Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kick, Block, Twitch

Our small town has a festival for Memorial Day and it gets pretty geared up for a special function.  Unfortunately, it means that parking downtown is totally unavailable during the four days that it’s going on.  So Teacher has been cancelling class for several years around that weekend.  On top of that our weather has finally turned nice and that means that class was doubly empty of bodies last night.  

After warm-ups we went right to blocking, then blocking kicks.  Teacher let us beat our selves into a pulp for a half hour or so.  I’m not sure what thing I’ve come to dislike over the years, but blocking a kick hard-style has to be one of the big ones.  I got partnered with Trucker and the very first block felt like it snapped my ulna (or radius).  We went over every kick for that half hour and never have I looked forward to a break more.   I’d gotten to the point where I was blocking minutely lower or higher just to avoid the golf balls that were rapidly growing on my forearms. 

As we found out later, Teacher was purposely making us dread that nastiness to get us ready for the next part of class.

Twitching – or the art of knowing what’s coming.

Teacher had us pair off and work on “guess the kick.”  Basically the two folks stand face to face and one of them initiates a kick and the other has to guess what it’s going to be based on shoulders, hips, etc.  After a bit we were able to pick everything up pretty well.  This meant we could take a bit longer to execute a block, have more planning for follow up. 

We then paired up for some practice.  Me and Trucker got into position with our new skills and went after it.  Surprisingly we were able to block kick initiation, move in faster, and generally be more assertive into an attack than before.  A great lesson.

Blessed Synchrony – Trucker and I had a moment of blessed synchrony.  It was that moment in sparring that every shot was blocked and everything was lined up perfectly.  I don’t even think he knew he was doing it, but he was stoked when we stopped.  A beautiful moment. 

Feeling awesome – I’m normally shy about stupid stuff like showing off my body.  The last time I took pictures of myself after class I felt great, but saw an icky fat man in the mirror.  Last night was a nice surprise – I actually look like I’m in shape for once.  And I normally smile, but I was concentrating on getting a shot in focus.  This was the only one.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Note to Self

I woke up this morning with a lot of energy. Not the good kind. I woke up angry and I have no idea what is creating that feeling. However, energy is energy and I took advantage of it. I did a bunch of chores around the house, but no matter what I did it didn't seem to abate the flow. So I figured I'd do a session at home to see if it would burn my calories or whatever down a bit.

I couldn't go running today because my legs are trashed from running yesterday. Why not pretend to do a class and loosen myself up a bit? So I did. I ran through the warmups and did 10 or so of every kick I could think of. And then I did all of my kata/hyung. The hour went by quickly and I'm sweating more than I thought possible for a home work out.

Unfortunately/fortunately, I've still got a lot of energy yet, but I'm feeling a little more mentally centered. Plus my wife was excited that I vacuumed the house and did the laundry. I guess a win/win.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

General Notes

Teacher called me up and told me that he pulled a muscle in his neck or shoulder and could barely move his neck, so I told him I'd lead as much of the class as he needed. When I got home from work I hurriedly wrote an outline of the class that we barely even used. He was able to set up the hour and only used a smidgen of my stuff for the second. I was going with the advanced stuff too much, but he liked all the kicking things I laid out.

I didn't get around to posting last week because I couldn't think of anything of note the next day. If work gets too busy in the morning then I can't think of things later in the day. I guess blogging in the evening is as good as it gets for me.

The constant stream of new people constantly impresses me. Teacher absolutely does not advertise at all and yet by word of mouth we have two or three new people every couple of months. Our current hardcore membership consists of the Wonder Twins, Robot, Little Sister and once a week, Beard and Trucker. The new folks are High School aged folks and the newest is guy works on a boat so he'll be an occasional.

The reason I mention this is that I often get placed with the new people so I can teach them or be generally helpful. The latest batch of folks is fairly physically adept so they are pleasant to teach or correct. I used to get bitter because I was so worried that I wasn't working on advance skills that I'd end up forgetting them. Now that the Twins are up to speed I get to show them all the stuff I learned which in turn helps me iron those exact moves out in myself.

I'll be going on vacation in June - how will they get along without me?

Thursday, May 06, 2010


My feet were well above my face and I hadn't even started falling yet. The execution was so smooth that the Wonder twin hadn't even started moving me into the throw. When I did land it was like coming out of a hip throw and I did it like a rockstar.

Both twins were laughing. Apparently when I'm in the moment and the moment is great I say, "niiice." In this case I was still in the air when it happened.


Teacher has this move that is totally not in the manual at all. I'm not even sure what it is attributed to, but it's effective - I call it the elvis. It's a leg hook - where you are calf to calf, but you are standing on your tip toes as far into the stance as you can get - then you plant your foot quickly and your opponent has to do a deep split or in my case roll back into a slap.

As class progressed Teacher would pull half the class out to work on realistic attacks - in this case stairs. While he did that I would would work on the elvis. As he left the room for the stairs he said and do whatever would go after that. I was able to squeeze in a progression from the manual and worked in a throw. I am awesome.

The final move was a block followed by a roundhouse to the gut. Instead of going back to the original stance you moved in to the leg hook and do an elvis followed by a slight torso throw. It turned out great.

I was all aglow when I got home tonight. I had to give a credit to my wife since I had approached her earlier on some one-step sparring ideas. She promptly punched me in the face. Smooth as always.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


There is this moment of sickness.

It's usually followed a moment of physical weakness.

And then it's go time. Over the years I've developed a love hate relationship with the adrenaline shock that accompanies the few moments before sparring. It used to be fear straight up and then it turned into excitement, but along the way it contained all kinds of combinations of both. Where am I now? Hard to say, but tonight I feel like I have a fire lit inside my torso. I presume it's the long, lingering effects of hormones, adrenaline, cortisone and whatever the body generates when it's firing on all cylinders.

Needless to say, this evening was a good class. Trucker was going to get tested on his green belt and there was no new folks in class so Teacher started us off on long complicated sequences to warm us up. We ended up the first hour kicking three ways and trying to find power on that third one is very difficult when you try to be fast.

The second hour started with a few drills and went into multiple attacks. I love these, and not because I'm good at them. I think they represent the most realistic venue for testing skills and thinking on the fly. And that's even with "rules" put in place to slow things down. So we did a 3 on 1 drill and that migrated over to sparring.

I volunteered to go first and started with one Wonder twin and set the pace at high speed. That was a poor choice because although he can move that quick he isn't that polished. We started off with a brutal double shin kick and almost immediately followed it with a fist to fist contact. Ouch!

I took a break and then had to fight the other twin. We had a more stately pace, but I ended that with a crescent to his head.

Finally I got to spar with Teacher, but it was a specific one. It was where we only use elbows. I can't get beyond his defense, but I've got more muscle and height on him. This never helps me out though. He slid in three big punches that made me grunt and squeak at the same time. The class was left laughing.

Along time ago I feared being the subject of Teacher's attention. I was afraid of the pain involved in demonstrations. Then I was proud because I thought he looked at me and thought I could take it. Then I realized I was a good example because I am so much bigger than him. Then I realized he wants he techniques to look crisp and he knows I will make him look good. After sparring I realized it all these things, plus I am just plain fun to take a beating to.

Your Clothes, Book Cast With 100%

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