Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pre Celebration 2018

I'm fighting a cold, but my weight is up pretty high so I felt driven to get to class and get a minimum of exercise.  In retrospect that probably wasn't a great idea.  I hadn't slept well on Sunday night so I was swaying on top of what felt like a slight fever.  As usual I checked my blood pressure before hand and was appalled by 156/92.   The doctor is going to have a field day with me next Monday. 

Celebration prep is in full swing.  So the class schedule was side-lined to make way for a "station" model to run the kids through.  Each of us black-belts had one station.  I was bunkai, Mark was kata, and Kyle was elbow techniques. 

Although we had a rough start the bulk of the time went fairly well.  The oldest of the group at 13 years old looked absolutely polished compared to the 10 year olds or younger.  Even with their exhausting friskiness most of them looked fairly good once they were reminded what they were doing.  And it does make you appreciate the really good ones.

Instead of going to after-class I went home and had some soup and went to bed early.  I don't think this is optimal because I need to practice kata more, but if my morning practice was any indication I was going to be a mess anyway.  Sigh. 

I might end up missing Wednesday's class due to a birthday obligation, but I definitely want to be in good shape for Monday and the big show (celebration).

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Whiplash Hustler

Even though we are preparing the under belts for the upcoming celebration/test Reed Sensei is still trying to focus on keeping the class consistent.  So it was self-defense night which means the moves we practiced were going to be in their test anyway.  As usual, I'm deeply impressed with all the things he has to keep track of during a class.  Each grouping of children have to have their specific technique for the test.  Since we had fourteen kids split into about four levels this can be very complicated.

I got to be the Uke and take the hits and falls last night.  These aren't necessarily a big deal in the sense that I just throw a punch and then eat the floor.  If I do the technique correctly I fall well and it looks good, but Reed is a big, strong guy and wants to do the technique correctly so it can get a bit painful at times.  With this in mind I was trying to be conscious of how I fell.  On the first go, I almost took out the front row with my legs because the hardwood was smooth and I went spinning.  After that we were good to go.

Then I rotated through the kids acting as Uke to each of them.  For the students that had a behind the leg trip I was a treat because they get to throw/trip a 200 pound guy.  The only problem is that I have to work hard not to yank them off their feet or fall on them.  I was working so hard at that so I didn't hurt the kids that I didn't take care of myself in the fall.  I fell poorly twice and got a gigantic neck ache from it.  Last night was a miserable sleep because of it.

I didn't get to work on with the new Black-belts on their Oyo.  The oyo is a two man routine that has both people do portion of the kata.  The one for kyoku Roku dan is brutal, complex, and entirely fun.  I haven't done it since the test and have started experiencing some longing to relearn it.  However, my own studies have precluded that. 

After-class was at Sensei's house, which is a bit of hassle because of traffic, but the space is comfortable for four people.  Anymore than that we tend to trip over one another. I went through the katas before he got there and instead of doing detail work he switched out to do the bunkai for the five.  Entertaining to say the least.  They are fairly simple which makes them feel a little underwhelming after all the effort I'm putting into the katas, but also makes me happy because my brain is pretty full at this point. 

So now we wait for the adult class to start up.  Feb 5th is our first night.  I imagine it'll be pretty small until the interested parties start getting themselves into the regular schedule.  Many of the students from the school's past are showing signs of interest as well as new people.  Very exciting!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Birds Of A Feather

I felt a little shaky last night before class.  I wasn't sure if I was coming down with a cold or just experiencing some ill-defined nervousness.  My wife had been fighting a cold for the last week and I'd rather not get it if possible.  So my hypochondria kicked in to review every little pain.  Great.

Mark and I went up to the classroom and found an aerobics class in session.  There had obviously some rescheduling at the health center.  Now Mark and I would have to sit around before they cleared the space. 

