Friday, October 22, 2021

Popping and Cracking

Just some observations.  

I notice that my ten minute warm up is fairly helpful to prep for class.  SBD uses these stiff legged movements to loosen up the hip joints.  I didn't care for them at first, but now I see they can be used to judge how flexible I actually am.  I notice that when I wake up the popping in my hips can be fairly alarming, but as I warm up I notice that goes away and I can test the range of motion without fearing that I might hurt myself.  

I gather when we sleep, fluids and gases accumulate around joints.  An example is cracking one's knuckles.  Hip joints are just bigger pops; at least on me.

Keith and I worked on wrist grabs for most of the day and then finished up with some one step sparring.  It's getting a little bit more fluid, but I can't remember them very well.  I have to have Keith give me a prompt.  He pointed out that a regular student would have had plenty of practice learning a few at a time over the course of their career.  By the time they get to my "level" they should have most of it memorized to the core.  For me I'm learning everything all at once.  Ugh.  

Just working on push-ups.  I forced 40 this morning which required two stops (I just downward dog for a rest).  Only 15 to go this morning.  

Looking forward to a weekend of possible sleeping in.  Hah!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Kicks And Throws

I feel like I should be sitting on an icepack while I type this.  My back is fairly sore, but I'm able to bend pretty well.  Today was was basics and kicking drills.  Since Keith is slightly out of commission due to a pulled back muscle (not from beatings) he brought his son in to act as my partner.

First we did the basics.  I'm getting better, but the Korean is still tough on me on three or four of the techniques and I have some skill issues of course, but none of this contends with what the son has to go through.  He starts out where my mine is getting challenging.  I feel for the guy.  They are tough.  He starts out at jumping kicks.  

After that, which felt like a lot more work than I remember, and only doing three or four of each, we moved over to the kicking drills.  Now that I've done this a bit more I was excited to see what I could remember and/or do well/or not.  Although there were plenty of corrections I have one that really frustrates me.  The jumping inside to outside kick.  You have to jump with both feet at the same time, swing the kick to the outside and then back straight down and then land carefully.  Both the son and me weren't landing our kicks very gracefully.  Thankfully Keith didn't grimace.  There was probably too much to correct, hah.  

One kick that worked out better was the jumping roundhouse.  Today was the first time it actually looked a bit better.  No compliments, but no corrections, so I count that as a positive.  

After we finished the kicking portion we moved to one-step sparring.  We picked up where we left off - today was 13 and 14.  Back up with a knife hand (back stance), and then grab hand.  Round house kick, let go and outside to inside kick to shoulder.  Jump to the side of baddie and sweep the leg and press back with arm and Shoe goes down.  

It sounded pretty good, but the son and me managed to have all sorts of problems.  Including our falls.  I'm usually good with that, but haven't had to go down in years.  Thus my back feeling it.  And, as per usual, Andy and the others start showing for class and get to see us in all of our uncoordinated glory.  No one makes fun, but we are a mess.  

Nothing vaguely this cool.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Pushing Through

As I'd like to be better at the techniques, I practiced Saturday, Monday and Tuesday so I wouldn't look too shabby today.  I think this pays off, but I should probably be practicing Saturday and Sunday regularly.  Somehow the weekends get away from me.  

I turned 55 this Monday and as I mentioned, progress is pleasing at this point in my life.  As part of this progress I set up a deal with my self to do 55 push ups a day for 55 days.  I'd done something like this in my late 30s with 100 push ups for 100.  That was a tough start, but this seems tougher.  I'm only a few days at this point, but my chest is telling me I've got some growth to go.  

In class, I somehow thought I was going to rip right through the basics, but we ended up working on them for 45 minutes.  As usual the kicks present an issue for me, but as we progress Keith has been able to diagnose a lot of the reasons why one side is better than the other and then help me fix that pretty quickly.  That is super fun.  

A case in point was my spinning back kick.  One side is good and other, not so much.  Meaning I'm kicking low and losing my balance after the fact. 

The corrections:

  • moving my non-kicking foot into proper location
  • bending my weight supporting knee significantly and keeping it that way
  • depending on the kick; I need to twist up tight to spot correctly
  • keep the torso pointing downward, ahead of the spotting
  • and so on
I'm sure I'll be revisiting this quite a bit, but today felt like I had two big fixes and they felt great.

Friday, October 15, 2021

No Youth And Some Vigor

Kicking drills.  I'm not sure why I'm so excited by them, but in the course of talking about class to anyone that would listen to me blather on, I found that my new found enthusiasm seems to be based on the fact that I'm turning 55 in a few days and I'm not stressing about getting older for the first time in a long time.  Why you ask? I'm mentally in a good space, I don't have any florid physical problems, and then there is the martial arts.  

SDB is turning out to be just what I needed when I need it.  Even though my growth in this style is modest, I'm able to see it.  So, although I'm getting older I'm able get feedback that I'm getting better at something.  And it's a physical thing!  We're supposed be getting slower and smaller and all that.  And I'm avoiding that for a little bit longer!  

