Thursday, December 28, 2017

Five Birds and a Fat Thumb

The class schedule is a bit spotty due to the holidays, but I assumed everyone would be back at class last night.  It ended up being me as the only adult other than Sensei Reed and six kids.  On top of that it was fight night.

Because so many of the kids are fairly new, sparring and prep for sparring took most of the class.  Jabs leading to a cross was a nightmare.  Reed has endless patience and knows not to get wrapped around trying to fix everything.  That being said, the repetition that he provides is awesome because within a few weeks I've seen the kids pick up all the basics.  Foot work seems to be the biggest challenge.  Telling someone and showing someone doesn't always sync for the kids.  In time they finally pick it up as they realize they have finer control over their limbs.

Eventually we got around to the sparring portion of the evening.  As part of that Reed and I did a demo of bowing and point system.  However, on the first start two of our judges immediately started sparring.  We had to start that all over, by explaining the judging.  So I had Reed punch me and I asked them, "which one get the point?"  They all had a different answer.  Needless to say, I almost beat Reed for once. However he doesn't know how to move to half speed so the kids couldn't tell what was going on.  For my troubles and bad technique I ended up spraining my thumb a bit.  Thankfully, it's on my left hand so I can type, but I'm a bit concerned that the swelling hasn't gone down. 

In the after class I just worked on my bird katas and did some refining.  I hadn't practiced but once or twice since the last class and it showed.  Lots of hiccups, but by the end of the hour I was able to get through Ka Ku Fa fairly well.  This morning I was able to get through Onna pretty good as a result. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Bruised And Birds

I'm still incredibly sore, so I was experiencing a bit concern about how active we were going to be.  I honestly thought it was going to be fight night again and didn't think I could face any fast movement.  However, I got in late and everyone was holding a Bo (staff) so I was pretty sure sparring was out. 

Sensei felt like it was a good day to start everyone on a basic Bo kata for some reason.  It was kind of fun.  The kata is Ten Ryu no Cone Sho.  I have no idea how to spell that, but the first couple of moves that we learned are pretty neat and have good bunkai.

That was literally the whole class.  I guess because it was so small he felt like that was a fun day.

After class we working on Ka Ku Fa and refining on all the other bird kata.  Lots of notes that I got to work on this morning in my ice cold house.  The heat is having a problem on our brand new furnace.  Yeah.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Rolling With Loose Intestines

Where to start?  In just two hours I feel like I've packed in enough to write a book, but I will spare you my blathering and just focus on the good bits.

Yesterday I was experiencing some severe digestive problems.  So the age old question came up  - do I go to beatings on the off chance I might need to exit in the middle of things?  I decided to go to class because I felt pretty empty which seemed like I would be less likely to have an accident.  

I joked with Mark that if I got punched in the stomach things would probably go badly for me.  Since we aren't usually that impact intensive in class I felt like I would be safe.  What I forgot was that Monday could either be basics or self-defense.  Much to my chagrin it turned out to be self-defense.  

To accelerate my discomfort we started out with jumping jacks.  I've never done such light jumping jacks.  Thankfully we only did fifty.  I was gritting my teeth by the end though.  

The class turned out to be to be super small.  Only four kids and the four blackbelts.  Reed and I ended up working with the kids on how to escape from a bear hug.  I'm not sure if this would ever happen in real life, but if it did these kids will be prepared.  

Our two new students Chase and Sage were totally down with all the work so it was pretty fun.  Only one part of the work was me getting elbowed three times in the gut by Reed.  Thankfully there was no blowout.  Then the next move was to grab my ankle and pull necessitating a two-hand break fall on the hardwood.  As a result I kept checking my inseam in the mirror to make sure I hadn't soiled myself.  Luck was with me.

As usual, I end up getting to Afterclass before everyone else which confuses me because I'm not usually the first person out of class.  But this means I get to work with Daniel Sensei individually.  As a result we completed Ka Ku Fa, but I don't think I retained any of it because Reed came in and said, "okay let's do jujitsu."

Thankfully Mark had warned me that this might be the case, but being forewarned doesn't mean that I was forearmed.  We do this so infrequently that I can only remember one or to things.  

The list from last night:
  • Escape from full mount using a bridge and cross arm grab.
  • Passing the guard with the "praying hands" - elbows in the inner thighs, force one leg down and move up.
  • Stopping the passing of guard by locking down one leg.
  • Breaking a one leg stop by pressing weight and using a foot to dig in their lock.
  • Doing an arm bar - "Olgo Plata" - foot across throat then fall into arm bar.
  • Defeating arm bar with two hand grab and then move to knees to start the process of moving to mount.
After going through these drills we got to "roll".  Oh god the pain.  We were also only using half power, but I still got mangled by Daniel and Reed, but I enjoyed every bit of it.  So fascinating doing the stuff I see on UFC.  I'm so sore today though.  Ouch.

In February we are going to be starting an adult class! Just late at night.  This will be a challenge to sell to the wife.  Urgh. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hot Date After Fight Night

It was Wednesday and that means self-defense or Fight Night.  Before class we usually chat while we try to warm up a bit more.  I'm constantly worried about how slow I am off the line when it comes to a leading jab followed by a reverse punch.  For this school that is the bread and butter of point fighting. 

At my old school, we didn't get to go to tournaments because of the location (an island) so our sparring was a mix of reality and test of technique.  Since I've been at my new school I've had to retune and it's been really tough.  Points are awarded in a very rigid fashion.  For instance, a punch has to fully retract and a jab will never get you any points.  Keeping this in mind while someone is punching or kicking at you provides a lot of difficulties. 

We did a very long warm up with plenty of movement drills, which I have come to love because it's not something I think I do well in sparring.  And then it was on, but we really only had about fifteen minutes of actual time to do matches and those were fairly informal. 

I sparred Reed and Mark several times and tried some old and new techniques and generally felt better about the whole thing.  Although I didn't get any points on Reed I've begun to realize, with him, I don't mind about the lockouts because if I'm keeping score in my head of what's happened I know I'm getting something here and there.  That makes me feel better because I know he gets the benefit of the doubt in our judging and he's that good as well.

My final match was with one of our ten year old girls.  She didn't seem motivated, but no one else wanted to have a go, so I let my guard down at one point so she could give me a shot.  I hope I made her day. 

