Friday, December 29, 2023

Your Clothes, Book Cast With 100%


At 6:05am I looked at my phone quizzically while trying to wake up.  My SaBomNim (master teacher), who is legally blind, sent me the message, "Your clothes, book cast with 100%".

I sat there befuddled for a few minutes.  I had a good night of sleep, so I felt like I was awake and aware, but this threw me off.  After a few minutes it slowly dawned upon me that SaBomNim's speech to text decided to radically reinterpret what he said.  The text should have been, "your closed book test was %100".  

I celebrated last night based on the fact that I just completed it and really hadn't considered the score it might bring.  I will take that score!  

Class today consisted of form review which can be boring and embarrassing at the same time since I can't remember the earlier forms to save my life.  We finished up class with sparring.  

I got matched with an adult, male, white belt.  The most dangerous of the species and he lived up to that.  Pure attack with no control.  Never have I had to take so many punches and kicks without let up.  It did not matter how much I moved; he was there.  It is no excuse of course, but he gave me some lumps. On our second match I stuffed him away with a front kick, but that give me to two second of breathing room before he started pummeling me all over again.  

We will just say that I got a lot of exercise today and leave it at that.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

71 Days!

I figured I would try to jump back in to writing about class (haha, see what I did there?).   It's been ages since I wrote, and many things have changed since then.

Since I last wrote, I met Striking Thoughts author, Count Dante and before I that I met the author of Covert Book Report, Dojo Rat.  I found out that he lives near me!  Well, maybe I wrote about this before, but I'm too lazy to go back through the blog and check.  It was still a big deal for me.  Basically, these two have been pen pals of mine for over a decade and we'd never met face to face.  Between the three of us we have like 60 years of martial arts experience.  

Does that make us any good?  Probably debatable! 

The real reason I started writing again is that I am getting closer to my next belt test.  I'll be testing for Ee Dan in March.  That is the equivalent to a 2nd degree black belt. I am 57 this year and although I am reasonably fit, the test is a bit difficult in areas. I am just scratching the pass line for the endurance part of the test (I have to do 40 jump kicks with both legs in under 60 seconds.  I'm barely making that happen).  And then I need to be able to jump up and do a split kick and break two stacked boards with each foot.  I'm using the easiest boards to practice and not hitting them equally.  I don't have much time though.  Constant practice is tough because I have to warm up a lot, so I don't pull anything.

To further mess with the process, my wife and I are going on vacation for two weeks next month.  Not optimal!  I will be practicing as much as I can and hope that the two weeks I have before the test will have me squared away.  Whoop!

Friday, July 29, 2022

Flying Chiro

I have one year and eight months to go before I test again.  I'm very concerned about it because I know only too well how fast it goes.  I remember this from Shudokan and how much time we don't have to get the material down to the level where we are really sharp for presentation.  Especially developing the skills to the point where we look like we should be there.  The next thing you know, it'll be fall and we'll be pushing into one year left zone.  

That's neither here nor there, but if we do warmups class content just disappears.  My forty-minute class is suddenly fifteen minutes.  Frustrating, but let me tell you; it's very focusing.  

Notes from the last week or so.

- Cary is back after Covid.  She still looks a bit gray and has to sit down periodically, but yesterday she did her first break with a front kick.  Just smashed it.  Yeahh.  When I was working with her a while back, she and I got talking about cramps.  We spent five minutes talking about menstrual cramps.  Hah.  I have to say I'm glad not to be a female.  Sounds horrid.  

- I had a little accident with a wheelbarrow about a month ago.  One of the handles rammed me in the lower abdomen when it fell to one side.  I have a chronic pain there that would appear to be a torn fascia.  Takes forever to heal.  crap.  Jump kicks seem to agitate now and then.  I skipped box jumps today.  I can still do sit-ups, so I have that going for me.

- Andy uses me as his shu/uke when he needs to demo a complicated move since he knows I'll take the fall.  Our gang is pretty old and sometimes less flexible, so the default is me.   The other day he was working with Mr. Moore and trying to demo an attack.  Basically, a baseball bat to the head.  It's a complicated move, but you end up choking the attacker with his own bat and then throwing them.  I didn't realize that, so I went flying.  I could see the concern in the other students faces but I got up laughing.  No harm, no foul.  I'm clearly more accepting of that kind of thing.  I assume they fear that they are going to have to learn that at some point.  Nope.  

- Andy was doing a demo on Wednesday for Mr. Moore again.  This time it was an arm bar and submission.  The submission was a head twist.  I wasn't really ready since I didn't know what was going on.  I was compliant for the arm take and lock, but Andy pulled me down and grabbed me by the jaw and pulled my head around.  As my feet left the ground and my body spun in the air my neck made three distinct popping noises.  

Did I mention that during the beginning of the plague I damaged my C4/5?  I'm extremely carefully about certain things.  This is one of those things.  After I got my balance, I slowly moved my neck around and found that it actually felt better!  Even hours later, where I normally would see swelling or pain, there was no issues.  Talk about luck or maybe I need to work on more flexibility.  


Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Short and High

I think I'm going to keep my posts to a minimum for a bit.  My progress is minimal so writing about it can be a bit of a labor and I should be concentrating on my work a bit more.  So, if something cool comes up I'll write about it.

But with two feet in the air on two targets

Today I was the lead which was weird.  I worked with the two green belts on their seventh form (not really sure).  Sam Bu.  I was trying to think of when I last did it.  Maybe fifteen years?  With the book we were able to pull it together.  And it definitely wasn't the way I learned it.  That being said it burned the whole class.  I did a few forms for them in the end, and they were appreciative because they could take a quick break.  

