Thursday, December 10, 2009

One-step continued

I hurriedly grabbed some time with the internets before class and spotted a move we hadn’t done in ages – the simultaneous block and strike.  I’d actually learned this when I took Wing Chun in High School ages ago and was surprised when it came up in class since TSD seems so static with punch, block, kick, block. 

Anyway, it appeared to be well received and actually kind of challenging for our newer members.  I gather even after a few months of punch then block changing the pattern is very difficult.  Thankfully teaching it made it fairly easy, but Teacher had me constantly slow the pace so everyone could catch up.  Another lesson in teaching.  Do a lot of rote work so people can get comfortable.  I’m teaching to a lot of new folks.  Ugh.  I have a huge desire to skip to the practical demo and I need to slow way down.

The two sisters were tested during the last hour and did pretty good so we have two new Greens.  Tonight one will have to redo her hyung/kata due to a couple of missteps.  I think they’ll be doing some sparring as well since we ran out of time.  Being the Sempai means I’m going to have to take some lumps from their poor power control.  Sigh.


I’ve restarted my self education and have started relearning Neihanchi Cho Dan.  Anything Teacher learned in the past beyond his 1st Dan has long since been forgotten and he doesn’t appear interested in learning so I’m taking the initiative to learn it.  It doesn’t feel beyond my current level of education, but because of the repetitive hook punches I can easily get confused.  I’m beyond half way and just need to finish up in the next week before I go on vacation.


Tonight I ask to teach some more advanced kicks like the hook, spinning back and jumping front.  Teacher hasn’t done anything like that in a long time, so I feel like I’m rummaging through the history closet.

Monday, December 07, 2009

X block

In some attempt to provide fresh and interesting grist for the class mill, I dug back in my memory to find something that might grab the classes attention.  After reviewing even more videos on one-step sparring I got a memory jog!  For a very limited time in the very distant past we were taught the X-block.  Basically making a scissors with your arms to stop an overhead strike or front snap kick. 

We haven’t practiced this block in years and it didn’t dawn upon me as to why until I was teaching the evolution.  I went from high blocks and low blocks to x blocks.  Here’s what I found was bad.  You block your line of sight, both hands are occupied and unless you are following up with a technique to take the wrist or heel it doesn’t leave you in a good spot to riposte. 

I’m definitely learning the critical lesson in teaching – deeper understanding of technique by teaching and demonstrating. 

I reviewed the lesson with Teacher and Beard after class, feeling that it went poorly.  Beard said that he really enjoys my lessons just because they are different than Teacher’s – not better or worse.  In my mind I thought I spent the whole time telling everyone what was wrong about the technique and why they shouldn’t do it. 


I’m already planning for tonight’s lesson after studying some online one-step sparring videos.  I can’t believe the wide variety of style differences purported to be all TSD.  Never the less, I found a lot of ideas and grabbed one I like.

During Tuesday’s class Teacher and I hastily pulled together a lesson for the second hour during the rest break.  I threw out a couple of ideas and we ran through the evolution of exercises that would lead up the final execution.

I’ve always enjoyed how he takes a few basics moves and tied them together.  We tried that with a wrist grab into a lock and submission.  We broke it into small parts and tried to tie that together.  Only this time I was explaining everything and using Teacher as the Uke.  Sweet.

After the lesson everyone applauded. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Somewhere around the 10th punch to my chest and palm-strike to my face I started to think I better concentrate on blocking.

We have a lot of different folks show up for class, no doubt for a wide variety of reasons, but our latest iconoclasts are the two sisters and their brother. They’ve been coming off and on for the last 6 months. Although I can’t get a lot of details out of them it appears that they are home schooled, are very active and come from a huge family. The two girls have taken Karate in the past and it must have been fairly hard style. Their blocks are definitely strikes.

The older of the two, Strong Hand, Got placed with me in the first hour to work on one and two step sparring. Within minutes of some simple one-two punches I was splattered by her blood and inwardly groaning about the bruises I was going to be sporting tomorrow.

We ended up stopping periodically so she could put some more band-aids on. What a mess. I hope it all comes out in the wash.


