Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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'll say good or use the standard.  In one or two cases we've decided to use the standard because there isn't anything that would be better.  But the whole shock here is that we getting this as an option.  This is normally set for the third and fourth degree folks.  

As part of the process we also needed to pick a theme.  Olivia is pushing for fast and specific, like a bird.  I like it, but I'll need to pick moves that I can do that look fast.  She's actually fast.  Hah.

Temperatures have finally dropped and we can breath outdoors again.  Too bad it means the fall is coming, but what a relief.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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's a start.

Class was thankfully back in the airconditioned room and we more or less repeated the same things we did at BB class, but while I had Mark going through some fine tuning, Olivia, Reed and Daniel were practicing a three-man attack for competition.  It's based on Wando and although I couldn't see what was going on there did seem to be a lot of bodies in the air.  The problem with not going to the competitions is that I'm missing out on a lot integrational fun with the others.  

My next assignment is to figure out how to get video of the bunkai for better memorization.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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 everything just right you grew, but if you overdid it, rest was the only thing that helped and that threw off your schedule. 

But I digress.  Due to small class sizes the last two classes have been dedicated to more self defense related material.  Last Wednesday Reed wanted to cover the advanced techniques his daughter would need to learn for her next exam.  Each of these included an Aikido wrist twist/takedown, followed by an arm bar.  Thankfully I'd done this in my old school, so a lot of the muscle memory still remains.  The lead-in's were all new, but it still meant that I had to take falls over and over again.  I wasn't too sore last Thursday, but today was a different story. 

My wife and I moved a 1000lb chicken house and poured cement for three days.  I went to class last night after moving 60lb bags of cement in the afternoon heat.  Thankfully, when I got to BB class we just worked on kata in front of the fans.  I was probably partially dehydrated, but did well considering it was basically a private lesson for an hour.  Car accidents, work and family issues got in the way of everyone else.

Regular class was just Reed, Jonah and me.  So it was back to take downs, trips and throws from the kata Rohai Shodan.  I had no idea there was so much to draw from, but it was a lot of fun.  I was fairly exhausted by the whole process of getting up over and over again. 

On the way home I drank two liters of water due to thirst, but that meant I'd have to get up in the middle of the night to pee.  Sure enough at 2 am I had to pry myself out of bed and was met with the stiffest body I've had in a while. 

When my alarm went off at 5:20 I was barely able to move.  My feet felt swollen and my legs and knees felt locked up.  After a warm shower (barely tolerable in the heat) I was able to move around.  After a few katas and some basic exercises I felt "normal" again.  I realized when I went up the steps at work I had that good kind of sore.  It lets you know your alive and you feel vitality through every move. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

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 returning student from years ago, Jonah.  So it was a refresher for him and helped refine for me.

At the end Olivia and I worked with Daniel on Ni Pi Po.  I could only remember the first half and we ended up running through it many times for me.  They are very nice.

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...