What it's like in class when I fight. I'm the guy on the right (not really)

I wasn't able to go to afterclass because my wife and I had a hot date before she leaves town for the week, but I have noticed in the last two days that my frustrating katas have finally started coming together!  I no longer dread them because of all the stop points.  I have a few, but they are rapidly disappearing.  Which makes the kata go way faster. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Stretch For Old Man

Preparations for the Quarterly testing have begun in earnest.  In our school testing is called Celebration for the colored belts.  I believe this is to put a positive spin on something that folks normally stressful and try to get people to see that progression is something to be celebrated.  

As per usual, Mondays mean I'm going to be tired because I didn't get a good night sleep.  However, I've been trying to keep my regular schedule during the weekend as much as possible so I get a good night sleep during the start of the week.  This appeared to be working as well because I was able to go to sleep around 10 pm.  This means I could get up at 5 without any problem.  

Alas, the plans of mice and men often go awry and I was no different.  I was awoken at 4 am by the retching sounds of my cat.  For those of you not familiar with this incredibly upsetting noise, it resembles a broken pump trying get started until the mess gets ejected.  Unfortunately for me I didn't move fast enough and caught some hot fluid and chunks.  Even after cleaning up I was unable to get back to sleep leaving me as a shambling wreck for the rest of the day.

As part of some lost moment during the day I ran across this video.  Quite the revelation as it relates to stretching.

Skip to 5:30 if you don't want all the other tips.

Anyway, I had a pretty good class with the girls.  Another revelation was instead of trying to get them to follow my lead, I simply have them show me what to do and make them go slow.  Due to the katas I'm learning it's hard for me to go back to the basics and remember the moves.  So I have the girls go slow and show me.  Somehow that's making it easier for all of us.  

I tried the stretching after class and found it to be quite nice!  The upward, supported stance didn't do much for me, but the wall one I can feel profoundly.  Yeah!

After class - report: Helped Kyle work on his Kyoku Shodan Oyo.  It was fun to remember all the bits and pieces and be somewhat helpful.  Then I learned a bit more of Ka Ku Fa.  
I hate to curse myself, but all the katas are coming a bit easier!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ka Ku Fa dose 2

Sensei Reed says that he is an auditory learner and as such tends to teach that way.  I would have said that I'm a visual learner or practical learner.  In the sense that I need to act it out, but in truth I need all of these to learn.

I hear Reed or Daniel in my head when I'm coming up on a move.  They use funny comments so you can remember what the move should be.  I also visualize their move and try to act it out.  And finally I need to do so often that it's muscle memory so I only need to worry about things like depth and intensity.

Why this?  Well, it was back to my fifth kata, Ka Ku Fa.  I'm endlessly worried about keeping all these separate and the first four have given me pause just trying to keep compartmentalized.  However, Reed is okay with giving me more to absorb if he think I can manage.  I'm just never sure I'm ready of course, but he clearly has a sense of things.

So now I'm practicing in the morning and in the afternoon.  Now the stories from MaryAnn Sensei are making sense.  For years she's been practicing at work when everyone leaves for lunch.  I now realize she had to because she had to.


Class was supposed to be fight night, but due to illness and other holiday reasons, the class was only six color belts and three of us Black Belts.  However, Reed forgot the helmets and pads for the kids so we did self defense instead.  Strangely, helping the kids get things straight is exhausting because it requires so much attention. 

After class was simply working on Ka Ku Fa.  As a result I was able to do it this morning up to the point we left off.  It's different enough that I don't confuse any part of it with the others.  I'm about half way through by my guess.  I'll be practicing all weekend I believe.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Big Bird Five

Talk about the sound of inevitability!  I'm truly struggling to keep the four kata I have in my brain separated and as of last night Sensei Reed has added the fifth.  

The difficulty is that the kata are similar in that they have similar moves and similar structures.  As a result I've been practicing the woman and man kata as much as possible to get them really set, but I keep dropping a piece or two and having to start learning them over again.

I'm trying to figure out a way to identify areas of freezing, but the worst part was that I went back this morning to do the "of woman" kata and couldn't remember anything!  How frustrating!  Hopefully I can recall it tonight when I'm more awake.

So last night, during the second hour, he introduced to the first part of Ka Ku Fa.  Even more challenging.  Sheesh!


I've been worried about my health recently, knowing that I have a doctor's annual coming up.  So I've been trying to clean my diet and get back to running regularly.  My body isn't too keen on the running part.  My legs are sore and always seem like I'm overdoing it.  I have to remind myself that I took a long time off and returning to regularity is going to take a bit.  

During the first hour I was supposed to lead basics and decided to work on kicks.  What fun.  I was wheezing right away and by the time we got to side kicks I thought I pulled a thigh muscle.  Wow.  I actually had to stop for sec.  

It turned out to be an ibuprofen evening and bed early.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Four Birds Amongst The Darkness

Where to start?

In the last two weeks I've had so much going on I haven't been able to post or even think straight. Here's the short list:
  • My Mother was evaluated at a Memory care unit.  The stay lasted for a week instead of a few days.
  • My friend took his life and my wife found him.
  • Mom was released yesterday, which seems like a very bad idea. 
  • We (me and my wife) keep being pulled in my late friend's business.
  • I cooked two Turkey's for Thanksgiving amidst two grown men fighting like they were children.  Ironically that stress was almost unbearable because all the players were close in proximity. 
That's a lot, I know.  The stress was only magnified by my inability to sleep. 

So yesterday I was moping around after work and my wife pushed me to go to class even though I could barely keep my eyes open.  As usual, class was great and helped me to concentrate on the now.  I ended up working with girls again, but it didn't seem horrible as they were helping me remember Matsu Kaze. 

After class was incredibly helpful because I was able to work on Onna and get some more refinement.  I was also able to complete Otoko, which turned out to be relatively short. 

To help lighten the mood here are my two progress videos:

Hakutsuru No Onna

Hakutsuru No Otoko
We call it the lurch for a good reason.

Sorry to bring down the mood for my few readers. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Memory Of A Fourth

I've been having the worst problems with my memory in the last year.  Just hanging out with or talking to my Mother who is experiencing a rapid decline due to dementia seems to have killed my ability to remember as well.  I'm attributing it to stress since I've experienced this in the past.  

While I was in grad school I thought I was losing my mind on more that one occasion. I would leave keys in the door and thought I lost them in the subway, I would forget where I parked a car, or what I was working on from time to time.  As a result, or side affect, I would take bone-crushingly deep naps.  I don't take naps as a rule so when it happens I know something is wrong stress wise.

