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.

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