During the 2nd hour I got the do the lesson on side kicks. I really tried hard to modulate my voice and pace. I’m still really nervous about cracking jokes since it derails me, but I got a few out without being disruptive.
- intro to side kicks – lateral defense and attack
- practice the move “knee up and foot turn” before kick.
- standing side-kicks 10 on both sides
- step through side kicks 10 on both sides
- heavy bag drills for strength and distance
- partner drill for distance and balance

After that we did katas/hyungs for the last 10 minutes.
- 4 keicho hyung Ill Boo
- 3 keicho hyung Eee Boo
- 2 keicho hyung Sam Boo

I was tired the hell out by the end of class. I got home just as my wife got home and barely got into bed before I passed out.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I wasn’t much of a teacher last night; more of giggler.  Whether it was the flu or an external confluence of events, our class was down to eight.  Even that sounds funny because that used to be such a big number to us.  However, it’s the perfect number for rotation so that was pretty great.  By the end of the night we were having such a good time everyone was laughing.  I wasn’t helping the level of seriousness.

Giant got his gi last night.  Size 7 and still a bit tight.  Dang.  I taught him a take down – capture a punch and pull the arm across the chest, take your other hand and do a jaw strike continue to twist the head and turn your hips.  Uke goes down easy.  He’s so big that he doesn't have to use any effort.  The strength in his torso far exceeds all of us together. 

The 2nd part of class started with some mats out, but we never really went far with that.  However during the warm up I was showing the students how to roll and then slap to arrest the movement and also to practice for taking a throw.  We usually have two lanes of rollers and I missed the lane on one role and had to slap on the floor – bang!  My leg still still hurts today.  Smooth.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Post class note

Class Tuesday was fine and went quick.  I didn’t develop any particular insight into my own skills, but settled in and just participated and taught when asked to.  The newest folks don’t hesitate to ask me on technical matters which I kind of like.

So Teacher calls me up yesterday and tells me that he thought I was doing better with Teaching.  We went into a long discussion about the various students and their skills. 

Unfortunately I still have a long way to go when it comes to teaching.  Teacher has a spontaneous approach to what the lesson might consist of, but he’s been doing it so long a majority of his work is pretty flawless and everything dovetails nicely with the theme of the night.  Mine stuff is pretty basic and pretty bite-sized. 

He ended the conversation with, “I noticed that you seem more relaxed when you’re teaching.”  And that I need to count with more authority.  I guess my quiet wheezing doesn’t motivate the class very well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teaching 3

Somewhere between yelping in pain and standing on my toes for the umpteenth time I began to grin.  I had just experienced something naturally without thinking about it.  In our 2nd hour I was teaching one our newest students, Cop, wrist locks and was being constantly interrupted by other students with questions about technique.  It was then I realized I felt comfortable with educating someone else. 

Normally my mental experience is something on par with, “what if they ask me this A – I don’t know A!” and so on, but last night I was able follow my own track so I knew exactly where I was going and just stick to those things.

In retrospect I wish I had a laminated card so I could go over the techniques (wrist and shoulder locks) in some semblance of order.  I feel like I confuse the students because I’m often dredging up memories instead of focusing on the technique at hand. 

Another class with 15 folks!  The room is packed.  Grinding the basics in is very tiring mentally and physically.  The mental part is just focusing on the weak points in my technique and trying to correct all the new bad habits I’ve picked up.  The physical is that we are trying to slow the technique down and it’s brutal after about 40 reps.  All of the older folks (above 40) were groaning pretty quickly. 

I got paired with this new guy – clearly a giant awkward in his own skin.  I’ve never seen such a big guy with absolutely no physical comfort.  I figured the football team would be absolutely peeing their pants if they met this guy.  We worked on blocking kicks and he seemed comfortable and interested, but jut a horrible stance and no insight into his own body mechanics.  It reminds me of me.

My main partner for exercises for most of the night was Cop.  He showed up in uniform, but before that we had no idea.  Vigorous and inflexible, but with a great attitude.  Phenomenal balance on top of that!  I could block his kicks and he could go back to zenkutsu with no problem. Bastard!  I still struggle with that.

I slept like a log. 

