to class for the first time in awhile.  Let's just say that my performance was less than adequate in my own mind.  But the occasional practice I've been doing kept me from looking like a total failure.  Olivia and I ripped through out list of test katas in 45 minutes.  I didn't look good on two of the bigger ones, but the speed made me feel good.
In the main class we focused on a single kata, Wando, and I was able to refine that pretty darn well.  Lots of things I'd missed in the pass.  I took about 15 minutes to work with one of our new Brown belts, Mia. …

A Twist In The Test

As I've reported before, I'm on the long slog to the test so there isn't much to add on a weekly basis.  I'm just trying to remember and be better with the things I need to know while balancing the real life stuff.

As you will recall part of the test is to do the Bunkai.  Bunkai is a series of moves that come from the kata that acted out by two people.  One acts as the aggressor (they are the Uke) and they are the loser in the show.  I have ten kata so I have ten Bunkai to learn. So far in the process, they have not been the emphasis, so learning them has been a bit of a challenge.  We've only touched on them fleetingly so it feels like a struggle to learn them. 

The new wrinkle was that Olivia (my test partner) and I were told yesterday that we were now encouraged to make our own bunkai for the test!  This was is a fairly large change, but we now have till May to sort this out.  Olivia and I are supposed to invent them and then present them to the Sensei and he'…

Orange Skies

The Thorn City is currently covered in a cloud of ash produced by the West coast fires.  Air quality is getting close to Beijing on a bad day.  So I'm definitely not encouraged to do anything vaguely athletic outside, but the skies are beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Well, there were up until last night when the view started looking like something out of bladerunner.

Even though we are getting to the point where we are all supposed to be wearing masks I slogged up to Sensei's house to practice.  He thankfully had the garage doors closed, but the garage felt like an oven.  We reviewed older kata and did our first few kata before time ran out.  

Part of Olivia and my home is to name the bunkai to help us remember what they are.  So far I've got:
- haku cho
- haku cho dai means on in the eye
- hakutsuru no Onna means go hard
- hakutsuru no Ottko means go soft (pretty hands)

I'm stuck there because it didn't really help me sort out what I was supposed to be doing, but it'…

The Good Kind Of Sore

In my late twenties I wanted to be a body-builder.  I grew up long and thin and was incredibly self-conscious about it.  I hated wearing shorts when I was in high school because my knee joints were the largest part of my legs.  You could hang hats and coats off my hip bones.  Needless to say that drove me pretty hard to put on weight when I had the time to put into it.  Over the years I became "normal" and made many friends at the gym.  At one point I was working out with my friend Jerry, who was an actual competing body builder, I made the comment, "I can't wait to be big like you so I won't be sore anymore."

This was met with laughter combined with disbelief. 
"You know it's part of the process.  You'll continue to be sore forever.  You recognize it for what it is - muscle growth.  It's a bit masochistic,"  he said.
I can remember being so disappointed, but over the years I realized it was a built-in feedback mechanism.  If you did eve…

Notes from the Long Slog

I'm not filled with the muse to write at the moment, but here are some notes.

It's been two weeks since I've been to class.  Good news is that the recent colonoscopy only had two pre-cancerous polyps - both removed.  I'm clear for another three years, but that was a missed class night.  I didn't come out of the anesthesia as well as I had before. Thankfully my wife drove.

With nine months ago, I imagine all I'm going to be writing about is test prep.  So katas and bunkai and probably not much else.  

Progress took a bit of a back step for me since I didn't practice as intensely as I should have while I was out.  This showed as we went through the newer kata.  Aggravating. 

Monday is kata night and basics night.  The bb class was at 90 degrees plus again.  I can't believe how much water I go through and still remain thirsty.  We managed to get through first five kata with their bunkai.

During regular class we worked on Wando most of the class, because we have…

A Lovely Day For Big Bird

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There was a break in the heat finally, but I was leaving on vacation today so I wanted to get a little training in before I left so I chose the first hour of class (the black belt session) which is held at Sensei Reed's house.  When the class gets a little big we end up practicing in his front yard.  I guess the old adage would be that the lawn is good training for our feet.  Anyway here's the progress video.


Nothing to brag about, but at least I have a lot of basic movements down.  The big deal is that it's my tenth kata so it's nothing but refinement for the next 8 months.  That and learn the ten bunkai as well.  Right now I can remember maybe one or two.  Stay tuned for a plethora of badly filmed techniques.

Big Bird Six

Last week I was up North for a week of work training, but I was able to practice every day, so I was looking forward to Monday night.  I was assuming that we'd just be working on the last few Katas, but to my surprise we started Hakutsuru, the big daddy of the bird kata. 

