Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Storm Test

Last week Teacher told Storm if he showed up for three classes in a row that he'd test him for Brown Belt.  

Storm is in his mid to late 20's and had achieved his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do in his mid to late teens.  He is mind-bendingly fast and tends to use his legs more than his hands.  He is refreshingly ego-less and appears to be here just to keep in shape.  However, his job hours make it very difficult to come to class regularly so he'll disappear from our group for a couple months at a time.  This makes it difficult for Teacher to progress him comfortably.  He absorbed our basic technique rapidly and had integrated most if not all of it with his TKD skills.  

He dropped some info that I'm finding a disturbing trend; he admitted that he's been going to the Judo class more frequently than our class.  This is something that two or three others have elected to do and mentioned in passing.  It's not without embarrassment I'm sure because I've been at our class over 9 years now and must be seen as a fixture.  I'm guessing that Teacher's style might not fit everyone, but I wish I didn't have to find out in whispers that they are going to Judo class.  

In Storm's case Judo represents another area he'd like to address to be a fully rounded martial artist.   I can accept it from him because of his general maturity, but the others seemed to have become bored with our class and just moved on.  I wonder if I hadn't become friends with Teacher if I would have wandered away. 

In order to prep Storm we ran over some of the things on his test (Thursday!) and that meant sparring.  I had to go back several months in the blog to see when we actually had sparring.  Sufficed to say, it's been over six months since we did anything fairly official.  By official I mean that it was actually part of the class and not just some warm up before class or some rigidly controlled exercise to help us focus on a single aspect of a technique.  

Storm did a quick exchange with Cherub, whom gives no quarter, which I find frustrating at times and then I went up with Beard.  Most of the time I find it comforting to spar with him because he's older than me and prefers to move slowly, but he'll punch or kick hard if it serves him in the exchange.  We had a good time, but I caught one in the nose and then  I accidently punched him in the forehead.  

The post adrenaline shakes left me tired, but wouldn't let me sleep comfortably.  I tossed and turned all night.  
Our fun technique was high block, cross block followed by a shudo.  Fun and led into a complicated exchange of taking balance and throwing.  Certainly not my forte.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Cherub asked Teacher, "What's the difference between kicking with the top of your foot versus the ball of the foot?".

Teacher responded, "What's the difference between a slap and a punch?"

Normally I answer the question by saying, using the ball of the foot concentrates the same amount of energy into a smaller space.  His answer was better.  


We have a new group of girls in class.  Teenagers from all over the world!  One is near my height and I think from Korea.  Another is short and from South America.  The third is Teacher's adopted daughter (from Thailand) and the fourth is a girl from the kids class who's moving up.  She's got a laser focus and tough as nails.  The kids class bored her and she took off about a year before Teacher talked her into coming back.  

We have never been able to keep a youth that has graduated to the adult class.  Usually the kids are too small or too inexperienced to bridge the gap no matter what we do to ease their way.  We'll see with the littlest gal.  


Cherub and I just beat the shit out of each other for the whole two hours.  I noticed one aspect of getting old.  My knees.  I've been babying them and making sure they are healthy  so I can run and workout, but getting up off the floor over and over again just tires me out to no end.  By the halfway point I needed Cherub to help me up every time I took a throw; my knees wouldn't even support my weight with my legs at a 90 degree angle.  Ouch. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Blood

My wife left on a rather exotic vacation so I ended up missing class both times last week.  Due to our rather busy schedules we have to plan time to hang out so beatings lost out in the mix.  She'll be gone for two weeks so I have to make an extra diligent attempt at regular exercise. 

The weekend went well in that I worked out on Friday and Saturday, but ate more than my share of calories.  I hadn't realized what a governor my wife was in terms of my drinking and eating.  I was determined to eat healthy while she was gone, but my first attempt at eggplant parmasean was marred by the fact that it's covered in cheese.  And I ate three pieces.  And I drank a lot of beer with it. 

Anyway we had seven in class tonight which is a nice number, but Sensei Slim showed up so things were  bound to get interesting.  A lot of shoulder locks and tough throws.  We don't have mats down so taking a fall has to be done just right or you lose skin.  For instance to take a fall low I have to tuck my foot in very quickly or my knee will get smashed.  This is what happens:

It looked totally awesome with blood spattering earlier.  Apparently my sock soaked up most of it.  Rubberized sport floors are good for nothing. 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Most Metal Thing I Have Ever Uttered

I'm standing in a kitchen facing two fellows and surrounded by about 5 to 10 people.  We're at a party and by and large the folks there are younger than me.  The two guys appear to be in their late 20s to mid 30's, but I can't really tell. 

