Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Heat Wave Babble

I was trying to think of some cohesive theme to make a catchy title for today's post, but I woke up at 2:40 am and struggling just to be coherent.  I mean to say that I didn't get back to sleep so I'm punchy and emotional.  My watch tells me that I got 2 hours of good sleep and I agree.  Ugh.

This is disappointing since I went back to class last night.  Normally, the activity really helps me to sleep and I went to sleep hard last night.  I'm up in the Pacific Northwest and the heat has broken all records.  No one has air conditioning up here because they never needed it before.  We tried all our tricks to keep the house cool, but it didn't work.  The last couple of nights the house was in the 90s.  No sleep and straight up miserable.

Sabom Nim sent out an email to notify everyone that the school has AC.  I was the first in the door and I drug my feet leaving.  She invited me to the next class, but I had to get back to the house to do some more work.  

The teachers are still running me through the basics to make sure I look smart, but I feel clunky and have to think all the time which really reduces any sense of flow.  It's also personally embarrassing to be doing basics poorly.  I know I'll get better, but fighting all the technique I learned from a Japanese style is fairly hard.  

The curriculum I'm working on is basic white belt stuff (9th gup).  Three blocks, two punchs and six kicks.  Shudokan is not this kick intensive so it's a work out for me even at the basics.  

The issue I'm experiencing at the moment is not necessarily inflexibility, but the higher I kick the more my lower back comes into play.  So this morning my lumbar is complaining.  My PT thinks is arthritis, but feels like I can get some relief if I do my flexibility exercises regularly (which I haven't).  Working at the house hasn't helped.  There is no easy way to do floor work that doesn't set my back off.  Now that that stuff has slowed I might be in a position to heal a bit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Giant Checklist

I think I've pointed out in the last several posts that the content I've been getting at the school has been like drinking from a firehose.  All over the board and lots of it.  I didn't think of addressing it; assuming that was the nature of the class structure.  

At the beginning of class yesterday Collette Sabom Nim (Teacher Elder) addressed the issue verbatim.  She and Andy had been spit-balling about how to handle my situation.  

After reading the manual I realized the pressure is on them to vouch for me, so they ended up giving me a check list of all the requirements for all the ranks.  This seemed like a good idea to me as I'm struggling with the Korean and the difference in strikes, blocks and kicks.  

So we ran through all the requirements connected to getting the 9th gup.  Four hand techniques, three foot and some one-step sparring.  

I didn't think it would be a big deal, figuring this would correspond with a white belt in traditional karate.  Wrong. I managed to get all the blocks and strikes incorrect due to their chamber position being different from what I was used to.  That just got worse because I couldn't get the terminology straight.  At one point I was getting embarrassed, but Collette was always cool and supportive.

Next came the kicks.  Although there are only three in the requirements, Collette ran me threw about seven or eight.  No surprises here, but like the other things the simple differences through me off.  I was pleased by my remaining flexibility which allowed my kicks in the front to go pretty high, but anything roundhouse was horrible.  It takes me a lot of effort to go head height so I lose balance easily.  Back to being embarrassed again.  

We moved on to wrist grabs, which took too long for me to remember correctly and finally ended up on sparring.  There were three students, a 10 year old, a 16 year old and me.  Then they introduced a wrinkle - two on one.  The attempt being that we learn how to line up to attacks.  I was abysmal at this.  I couldn't attack over the 10 year old so the 16 year old would pick away at us.  Exhausting and hilarious.  It's a good training exercise.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Change Is The Only Constant

I would say that a foundational aspect to teaching martial arts is repetition.  At some point you need to practice a thing enough that it becomes part of muscle memory.   

I haven't been to this school very long; maybe three weeks at this point.  The teachers continue to change the content based on the needs of the student's level of practice.  Since I'm in a black belt level group the teachers shift gears pretty frequently to cover a lot of content.  Wednesday's class was split between a test and forms.