I should mention that the heat here in the Thorn city has really taken off.  Thankfully the humidity is relatively low, but it makes traveling to Sensei's house a psychological challenge.  We practice in his garage and under normal circumstances it's fine, but the high temperature make it oven-like.  

So I showed up with my extra water bottles and Reed said let's jump in to work!  

Hakutsuru is the longest of the bird kata and it encompasses all the cool moves from all the other bird katas, making it long and confusing to me.  The beginning of the kata is called the yoy (spelling?).  Its the part where you bow in, but each family of katas is different and unique.  Hakutsuru appears to take a portion of e…

Half In The Bag

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I certainly came across with a lot of bravado about my retention of the two katas I most recently learned, Ni Pi Po and Rohai Shodan.  That hubris was rewarded with a memory wipe of two or three portions of the katas.  Overweening confidence! How you mock me.

So I was very pumped to get to practice yesterday to cover those gaps.  I jumped right in with Olivia and Reed Sensei and felt pretty good about it.  Olivia coached me through a few gaps while videoing.  



Not as talented as most of the videos out there, but not horrible either.  Maybe in a month or so it'll be a bit better.  

We were also reminded that our testing will occur in April of 2019.  A small change is that it sounds like all the returning blackbelts are also eligible.  Whereas before I thought Olivia was out for another year beyond that, she, Kevin and Terry, might be good to go.

Wednesday Means Fight Night

Somewhere in the middle of last year Reed Sensei said that we'll be doing quarterly assignments to come into line with the main school.  Part of this is adjusting our schedule so we are more systematic with our lessons.  So Monday is Kata/basics and Wednesday is bunkai/sparring. 

This schedule allows us know what's coming up.  In the past sparring was a bit of a surprise, but not that it was bad, but it was infrequent.  For whatever reason we haven't had sparring in a while.  The focus has been bunkai for the last couple of months so needless to say most of us were out of practice.
The Black Belt class mostly focused on Bunkai from our various testing cycles.  Of course the guy studying for his forth degree had the most interesting stuff.  The few of us working on bird katas have fairly make sense kinds of things.  Daniel sensei's stuff contains great throws and arm bars.  We worked on Ka Ku Fa which is three birdy hand strikes and a eye smack.  It can be done very fast…

Ni Pi Po In The Bag

In a flurry of productivity I was able to get Ni Pi Po completed.  I'm not saying it looks good, but I can get through it in a halting fashion.  This is notable because I'd just finished Rohai Shodan the week before.  Although I'm using the word "completed" you should know that this means that I can make it through the kata with zero timing and zero elegance and probably a plethora of mistakes. 

My progress report as of Monday night:

Haku Cho
Haku Cho Dai
Hakutsuru no Onna
Hakutsuru no Otoko
Wando
Ka Ku Fa
Koryu Ni Pi Po
Ni Pi Po
Rohai Shodan
Hakutsuru

I'm a year and a month in since I've started this.  Reed says this is excellent progress and way ahead of schedule.  The regular schedule is to get all the kata complete by one and half years.  The last six months is all about refining as much as possible.  In my case I'll need as much time as can to make sure I stop making larger mistakes.

So one more to learn which is the largest of the bird katas.  I also need t…

Rohai In The Bag

After a brief introduction to Rohai months (years?) ago I'd completely forgotten even the few moves, but was left with a vague sense of a few of the moves.  But, as part of my exam, it's one of the kata I need to know.  Everyone in class actually knows this because it's considered a fairly elementary form.  All the better for me since I was able to pick it all up last night after doing it about twelve times.  The proof being that I was able to do it this morning even without practicing it last night when I got home.

But I'm jumping ahead in review of the evening.  As I might have mentioned the class schedule goes like this: 4:15 to 5:15 is the kids class at the health club 5:30 to 6:45 is the blackbelt additional group at Sensei's garage 7:15 to 8:15 is back to the health club for the adult class
As you can imagine this means a lot of driving around and it's during rush hour.  Which means exactly what you'd think.  Just getting to Sensei's house can be an ex…

Melancholy Removal

Not to wax too philosophic, but family issues once again weigh in on my life priorities.  My mother took a cliché fall and was found to have a broken hip.  Due to her dementia this was a big deal, however her care was exemplary.  She had a new hip in one day, but the anesthesia proved to be troublesome during her recovery. 

