Thursday, December 20, 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 heading up to Eugene for a day in the new year to meet with Albert Sensei for test critique.  I gather this is a special deal since this hasn't been done before.  He's been practicing for 50 years and has an attention to detail that is phenomenal.  Last time we met, a few years ago, he was suffering from some physical issues, but gave as much as he could and had a very good attitude.  

In regular class we completed the test practice because we didn't get the last kata in during the black belt club.  After that, we each got 5 minutes to chose whatever we wanted to work on.  I ended up picking European blocking because I'm mystified by it.  It's not necessarily complicated, but I can't seem to get ahold of it.  Some showed up with as a demonstration at one of the Shudokan schools and the Shihan there said, "oh man, that's cool.  We should add this to the blackbelt test."  Since I didn't do the formal brown to black here I missed out on this bit.  I can't find a video on the youtubes, but it's a east/west north/south drill in four parts.  The four parts are broken into attack and defense and then move to the next position.  Done fast it's very cool and show all the basics in one package.  

My NiDan partner, Olivia, chose to work on our stances  - in this case neko, the cat stance.  To help us out Reed Sensei place a staff in our belts along our back to ensure a proper upright stance.  Very eye opening as I tend to lean forward to look low.  My back was pretty sore by the time we finished that.  So much to learn!

Have a happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

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 night.  I was then told that I'm a daygrinder.  Now I'm painfully aware that I do it all the time.  Trying to stop it is a poorly drawn battle line.

Last night after the test run through we did something I can't recall doing in ages - kicking drills!  We ran through front, shove, side, step through and wheel kicks.  I thought I was going to be crippled this morning, plus all the lumps I took from my co-kickers, but I'm delighted to tell you only my pinky toe seems to be giving me any trouble.  I'm going to keep moving around today as much as possible in fear of stiffening up.

The highlight to all that was I was experiencing a lot of anxiety because I wanted to protect my already messed up toes and was concerned that I was unable do the kicks anymore.  To my delight I was still able to do a roundhouse to Kyle's six foot head.  Lucky me.  

We did a lot of self-defense kinds of things and that's when I noticed those of us who were at the garage session had blue toenails.  It was like the march of the living dead karateka.

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...