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Speech and Teach

Teacher took an unexpected turn Thursday by starting a long speech about Karate/Tang Soo Do.  I’m not sure what spurred that on, but it was nice to see everyone pay attention and try to absorb a bit of history on the art. 

The second half of class included my lesson on crescent kicks.  Thankfully I had talked to teacher for a bit before I started because my normal “get faster as I get stressed” technique appeared to be in check. 

I started everyone off with some front kicks to warm up and then move to a quick speech on the inside crescent.  I keep in same position while they got used to that and then had them move forward with the kick.  Since then they seemed so comfortable we went to outside crescents and I could see right away that that was a more difficult skill to absorb.  I ended up using a pad so they could see where to bring the power in that kick and noticed that several people, although low, could generate a lot of force without losing balance.  Cool!

We ended the class with an advanced technique that required a mat.  It led from our earlier exercises with elbow deflection and attack.  Teacher has us working on moving into an attack quite a bit which is tough for us to learn, but oh so effective.  This time we lead in with an elbow and go to a trip/throw.  Very fun, but my back sure complained about it all night.  I forgot the Ibuprofin.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lesson 2

Last night was my second attempt at a lesson.  I only had the vaguest idea of what I was going to do, because I figured Teacher was going to keep things basic.  When he split the class in the 2nd hour and placed me with Teacher Slim I definitely didn’t do well.

Teacher Slim, who rarely comes to class anymore, has a very eclectic teaching style.  Basically, whatever comes to him he will teach.  So super advanced technique will be taught hand in hand with some basic skill. 

Teacher Slim also has 4 black belts and is probably pushing 60, but he can snap me like a wet towel so I find “teaching” with him to be very intimidating.  Plus, my teaching style is very methodic and poorly timed.  So together the students in our group has a constant questioning look on their faces. 

Teacher asked us a question, “what’s the difference between a professional and a Master?”  I was about to spout out, “the pay,” but held my tongue. 
He said, “the professional will practice the move until he gets it right and the Master practices the move until he never gets it wrong.”  Awesome.

Teacher Slim’s specialties are locks, painful locks, and brutal take downs.  Whereas my specialty is nothing.  Great teaching combo.  Anyway we started with kotegashi (wrist twist) which is fun, but when you work with younger folks with flexible wrists it becomes very difficult.  In steps Teacher Slim.  He introduces the concept of “softening” the opponent.   After locking the wrist up and bringing to your abdomen while turning, bring up your elbow into the face of the Uke and that will help he/she fall down easier.  Needless to say there was a lot of elbow-cheekbone contact, but the Uke does go down.

As the endless hour moved on I realized my anxiety to make a good lesson was being channeled into talking faster and moving faster which translated into a crappy teaching experience.  I really need to breath more and slow up.  Hell, even Teacher will stop and think and no one even blinks about that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to the beginning - again

I can't believe that so much time has gone by since the last post. At least I'm going to class regularly again, but (I'm having a hard time remembering to post the next day and then class comes up again and I forgot what I was going to write about.

After I got back from vacation I was in for a surprise. Teacher warned me, but I still couldn't believe it. Our class ranks have swelled unbelievably. For the first time our class has a consistent number of members (around 14). In repsonse Teacher has stepped up his game on teaching. He's become more concise, more timely and impressive in his ability to match the class to the general skill level of everyone. I find myself a bit bored and then force myself to focus on my form and movement. The classes are flying bye at incredible speed.

Now that I'm trying to teach segments I'm finding that matching to the class is incredibly difficult. I came somewhat prepared to work on breakfalls and basic slaps, but Teacher looked at the class that was big as hell and filled with too many new folks and said maybe next week. I realized then that until the bulk of folks get the handle on blocks and kicks taking falls is going to be a ways off. There isn't going to be any sparring for awhile either. Sad face.

So it appears to me that I'll be working on the basics with everyone else and also teaching the same as well.