Although I'm not driven to naps yet, learning the fourth kata has become a huge challenge.  As I mentioned in my last post I got home and immediately forgot everything I'd learned.  That's why I was experiencing a heavy conflict on Monday.  We had a guest in from out of town that has been good to us for years so we wanted to return the favor by being available as possible.  This meant missing a class, which is frustrating because I was desperate to relearn Ottoko. 

Thankfully our buddy left relatively early so I was able to make the second hour.  I was able to relearn the first couple of runs again.  At least the previous session wasn't erased, just buried.  This morning I was able to perform it with only a few false starts.  Phew. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Fourth Bird

I'm running behind trying to get this details down.  So it's going to be a list of stuff.

- A bunch of folks from our school went to a Kata only tournament last weekend and did very well.  My very own Mark got first place in his division! 

- The sensei's pulled down a lot of metals/awards, so they generally encourage everyone to go to this tourney. 

- I'd been off for a week due to guests and training at work which threw my schedule off.  Nice to be back as it were.

- I was paired with Sarah to help her on black belt prep.  I found out that I couldn't remember transitions.  I was worthless.  How embarrassing.

- In the after class the senseis confirmed that my first three were fine so I could start learning Hakutsuru no Ottoko.  It has a San Shin step that makes me look like I'm a zombie lurching from step to step.  Hilarious.

- I practiced it two hours after I learned the first few pieces and realized that I had lost the whole damn thing because I had concentrated so heavily on the foot work.  Wow!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

More Birdy

Wasn't it just the other day that I was crowing about all the new folks?  Well, we've kept Alex and Cirloo, but the two older guys didn't come back.  Was I too enthusiastic?  I'll never know unless they told Reed Sensei that they would have loved to come except the creepy guy in the flattop was too much.  I hope that isn't the case anyway.

Last night was a mix of self-defense and Bunkai from Matsu Kaze.  The took the whole class to get through one series of punch-kick combos, but it went quickly and was quite fun.  In the end we were told about a Kata only tournament next weekend.  Unfortunately, it's when I have another slew of guests coming through, so that's right out.  Sigh.  Something close is hard to miss.

Somehow I managed to cut some part of my big toe, but I didn't realize it until I got to after class.  It didn't really hurt until this morning.  I hate foot accidents because how much it effects everything.  Just walking becomes awkward. 

In after class I finished the third bird kata; Hakusuru No Onna.  This felt like a big accomplishment since this is the third Kata towards my 2nd degree belt.  Although it's not particularly complicated or overly long I have enough trouble now getting through it and looking smooth.  Daniel says that it comes in time, but I need to focus on looking more "birdy".  

Most of the kata I have done has been very "powerful".  The moves are jumping, blocks, kicks, and punches.  Now I'm moving to flowing, smooth actions that have little force.  Rewriting the syllabus as it were.

This morning I was practicing it over and over again with a Band-Aid on my foot in hopes that it becomes smoother.   

Here's the progress so far:
  1. Haku Cho
  2. Haku Cho Dai
  3. Haku Tsuru No Onna
  4. Haku Tsuru No Ottoko
  5. Kaku Fa
  6. Haku Tsuru
  7. Rohai Shodan
  8. Wando
  9. Ni Pai Po
  10. Kuryo Ni Pai Po
So I've got four down and six to go.  Thankfully I've got another year and some to get it down.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Veni, Vidi, Amissa

As with ancient conquering generals I took the field of battle, but with fairly low expectations.  I wasn't disappointed. 

It was fight night last night, but before I got into the mindset created by adrenaline and competitiveness I decided to focus on what I needed to happen.  I've been consistently disappointed by the lack of success in sparring while at my new school.  The root cause is that at my old school there were no point systems.  We went at it with vigor and tried to protect ourselves as best we could. 

At my current school sparring is solely focused on point based work.  So practicality is tossed aside for some fairly strict rules.  The torso and head are the only point areas, a leading shot to the body doesn't count, etc.  There are all these rules!

It's been a year and some and I'm getting better at that stuff, but I don't get to participate enough to remember each  time.  However, this time I wasn't going to worry about the final score.  I was going to focus on simple jab and follow-up, but I must say that went out the window pretty quickly.  Even with less advanced students I was so slow that everyone was picking me off with quick shots.  I lost four out of my five matches.  And none of them by sudden death.  Wow, that was depressing. 

However, since it was my birthday, I was feeling good overall and celebrating the fact that I could still get in there and pretend to know what I was doing.  I could see where things were going, but not fast enough to adjust.  Probably better than I'd ever done before though.

After class was just me and Mark.  We are both now working on separate areas which is a bit sad because having someone do the same stuff is really helpful.  However, I was able to refine a bit more of my third bird kata and get a few more moves in before time ran out.

This morning I'm feeling the various bruises from sparring and wonderful soreness that comes with good exercise.  It's good to be alive. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Three New Students!

I was running around in circles as per Monday afternoon protocol.  This means that I did not get to sleep very well on Sunday night and meant that I was pretty tired by the time I got home.  To remedy this I laid down on the bed for a minute in hopes that I'd suddenly develop the skill to nap and wake up refreshed.

This was not to be the case because the cats followed me and decided that I would be the perfect pillow for an afternoon snooze.  I ended up staring at the ceiling for 20 minutes and got up covered in cat hair and not one bit refreshed at all.

The familial stress has also started taking it's toll.  I feel like my blood pressure is sky rocketing so my face is hot and I have a mild headache much of the time.  To counteract this I need to be running and eating less.  Neither of which appear to be happening. 

So going to class has become a bit of a talisman in that I'm doing things that are heading in the correct direction for a better and healthier me. 

I got to class and the news is that we are getting three new students!  Two adults and one eight year old.  I'm so excited.  The addition of adults is awesome in my mind because it creates some balance in the heavily child-centric class.  Of course that's not going to go away anytime soon, but interacting with adults seems so relieving. 

New guy Dan appears to be in his 50's as well as new guy Tom.  It's hard to tell anyone's age anymore (since tomorrow is my 51st birthday) and I know that I look younger than most folks my age.  Well, until they get close.  There isn't anyway to hid all those wrinkles and hair loss.  New kid Chirloo, is incredibly quiet.  I wasn't sure that he actually understood English, but he managed to get through class as best he could.  Of course I ended working with him for about forty minutes.  How does this happen?  I wanted to hang out with the biker and the serious guy.  Oh well.