I started class with box jumps.  I'm increasing the height and doing that successfully.  I brought out the dummies again and used the soft one for my rigid toe.  I definitely can do the height, which is pretty awesome, but breaking is something else.  I'll have to figure out a way to test that at some point.  Maybe putting one in the static rack and the other a dummy?  Feel free to give me ideas in the comments.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Further Testing My Limits

Not me, but the belt in the face certainly seems like something I would have happen.

I got up way too early, but it meant that I got some work done before I started warming up.  I got to the school and unlocked the joint and instead of jumping drills I had to find the roomba.  Andy and Colette have a two high end roombas.  One that vacuums and one that mops.  I'm not sure how good they are because my feet are always dirty after class, but I keep that to myself.  

When I turned on the lights, I noticed how nice the floor looked, but the vacuum was missing.  Hmm, I smelled a mystery!  I checked in the office and the whole main floor and nothing.  There is a ramp up to Andy and Colette's house so up I went.  I didn't think the thing could do that, but halfway down the hall I found the incident.  The roomba had partially consumed a dobok top and died not realizing that its eyes were bigger than its stomach.

Once I extracted the top, I took the roomba back to its charging cradle.  Mystery resolved.  Now it was time to start jumping.  After doing my box jumps, I went to grab some focus mitts thinking that they would be good targets.  I couldn't get them to stand, so I felt like I was wasting time.  I decided to move over to our two target dummies.    

I still don't have instruction about this jump so I'm doing all this in the blind.  I find that it's easier for me to kick with my legs apart in about a 45% angle.  The guy in the picture is doing his feet in an extreme position which I can neither do nor is it good for me to hit to targets in front of me.  I set the height of the dummies and adjusted it to my belt line.  I was able to jump and kick above the waistline!  Height is going well, and way better than I thought.  I'm not going to push that anymore unless I hear different.  

My current list of work for this kick:

1. distance.  I'm not as close as I think.  This kick is done standing right next to the targets.

2. my right big toe can't go back so I have to be angled in such a way that foot can be in position to do the break.  Super hard.

Number two was a problem immediately.  As soon as I started making contact my toe would let me know I wasn't in a good position.  Ugh.  

Still happy though.  I love the challenge.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Headless Style New Heights

I'd forgotten that I was supposed to put a little effort into writing these entries.  It's usually time that prevents me from really thinking about what was going on in class.  Honestly, it's a fertile ground for all kinds of writing nuggets, but it takes time for something to come up.  

I took a run this afternoon and chatting about class with my running buddy made something surface.  But first the setup.

I'd forgotten that class wasn't going to have a leader for a week and half.  Andy and Colette are out of town for a couple weeks, so we were left to our own devices.  When this happens, the senior student runs the class.  Mr. Moore is still recovering from his knee surgery, so I thought Mr. Rome would take over, but he wasn't here today.  In the end our most senior was Mr. Jacot who has his third and is working on his fourth.  He's so focused on learning forms that we just went about business as usual.  

Business on Thursday is partner drills.  Since we did three-step sparring yesterday we did sleeve grabs today.  Mr. Amigud, Bill and I got through about six of them with varying degrees of success.  

Before class I was working on my double kicks again and I had a slight revelation.  To improve my jump height, I've been doing box jumps when I get to class early and now, I'm setting up targets to kick around that height.  

There is a slight flashback here.  

When I was in Tang Soo Do, fifteen years ago or more there was a guy from the high school.  When he jump kicked he would appear to float in the air.  I'm not sure what the dynamic was that made it look like his hang time was so long, but I stopped what I was doing whenever he did that.  I wish we had cell phones more prevalent back then, because I would have got as much video as I could.  

Back to the present.

I warm up at home so my legs are flexible and have plenty of blood in them.  When I get to the school, I stretch a tiny bit and then do about three to six jumps.  After that I jump in front of the "box" (stacked mats) and try the double kick.  So I know I can clear that height and some.  At best, it's about three feet.  Definitely not what I'm shooting for, but small steps and all that.  

While I'm doing just the jumps, I noticed that a few of them seem to put me into the state where I feel like I'm floating for just a second.  I say to myself, "wait a sec..." I immediately think of the floating kid.  Have I tapped into something here?  It definitely has something to do with bending my legs deeper than usual, but that additional half second allows me to target better.  So I set up pads and used those as targets and built a bit more.  I'm terrible at hitting both but I was comfortable with the height.  Now I have to work on more height.  I'm hoping forty inches will be enough in the end, but that's still a long way off.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Swamp Style

The humidity this morning is 95%.  I started warming up at six am and soaked my uniform through.  The rain just seems like it was going to start at any minute, but it never comes.  You can see your breath and it's almost 60 degrees out.  Gag.

After taking several days off it was great to be at class.  I showed early to work on box jumps and ended up being the only person there for about ten minutes.  I love being in the school when no one is around.  I can make as much noise as I want.

Or so I thought.  My jumps brought Andy around so setting up targets didn't happen.  I'm anxious to try my kicks out, but I can't do it at home in the morning due to the noise and then I'm at class and the same thing brings Andy out of his house.  I must sound like a pack of elephants.  

Today was partner work and I worked with Bill doing the five Sam Soo Sik (three step sparring).  I'm still learning the patterns but getting about five turns on each of the five helps towards learning them.  

Notes --

Mr. Moore is still out after knee replacement.  Apparently doing well.

Ms. Cary is still out after Covid.  She'd just passed her test and Andy is waiting to give her the next belt.  Orange I think?

Your Clothes, Book Cast With 100%

  At 6:05am I looked at my phone quizzically while trying to wake up.  My SaBomNim (master teacher), who is legally blind, sent me the messa...