After Teacher and I had our discussion about being more assertive I've taking a more forward approach to the class. Having mostly new folks makes this easy and that makes correcting my long-time classmates a lot easier too. Maybe this growth will come along after all. I still find myself going over incidents and wondering if I would have handled it differently. Being assertive in real life is a significant change in the way I've handled myself so I see this as a long term project.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I’m very behind in writing because life is complicated, but I just wanted to jot down a few notes about my last class.  I talked with Teacher about doing a section in class as he had suggested.  I picked side-kicks and told him what I’d be doing.  I took up a majority of the 2nd hour, but it felt like a longer time.  It’s tiring to do all the thinking as well as the work.

The lesson:
- side kicks
- side kick with step behind
- water dummy practice
- partner drills

The first three were pretty good, but the partner drills were pretty crappy.  We really needed folks of similar height and flexibility to start off, but it didn’t go that way.   Short, tall, flexible, not – argh!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Crick, crack.  Crick Crack.  “Jeeze,” I thought to myself.  “Is this what my wife heard over the years?” 

With the plethora of new students Teacher is making a very solid beginners lesson plan which requires endless repetition of the kicks and work on stances.  In our discussions last year before my Brown Belt exam he was emphasizing that I needed to be an example in form and so on.   The primary example is that I present the stance in it’s most traditional form (Japanese not Korean).  Let’s just say that I have a very difficult time having the top of my leg in parallel to the ground. 

So he explains to the class that because of my age some the things that should be done and emulated aren’t going to happen. 

Well, pride goeth before the fall.  I forced myself in a lower stance (still not the parallel) and felt pretty good about it because it wasn’t too uncomfortable on my knees – and then noticed the clicking noise.  That just doesn’t sound healthy. 

Long story short – I’m back on the glucosamine and cutting back on jogging. 

After class back to Teachers place for beer and therapy.  Then called into work at midnight.  Tough morning the next day.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Well Executed Day

I normally jot down my notes either the night of class or the next day before work gets started,  so this is a bit behind since we have class tonight and I’m writing about something that has happened almost five days ago.

The class was invigorated with some more new students so we actually started fairly early and has a small rest break making our class closer to the 2 hours that I say we do, but normally don’t. 

Teacher is still on the formula, so I was able to apply a few things after our talk to the class.  When I was leading the warm-ups I simply didn’t ask permission and told people what to do.  I led people in counting and did some corrections and hints through out the class. 

The hardest thing to do for me is to consciously get my mind in the correct place.  I’m doing a lot of self checking and stopping myself from placing the way I speak and think in the pejorative.  I find this exhausting and distracting.  However, it keeps my mouth shut more often.  Probably a nice break for my friends. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Big Talk

I think I may have mentioned that Teacher and I talked briefly about what’s next in my development.  After class last night we met for an hour and half on what’s expected of me for my Black Belt. 

I don’t think I can put everything into a nutshell, but it felt like a particularly intensive therapy session.  I came in thinking that we’d be talking about physical requirements and how to figure that out based on my age, but Teacher wants to focus on these things:

- be assertive (without being a dick)
- teach portions of the class in a more formal manner
- be more situationally aware

I left thinking I rather have a hard physical test (which he assured me I would) than the above.  Situational awareness can be worked on all the time, but the other things are going to require to me face aspects of myself that are a struggle.  By my very nature I’m easy going to a fault and avoid all conflict.  However I’ll do this to the nth degree; so much so that it creates conflict in other areas. 

Unfortunately there isn’t a syllabus that outlines how do this, but when I started my campaign to stop apologizing all the time it was a very small component.  Next stop – stop with all the self depreciation, and then figure out how to accept that I know some stuff. 

I know that in class I have asked the students if they want to do something instead of telling them.  How’s does one retool one aspect of their personality without changing who they are?  I don’t think I can do a major change, but Teacher says that I will do this without any problem.  Interesting times ahead.


Two new kids in class.  Several out on injury (not from class).  So a good time that went by quickly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fat On One Side

I was blabbing with Teacher last week and he had mentioned in passing that Beard would be testing.  I had forgotten that and was wondering why Teacher was dragging his feet about starting class last night. 

Teacher has either become formulaic or stuck in a rut; either way I’m enjoying it.  This is the formula:

- Run through all strikes
- Run through all kicks
- drills using above
- variation drills
- break
- kata/hyungs
- light sparring
- testing (last night anyway)

My concern is that this will go by the wayside now that testing is done for a bit.  Even though I’ve been back for a week I’m enjoying the regularity and consistency.