Class was all about working on the Matsu Kazi kata and basics.  The folks getting ready for this weekend's tournament broke out and focused on their katas and such.  Mark and I worked with Chirloo as much as we could.  I always feel like we are missing something when we work with kids.  Too much info in one dose. 

I decided not to go to after class due to the concentration on tourney prep and that ended up great because I could go to bed early. Snoooorreeee.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beaten By Children

I thought we were going to continue with learning the Matsu Kazi kata, but due to the schedule it was self-defense night instead.  As a result we learned the bunkai from the first couple of moves from the kata.  

After a modest warm up that included leg stretches I realized I had stretched in who knows how long.  I felt like I was pulling every muscle.  I clearly need to warm up a bit more seriously before we get going.  And definitely work on stretching.  Ouch.

The mats came out and we assumed two rows facing each other.  One side is the attacker and one side is the defender.  We pulled moves straight out of the kata which I don't know if I'd use in a real fight, but every bit of knowledge is good.  You never know how something can be utilized.  

Reed asked everyone to partner up with some their size and I ended up being the odd man out and partnered with Adrianna.  I think she's around eight years old, but seems good about dealing with someone well over 150 pounds more than she weighs.  I had to do most of the moves on my knees which started fine, but by the end of that part of the class I was groaning inwardly.  

We did x blocks, captures and blows the temple.  This was followed by a very complicated grab that locks the arms in a horrible way that lead to a throw.  As the dummy that stung, but being low to the ground with Adrianna I was really just roll out of the lock as best as I could.  

The game afterwards consisted of grouping by numbers.  Reed would shout a number from three to five.  We would immediately group based on the number.  The first call of five caused considerable confusion as a bunch of kids hugged one another so I hugged them and tried to pry the others away that tried to join with my feet.  We ended up on the floor laughing, but I was disqualified in the first round.  


After class consisted of Me, Mark and Reed.  We went over the bunkai on the first of my three katas which were short and simple-ish.  Then we went over the stuff that's required for the purple belt test.  Unfortunately, it's a mish-mash in my brain in the moment.  Too much content at one time.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pine Tree Wind

The real name is probably "wind blowing through pine trees", but I don't speak Japanese so translation and transliteration are going to be messy at best when filtered through my soggy brain. 

It's been a while since I've been to class (one month to be precise) and since I'm just tired mentally, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Folks are getting ready for tournament, and the idea to teach everyone a new kata at the same time this quarter started last night.  So my timing was pretty good there.  Unfortunately, the tourney fall on my birthday weekend so that's right out, but I'm finding it difficult to swing those due to the time and money. 

The new kata is called Mata Kazi.  I'm not sure about the spelling, but so far we've only gotten through the first couple of steps.  I tried to remember this morning during my regular practice, but most of it slipped away.  I can recall some more of it while I'm typing, but a bad night sleep roughs everything up. 

We have a new student who I think might be in his 20's so that's a nice addition.  It was Alex's first night. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Inner Torment Of Teaching Children

A long boring title?  Check.

Another drawn out rant?  Check.

About an issue that is entirely my own?  Check.

I should just write see other posts and probably leave it at that, but I will add a bit more sauce to the post.

I was actually able to teach a bit longer with the eight year olds that my normal five minutes.  I was actually given permission to give them push ups, but to my surprise neither of them knew how to do a push up!? 

After the teeth grinding effort of trying to get them to do one kata, which they should know in their sleep now, I was given a reprieve for a few minutes before I was handed off to even younger kids.  Swallowing my feeling of depression about working with them I hung my head and drug my feet over to them (not really, just how I felt).  To my surprise the youngest kids were the best!  6 years old and serious!  I had a boy and girl that turned out to have an attention span and didn't mind repeating what they were doing until they had it right.  I was so proud!

That was the whole class essentially.  Before we started, Mark and I were trying to remember the kata for our confirmation to get ready to help our two new blackbelts.  Sarah and Kyle passed on their first attempt during the last weekend so that means the next year they will be doing exactly what Mark and I did during our last year.  My brain is so full from new stuff that trying to remember the kata (Kyoku Roku Dan) wasn't coming easily.  Reed came in and ran us through it to help us out.  I was surprised how easily it flowed after we started. 

After class went well.  I'm working on my third bird kata, Haku Tsu ryu no onna, and needed some help polishing what I've learned so far, but Daniel and Reed had me do the first two, Haku Cho and Haku Cho Dai, and found a lot of little things to work on.  The hour zipped by and I had to head home in the dark and heat.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Pre Test For The Browns

It was an up and down night.  

In the beginning of class Sensei handed me my new custom Blackbelt.  wider and stiffer than old beater and now filled with groovy Kanji.  One side has my name and one side has the school name.  I told my wife later that one side said taco bell and the other said sandwich monster.  

Our two Browns are slated to take their testing for their Blacks tomorrow in the afternoon.  All the BBs are invited to go along, but it means that I have to take a vacation day, get a hotel room, and drive quick a bit.  I really want to be there for these guys, but my wife left on vacation and I need to prep to meet her.  It doesn't leave a lot of time to get things done.

An additional factor messing up the drive North is the PNW fires that are still out of control.  Driving to Yakima is going to be horrible.  I wish the best luck.

Class consisted of me working with the two youngest girls on basic blocks and kicks based on a deconstructed kata.  That was the longest 45 minutes of my life.  I don't see it getting better anytime soon.  Keeping my patience together is now the hardest thing for me.  Both of the girls feed off of each other and the giggles make me turn into a grumpy parent for sure.  The other kids rapidly lose patience and look bored and sullen as I try to get the kids to pay attention.

Barring their constant inability to keep to task they actually do fairly well under the gun. Their childish boredom and frustration with rote work gets nicely channeled into violence against me when we get to do pad work.  They are so small that I have to squat in a deep fudodachi for some time.  Man are my legs sore.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

More Big Bird

As the Brown belts get closer to their test (on 9-8) I couldn't help be impressed with their knowledge and skill and feel a bit chagrined about my relatively modest learning curve.  I don't have to remember as much as they do, but after working on my new kata and adding a few more steps I realized this is going a very difficult couple of years.  I need to learn 7 more kata and still have to learn all the bunkai that goes with it.

The third bird is called Haku tzu ru no onna.  I'm probably not spelling that very well, but it's a lot of low cat stances and odd bird strikes.  I'm only half way and ran into some transition issues right away which is entirely normal for me.  I kept up, but realized that my learning felt slow and had to stop at one point because I couldn't absorb the info fast enough. 