While we waiting I used the blood pressure machine they had in the corner.  It's the kind you sit in at the grocery store.  I normally have to sit quietly for a moment and relax before I get my taken.  It was the worst I'd ever seen.  168/90.  Well into hypertension.  I couldn't believe it.  I had Mark sit down and take his BP and his was only moderately high, but still good.  I've got to call the doc today.

After warm-up I was given the new black-belts and given the task to see how far I could get them through their test.  I ran them through 3 katas and then run through the bunkai.  We completed all ten and I was incredibly pleased to remember most if not all of them, but lost some footwork.

After class was a review of the Bird katas and clean up of a few issues. Then Reed said, "lets start Hakutsuru!"   Noted for it's overall length, Hakutsuru is a challenge because it takes a long time to do the whole thing and the moves are set to a 10 second pass for movements.  Oh boy.  At least I've got video of this one from John Sales.  Hopefully that'll help.  In the mean time I'm learning the yoy and it's incredibly complex.  More to learn.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tears And Progress

It had been a week since I'd been to class and that feels like a hundred years.  I wonder about how the shared training and the stresses it brings can create such a powerful drawl to the group.  I may not like all the people there, I might not like training some days, and I can feel my frustration clearly due to the division of training others and practice myself, but in the end it all pulls me back like a vacuum and when I walk away I feel so much better mentally and physically.

Last night was typical in that Mark and I arrived early to warm up and end up chatting.  He then pointed out that the last couple of classes had been trying in that the new boys were just running around out of control. Neither Mark nor Kyle had been able to keep them in check.  Apparently they were disruptive enough to even warrant Reeds attention.

I groaned thinking this was going to be another lost night with kids who could care less, but mentally pulled up my boots and focused on the task at hand.  After warm up the Mark and I were to split task between the black-belts and the ultra white belts. 

Working with the new black belts can be pleasurable because they are reviewing the work I did last year, but since I don't practice it often I'm often a third wheel.  Trying to remember the content is hard as can be, but reliance on muscle memory is nice.  Regardless, I told Mark to take care of them - I stick with the kids as much as I don't care for it. 

By setting my bar low, I was able to be pleasantly surprised by their work ethic.  We had two boys that may be 8 years old and one 9 or 10 year old girl.  The girl did great and helped me manage the boys.  The were fairly dedicated to the task at hand (doing c steps back and forth), but watching Reed do all the variations creating a lot of confusion  in the boys.  At one point one of them started getting tearful because he honestly couldn't separate all the information.  After I got them to look solely at me we did well, but the confusion of left and right was tough.  I found myself slightly proud of their perseverance. 

At the end of class I told the Mom that if they had a reward for good behavior at the house they should get one.  She ends up telling me that she saw us as a place to cement good behavior in the kids; that's why she pays the big bucks.  I literally started grinding my teeth.  Unbelievable.  When will parents understand that karate is not external method to create behavior in their children.  My favorite part of this is that she's considering taking class with her kids.  I wonder if it'll dawn upon her sometime.  Oh well.

After class was at Reed's house which is way down South and in the hills.  There was only four of us so I was able to focus on the kata and review progress.  Working only with adults feels intoxicating, but I wonder if I'll miss the kids just a little bit.  Only two weeks before the Adult only class starts.  I hope we can pull in more folks!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year, Fast Star

I hate showing up late for class because I'm never quite in the correct mind set and never quite warmed up for immediate action. 

I got called by work just as I was leaving the house.  I had to make some calls and send some emails, but I was on the road as quick as I could which had me arrive to class with about a half hour left. 

After I bowed in Reed had me be the kicking demo dummy.  He was demoing the hook kick for the orange belts.  Which meant in my first two minutes I got kicked three times very hard.  Sigh. 

I ended up helping the new black belts with their test preparation and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to help a little bit, but overall couldn't remember the overall moves.  Brain is full. 

After class turned out to be me and Daniel Sensei.  We went through all my Bird katas and refined as much as my brain could handle. 

Here's my current progress on Ka Ku Fa.

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...