Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I was thinking to myself how I didn't want to go to beatings, but after the binge of the Thanksgiving week I needed all sorts of activity to assist in the weight loss I dearly needed. It turns out I wasn't the only one. A moderate turn out, but the story amongst the adults was consistent. It must be great to still be younger.

After reading "Zen and the Martial Arts" I got an insight into my behavior several weeks ago. Joe Hyams said that when he got hit during practice he would be immediately angry. After evaluation with his Sensei at the time he realized that he was not separating action from intent. I realized that my perception of interactions with Nut are me interpreting his behavior as taking advantage of me somehow. With that firmly in mind I braced myself as I entered class. I also realized this was the same feeling engendered when I originally met Beard in class. So I tell myself I'm a better man now.

What I forgot is that insight doesn't necessarily mean all better all at once - dammit. So Nut is there and I do feel completely different about him. It was as though all the nursed ills had sloughed off. Nut and I did some randori to warm up and I felt nothing! Well, I realize in his innocence a lot of what he attempts is pretty stupid, but that will disappear or he'll get good at it. But I was reborn. No perserverating eating up my concentration. What a relief.

Did I mention that nothing is fixed that quick? During the break we were talking and he punches me very hard in the shoulder so I snapped a kick at his crotch - stopping because I'm supposedly mature. I immediately evaluated what had happened. I was pissed because I was relaxed and not concerning myself about paying attention to attacks. No one to blame there, but me. Arggh.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

T-Day prep

The bone chilling temperature rose a couple of degrees so the apathy it brings was alleviated. This means that pretty much everyone showed up for class and was ready to go early. After warm ups we did punches, blocks and kicks to get everyone on the same page and then did basic drills.

At half time I went over to Nut and apologized for my behavior and as I speculated, he didn't even have an idea of what I was talking about, but was very empathetic and pointed out that he suffers from similar feelings and ends up walking out every once in awhile to catch his thoughts.

After half time I partnered with the new guy, Vet. Friendly with no formal training beyond what he received in the Marines, Vet makes randori and sparring very enjoyable. He doesn't mind closing and infighting taller opponents and knows how to use what he knows. I'll look forward to continuing to be partnered with him.

I just started reading "Zen and the Martial Arts" by Joe Hyams. It's just a collection of anecdotes and I'm hoping to extract a few gems from it's pages.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In the South I believe they call it, "code."

I was so cold when I got to beatings that my wedding ring kept sliding off my finger before I even changed out. That's not a bad thing though. A couple of years back I was sparring with a TKD black belt and blocked one of those super kicks poorly and jammed my ring finger. By the end of the evening my finger resembled a small eggplant in color and size. I ended up going to the ER and getting the ring cut off by a laughing nurse who didn't really care about the agony I was going through.

To this day I take my ring off before class. Not very real in respect to a real world confrontation, but the odds of me blocking a super speed TKD kick to the noggin in the real world are pretty slim in my estimation.

After a brief warm up I got partnered with Arms of Steel, but we thankfully didn't do blocks and strikes or my cold shrunk arms probably would have snapped at first contact. We started doing wrist locks and locks into throws. We don't use the Japanese terms here so I'd have to guess at what they are called. Anyway we did a mid practice switch and I got partnered with Beard.

While commiserating with my PT he expressly told me to watch out for Beard since we can end up scuffling. And here I was. Ironically every throw and take down I did was extremely beautiful. Beard remarked how I was keeping my carriage upright and correct (normally I'm off balance a lot). I told him I was being extra careful about my back and we agreed that it might actually be a good thing for once. I took a few falls and they turned out fine. It was a good evening and then we had to go out into the cold and dark. My teeth are chattering as I write this.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


So I went in on Thursday of last week ready to apologize to Nut for my lack of cohesion even if he didn't realize that my gears were stripping last week. Alas, he didn't show and I was left off balance again (thanks Pat).

It was a very regular class and Teacher was very conscious of my back and kept asking if the activities were aggravating it. Felt like star treatment there for awhile. That will go a way in time I'm sure.

I got to do block and punch exercises with the new guy, Red. He's been around the block and seems to warm up to MA easily. I don't think I was doing my best as I ended up guiding a punch into my nose and then elbowing Red in the mouth. Teacher pointed out that sparring or even exercises in this case lead to more injury. The white belt does the unexpected! Boy I must have made his life miserable when I was a white.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Icy Hot

My vision became a very small circle, all frosty around the edges and I felt somehow larger and taller. It was like someone turning the volume all the way all at once. I was one inch from snapping and lashing out.

Returning to class wasn't going very well. My heightened paranoia about my back and wheezing through the exercises didn't give me a lot of confidence in myself. We then paired up and I got partnered with Nut. I thought, "no problem," and there wasn't any initially. I took my previous ideas about how to contend with him and put them into play and they worked great. I started keeping strict count on exercises and made sure we switched out on the mark. I would initiate a switch as soon as he started trying variations on the exercise. It was working great. I'm just not sure what happened next. His playfulness often borders on excess, so I thought I would respond by pinching him (bad idea in retrospect)which just encouraged him to continue with horseplay. He turned his back to me and I grabbed him by his neck and although nothing really happened between us (playful sparring) I accelerated to kill immediately.

Only after the rush of adrenaline left me did I realize that I was close to losing control and lashing out in a uncontroled rage. It all happened within probably five seconds of time. It absolutely embarassed me and what's worse is that no one appeared to notice. Not even Nut!

So my question is what's going on? What is it that he does that sets me off? I've been noticing lately that my rage is searching for an outlet. I'm afraid that learning some MA has led to a dangerous part in my heart. To lash out unrestricted seems closer and closer. Should I talk to Teacher? I would be concerned that this admission would force him to adjust class somehow and that wouldn't be appropriate. Perhaps Teacher Slim. For all of his years in MA he keeps an enforced jovaility that really derails my ability to approach him about what I feel is such a serious problem. So much to concentrate on...

Friday, November 03, 2006


So I went to beatings last night to visit the gang. It was a small crowd and I ended up standing around distracting a few of the people trying to catch up on social stuff. By half way I had to leave because I had begun to sweat with the desire to participate. I had also started to correct people on stance and kick.

Whenever the other students correct me it makes me grate my teeth because I'm a sempai, but I don't think I'm particularly better than anyone. It's just that their commentary is exactly what goes through my own mind. I've been doing a lot of the moves enough that I know what I'm doing incorrectly and what I have to work on.

So with that in mind I figured that no else is going to want to hear from the guy that hasn't been around for three weeks whether I'm correct or not, sempai or not even if Teacher encouraged it. I exited soon after that.

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