Part of the issue with learning from some of the other high ranking black belts is that they have a tendency to talk about the esoterica.  So, whereas I need to practice over and over again, they will start talking about some small aspect that needles the crap over some small function.  I don't want to be rude, and it's interesting, but not right at the moment.  Thankfully Reed doesn't do that at all and he can match my learning speed pretty well.  During the after class a new guy showed up to work out with us.  He's working on his fourth degree, but like many in the martial arts life, he has an odd interaction style.  I used to think it was because so many folks that stick with karate have home school backgrounds and consequently don't have great social skills, but I'm starting to think it's a personality quirk. 

For instance there is a tendency to forget social niceties.  Like, I don't recognize you, so maybe we should introduce each other and give each other a frame of reference.  In last night's case I was pulling teeth to get the info from new guy.  And he ends up working with me on my kata for about a half hour.  A lot of this time seemed like it was filled with thinly veiled humble bragging, but he moved beautifully and tried to help me as much as he could.  I'm not know sure why his behavior rubbed me wrong, probably the heat.

Regular class was basic and had some celebration prep.  This usually means I'm getting punched and kicked by the kids.  Reed had me assist and correct as much as I could. It's a recipe for confusion since the kids are watching him and I throw off the sequence to get them do the move correctly. 

Hopefully my embroidered belt will be here on Wednesday or next week!  I'll take a pic and show it off here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'm A Big Bird Three

Last night was an alternating Wednesday so we were going to be working on sparring.  With the additional material from Sensei's weekend seminar the content of class has become very interesting.

The class is broken into different groups after warmups to address the various levels of skill.  Last night the two brown belts were pulled to work on their test preparation.  They have a month or so before they go and they look pretty good to me.  I'm not sure how they'll do in the test, but they appear really confident and skilled.

While Mark worked with them I helped Reed with the kids on sparring drills.  The kids never seem to get to sparring because they are working on the new drills.  I'm fine with this because the drills are so awesome that I enjoy learning them with the kids.  Each one builds on the previous and before you know it we are working on a sophisticated drill that cuts through the basics of point based fighting. 

This is of great interest to me.  We never broke up sparring between point based and reality based activity.  I always wondered why I had such a rough time at the tournaments.  Each time I learn something new I just sit there in amazement about how much I missed. 

My favorites are:
  • a punch must be followed by a retraction
  • a leading jab will almost never be rewarded with a point no matter how awesome
Those would have been nice to have known. 

My "help" consisted of me being the Uke so the kids could see what they were supposed to do.  I got a lot of taps on the jaw and thumps in the belly which always makes them pay attention. 

After than I went over to help the Browns. They were supposed to try to complete a test in forty-five minutes.  Good luck with that one.  Basically, they have to do everything once and fast with no waiting between each component.  It doesn't leave a lot of time to breath or catch your breath.  They seemed pretty good about the whole thing though.

After class was held at Reed's house again.  This means sitting in traffic for twenty minutes and enduring a feeling of endless detours, but the worst party is getting home to my wife who gets grumpier than me if she doesn't eat something by that late.  I'll be happy when they move the after class back to my neck of the woods.

I was practicing my two bird katas so Daniel Sensei was given the task to start me on number three, Haku ichi Ryu no onna.  I'm not sure I'm anywhere near the spelling on that one, but it's much like the others.  The big issue for me is going to be able to keep them separate.  This kata removes all the time breathing and changes the strikes once again.  Instead of eye pokes or punches I'm now doing palms to the heart.  You'd think they could have mixed these together. 

At least when I'm doing them I feel a long lineage of people doing these things since the first days when some guy practicing the kung fu version taught it to the first Okinawan guy.  The kata feels so unlike a Japanese thing and so much like a Chinese thing that I still get a chuckle from time to time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Family We Adopt

Earlier in the day I received a text from Reed saying that Morris Sensei had passed away without further detail.  He'd been afflicted with Parkinson's for some time so it appeared the accumulative issues that go with it were finally too much for his system.  Morris Sensei was Reed's principle teacher.  They had met around thirty years ago.

I'd been under the impression that he and Reed were fairly close so I wasn't sure what the impact to the normal flow of things was going to be. At the end of class Reed told a Zen story that was a favorite of Morris.  While he was doing this he became choked up. He was not ashamed of being emotional, which I thought was pretty great.  He was showing the kids that it was okay to be open about it. 

Class warmup was more of the new sparring exercises which focus heavily on movement.  It's a lot of fun to move around in odd shapes and patterns, but it'll take awhile before any of that becomes second nature. 

While the rest of the class focused on sparring and drills I worked with Sarah on her Black Belt test.  I'm usually a bit dubious about providing oversight, but she looked great and all the questions I had turned out to be moot when we reviewed my questions with Reed. 

From what I understand from Reed, folks rarely pass their first test, but from what I saw her doing she seems leaps and bounds better than other folks I witnessed.  Of course everyone is different at their test, so that remains to be seen.

After class was held at Reed's house which turned out be to be a twenty minute drive in traffic.  Thankfully my car had air conditioning.  I worked on my two bird katas with Daniel for about a half hour before my time ran out.

We were able to process a bit more about Morris' passing.  Fifty years of teaching and touching possibly fifty thousand lives.  I kept wondering about his wife of 30 years.  Being left alone at that point in your life seemed horrible to me.  I don't know anything about them, but I hope they had good friends and family.  I don't believe they had children so I hope there are some extended family to help.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Post Seminar Fun Time

I think I might have mentioned before that Sensei has tried to make a consistent schedule which requires each Wednesday to be either self-defense or sparring.  The challenge being that the kids are literally being brought up from the beginning so putting them into the ring is taking awhile.

Last night we took a pleasant left turn.  Reed was able to get into a very elite training with Elisa Au Fonseca this last weekend.  She's the third top sparring champ in the world if I understand correctly and is definitely shooting for the Olympics in a couple of years when they do the demo for Karate.

Reed was able to get an invite and picked up seven pages of sparring exercises.  His normal follow up from that kind of thing is to immediately make everyone practice it so he can remember, but he locked himself down and followed the syllabus.  He did use new warm-ups from the training which was a nice change. 

