Friday, January 29, 2010

Throat Punches and Child Beatings

Throat punching, unlike its cousin throat singing, is neither relaxing or melodic with zen-like sparseness.  I found this out while sparring with one of the wonder twins.  Apparently, I thought it was technically proficient to block with my adam’s apple.  As with many of my technical failure’s in combat I felt a sudden desire to sit down right in the middle of everything because my throat had become the center of the universe. 

Somehow I managed to keep it together and push my eyes back into my head and regurgitate the important parts of my throat back into their relative places. 

By the next class I was able to make noises similar to an old cat that simply doesn’t have enough lung capacity to meow coupled with a honking squeak. 
I ended up not having to teach a full kids class after all.  Teacher was able to get back, but when I showed up later he looked completely asleep and couldn’t count to save his life. 
Last night was a big blocking night.  My forearms look like a rough stretch of road and I can’t set them on anything due to the tenderness.
The computer guy from down the hall poked his head in my office and said, “so I hear a 16 year old girl kicked you ass.”  Why is this a repetitive theme in my life?  Then he says, “I hear your going to be testing for your Black Belt soon.”  How is it that everyone knows this before me?

I take solace in the fact that the I heard that kind of thing for my Brown for a really long time before the test occurred.  I’m just not anxious to take that kind of beating anytime soon.

You know things are desperate when there is absolutely no pretense in how you try to control your breathing – just sucking huge breaths, gi completely disheveled, belt around to the side, etc.  Not very elegant – that’s me in testing.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kids 2 / Lessons Learned

I literally have too much too write about.   I learned so much in one evening that I think it would take several hours to get it all down.

Last night was my 2nd evening with the kids class and it went fairly well.  Teacher made an effort to remove himself from the class frequently so see how I’d handle the normal escalation of energy the kids normally exhibit.  It seemed to go pretty good!  I would take a second to stop someone off task or just get back to exercises – it wasn’t exhausting and I never lost patience and the hour went by very fast. 

Adult class was extremely small.  Just the wonder twins and Little Sister.  The first hour was mostly discussion and a small amount of practical work.  Teacher was introducing “verbal karate” which is always a neat approach.  He applies physical technique to verbal and tries to guide us to a place where we never get into a fight; or, at least, tries to keep us farther away. 

Normally I find that a bit too long to listen to, but it was pretty interesting and his pacing was right on.

Second hour was only sparring!  We definitely haven’t done this in a while, but it was brutal fun.  We all got to spar with each person in class – which is a rarity, but a blast.  As usual I took a lot of very solid shots and gave a few (by mistake) as well.  My best shot was an inside crescent on Little Sister.  She has actually gotten so good that she analyzed my technique and started to take advantage of it!  She would get close and just beat the crap out of me.  However, the crescent always throws a false message to the other guy and she walked right into it.  Bang.  Later on I did a spinning back kick and did the spin in with a hook punch right to my kidney.  Beautiful timing, but I think I’m pissing blood today. 

Afterwards I met with Teacher for a beer and discussion.  He complimented my progress and we reviewed everyone’s progress.  The twins will get tested in the next couple of weeks.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Something I’ve been avoiding has come to pass. 

I’d like to say that it’s because I don’t have children and that I’m not used to being around them, but I think it’s really that I don’t know how to be an adult.  I instantly try to be a buddy.  This inherently not productive as a martial arts teacher.

Teacher has to go out of town and finally gave me the “call.”  He knows that I’m uncomfortable around the kids, but he wants class to move on consistently and has asked me to help out when he can’t be there.  Unfortunately, his father has late stage cancer combined with other health problems.

So I started coming early to help out with the kids so they can, 1. see who I am, and 2. I can see who they are. 

The last time I had to work with the kids was over 3 years ago and I pretty much liked keeping that distance.  I was so traumatized after the one class I had to “teach” that I would steer any conversation about taking over to anything I could fit in. 

So it was with considerable trepidation that I got to class early to man up and do some teaching. The reason I’m doing this?  I kind of feel that it’s germane to my next rank.  Becoming more comfortable in the teaching/leading role to demonstrate proper assertiveness, etc. 

Anywho, the class went well, and the few interactions I had with the kids went fairly well.  This time I’m very aware that this is how it went until I showed up in class and the kids ran amok.  We shall see. 

In regular class it was all cat stance all the time.  Since we’d all been around enough he made us sit in the lowest stance we could.  I actually started laughing at one point because he went on with a story to illustrate a point while we stuck our low, static pose.  He threw a queried look at me and I said, “I can’t hold this more than a couple of minutes!”  We all laughed and moved on.

Teaching moment – Realizing I know how to do the move, but have no idea how to translate it into steps, example #6.  After all is said and done, Teacher brings up a critical point to make it all easy and my group looks at me glaringly.  How do you explain that all the work you just did allowed them to understand that last point and correctly do the technique? 

Friday, January 08, 2010


I was about 50 reps in to a spinning back kick and as time went on I noticed that I kept losing my balance.  Mind you  - I’m the one teaching the class so I was a bit red-faced at this point. 

Thankfully Teacher came in for a simple correction.  “Just look at my face all the way through.”  Bam – just like that I’m perfect again.  As the exercises had progressed I started doing the beginner – looking at the floor, mirrors, whatever it takes to savage balance. 

Teacher is going out of town and wants me to run the class a few days.  This means that I have to run the kids class as well as the adult class.  Talk about anxiety.  Little kids freak me out.  So to maybe help myself out I’m going to a few kids classes before he goes to gear myself up.  Yikes.  It’s like knowing a test is coming up. 

I think in the adult classes we are going to work on jumping kicks.  Something we never do, but they are part of the TSD songbook so I think it’s worthwhile.  I also want to work on them for the simple fact that I can’t remember doing them very well in the past. 

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  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...