Little Sister and Beard both tested for their rank last night.  It’s interesting to see them both do something similar with their decades of age difference.  Beard, at 50 plus, was pulling some super low stances, but was shaky on basic kicks. 

I have never perspired that much in one setting.  It was a bit better than Tuesday.  When we were stretching I asked if it was possible to be fat one on one side.  Teacher quickly replied, “only if you have a swollen liver.”  The laughter didn’t die down for about five minutes. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Panic and Pain

I was talking to Teacher before class telling him how I felt.  It felt like the day before tournament.  A mini panic attack induced by adrenaline.  Lots of shallow, rapid breathing.  Of course, as soon as I talked about it I could breath fine.  What a head case I’ve been.  I’m not even sure what’s kept me away for this long, but I’ve been generated plenty of excuses or finding any reason not to go. 

The standard is my wife saying the weather is nice and that we should do something special.  My first impulse is to blow off beatings and hang out in the lawn with her.  Let’s just say that I followed that impulse a lot this summer.

Class is more of the same from the past, but it was awesome to come back and get moving again.  I think I’d been psychologically and physically preparing for the last month or so.  I’ve been back to the gym working out and running more to get my heart squared away.  I found out that it really doesn’t.  Something about waving your hands and feet in the air doesn’t correspond with running a mile every couple of days. 

I had to lay down at the break.  Too much great exercise.

The 2nd hour was katas/hyungs.  The last 15 minutes was sparring.  I love sparring and when I’m doing good I have a hard time describing the feeling of euphoria that overcomes me.  It destroys a good night of sleep because of the adrenaline.  I think it must be the fact that I think I can “handle” myself in a physical situation.  After all the years of class feel like they pay off as it were.

So I’m sparring with older sister and she kicks into my kick and breaks my little toe and then in the next exchange she kicks a divot out of my shin.  

I was immediately angry because this girl has been coming consistently for a year and still doesn’t know how to control her punches and kicks.  We, the class, are guilty of subtly encouraging this because give her nods every time she does something “tough.”  This was meant as an encouragement to the others to be tougher, but we’ve all forgotten that everyone has to develop their inner tough-guy in their own way. 

I’m such a moody bastard.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Big Class

After being off last week I wasn’t really thinking of any surprises when I walked through the door.  The kids class was finishing up and they had about five kids altogether.  My presumption was that we’d have the same, but low and behold 10 people showed up! 

I led the warm-ups and then Teacher took us through the basics (strikes till your arms fall out and kicks until your knees shake).  I realized in the middle of this how sharp his eyes are for quick correction.  There is a constant litany of “turn your foot more, bend your knee more, bring your leg up farther, etc.” during the basics.  I tend to get cocky and he still corrects me on sloppy technique.

I was partnered with a new guy (Swede’s Dad) and warned him about protecting his shoulders during all the Shudo’s and Hammerfist practice.  I explained that it’s like throwing a baseball over and over again with both arms.  It shouldn’t be done at full intensity during practice until thoroughly warmed and then you still have to watch it.  He pulled up his sleeve and showed me the worse surgical site I’ve seen outside of the “Operation” on TV.  He had been bull and bronco rider in the rodeo and ended up being thrown monumentally and then stomped on.  Yikes.

Before class Beard was in an obviously good mood.  When queried he was delighted to share the fact that he had a cortisone shot in his shoulder.  After years of impingement he has a new lease of life.  I now have to watch his left side strikes.

I mentioned the number of attendees because when the class reaches these numbers we work extremely well.  There’s a lot less superfluous time.  Everyone is pretty on task and fairly well focused.  A rarity.

Swede moved up to the adult class.  Her Father promised that he’d attend class as well is she went that far. 

Swede’s Mom always watches the class.  At break Beard asked her why she didn’t want to participate.  She replied, “I have so many other ways to create pain.”  I could see Beard suppress an outward groan.  He appeared to want to look disappointed in her or I could have been projecting my own feelings on him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Age and wisdom

In the evening after class, I often think of clever titles or themes for the post I’m going to right, but you should know you (the reader) never gets to see any of them.  I’m usually groggy because it’s later in the evening and my internal clock is trying to relax me after getting smacked around by kids half my age. 