As per usual, I got the four girls and had to work on Pinan Godan.  I feel like I might have done something bad in a previous life and it's coming back to haunt me.  The first few run-throughs went well, but then it descended into madness.  Once the girls start giggling there is no coming back.  They basically block me out and just do whatever.  I have to keep trying to get them to focus, but I'm apparently easy to ignore, sigh.  I constantly feel the trap.  We are trying to get them to participate in a focused endeavor, but most of them clearly can't concentrate on the work for more than a few minutes. 

Let's just put it this way.  I can celebrate when we finish that section of the class and move on to sparring work.  Unfortunately, we went to a new exercise which wasn't bad, but I would have liked something a bit more hard. 

The exercise

Someone stands behind you and taps various limbs.  You are basically a marionette and every limb that's touch strikes out.  After we mess with that for a few minutes we place an opponent in front of us and try to fight remotely.  It was interesting limiting and frustrating.  Hopefully, we'll working on that a bit more in the future.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Super Death Killer Extreme

I ran down the hall to my wife with a big smile of childish glee, clutching my prize in my hand.  My wife was processing tomatoes for canning and had her hands full literally and figuratively so her response to my glee was a bit subdued.

"Honey!  Guess what I did?!"
"Hmm,  what?" she replied distractedly.
"I kicked a green fly out of the air and killed it!"
I held out my hand to show her my prize.  The fly was slightly pulped and had one broken wing. 
"Uhuh, that's nice," she replied laconically.
"I know right!?" completely ignoring her lack of interest. 

Due to the amount of fresh vegetables in the house we're bound to get some bugs, but the unexpected birth of so many green flies was new to both of us.  As a consequence I ran around with a fly swatter killing as many as I could, but one errant fellow got out ahead of me so I lashed out with a beautifully timed front kick.  The top of my foot stunned the poor fellow and flung him into the air where I followed up with a messy side kick and sent him to the nether world. 


Class last night had the full spectrum of students.  And by that I mean it was mostly children.  Because there is twelve children, any hope of getting direct education is out the question.  And, as suspected, Mark and I were pressed into service to work on test prep.  I led the warmups while Sarah and Mark got a quick lesson on what they were going to teach.  Sarah is Reeds' wife, and while she is a green belt she is the most organized person I have ever met and can run circles around Mark and me when it comes to dealing with kids. 

After a couple of exercises that went very well, we were given students to work with.  I got Grace and we had to work on her self-defense techniques.  She is a yellow belt and the two techniques are based around escaping from a full nelson.  My gut feeling is that she will never had to experience this in her life because who in the hell would use this? But if they do I hate to think of the pain they'll experience. 

I weigh about 100 more pounds than her, and didn't think much of the escape to be honest.  Grace placed both her hands on her forehead, stuck her butt out, circled her hands downward and then looked up.  My mistake here was to intertwine my fingers tightly.  Both Grace and I heard all my fingers popping and cracking since they couldn't go anywhere and were now being pulling apart by a small amount of leverage.  God! the pain!

After we practiced that enough that I could no longer pick up anything heavier than a feather we moved on to the throw.  This turned out perfect for having someone heavier and taller doing the grabbing.  Instead of breaking my fingers, Grace reached back and grabbed my head,  she then dropped to her knee while pulling my head further.  And I went flying.  After three times I grabbed a few stretching mats to ease my way on the landing. 

I was walking stiffly last night and it'll be worse today as the day goes on.  Just a reminder out there - take your throws often so it's not such a surprise to the system.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Keeping it 100

I could feel my teeth grinding at one point. 

When Sensei's eight year old daughter is "done" with class she only gives the very least in effort.  I can't imagine what she's like at home, but I imagine they feel more free to address her behavior.  Unfortunately, when I have to teach the young folks she is often an issue because I have to devote so much attention to her.  That means the group suffers.  I imagine I should just ignore her, but when she is partnered with another person they both get less done. 

Last night I had four girls of varying ages and experience trying to get through two exercises.   Each having less and less interest in the work as time went on.  On a good night everyone is pretty much on the same page, but as the time stretched on I seemed plagued by several issues.  The daughter and her partner started giggling which is a sure sign things are going down hill.  Then they started shoving each other.  In the other pair, one girl asked a question about every move; plainly thinking none of it made sense. 

We are told to take questions about martial arts seriously and she waits until we are done the move, but at one point I was thinking, "just shut it and do the move."  Years of training helped me keep my internal dialog inside, but I was tired from juggling both teams.

After I got home I realized that day of dealing with personal issues was pushing into class time.  Normally, I seek refuge in the process, but my fuse was short last night. 

That morning my Mom informed me that my Father had cancelled some care that took me a lot of effort to set up.  I didn't think about it in the morning, but I sat down and processed a bit with my wife before I left for class and that was my error.  I was a bit angry with no outlet.  Kata practice was fine, because I didn't have to interact with anyone, but then their seems to be a murphy's rule for this kind of thing. 

"An area of failure will be exploited at the exact time where the impact will be greatest."

Although in my case nothing happened, but my internal exasperation was at a 100. 

A nice side event was that I finally got my order for my embroidered belt started with Sensei.  Trying to find a good translation for my name was a challenge, but he stepped in and saved me the headache.  I'll try to remember to take a picture when I get it.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Depression Stuff

My Buddy Colin Wee who runs Traditional Tae Kwon Do in Perth, Australia is an enterprising guy by anyone's standard.  So I was pleased when he approached me and several other martial arts folks to create some articles so that he could explore areas and how they relate.  I chose depression as a theme because of the issues I've been dealing with parents.  Below is the article I wrote for him and here is his.


Depression, Symptoms And Its Treatment From the Martial Arts Perspective

Generally speaking, we all have ups and downs throughout the day, week, and season.  Most folks are not usually aware of the moods that pass by if they are fleeting and mild. We tend to become aware of our emotional state when it starts impacting our quality of life.  Because of cultural influence, this article focuses on the Western male.  I can’t speak to other cultures but I can imagine in most patriarchal ones the emotional response is similar.

Although the polar opposite of depression is mania, we’ll focus on depression because it’s generally considered to be the more impactful of the two.  That’s not to say that intense periods of mania aren’t destructive in their own way, but for the most part, it’s not generally considered bad during the initial stages.

In contrast, depression has noticeable symptomology that can be sometimes confused with a physical problem.  Some symptoms can be a lack of energy, an inability to empathize with others, lack of appetite and disrupted sleep patterns.  

