Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Diagnosis: Pain!

I've noticed a rash on my stomach that has progressively been getting worse over the last week. I assumed it was a group of spider bites, but they haven't gotten any better. So off to the doctor and he tells me I have shingles! I'm old! Nothing to do but wait it out - maybe another week of exquisite discomfort.

Then he goes on to tell me that I have quadriceps tendinitis. Just when I'm showing real progress in my low stances! What are the odds?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Private Class 2

Somewhere between the falling and the pain I had an extended moment of thought. Dread that I injured my knee further, pleasure that the fall itself was nothing in relation to my contact to the ice, and some anxiety that I had ruined my nice pants.

My wife was going over to the big city. Being the gallant gentleman I figured I'd carry her bag and backpack while she navigated the snow and ice. Alas, for the first time in years my balance was stolen from me. Not by any combatant, but a poorly balanced load on my arms and the beautiful sheet of crystal clear ice that was waiting under a half inch dusting of powdery, clean snow.

I felt my feet both going and working under the weight of the bags I figured I'd just bend my knees and regain my balance. Half way down my right knee started to protest mightily and I had to roll to my back to relieve the pressure. Ouch.

That was Thursday and today was my second private session. It was with some trepidation that I showed up concerned that I wouldn't be able to hold a low stance very long. Thankfully the miracle of adrenaline or simply warming up carefully made the workout move smoothly and painlessly.

I demonstrated the progress on my stance and the exercises I've been doing (reading in low horse stance, etc.) so we focused most of the time on doing katas together and fine tuning my ability to stay at one level/height the whole time instead of bobbing up.

The new assignments were meditation and pin-pointing my strikes to the face/neck/head. I've been treating the whole head as more or less one target. Now I have to make sure that I'm aiming for something specifically.

Strangely, I kept giggling and laughing the whole time. Bliss?

After I got home and sat for awhile my leg told me that I had, indeed, been working hard. Ow.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quick Interlude

Since I don't have class practice has become the regular work out. Now when I go to the gym on off days I try to add as much leg work in as I can. I believe it's helping, but I'm not sure at the moment. It's nice to get the odd looks as I practice my low stance with forward and backward movement in the back of the gym.

I've also started some plyometrics and was pleased that even though I don't jump high I can slam my knees into my chest way easier than I thought. If I wasn't careful my exuberance would have put me on my back.

Very sore today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Private Class 1

I heard a mountain climber describe a syndrome in which his leg would twitch in an uncontrollable fashion - it was called "sewing machine leg." After so much tension is placed upon the muscle in one position it begins to fail in a spectacular fashion.

I occasionally struggle with what Teacher presents to me to learn, so it was some trepidation that I went to our private session on Sunday. I was a bit concerned with his focus on my stance. Privately I was wishing for something a little more exotic and was thinking that stances were probably the last thing I needed to work on, but always the dutiful student I knuckled down and smiled through the work.

To my surprise he pointed out incredibly helpful stuff pulled from the first kata/hyung. The low stance he demonstrated and I tried to emulate was extremely difficult for me. Over the years I have, as he put so gently, adopted a bent kneed lean. So we did work in the mirrors that had me gritting my teeth, sweating profusely and getting a terrible case of sewing machine legs.

The biggest lesson was as I lower my stance my center of balance shifts. I'm now emulating a new student because, I guess in reality, I am one again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 1

Last night was my first evening in a long time that I wasn't heading off to beatings. I was experiencing some mild guilt as I sat down at my night school desk trying to mentally prepare myself for two months of sit down classwork. However, those feelings passed quickly as I found out the pace that were going to held to. The teacher was going to be married in mid March and had to complete the entire course content in the next 9 weeks. Ugh.

I talked with Teacher yesterday about what I need to be working on. As I expected, but also dreaded - it's time to get low. My poor bummy knee is giving me problems now and doing a low stance where my thigh is parallel to the floor can be difficult. So some trepidation I started Chil Sun Ee Roh it didn't seem bad, but the problem with low stance is that it requires a lot of space which I don't have. So half my stances are nice and low and the others I end up bunched up next to a ficus fending off it's lower branchs with an augmented block. I'm so tough.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I might have mentioned before that although we do TSD the class is taught in Japanese, or at least we use Japanese terms for everything. Teacher Slim has his second degree belt in TSD, but all of his other belts were Japanese styles so by default we are Japanese as it were.

So the kata in Korean is a Hyung. In review of some new manuals from a grandmaster I hadn't heard of before (we aren't affiliated with any federation or society) I noticed a couple I hadn't seen before. They both start with Chil Sun. They don't look particularly difficult so I asked Teacher if I could go ahead and attempt to learn them. No problem.

After our discussion about what I need to be focused on to move toward my Brown belt Teacher pointed out that a few things I do that need to be addressed. One of them was the depth of stance. He said that anyone near this belt class needs to be doing a low, low horse. So tonight it was low, low stances. Oh how my legs protest.

I wonder what other pleasures are in store. He mentioned poor blocking and a few other things, but I was too excited about the possibility of Brown belt to concentrate. I'm going to pay for that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Big Question

So maybe I've seen too many movies about how you are supposed to be all respectful to your Master and that any changes to how things are done should be treated with the upmost significance.

It was at the break that I finally got up the nerve to approach Teacher about a change in schedule. I needed to take some evening classes and I'm getting the point in class that it's become exceedingly hard for me to let go in fear that I'm missing something or I'm backsliding. So I haltingly tell him how I need to take these classes, but I didn't think I could afford to miss beatings.

As my wife guessed Teacher was more than open to helping me out with some face time during the weekend or whenever he had a break in his schedule. Awesome!

Kid Speed returned after I don't know how long and a new guy has returned a couple of times so I'll call him Lee Majors because he looks so much like him. I accidently called him that a few times tonight!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Circle Work

Following the break we were standing in a circle reviewing our respective holiday adventures. Teacher thought this was a great idea for close quarter drills. Attack to the right (two strikes); the defender defends and then returns two strikes and immediately goes to their right to attack. Ideally it would look like a continuous stream of attacks resembling a "wave."

Ironically we started standing farther apart, but as we progressed around the circle a few times we got closer and closer. I felt that was good because we all seemed to be developing comfort in an area in which we need a lot of work. A moment in which the group strength helped us grow individually.

Once, long ago, we were taught the benefit of the "eyes down." I think the story was that monks used to keep their eyes down as a sign of respect, but in actuality it gives you awesome peripheral vision. So I used that to my advantage in the circle and was able to see everything coming from Teacher and Nilon. I walked out with a big head and slept very well. A good way to come back from vacation.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Back from Vacation

So I've found that two weeks of diving isn't very conducive to cardio fitness. The focus is so focused on breathing in a relaxed manner so that you can conserve your air that when I ran up two flights of stairs I almost had a heart attack.

So it's back to the grindstone for fitness. It's dark here and rainy so I might as well get on the stick.

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...