My wife and I traveled to the East coast to help my Father out and visit with my Mom while she sorted out her recovery.  Without going into too much detail the stress of the trip didn't leave a lot of time to practice kata.  I'd planned to run every other day and do plenty of exercise to counter the tension.  But by the end of the week I'd only practiced twice and never ran.  When I got home I was concerned that I'd forgotten everything and was very out of shape.
I got home on a Tuesday night and the jetlag proved to be too intense so going to class was lost to going to bed early and trying to reset my clock.
Fast forward to last night.  We are now mo…

Long Thin Legs

Amidst review of our kata, Reed Sensei reminded me that I needed to go lower in some of my stances.  It's no doubt a direct result of the people around me that I don't appear to be even trying.  The folks who've been doing the cat stance since they were ten years old appear to defy gravity with the depth they can achieve while in comparison I look like I'm barely bending a knee.  
It's not like I'm not aware of it, but it bugs me that I'm unable to really get deep enough to even look vaguely capable.  As I've gotten older I'm hyper aware that I'm losing muscle mass.  To add insult injury, without meaning to, Reed said I really need to hit the stance low and beautiful because of my long, thin legs.  Ouch!
The old joke in the gym was, "what are the four meanest words said by a loved one?"  You're arms look smaller.  
I know I'm vain, but over the years I don't have the physique to even pull that off to myself anymore, but I winc…

A Modest Celebration

I've been out for the week because work sent me to California!  The weather was overcast and cool the whole time, but I learned a lot and meet the people on my team.  Did I mention that I have a new job?  It's been about four weeks now. 

I practiced as much as I could while I was in my hotel room, but everything was pretty distracting so I don't think I learned too much beyond what I knew before in terms of the new kata. 
Upon my return I had to get ready for the Celebration last night.  This is the testing for colored belts and all the black-belts were asked to attend due to the numbers of students.  I proctored/watched two of the oldest students and they did really well, but I guess everyone did.  I wanted to watch a few of the real fireballs, but didn't get a chance. Afterwards we went to the local pizza place and I was saturated in the sounds of family and happiness.  I hadn't realized that I would enjoy the family atmosphere so much.
Back to the adult class - I …

Stinky Rolling

The beautiful blue sky has given way to grey, moody clouds that appear to be perpetually threatening rain, but never produce.  Unfortunately that creates an higher than average humidity and that means exertion, not matter how little, will be rewarded with a greasy, clinging sweat.  

This also means that I need to special care when cleaning my gis.  If I leave the Gi in the washing machine too long the materials get a bitter, acrid odor that the dryer seems to bake in.  In yesterday's case I didn't notice this until I was being choked out with an ankle and realized the bad smell was coming from me.  That was in the first 15 minutes and I had two more hours to go.  Yuck.  I also felt for everyone that had to hug me for the bulk of that time.

In BB class we decided to do ground work for that hour and do test prep for the regular adult class.  The big local celebration is on the 30th and Reed wants us all to know what the kids are expected to do so we can judge in stations.  

In the …

Heat Back Stroke

In the afternoon the temperature started climbing pretty high for the Thorn city. The mid 80's in Fahrenheit. With a slight breeze this is somewhat durable, but standing in the street practicing kata makes this gradually increasing effort.  I'm not sure if it's dehydration or just the body's inability to shed heat after a long winter, but Olivia and me were finding it harder and harder to get motivated to do kata over and over. 

I made the spectacularly poor choice of wearing a black t-shirt.  By the time we'd got through a few katas I was completely soaked.  But because it was relatively dry the shirt was fairly dry by the time we stopped.  We ran through Ni Pai Po and Koryu Ni Pai Po multiple times. 
I don't mind running through NPP over and over again because it is steadfastly refusing to stick in my brain.  After a multitude of times and a lame attempt at videoing after class last night I've actually retained a few more moves.  Olivia tells me that she …

Firehose Part Two

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I went into class last night thinking to myself, "okay, Tater.  You've got two reasonably decent nights of sleep under your belt.  You're going to be a machine tonight." Well, I get there, and I actually remembered to bring my staff - a gift from my wife over ten years ago, I think I'm good to go.

Because our Kyle is getting ready for testing we started the blackbelt session with a review of his kata.  We each got to give three observations.  I'm not particularly good at this because I get caught up in trying to see all the details and can't back out to see the whole thing. 
With that we started heavy work on Ni Pai Po.  Even though we started on Monday, which I'll admit I wasn't very alert for due to lack of sleep, I assumed I would have retained something.  However, nothing remained.  I had to do each step over and over again and had to ask for help each time.  Thank god everyone was patient because I was losing patience with myself.  By the end …

Another Firehose Night

Although I went to class on Wednesday it still feels like I've been away from class for a long time. Consequently I tend to get focused on my stuff and forget there is a syllabus of a sorts moving forward during the course of the year.