Depression traditionally comes from one of three sources; environmental, physical or psychological.  For people living in the North, the environmental effects of being in a situation where there is little to no light for long portions of the year can cause depression.  Physical causes are usually attributed to head injury, but other neurological problems can cause the same symptoms.  The final cause is psychological.  The traditional reason is that there is an issue that is avoided, so it  manifests in some form.  In many cases, this turns out to be depression.

The ability to treat depression can be very difficult. Traditional therapies include medication and therapy.  The therapy is conversation based analysis and can often take a long time for the patient to develop insight into the cause.  If the patient is introduced into the process through doctors visit, the first thing that’s evaluated is the amount of sleep and activity the person has.  If they are seen as a deficit in these areas, the doctors will prescribe medications to allow for sleep at the very least.  Currently, those who have been diagnosed with depression will also be referred to therapy.

Another difficulty using a talking analysis is that a majority of men in Western culture have some degree of difficulty describing their emotions.  It’s not only not having the self-knowledge and vocabulary that slow the process, but culture itself teaches the male (and some females) to suppress outward displays of emotion seen as negative from a very early age.

A common example is the response to ease the pain of a child.  The child is placated and often told to be quiet. There is nothing wrong with that, but the trait strays into a possibly dysfunctional area when the suppression of the child’s emotional responses are continually reinforced.  Examples of this might be, “suck it up” or “boys don’t cry.”  

The counseling experience becomes difficult when the male has to learn to express emotions and emotional states that have been closed off since childhood. The counselor is challenged when the patient can only provide the response, “I’m sad.”  While the client takes the time to learn to emote and explore his emotions, the depressive cycle will continue.  Thus feedback on the counseling experience will be less than satisfactory.

If the patient (in this case the person experiencing medium to significant depression) can physically motivate themselves, activity is used to help moderate symptoms.  The use of exercise is preferred to encourage the person to resume a healthy sleep cycle.  The more the person has a habitual physical routine the better they are going to do during the recovery, which will shorten the process by lessening the symptomology.  

Here is where martial arts excel in the treatment of symptoms.  Running, bicycling, swimming and lifting weights are great for a person, but in each case, when a plateau is reached, the time to spend thinking gets longer and longer. If a person is healthy, then this time is productive in the sense that they have time to sort and process.  If they are not healthy, this time is where cyclical, negative spirals in thought patterns tend to foment.

Martial arts, on the other hand, provide much of the same activity of the other sports, but adds a feature, the requirement to be present mentally.  It’s a rare thing where the practitioner can participate in regular class work and think about much else.  In schools with more conflict based practice, there is little more to focus on than what is occurring at the moment.

The depression sufferer can find a few hours of solace from symptoms and in time can realize a positive feedback cycle in time.  The more practice the better they are going to feel.

In time, depending on the severity of the depression and the ability of the sufferer to address its cause, the lessening of symptoms will continue.  However, it should be known that the path to recovery is always studded with set backs and pitfalls.  The constant to this process should always be regular physical activity.  The course of treatment may be irregular and even when the counselor and client believe they've come to a logical conclusion, further visits may be required to address emerging issues.

The best thing about a good martial arts school is the sense of shared activity and a feeling of a second family. Taking advantage of that environment to shore up one's emotional state is always recommended.  

Potatoe Fist was a marriage and family counselor for ten years.  He doesn't miss it all.  He went into IT for a good reason.  Thank god for all the beatings he took in his old school to help him through the hard times.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Potty Mouth

As I become more relaxed around the young students I find my behavior becomes more collaborative instead of instructive.  This is not necessarily the best approach and I find after the fact that I should cut down on the funny faces and jokes.  If I could keep it together I think the lesson would go better.  I just seem unable to manage that.  

Last night I was assigned a brown belt to run through his black belt test work.  He'll be tested in September and he's got a lot to get squared away before he's ready for his test. He's self motivated, but having time with the more experienced instructors would be a lot better than me.  I can only judge kata and point out improvements, but the techniques are still a bit mysterious to me.  He's got two months.  Tick Tock.

After about half the class I was give to the ten year old girl, Miya.  Her karate is very solid and she's earnest about her practice.  However, she vexes me with specific questions instead of just doing.  It's good for me because it makes me focus on those specifics and it also allows me to tell what I do and don't know.  

Eventually Louie joined us.  He is also earnest and has fairly good karate relatively speaking.  He's six or seven, but seems to pick up things very quickly and shows good skill so far.  As we progressed through our lesson, and this is where I'm attacking him, I noticed several men in the gym area connected to the studio where looking at us quizzically.  I was shooting a kick and punch at a six year old who is maybe an eighth of my weight who responded with a kiyai and punch to my gut.  

I experienced a moment of embarrassment because it totally looked like a giant trying to beat some kid.  I mumbled to the kids how I looked like a dumbass.  Miya gently reminded me that I shouldn't use profanity around kids.  I was a bit chagrined and apologized and we moved on.  Of course after class I had to make light of my slip with the adults.  

"You're an A - S- S."  Holy cow I'm less mature than the kids in my class.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Two Big Birds

I've been studying Haku Cho for about three weeks now.  Although it's not overly complicated there are fine tuning items to get squared away.  For me it's been the hands and keeping my fingers together.  Last night I got started on the second of these "bird" katas.  This is Haku Cho Dai. 

The somewhat humorous story Reed tells me is that the first kata looks as though the learner went to class and only learned the first part.  The second resembles the first, but it turns around and returns to the staring point like every other kata. 

It's not actually true because the katas are different enough that there would be no mistaking either, but the pattern is definitely the same.  I think that can be said about most katas though.  Anyway, this one is long in physical space.  I'm lucky enough to have a long living room and my wife begrudgingly allows me a chunk of it for kata, but the Dai takes up all the space available. 

We didn't have too many adults in class on Monday night, but instead of working with the kids I was put in the corner to work on Haku Cho.  I was then introduced to Dai and fumbled through the first half.  After I started getting some comfort I got a few of the girls to work on Pinan Godan.  For the most part it went well, but in time the complaint of "my legs hurt" and other classics started.  Mind you this was after a speech from Reed talking about exactly this kind of thing.  Sigh.  I guess it's a constant battle. 

After class was just me and the Sensei's Reed and Daniel.  The heat was pretty intense, but we opened the garage door for the small amount of breeze.  We completed the whole kata and went over the details as much as possible in the time I had. 

I let them know how much I appreciated their time, but they just shrugged it off.  I can only assume that teaching gives them a lot of pleasure, but after I left they went about working on their own things.  How many hours must they put into this? 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Sweep The Legs!

