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A Lovely Day For Big Bird

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There was a break in the heat finally, but I was leaving on vacation today so I wanted to get a little training in before I left so I chose the first hour of class (the black belt session) which is held at Sensei Reed's house.  When the class gets a little big we end up practicing in his front yard.  I guess the old adage would be that the lawn is good training for our feet.  Anyway here's the progress video.


Nothing to brag about, but at least I have a lot of basic movements down.  The big deal is that it's my tenth kata so it's nothing but refinement for the next 8 months.  That and learn the ten bunkai as well.  Right now I can remember maybe one or two.  Stay tuned for a plethora of badly filmed techniques.

Big Bird Six

Last week I was up North for a week of work training, but I was able to practice every day, so I was looking forward to Monday night.  I was assuming that we'd just be working on the last few Katas, but to my surprise we started Hakutsuru, the big daddy of the bird kata. 

I should mention that the heat here in the Thorn city has really taken off.  Thankfully the humidity is relatively low, but it makes traveling to Sensei's house a psychological challenge.  We practice in his garage and under normal circumstances it's fine, but the high temperature make it oven-like.  

So I showed up with my extra water bottles and Reed said let's jump in to work!  

Hakutsuru is the longest of the bird kata and it encompasses all the cool moves from all the other bird katas, making it long and confusing to me.  The beginning of the kata is called the yoy (spelling?).  Its the part where you bow in, but each family of katas is different and unique.  Hakutsuru appears to take a portion of e…

Half In The Bag

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I certainly came across with a lot of bravado about my retention of the two katas I most recently learned, Ni Pi Po and Rohai Shodan.  That hubris was rewarded with a memory wipe of two or three portions of the katas.  Overweening confidence! How you mock me.

So I was very pumped to get to practice yesterday to cover those gaps.  I jumped right in with Olivia and Reed Sensei and felt pretty good about it.  Olivia coached me through a few gaps while videoing.  



Not as talented as most of the videos out there, but not horrible either.  Maybe in a month or so it'll be a bit better.  

We were also reminded that our testing will occur in April of 2019.  A small change is that it sounds like all the returning blackbelts are also eligible.  Whereas before I thought Olivia was out for another year beyond that, she, Kevin and Terry, might be good to go.

Wednesday Means Fight Night

Somewhere in the middle of last year Reed Sensei said that we'll be doing quarterly assignments to come into line with the main school.  Part of this is adjusting our schedule so we are more systematic with our lessons.  So Monday is Kata/basics and Wednesday is bunkai/sparring. 

This schedule allows us know what's coming up.  In the past sparring was a bit of a surprise, but not that it was bad, but it was infrequent.  For whatever reason we haven't had sparring in a while.  The focus has been bunkai for the last couple of months so needless to say most of us were out of practice.
The Black Belt class mostly focused on Bunkai from our various testing cycles.  Of course the guy studying for his forth degree had the most interesting stuff.  The few of us working on bird katas have fairly make sense kinds of things.  Daniel sensei's stuff contains great throws and arm bars.  We worked on Ka Ku Fa which is three birdy hand strikes and a eye smack.  It can be done very fast…

Ni Pi Po In The Bag

In a flurry of productivity I was able to get Ni Pi Po completed.  I'm not saying it looks good, but I can get through it in a halting fashion.  This is notable because I'd just finished Rohai Shodan the week before.  Although I'm using the word "completed" you should know that this means that I can make it through the kata with zero timing and zero elegance and probably a plethora of mistakes. 

My progress report as of Monday night:

Haku Cho
Haku Cho Dai
Hakutsuru no Onna
Hakutsuru no Otoko
Wando
Ka Ku Fa
Koryu Ni Pi Po
Ni Pi Po
Rohai Shodan
Hakutsuru

I'm a year and a month in since I've started this.  Reed says this is excellent progress and way ahead of schedule.  The regular schedule is to get all the kata complete by one and half years.  The last six months is all about refining as much as possible.  In my case I'll need as much time as can to make sure I stop making larger mistakes.

So one more to learn which is the largest of the bird katas.  I also need t…

Rohai In The Bag

After a brief introduction to Rohai months (years?) ago I'd completely forgotten even the few moves, but was left with a vague sense of a few of the moves.  But, as part of my exam, it's one of the kata I need to know.  Everyone in class actually knows this because it's considered a fairly elementary form.  All the better for me since I was able to pick it all up last night after doing it about twelve times.  The proof being that I was able to do it this morning even without practicing it last night when I got home.

But I'm jumping ahead in review of the evening.  As I might have mentioned the class schedule goes like this: 4:15 to 5:15 is the kids class at the health club 5:30 to 6:45 is the blackbelt additional group at Sensei's garage 7:15 to 8:15 is back to the health club for the adult class
As you can imagine this means a lot of driving around and it's during rush hour.  Which means exactly what you'd think.  Just getting to Sensei's house can be an ex…

Melancholy Removal

Not to wax too philosophic, but family issues once again weigh in on my life priorities.  My mother took a cliché fall and was found to have a broken hip.  Due to her dementia this was a big deal, however her care was exemplary.  She had a new hip in one day, but the anesthesia proved to be troublesome during her recovery. 

My wife and I traveled to the East coast to help my Father out and visit with my Mom while she sorted out her recovery.  Without going into too much detail the stress of the trip didn't leave a lot of time to practice kata.  I'd planned to run every other day and do plenty of exercise to counter the tension.  But by the end of the week I'd only practiced twice and never ran.  When I got home I was concerned that I'd forgotten everything and was very out of shape.
I got home on a Tuesday night and the jetlag proved to be too intense so going to class was lost to going to bed early and trying to reset my clock.
Fast forward to last night.  We are now mo…