When I got to the blackbelt session we went to work on Ten Ryu No Cone Ni (bad spelling I'm sure), a bo/staff kata.  Although I'd rather be working on my stuff this has been fun to practice.  Since we are using staffs we practice in the street; which garnishes us looks from the neighbors. The only problem last night was that the heat has started up in the Thorn city and there wasn't much of a breeze. 
Reed followed this up with the Dai version which I have no recollection even though we went over it a bunch of times.  It takes the moves from the Ni version and mixes them up and ads a bunch more.  Ergh. 
We finished up and headed over to class where we learned the beginning of Ni Pai Po.  Unlike Koryu NPP which is incredibly long and diver…

Beach Kata

My in-laws came into town for a week to celebrate our niece's graduation.  As part of the activities my wife planned an outing to the beach for several days.  To be able to make the trip affordable she planned the time to occur during the work week.  Normally, I wouldn't be able to go along, but I recently switched jobs which offered me a new take on how I do things. 

During the first week, my boss visited me in my cube and asked if I knew that I could work at home full time.  I wasn't aware of that, but it was seismic change in how I think about work.  I mean, you go to work, and then you are done and then you come home.  By taking your work with you, where does it start and then stop?
I got to put this to the test by going to the beach with my wife and family and drug my laptop with me.  It turned out to be doable, but somewhat frustrating until I found a good wifi signal.  Short story - I can work wherever, but it's not preferable to my work environment. 
Because the…

Knees Reborn

I remember reading this fantasy story when I was young. After being tortured, a wizard heals himself and at the relief from pain he groaned.  His cell mates assumed he was groaning from pain.

During one of the numerous visits we had in the last week, my friend the PT came over from Idaho and suggested I take some Ibuprofen for an unrelated muscle ache.  Later, when I was in the shower I bent down to clean the wall and was so surprised that the pain in my knee was absent that I lost my balance. 
I actually thought something was wrong.  I took a couple of tentative deep knee bends and found that I was apparently cured for the afternoon.  Much to my distinct pleasure I found out that on the next day the pain had not returned.
When last night started coming up I had a mental reminder to take a small dose before class started.  I remembered and took some before I went and low and behold I had a great hour which included the ten ryu turning jump into a kneeling position.  I could lower myself…

Crinkly Knees

One of the moves in Koryu (Ni Pai Po) is that I drop to one knee and then spring up with a elbow strike.  Unfortunately the repetitive action has made my left knee feel like I'm grinding glass under the knee cap. 

The Senseis are practical and have asked me to not kneel for awhile, but it feels like everything we do lately requires a kneeling position at one point or another.  Then my knee goes back to complaining. 
Last night I got to the BB class and we worked on learning/refining ten ryu no con ni.  The second in a series of three staff kata.  My lack of weapons experience makes this very attractive and generally speaking pretty darn fun.  It's action packed and the end contains a spinning jump.  Of course you have to land in a kneeling stance.  Argh!
We practiced that the whole hour which was a lot of exercise considered all the starting and stopping we were doing.  Since we were using staffs and there were four of us Sensei had us move into the street.  Of course the neigh…

NPP Process Check

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It's been a month now since I started working on Koryu Ni Pai Po.  In a big press, Olivia and I worked through the whole Kata last night.  The result below is rather hurky-jerky, as befits a new kata, but you can see that I get to the end with occasional prompting.
This is one of the few super long kata that are in all the black belt testing levels.  Although there is nothing necessarily hard about the techniques there is a lot of them.  I guess I have another coming up with a similar length.  Ugh.


Koryu Ni Pi Po - so slow it hurts
Here's my current progress report on my 2nd degree:
Haku ChoHaku Cho DaiHaku Tsuru No OnnaHaku Tsuru No OttokoKaku FaHaku TsuruRohai ShodanWandoNi Pai PoKuryo Ni Pai PoI clearly have to keep working on KNPP for awhile before I move on, but it's nice to see some progress.  I gather from Olivia that Ni Pai Po is the more current form and they are close enough to cause a headache.  Yuck.
She is learning the kata in reverse order from me, but it appears …

A Little Progress

Holy Cow!  I lost a month when I wasn't paying attention.  Well, that's not accurate.  My wife and I decided to add a new bathroom to our house and as the primary workers all our time has been consumed trying to get it done. We had originally thought it would take two weeks.  How cute. We found out that you always multiple by twice when making the estimate and that's still shy since we are still working on it.  Thankfully we are down to paint and some fine trim.  