After the last bunch of visitors had passed through the house and the obligations had been met, I can go to Karate with a minimum of guilt.  Of course while we were gone on a weekend trip my wife was busy prepping plans for ripping out another rooms walls.  So my fun time has dried up fairly quickly.

Thankfully she doesn't pressure me too much on Mondays and Wednesdays.  I think she understands I need to get my exercise and attitude adjustment as much as I can.

Last night was fight night.  Which means that Sensei Reed is getting the kids closer to sparring on a regular basis.  However, the class is relatively light on adults at the moment so he ended up managing the three ring circus while I helped our only brown belt work on her test.  We got through most of the bunkai (30!) which ends up with a few sweeps.  As an Uke (the attacker and loser) I mostly throw a punch and get beat up.  The sweeps aren't usually a big deal but I took my falls on hardwood.  This morning I'm definitely feeling it on my one hip. 

Reed then set up three rings and each of us had to judge.  I have to admit it's the cutest fighting I've ever seen, but I feel crappy having one kid lose and take it personally.  We got through three or four three point matches before the end of class.  The kids were all pretty stoked afterwards so I would count that as a win.

After class we worked on my Pinan Godan.  Then we worked on the five bunkai (it's like two-step sparring).  Senseis Daniel and Reed would rotate with me to iron out the techniques so that we can teach them in the future.  The fifth is my favorite because it contains a double foot sweep.  The front one and then drop into a spinning sweep for the rear leg.  I doubt I could do it very quickly in real life, but it would be awesome to see used by someone quick.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


During my black belt confirmation trip to Yakima, Reed Sensei and the others went to great length to talk about the upcoming year.  This was to develop the curriculum to match the other schools in the region and pitch ideas back and forth.  Through a lot of stories I've heard all kinds of the passive-aggressive behavior that the schools have had with one another, but for the most part they want to be on the same page.  However, having a head master who might not be absolutely consistent from time to time creates friction.

An example in Kata.  He tells one school hands are this way and another school that way.  When testing happens one school fails all the tests because their hands are wrong. How is the local instructor supposed to deal with this?  He teaches his students the other version and then they go back.  As you can guess this might create some feelings. 

To contend with this students are taught to expect flaky judgement at tests.  Not fair, but that's the way life is I guess.  Thankfully color belt tests are all done locally so that's all consistent with the local curriculum. 

So after long conversations with the new regional head guy everybody is on the same page about what katas are supposed to be learned.  Another area of contention, but everyone is on the same page.  We'll see how this ends up in a year.  The black belts all had to rapidly learn a relatively simple kata, pinan godan, and get ready to teach it to everyone in bites. 

This process started last night.  Thankfully, this first portion of the kata is fairly simple and the kids were able to absorb it.  We worked on that for half the class, but as the only other black belt I was instructing the kids again.  The little bit of delight in that was that one of the little girls didn't want to touch the boy across from her.  For their age group and skill level we will often have them touch hands so they know how far they need to be for the work.  These two would get farther and farther apart.  Hah! 

The second half of class was spent working on kata with a brown and green belt.  We didn't get to clean too much up, but the practice was nice. 

I ended up missing the second hour due to work.  Sigh.  I'm definitely not advancing at this point.  This summer is going to be a challenge to remain consistent.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Two Senseis And The Cramps

"That's the name of my band.  You've probably never heard of them."
The tongue and cheek comment of many young musicians who like to quote that line in the Rose city seemed appropriate today.  The ridiculous, but fun situations I end up being in made the perfect band title.

Our regular class was a play day because of Celebration on Monday.  In the beginning of class Sensei said, "you can play or you can train."  His wife and I ended up training on the same kata for the whole hour.  It was fairly well needed in my case, just because I hadn't seen regular training in a few weeks.  His wife hadn't even been taught the kata.  So it worked out for the both of us.

I will say this, the children realllyyyy enjoyed their time.  I've never seen 45 minutes been so animated, and loud.

After class was brutally hot in the garage, but I got Daniel and Reed as teachers.  I needed to complete my learning of Pinan Godan.  I'd had the first half down, but needed the last couple of moves.  A simple kata with complex moves.  I suppose they are all that way, but we are supposed to be starting to teach the color belts for the next year so I needed to know what I was doing. 

This year they are going to see if breaking the kata down into digestible sections will work better.  Each section will be taught with it's bunkai in an effort to get the understanding of what's going on increased.  I have to admit I liked doing it that way quite a bit.  The more esoteric movements suddenly have a foundation.

I got  home pleasantly tired, but as I was failing asleep I got a tremendous cramp in the my left foot.  As I brought my foot up to try to massage it my in thigh muscle (maybe the groin?) cramped as well.  The pain had me fall out of bed and try to sort out what position would create relief.  My wife mumbled in her sleep, "straighten your leg."  Which is normally good advice, but as I got to my feet I couldn't stand on the effected foot.  I worried that I had pulled a muscle and walked/drug my foot on my way to the bathroom.

Within a few minutes the muscles unknotted themselves and I was able to lie back down and go to sleep.  Thankfully when I woke this morning I was totally fine!  I'm breathing a sigh of relief.  That leg/thigh cramp was the first of it's kind for me and I was concerned it did some serious. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Teacher To The Stars

I'm trying to be better at recalling the schedule Sensei has set for class, but because we are getting ready for Celebration (quarterly testing in other words) the content of class has been devoted to getting the under-belts ready. 

Sensei thought he was going to be late and wanted me to start the class, but he showed a little bit early.  I'd spent a couple of minutes practicing the bow-in and didn't realize my part was just Hajime mas.  "Begin we will,"  in English.

Before class Mark gave me a "thank you for training with me" gift!  He's a fine artist so I was fairly pleased but felt dorky since I don't have anything for him.  My wife was happy because that's going to go up on a wall somewhere. 

Since we had time we ended up practicing bo kata and then Pinan Godan or as much as we could recall.

Class started and I knew where it was going to go before we even bowed in.  Time to teach the girls. Sigh.  However, I was only given Niva and without her cousin it was like a breath of fresh air.  She paid attention and didn't get distracted!  I felt like a real teacher!

After about twenty minutes I was working on some self-defense with a group of four kids.  That went fairly well, but spacing and timing went poorly.  Again, it was pretty good considering the newness of the students.

A whole class of teaching!  Who would have thought.

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...