Posts

The Inner Torment Of Teaching Children

A long boring title?  Check.

Another drawn out rant?  Check.
About an issue that is entirely my own?  Check.
I should just write see other posts and probably leave it at that, but I will add a bit more sauce to the post.
I was actually able to teach a bit longer with the eight year olds that my normal five minutes.  I was actually given permission to give them push ups, but to my surprise neither of them knew how to do a push up!? 
After the teeth grinding effort of trying to get them to do one kata, which they should know in their sleep now, I was given a reprieve for a few minutes before I was handed off to even younger kids.  Swallowing my feeling of depression about working with them I hung my head and drug my feet over to them (not really, just how I felt).  To my surprise the youngest kids were the best!  6 years old and serious!  I had a boy and girl that turned out to have an attention span and didn't mind repeating what they were doing until they had it right.  I was so prou…

Pre Test For The Browns

It was an up and down night.  

In the beginning of class Sensei handed me my new custom Blackbelt.  wider and stiffer than old beater and now filled with groovy Kanji.  One side has my name and one side has the school name.  I told my wife later that one side said taco bell and the other said sandwich monster.  

Our two Browns are slated to take their testing for their Blacks tomorrow in the afternoon.  All the BBs are invited to go along, but it means that I have to take a vacation day, get a hotel room, and drive quick a bit.  I really want to be there for these guys, but my wife left on vacation and I need to prep to meet her.  It doesn't leave a lot of time to get things done.

An additional factor messing up the drive North is the PNW fires that are still out of control.  Driving to Yakima is going to be horrible.  I wish the best luck.

Class consisted of me working with the two youngest girls on basic blocks and kicks based on a deconstructed kata.  That was the longest 45 minute…

More Big Bird

As the Brown belts get closer to their test (on 9-8) I couldn't help be impressed with their knowledge and skill and feel a bit chagrined about my relatively modest learning curve.  I don't have to remember as much as they do, but after working on my new kata and adding a few more steps I realized this is going a very difficult couple of years.  I need to learn 7 more kata and still have to learn all the bunkai that goes with it.

The third bird is called Haku tzu ru no onna.  I'm probably not spelling that very well, but it's a lot of low cat stances and odd bird strikes.  I'm only half way and ran into some transition issues right away which is entirely normal for me.  I kept up, but realized that my learning felt slow and had to stop at one point because I couldn't absorb the info fast enough. 
Part of the issue with learning from some of the other high ranking black belts is that they have a tendency to talk about the esoterica.  So, whereas I need to practic…

I'm A Big Bird Three

Last night was an alternating Wednesday so we were going to be working on sparring.  With the additional material from Sensei's weekend seminar the content of class has become very interesting.

The class is broken into different groups after warmups to address the various levels of skill.  Last night the two brown belts were pulled to work on their test preparation.  They have a month or so before they go and they look pretty good to me.  I'm not sure how they'll do in the test, but they appear really confident and skilled.
While Mark worked with them I helped Reed with the kids on sparring drills.  The kids never seem to get to sparring because they are working on the new drills.  I'm fine with this because the drills are so awesome that I enjoy learning them with the kids.  Each one builds on the previous and before you know it we are working on a sophisticated drill that cuts through the basics of point based fighting. 
This is of great interest to me.  We never broke…

The Family We Adopt

Earlier in the day I received a text from Reed saying that Morris Sensei had passed away without further detail.  He'd been afflicted with Parkinson's for some time so it appeared the accumulative issues that go with it were finally too much for his system.  Morris Sensei was Reed's principle teacher.  They had met around thirty years ago.

I'd been under the impression that he and Reed were fairly close so I wasn't sure what the impact to the normal flow of things was going to be. At the end of class Reed told a Zen story that was a favorite of Morris.  While he was doing this he became choked up. He was not ashamed of being emotional, which I thought was pretty great.  He was showing the kids that it was okay to be open about it. 
Class warmup was more of the new sparring exercises which focus heavily on movement.  It's a lot of fun to move around in odd shapes and patterns, but it'll take awhile before any of that becomes second nature. 
While the rest of …

Post Seminar Fun Time

I think I might have mentioned before that Sensei has tried to make a consistent schedule which requires each Wednesday to be either self-defense or sparring.  The challenge being that the kids are literally being brought up from the beginning so putting them into the ring is taking awhile.

Last night we took a pleasant left turn.  Reed was able to get into a very elite training with Elisa Au Fonseca this last weekend.  She's the third top sparring champ in the world if I understand correctly and is definitely shooting for the Olympics in a couple of years when they do the demo for Karate.
Reed was able to get an invite and picked up seven pages of sparring exercises.  His normal follow up from that kind of thing is to immediately make everyone practice it so he can remember, but he locked himself down and followed the syllabus.  He did use new warm-ups from the training which was a nice change. 
As per usual, I got the four girls and had to work on Pinan Godan.  I feel like I might…

Super Death Killer Extreme

I ran down the hall to my wife with a big smile of childish glee, clutching my prize in my hand.  My wife was processing tomatoes for canning and had her hands full literally and figuratively so her response to my glee was a bit subdued.

"Honey!  Guess what I did?!" "Hmm,  what?" she replied distractedly. "I kicked a green fly out of the air and killed it!" I held out my hand to show her my prize.  The fly was slightly pulped and had one broken wing.  "Uhuh, that's nice," she replied laconically. "I know right!?" completely ignoring her lack of interest. 
Due to the amount of fresh vegetables in the house we're bound to get some bugs, but the unexpected birth of so many green flies was new to both of us.  As a consequence I ran around with a fly swatter killing as many as I could, but one errant fellow got out ahead of me so I lashed out with a beautifully timed front kick.  The top of my foot stunned the poor fellow and flung him i…