Since we've changed the schedule a bit, I now go to the Black Belt only training first which provides a great warm up, but we had our first warm day yesterday in some time and the garage where we practice was overly hot.  A few of the others wore t-shirts and immediately chided myself for thinking I should be fully suited.  I was immediately sweat soaked. 

While I've been gone one of the few returning black belts has started studying for 2nd degree as well.  They wanted us to study together, but while I wa…

Two Stubbed Toes

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In preparation for tournament Reed has declared, as he put it "selfishly" that we are going to work on sparring drills for the evening so he can get squared away for this weekend.  After work on drills for the last month I kind of felt motivated about getting back in the ring, as it were.

The blackbelt meet up, where we normally work on our specific rank items, in my case katas, got dumped for a night of test kitchen.  By this I mean we did all sorts of tests to see how we can punch faster.  We are all sorts of fighters and by this I mean we have people springing on their feet to people, like me, who stand aloof until it's time to go.
The thought was that bouncers have a faster launch so we timed and compared as much as possible and we couldn't get a conclusive measure.  People who do this more often than others work their bodies as much as possible to get an advantage.  However, I was able to close the gap when we had and experienced person go flat footed and have me …

Two Straight Hours

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We had a slow start yesterday.  Everybody wanted to chat for a bit so we ended up yapping until Reed showed up.  I spent the whole time with Daniel Sensei working on adding to Koryu Ni Pai Po.  For whatever reason this kata is coming along nicely.  It's one of the two very long ones I have to learn for my belt test, but strangely its coming along faster than I than the first four.  Is it his pacing?  Is it the kata?  Hard to say, but I'm happy that we've got the first third of the kata done.  Maybe not expert or finished, but remembered.

The only problem was that my left knee started acting up due to the move that has me go to my knee and immediately spring up.  My bum toe doesn't allow me to flatten my foot all the way down, so springing up puts a lot of weight on my left knee.  Owwww.

In the adult class we did our bow in and Reed Sensei immediately pulled me to the side to show him all the kata.  For whatever reason I was unable to do two of the kata clean.  Tired?  To…

My Right Foot

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I might have mentioned in the past that I've stubbed or jammed my toe in class, but I really can't remember specific incidents; just that's in occurred.  Since I was going to my doctor to do my annual check I thought I'd ask her about it.  I noticed in the last year that the joint won't actually bend back.  And when forced by a body weight move it's very painful. 

Here's the result: Significant degenerative changes in the first metatarsophalangeal
joint with joint remodeling. Moderate degenerative changes in the great toe
interphalangeal joint. Enthesopathic changes at the insertion of Achilles
tendon. Mild overgrowth likely representing degenerative changes at the dorsal
portion of the navicular bone. Partially fused accessory ossicle os naviculare.
I'm not sure what that says, but my doctor says some bones have fused and I appear to have an extra bone in their as well.  With that information I found myself a bit depressed because it means a lot of what …

Ground and Pound

Usually after an extended break I show up at class and it's immediately into sparring or something equally challenging.  Of course last night was no different.  Because of the change in schedule for the new adult class I was somewhat warmed up by practicing kata with the blackbelts for a bit.  Adult class was all about groundwork last night.

Although Reed Sensei referred to our work as Judo, the telltale throws and associated actions were missing.  We practiced five ground based holds and the transitions from each.  I was paired with Kyle for a bit, but Reed felt like he was too light for me.  I was placed with Kevin, one of the returning adults from way back.  The time off didn't seem to impair his skills though.  He was very fit. 
Reed couldn't remember the Japanese names for the positions so I'll just use informal nomenclature below.
1. Side grab with zig zag legs.  Basically your legs look like the bottom of a swastika and you control the arm while you press up again…

Old School Melancholy

I just got back from my trip up North and returned to cold weather and snow.  Since the Rose City isn't particularly known for it's snow it's a bit of a surprise.  However the drive in to work was easy and quiet because of it.  The drivers around here take it easy when anything out of the ordinary happens.   

My visit up North was filled with nostalgia.  Seeing friends after a four year void was emotional and exciting, but my highlight was visiting my old school.  Since I've been gone my old teacher has decided to pilot his own style while keeping the basics from Tang Soo Do.  The hyungs/katas are the same as well as the blocks, punches and kicks, but after that there is a divergence. 

He decided that after some analysis he would eschew the wait for the attacker and simply try to execute all moves into the attack or avoid the attack but both need to the defender to have very good timing.  This is thing evolving thing for him and the class, but they all seem to like the…