I don't remember what lead to the escalation in tension, but clearly fisticuffs became the answer to whatever was being said.  I'm mostly thinking how I've got one shot to make things count before I get the living shit beat of me while the bluster is increasing.  The lead guy's knee is obvious and if I can get closer I can drop a throat shot that'll let me to take care of number two. 

That's when I realize something else is going on. Why are these guys acting this way?  I haven't been that age in a long time and I was never very aggressive in the first place so their behavior didn't mean too much to me.  However, while gaming the attack I realized something; this was a primal performance.  It's a show to demonstrate how powerful they are to the pretty ladies. 

Once this dawned upon me I made this speech.

"You boys just lost this fight in three different ways. 

"If you beat my ass you lose because you just beat up a 46 year old guy.  There is nothing that girls here are going find remotely sexy about that.

"If you get really stoked and put the boots to me seriously, the pretty girls are going to have to call an EMT and cops.  I have no problem throwing you under the bus legally.  You lose again.

"I've had a few minutes to take a look at you guys and I notice that you are very handsome and fit, but I'm not seeing anything that looks like you guys remotely know how to fight at all."

I started to take off my watch and ring and set them on the counter to my back while I continued.

"Here's how you going to lose in the worse way.  If we get started I'm not going to hold back.  I'm going to cripple you so you'll never walk right again.  You remember I said that so you'll remember how you thought this was important when you're older.

I was stretching while I told them the last part.  Pulling my arm across my chest and stretching my wrists. 

"You know what?  I realize that you two want those pretty ladies.  Why don't you just whip your dicks out right now and they can judge for themselves." 

That broke the tension and I was able to walk away. 

This was my dream on Saturday night.  I woke up from it at 3:30am and stayed up for two hours.  Talk about supercharged.  I only hope that if I'm in this kind of thing in real life that I'll have that level of calm in the storm.

Truth be told the reason for the conflict was that the woman I was with was exquisitely beautiful and the daughter of Satan.  Conflict followed her everywhere, but I was deeply in love with her.  That's for another blog I suppose.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Frisson of Fear

Last night was my second class in a row for the first time in about four months.  I've been pretty excited about returning regularly.  The excitement is derived from fear and enthusiasm.  I'm 46 and I notice that I get anxious about potential injury.  I don't mind the little aches and pains, but the larger things are taking longer and longer to heal.  

About 6 months ago Teacher used me in a demo of an unusual throw.  Instead of taking the slap I reached out and jammed my shoulder painfully.  Three months of rehab and sporadic class attendance has me almost at 100%.  

So in the back of my mind I have a lurking concern that I have to be careful or I'll be laid up for some indeterminate time.  This concern was mirrored by one of the Blackbelts at my test.  He no longer comes because his training was to be full on all the time.  At his age it meant that he was getting more and more injured.  So now he avoids class and focuses on other endeavors.  

The other half is my excitement.  Every time I don't go I feel as though my fragile retention of skills are degrading.  Plus I need exercise or the doctor looms in my background.  


Teacher called me up on Wednesday and sounded horrible.  He got the local bug and I volunteered to help out as much as possible.  So last night I showed up before the kids to get ready and he showed up anyway.  He was able to lead the class, but left the calling and counting to Cherub.  My job was to quiet the rambunctious and correct feet and hands.  

He left shortly after the adult class started and I finished things out.  
We have three new ladies in class.  Two high school girls and one Jr. High gal.  All of them talented and focused.  Very nice addition.

On the way out Trucker and I caught up since we hadn't seen each other in about a half a year.  He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.  He's not even very heavy, but he sounded very down about the changes he wasn't going to have to make in his life.  

Fair Haired Boy

Deep into the second hour of class I had a pleasant realization - I was the center of attentionTeacher was explaining a complex move and Beard, as my partner, had all the focus on me.  

Jeeze, I'm pathetic.  Talk about low self-esteem problems.  I realize it, but it's still awesome to be the COA (Center Of Attention) every now and then.  Then I realized that poor Cherub was totally being ostracized; or being ignored.  I wonder how much of my style and questioning is secretly designed to enforce that?  Hmm.  

I think it's given me insight into the kids class (now up to 26!!!).  When one or two constantly seek me out for approval it's very disruptive.  I need to pull them aside and teach them how to be subtle, he he.

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...