One of the extremely young folks (with a Red dobok) was testing for his next rank.  I was a judge which was odd since I didn't know the procedures, but it was fairly close to all the stuff we'd been doing at the Shudokan school.  

A cool addition was breaking.  I've never had that as requirement, so I was pretty intrigued.  They have a rack on the wall that holds the board.  Then our young man executes a hook kick beautifully.  I was impressed.  He used the exact amount of energy to do the work.  Super cool.  I would have overdone it.  

The new portion of this was the questions.  Yikes!  Kinda tough work for a guy I would guess was 9 or 10.  I assume he passed or this was a pre-test.  I wasn't really certain and there wasn't any room to ask.  

We switched gears as soon as that was done to forms.  In SBD there are 10 kata up to the first rank of black belt.  I think this is fairly standard.  So we went through the second half of them.  I remember the name, but that was about it.  We got through four of the forms and that was a trial.  Lots of corrections for me, but I was honestly just trying to remember the patterns.  Ugh.  

I got my membership completed and now I have a Gup number, so I'm official.  Wee.  I was also given a manual and told to find the transfer section.  To sort out the requirements to migrate my belt over.  Ugh.  Eventually I'll need to test and it'll be based on my teachers estimate of my level of skill.  So far it's crap.  Thankfully I'm in no hurry.  Just learning.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Your Chinese Roots Are Showing

I'm currently moving again (this time only 8 blocks away), which puts the beatings schedule into some jeopardy.  However, my wife is supportive of me going so I'm able to balance things this week.  Last week was just too physically exhausting.  Going to class at 7 and then go running in the afternoon just about broke me.  The runs were horrible.  I'm clearly not in that kind of shape.  

This week I'm going to the evening class and running on opposite days.  It's not optimal for moving, but I'm not completely wiped out either.  

Last night we ran through all the hand techniques, which could be considered strikes as well as blocks.  I'm trying to learn Korean words via flashcards (Ankidroid in my case) which works wonders, but there is no pronunciation so I'm often left with no idea with what's being said.  I was picking a few things up now and then.  

The latest difference I'm getting used to now is that the blocks and strikes all seem to come from under the arm.  In Shudokan it was about half and half so I'm often fumbling around.  

We then moved to forms where the language barrier to another turn.  The teachers are focused on my getting my first or second degree in SBD since I have a belt in Tang Soo Do from back in the day.  The see it as a transferable item as long as give the year to them for retraining.  As a part of this, the terms I used in Shodokan and before are coming back up, but have a different twist.  For instance, last night I was working with a teacher of lesser rank, a Jo Kyo (pronounced, "Joke Yo") on Ni Han Shi Cho Dan.  In my last school, known as NiFanshi.  You'd think I'd be able to say that without stumbling, but no.  Every time.  Sigh.

It's been awhile since I'd worked on that one, maybe five years.  So my teacher walked me through it and by the end of the class I was back in the game.  Several things are different, but the main pattern is there.  I'll practice that each day to make sure I don't flub up things or get the name wrong.  

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

SBD Update

I'm on my third SBD (Soo Bahk Do) class and it's starting to feel like I need to pay.  It's fantastically inexpensive and I can go every day of the week, twice a day if I wanted. The first month is free, but I can't imagine I'd be going anywhere else.  

There is such a pervasive feeling of being home. So much of the class is so reminiscent of my old TSD (Tang Soo Do) school.  Every wrist twist is trip down memory lane.  

I ended up working on Self-Defense stuff (Ho Sin Sool) with a guy who is probably in high school.  Since we all call each other Mr. and Sir.  I couldn't stop giggling.  Not super professional on my part, but I'm having such a good time.  

We were working through wrist locks and grabs which were following by a strike of some sort.  In my case we had a kick in one and the young Mr. planted a kick right in my face.  I could not stop laughing.  I can't believe the joy it bought me.  I thought to myself, "I'm back baby"!  

Anyway, I need to consider the early class since it would less disruptive to my work day.  

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...