The newest theme that has been cropping up is one of aging.  When does a striking/kicking based martial art become no longer appropriate due to the age of the practitioner?  Taking into account that several folks over 40 are in phenomenal shape (not me) I can’t help but wonder if I’m making myself worse off when me and my partner have to stop and message our knees while the teenagers look on in a mixture of humor, disgust, and pity. 

I was partnered for bit with the returning black belt last night.  He’s a really pleasant, nice guy who likes to laugh, but he’s gained a lot weight in the last few years.  So he’s coming back to Karate to get some fitness going.  The perfect guy for me because I perpetually feel the same way.  Although lately it’s more due to fact that the last year had sporadic attendance to class. 

Technically we are both proficient in our strikes and blocks – Teacher is still pushing “in close” fighting techniques – be me and the other guy would only get so far before we’d have to break and take a minute breather.  Shameful really, but we both will endeavor to do less of this in upcoming weeks. 

On the aging front Teacher is experiencing the weirdest physical problem that I know is causing him a lot of anxiety.  He normally struggles with plantar fasciitis, but now his ankles appear to be retaining fluid and appear to be painful.   He’s definitely not one to seek out medical care, but he’s got be close on this one.  Ouch.

Caught a ridge hand across the bridge of my nose with a very large cartilaginous crunch.  Everyone stopped as I knuckled away a manly tear.  No blood after the sensational sound.  Dang.

We practiced diverting knee shots with our knees and elbows – oh god, do my legs hurt today. 

Caught my thumb in Teachers sleeve – snap.  Not pleasant.  No problem today though.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weather, whether

I may have mentioned in the past that where I live we have rare decent weather.  I’m talking counting on both hands the amount of connected days of nice weather in the last five years.  This is a price we pay living where we do, but something strange happened this year.  We actually have nice weather for once.  And it’s been going on for three weeks.  Weird. 

I’m only mentioning this because the local sport is to determine people’s moods by how bad or how good the weather had been.  The standard mode is that people tend to stay home when it’s really bad out or go play when the weather is nice.  This makes class suffer, but no one complains because we all understand. 

So, at the end of three weeks of sunshine class consisted of me, a sister and one of the old black belts.  The minimal class can be very much like a private lesson, but the intensity is demanding.  I get frustrated being corrected and corrected over and over again on a move that I’d rather use muscle on instead of proper technique.  That, and I feel old and creaky.  At least Teacher and the other BB where in the same place.  The sister probably laughed to herself at our constant litany of discomfort. 

We broke from our standard drills to practice more reality based stuff.  Basically infighting.  Use of elbows and knees with a ridge hand or hammer fist thrown in for fun. 

The 2nd half of class was lock and throw review (aikido).  I was partnered with sister and she is so frustrating to work with.  I just played teacher to her and went over all the basics.  Every time I do the techniques on her there is no effect.   Her flexibility makes 99% of our moves worthless.  When we rotated I went over to Teacher and dropped him in a half second with too much force – we both realized that you try so hard with Sister that you end up overdoing it for everyone else. 

Dang I’m sore.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Pilgrim’s Progress

I’m not sure it’s possible, but I think I did a little better last night.  There wasn’t too much huffing and puffing and certainly no dark spots dancing before my eyes.  I am, however, incredibly sore, but not in spots I figured.  It seems like all my connective tissue had withered and now it fighting to regain some resiliency. 

The worst is the top of the forearms near the elbow.  I don’t know enough of my own physiology to figure out what’s happened here, but I presume that the shudo practice on Tuesday must have done it. 

Without Driver and Beard the class consisted of Teacher, me, India and Giggles.  India and Giggles are teen-age girls.  Teen-age girls drive me batty.  I’m not the first one to thrown stones in that I like to have a good time and joke when I can, but teenagers can have these giggling fits that are unstoppable.  It makes me want to practice a chokehold.  Thankfully Teacher can help them focus.   At half time Beard, Sister 1 and little Brother came in to add size to the class.

