Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Half A Bubble Off

It was late in the evening and sudden impact of our foreheads connecting was alarming since it was accompanied by that ripe watermelon noise.  Both Reed Sensei and myself stumbled back for a second as my eyes attempted to focus for a bit.  Thankfully neither of us was hurt and that led to some laughter.  

However, that wasn't going to be the end of it and it certainly wasn't the beginning either.
Since it was a Monday we did a Test run through starting in the Black Belt Club (aka Reed's garage).  I felt pretty good going in, but my recent lack of practice started to show.  By the fifth kata the accumulation of mistakes make me stop and start over at one point - a definite low point.  

I will say that part of the distraction is that I'm trying to keep my eyes up.  I practice with my eyes down and that's a no-no for testing.  Through the course of the night I got better, but the first katas were pretty terrible.  

In between each kata is the bunkai.  These are designed to show that we can extract a move from the kata and make a practical defense out it.  The ones that were original to our teachers are often short and a bit boring.  So we've been developing them into some lengthier more elaborate exchanges. Last night we made a rather action packed one that started with me being the aggressor.  I try to do a forward collar grab and Olivia reaches in and grabs mine and pulls me down toward her.  I'm met with a knee to the chest.  This brings me into position for her to swing a leg over and catch the opposite shoulder and drive it down while yanking my other arm up.  The result is that I spin in the air, land on my back and she punches me in the face. After we did this a few times I notices my elbows getting a bit sensitive, but didn't think much about it.  Apparently my new gi is way rougher than I'm used to and removed the skin around my elbows in a couple of places,  ow!

After all the action I'm completely sore this morning.  My back is in knots, my thighs are super sore from knee strikes, but I'm motivated to practice and have already made it half-way through the test by 8am.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Research And Development With Fists

Intermittent poster here. 

I keep forgetting to jot down notes from class and/or training.  Each class has a tendency to blend with another and improvements are small and overall progress is measured by increments.

For instance I know all the patterns all the way through now, and I don't usually have too many errors anymore, but the focus is on timing now.  So we methodically go through each kata and work on fast, slow, rest, speed, etc.  Thankfully I'm getting slightly better while Olivia appears to be squared away already.  Thankfully she's patient with me and can offer constructive criticism and great support.

Due to the schedule, last night was fight night, but Reed was feeling creative so the Black belt club worked back and forth on developing bunkai from some of our kata.  

I was asked to see if I could figure something out of Hakutsuru No Ottoko.  This turned out to be very difficult to do.  The standard bunkai really uses the best that the kata offers, but it's short.  We worked on expanding it which seems fun and more action packed, but I wasn't sure if I needed to have Olivia buy off on it.  

It did serve to get me to understand that our creativity can be put into use when everything seems to be pretty rigidly set out in our style of Karate.  I think the regional group of leadership has started focusing on the fact that we need get outside the box when we are at this level of practice.  It just takes time to rework my brain.

At class we had three point sparring and took it me long time to warm up to.  I only won two matches and it didn't feel great.  I only remembered to use my legs late into the matches and that turned the tide for me.  I don't believe my legs are much longer than anyone else, but their perception is that they are hyper long.  Whatever.  It got me the points.  

Point sparring agitates me.  Knowing exactly what to look for and to do the things are that easy to be witnessed turn the tide in scoring.  So a good block on a kick or punch are disregarded for a few reasons.  I get it and I'm learning, but I don't have to like it.  It's just that my natural competitiveness makes a loss frustrating.  

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Timing And Technique

With our Ni Dan test coming up in three months attention to detail is the primary focus.  

I try to be objective about my personality, but the truth is the fact that I'm having some problems motivating myself to do the practice I need to do.  This would be absolutely going over problem spots in katas until they no longer crop up.  However, work at the house and life issues make practice hard to do most days.  I mean, I'm just making excuses at this point, but this leads up to how I do in class.

Last night we met in Sensei's garage and even though the heater was on we could see our breath.  Due to possible snow barely anyone made it to class.  So Sensei, Maia and I just worked on refinement.  In last night's case I worked on Wando for both hours and although I'm concerned that I have a lot of issues we were able to get me to look pretty darn good by the end of the evening.  Timing seemed to be a big issue for me. My sense is that I'm doing a one-two and I'm usually just doing one, one , one.  I'll need to continue to work on that.  

The side notes 
My Mother is nearing the end of life, but seems to be able to make miraculous recoveries each time she goes to the hospital. She has a medical directive in place that indicates that she wants to end life, but my Father is having a problem with this so things get complicated.  So my brother and I wait by the phone.

We are working on yet another part of the house.  This time it's our bedroom.  Since we are pretty good at it now it's gone a lot easier, but it's still a month in.  This time we've elected to put in built in closets and under window seating.  It just means more time till completion.  So we're living in a guest room in mean time.  

We have chickens and we're still learning lessons about them.  We had, through a variety of circumstances, two bantams until the rooster died two days ago.  This means that the hen is by herself because we can't allow her to mix with the regular hens.  So my wife has decided to make her a house chicken.  And my wife is now leaving for a week to take care of a sick friend.  Sigh.  


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...