Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kick And Falls

Kicks, kicks and more kicks.  I had hoped that we do some kicking to get that extra bit of exercise. My balance felt good as well.  Some nights that’s not the case, but for whatever reason the I was still and centered. Teacher started us off with side kicks and I’d forgotten how doing even 40 can be exhausting.  He kept us going by then adding a second kick (lower) without touching the floor between.  Presumably to break the habit of going to the floor, but definitely forcing work on balance.  Unfortunately I was out of breath with minutes.  I’ve returned to holding my breath?!

After break we pulled the matts out for a little ground work and minor aikido.  I did the first rolls and falls in 4 to 6 months.  It was like I’d never stopped, but I was very nervous about bending my spine.  I ended up doing about 6 warm up rolls and stopped there.  I took about 20 falls with no problems whatsoever. 

The fascinating part of falls part of the evening was that Teacher had everyone work on falls and it was really nice to see everyone do a reasonably decent job.  The worst thing was that folks just had a horrible tendency to reach back or bring the elbow down first.  As main thrower I’d try to ease them down so they’d slap a bit instead of hit hard, but that was absolutely brutal to my back even with super great posture.  I guess when we do this next time I’ll be doing a lot of dropping (of people). 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Overcoming Exhaustion

My wife and I recently got a new cat as the house felt pretty empty.  I sure with deep introspection we’d probably see that both of us needs to focus on something other than ourselves.  Whatever the case the cat provides energy and focus at the house, but it means that a lack of sleep is back into the fore if we don’t make an effort to exercise the cat during the day. 

Based on the cat’s behavior we assume that she sleeps all day and then remains awake during the evening.  This is exhibited by her sleeping on us, talking to us, sitting on us and cleaning noisily. 

As I mentioned in the past I have occasional problems with sleeplessness.  The cycle goes something like two nights of bad sleep followed by a night of deep sleep.  If I’m lucky I’ll keep on a good schedule for awhile until the next sleeplessness comes up.  

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with anything martial.  Well, the truth is probably not too much, but sleeplessness has a direct impact on my ability to pay attention and I notice that I’m definitely clumsier in general. 

So the notion of going to class at 7 after I’ve been relaxing for a couple of hours is a mental fight.  I have to force myself to get up and get moving.  Then when I get to class I have to carefully warm up or pull the crap out of some muscle I didn’t know existed. 

Short story long – I was yawning so much by the end of class I could hear the other students ears pop from the drop in pressure. 

Class was all about cat stance and then moving people around you.  The principle move was cross block, grab the wrist, lock the elbow with the other hand and keep the movement.  If done correctly (maybe with a little jerk) the opponent goes flying with little or no work on your part.  Mostly we were doing that and basic punch block.  I’m a bit sore today, but doing very well after a very long night of sleep.  If a tsunami came I’d never hear the alarm. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Knife Hand Strike

Teacher pulled me aside after noting my less than stellar attention to detail during a knife hand attack.  He held up his forearm and told me to attempt a strike with my shabby hand positioning (my fingers were spread, but my thumb was tucked).  Of course the energy of the strike was satisfactory, but my fingers make a nice cracking noise as they whipped at the end.  Owww.  Error noted and corrected.

Class focused on two major areas – knife hand and round house kicks.  Teacher is really just focusing on basics to get the new folks on board and bring everyone else up back to snuff after their month off (mine was three months).  My general lack of fitness as it relates to class is making itself known right away.  I take pride in my regularity at the gym and my basic level of fitness, but when it comes to our basic exercises I huff and puff like an old steam engine.  I know this, but I still have to make a serious effort to ramp up my breathing depth before I even start feeling the first fingers of breathlessness tugging at me.

We started with knife hand technique and added in movement to figure out the hips and how to build everything together.  Teacher stopped us and had a new guy, Storm, just do the hands and it pretty much blew us away.  Storm has a blackbelt in TKD and something else.  It’s apparent that whatever he studied the knife-hand was something he did very well.  I swear that he looked like he was moving slow, but there was an audible swish crack with every movement.  After his demo everyone was studiously trying to recreate his technique.   I’m use we all looked like we were having a sissy slap fight in comparison. 

After break we started work on roundhouse kicks.  I looked at the high grip floor with some trepidation, fearing the rotation of the foot would be really tough.  After a few practice attempts the floor didn’t appear to cause too much problem. 

The exercise was block with with a knife hand and then follow with a roundhouse.  Teacher purposely put us with folks our own height which is nice, but Dave and I are like two praying mantis getting tangled in our own limbs.  Our normal compensation for the limb length and distance problem is to step out a bit during the block to set up for a great kick.  This time Teacher stopped that by forcing us switch our weight and kick with the other foot – neat!  Depending on what hand I blocked with this was either easy or hard.  I quickly gave up on hanging onto to the offending arm for any kind of support. 

I was tired and nervous about class for some reason, but it really turned out pretty great.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I'm not too stiff this morning and my back didn't seize up on me so I'm viewing my return to class as somewhat triumphant.

It's been 3 months or so since I've been to class in any formal fashion so last night was pretty important to me in a couple of ways. I wasn't sure how much I could do because I've developed an unwanted, but needed, hyper-vigilence when it comes to my back. Every little bend and twist has me wondering if I've gone to far and a question of will I paying for it later. I was also testing the waters about how much I wanted to be there. I sometimes struggle with the desire to be there versus the requirement to be there. I only want to go because I want to not because I think I have to. I was pretty stoked to be back and leading the warm ups was like getting back on my favorite bicycle, so I think that answered that.

The big surprise last night was the floor. During the month of time off (while Sensei was away) the owner of the space covered our worse for wear carpeted floor with an interlocking heavy rubber floor that doesn't go to the edges. We share space with an aerobics/kickboxing/Zumba school and we are only renters. The floor is nice but difficult to run bare feet across. The tend to stick so the normal feet always on the ground movements turn into a tripping, halting, squeaking ordeal. As Sensei pointed out - probably a realistic situation for us. You could definitely liken it to wearing tennis shoes on a non-stick floor. I led warm ups. As simple as that seemed I'd felt a little out of sorts with what I couldn't do. All the extreme stretches are gone and now filled with gentle, back friendly positions. Even though I know in my mind I'm really helping myself out I can't but feel a bit cheated because we don't have the really hard stuff to endure. What's become of me? I want the bitter now?!

Class consisted of the basics and I was warn out almost immediately. The combination of the time of the class and the length of the class rocked me. I'd been going to bed for the last three months roughly the time class was starting. And when I work out independently I rarely go beyond 50 minutes. I obviously have some catching up to do.

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...