Worked on Tuesday with expansion.  Teacher is making nice combos that even the basic students can grasp.  Fun for everyone.  I focused on unwinding the torso for more power generation, but because I baby my knees I can get low and do it properly. 

Ended with knife attack training.  Tried the knuckle punch to the hand and ended up doing the knuckle to knuckle.  Hands hurt today. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Out of Shape

I knew it’s been some time since I’ve done any type of vigorous exercise, but this was ridiculous.  We were probably 10 minutes into class after warm-ups, doing a block/strike drill.  Teacher wanted me to do an inside crescent kick immediately followed by a side kick.  All of you know you just have to keep your balance and it’s a snap.  Well, after two sets of 20 I could barely breath.  And if I didn’t get my heel pointed all the way around to the target my hips would bind on the side kick.  Grueling. 

Maybe because it’s been so long since I’ve been, but for once the utilization of the hip snap to get the shoulders moving really seemed to work for once.  I didn’t fight myself too much and I was doing pretty good.  My lower back seems tender though. 

We did some katas/hyungs at the end of class and picked up a few pointers that I had forgotten. 


After the kids left one of the guys told us that he saw the cops put Nilon on the plane to the big city with handcuffs on!!!.  Apparently three assaults in two months.  This led to a discussion on the schools responsibility, liability and what to do if he came back.  Apparently he’d been asked not to continue at the Judo school.  I hadn’t even realized that he was trying to go there. 

It got me to thinking about our open door policy to accept any students.  Does the Teacher have the right to be selective?  His approach of let them taste and then they move on has always worked, until Nilon.  I guess we were all assuming that he’d “get it” after some point.  Ah well. 

Thursday, April 09, 2009


In my defense:
- She's tall for her age
- She punches without restraint
- She's flexible to the point where locks are not functional
- She's about a foot shorter that me

So the attacker comes in with a punch, you do a cross block into grab (so you end up holding their right hand in lock with your right hand; standing behind the arm standing next to them). Then you hold their locked wrist, and brace their elbow across your chest. You take your left hand palm their jaw. Holding on that annoying pressure point.

Without fail when this is applied to me I'm in so much pain I can't breath. Without fail I haven't been able to apply to this anyone but someone my own height.

So Sister1 and I are partnered practicing this. During the demo I was unable to strike teacher just due to the lockout and position. I get Sister1 in position and ask her to hit me with total conviction that I have her locked up tight.

I end up sitting on the floor groaning, holding my kidney. Nice work Mr. karate man.


Beard pulls me aside after class and asks me, "did you hear about Nilon? He got into some fights in the last 6 weeks and got into trouble with the law." Whoa. I couldn't believe it. I thought Beard was joking. He wasn't. I wonder if he'll show up at class...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time passes slowly and a bit quickly

By my last post I can see that time has gone by a lot faster than I anticipated. If it hasn't been work it's been school work slowly eating at my ability to get to beatings.

My muscles are so flaccid it makes me nervous to go because that's when the injuries seem like they occur (this is a lie - I find they occur when I'm feeling at my best and things get out of hand). Tonight the worst was when I was thrown the newer folks let go my hand and I'd get dropped unceremoniously on the mats. Not cool on the backside. I got partnered with Nilon at one point and missed the block which led me to a punch in the ear - ouch! Later I unintentionally popped him in the jaw -oops. I mean, I felt bad and all, but I'm celebrating now.

I can't believe I let him get to me the way he does - and I know I've ranted about this guy in the past, but he's like a bad penny always showing up. I hate that I have to mentally prepare myself to deal with him. As we put the mats away tonight he keep poking and elbowing me. I had finally had to stop and ask him, "are you okay?" Thinking that might shake him into some semblance of propriety. No go. He said, "I'm so glad your back, you're so fun to pick on."

WTF! How I am the guy? What in my nature or personality makes this guy gravitate to me and spoil my evening? In my heart of hearts I realize that I've got to make a boundary with this guy, but I'm not sure what it is. Do I just say, "you're a massive dick" and hope he gets the point? Or just stop playing at his grab-assery? I think that's the best approach.

What happens in the end is that I'm agitated and my experience is colored by him.

Teacher is off to foreign lands for a month so I can safety get caught up on fitness and school work for awhile and let my petty emotional rants subside.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strike Again Harmonious Fists

Let's say that everything has a tempo.

I find patterns instructive and powerful tools for learning especially within beatings. For practice, getting a rhythm going just seems to create an expansive, hypnotic feeling. It's where you can let go of what's going on, step outside of yourself and look at what's going on in an objective fashion. Of course, I realize that this same pattern is the direct cause of problems in sparring or other one/two step applications because it builds up an almost neural pattern - a trap of repetitive training.

Last night I realized that without Nilon we established an otherworldly tempo of counting during the warm ups. Even if everyone finished the move at a different time the counting was always on the mark.

Later when we were doing partnered punching and movement drills I noticed the detrimental side of the rhythm. If a person has no rhythm then long-term drilling is subject to constant failure. It wasn't helped by me constantly stopping Older Sister and telling her to step and then punch. She punches with such confidence and vigor that I think she is more experienced than she is. She still makes the mistakes that everyone does...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Douchebag Chronicles

I had to leave class immediately.

I had to leave class immediately or I might have burst into laughter.

I ran up the stairs with a rictus like grin - smiling so hard I thought I'd tear the skin on my face.

Bob from Striking thoughts mentioned that guys like this will eventually have someone rain on their parade.

Tonight the rain came and the only disappointing thing about it was that I didn't get to bring the rain.

Nilon strolled into class a half hour late, but was on task and was fairly focused. But at the very end we had sparring. What a night it was. First, our new teenage girls showed that were tough as nails. Their session started off with a profound smack in the face that sounded like a gun shot. Whoa! Then came Beard and Nilon. It was epic. Nilon tried to bring the fight to Beard - literally trying his half-ass made up Judo moves on a guy with a Blackbelt in Judo; who's had it for over 20 years. I could see this going bad quick, but Teacher never made a move to stop it. Normally he he curbs anything that isn't right out of our book.

Nilon tried some grabs with leg sweeps that only got him punched and eventually knocked down. Beard swiftly got behind him and got his legs all locked up and then choked him out. Teacher finally called that and class was down.

Nilon was silent for the rest of the time and absolutely hermit like in the changing room as Beard and I talked about my adrenaline shaking hands.

I couldn't stand it so I left as soon as I could so I wouldn't burst out laughing.

On another topic I'm feeling a little more like a brown belt. I'm educating with some more comfort and I know in the sparring I look a hell of a lot better than the others. I got a spinning heel kick in on Teacher tonight, but I'm sore as all get out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Douchebag Analysis

By the calendar it appears that a month has gone by since my last attendance to beatings. After a rich diet of beer and finishing other peoples meals for a month beatings was going to be hard. Thankfully everyone else appeared be doing about the same after the holidays.

Things haven't changed much with the group. Still a plethora of teenage girls with some of our original gang. Teacher is out of a lot of instruction due to a rotator cuff problem - even punching is painful.

Nilon is there of course. I was mentally prepared to see him so it was no surprise when he showed up late and joined the warmups, which I was leading, fouls the count by either shouting extremely loudly or off by a few beats and then precedes to do his own thing during stretching. Nilon is devotee to long distance running, but never figured out how to stretch. He is about the most inflexible person I've ever met and refuses to put time or effort into the process. So he gripes and ends up doing whatever. Although it's not limited to the stretching - if anything can't keep his attention for more than a minute he's off and doing something else. And I thought my ADD was bad.

I'd like to say that I've gotten used to his unintentional douchebaggery after a few years, but that would be a lie. The typical even that drives me nuts is that we have a standard drill (one step sparring) and he immediately starts doing whatever he wants. Teacher normally stops him and refocuses him, but it doesn't last very long. So it always with some trepidation when I get partnered with him. Last night he proved to be gentle and kept telling to relax! What a change. I bet it only lasts a week.

I was nicely tired after the exercise and my legs didn't end up shaking too bad. This morning I'm not a bundle of knots so I count that a good start.

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...