Today's positive feedback was actually after we did the kicking drills.  I was asking about breaking and how frequently we practice that.  Quick answer - not that often, but as I get closer to testing I'll practice with wood, but in the mean time it's pads.  

Keith pulled out the the water dummy and explained the set up of the kick (jumping, turning back kick) a bit better.  Jumping kicks are set up in a corner stance and offset from the target.  So when I turn and duck down for the jump, I'm able to spot the target and the kick lands easily.

I was able to repeat this three times in a row at the appropriate height!  He then set the dummy on a line and and wanted me to put force into the kick.  If I can move it back two inches then that equates to two boards.  

I smashed it and it moved back the requisite two inches!  Whoop!  I just have to keep that up!  I was floating by the time I got home.  Too much adrenaline.


Note - It would appear that if you concentrate on where you place your feet following the execution is as important as the kick itself.  It turns you in the air better, etc.  

Soon baby!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Robot Kick

We started the day with Ho Sin Sul, (wrist locks and escapes) which is interesting, but I wasn't totally awake yet.  I would say that by halfway through the class I was able to keep up and do a reasonable job, but by that time we'd gone through so much material I not actually sure what I was able to retain. 

There are thirteen wrist locks and escapes (I think) which are done in succession from one side and then the other.  We do cross hand grabs, same side grabs, two on one and two on two.  I still have to so sides and the rear, but the learning curve is significant.  Back in my old TSD school we went through this so I'm fairly aware of the ideas, but these are all slightly different.  

After getting through the two on two grabs we moved over to Il Soo Sik (one step sparring).  I think there are eighteen of these.  We were focusing on where we left off (maybe number 12?) and jumped into some complicated ones.  The last one we worked on was a front kicked followed by a turn and back kick, a big block and then a punch.  I was starting to not look like a robot and then Keith had me to do the technique on the other side.  Back to robot.  

I never thought I would say that I was happy to go to kicking drills, but that's tomorrow.  Gotta stretch out fully tonight and tomorrow.

Just like that

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Japanese Or Korean Accent

I miss going to beatings on my off days, but by the end of the week I'm fairly exhausted and I experience some dread getting up and working as hard as we do. This comes from my light sleeping and waking up early.  I love sleeping in when I can and it's become very hard to do over the years.  Since I get up at five for beatings, I need to get to bed fairly early to be fresh.  I doesn't always work as the week goes by.  

The belt exams were during the weekend and we could sign in and watch via Zoom.  This was a unique method and I loved it because I could sit at home and enjoy the process in my sweats, drinking coffee.  I was able to watch a few fellows from my school go for their first (cho) and then watch Keith go for his (Ee).  The format had changed a bit so instead of rest breaks between skills they had to go all the way through.  So exhaustion was a big issue.  

I also found out that the exam is not strictly pass or fail.  Well maybe if you blow enough of the sections it's a fail, but of my three, two folks have to go back in a few weeks to redo a section.  Once your cohort completes the redos all the testers get their belt.  

Since I opted not to do the pre-evaluation I won't be able to test in April which might have been a possibility, but I'll end up testing next October and I "should" be squared away by then.  My pre-evaluation will occur in April.  


Today was basics and forms.  What I found in the test was basics are performed in threes.  So it's pretty fast.  I finally figured out that was what Keith was running me through.  He would add one or two more for techniques that needed a lot of love.  Out of the thirteen basics I have, about three or four that really need fine tuning.  I'd like to see those improve for sure, but I understand that in any martial art I'm always going to get a lot of finer and finer detail to address things.  

After we finished going through the forms a few times Keith collected his thoughts. I can't give you the verbatim, but this is my best recollection.

"I can see when you do Nihanshi and Passai, that you are bringing your history with you.  When you do Chil Sung - since you learned it here - that you are doing as we would do the form.  You still are showing your Karate roots in the other forms.  All the pieces are in place but we need to you move over to the Korean side of the house.  It's like speaking with an accent.  We want to you to develop a Korean accent."  

Gotta work on that accent!

Friday, October 08, 2021

Ookie Shoe

 As per usual, Keith and me were twisting and kicking all through the class.  We went through all the wrist grabs (14?) and then moved on to one step sparring.  I think we got to seven.  While I did my elementary moves in a halted, uncoordinated fashion, Keith would do his more complicated higher stuff - practicing a bit for his test tomorrow.  This ended up being a bit jarring from time to time as the impact was a reminder to loosen up instead of eating kicks and grabs.  

Talk about a flashback.  I remember the shoulder discomfort from this stuff from back in my TSD days.  I'm going to be so sore.  Ugh.  

Andy asked me if I was going to do the pre-eval at the end of class.  There wasn't any pressure, but I realized as I was driving home that I didn't want to do it where I wasn't with other people around.  Weird.  It wasn't like anyone was going to feed me the lines anyway, but I can imagine flailing around in my basement trying to guess at what Korean was being said on a zoom call.  Somehow that was more embarrassing?

I'll watch Keith and Bill test tomorrow to get an idea of what the test looks like in action.  

In Japanese styles the guy that throws the punch and gets tossed around in tests (and practice) is called an Uke.  It's pronounced "Oo-kay".  In Korean the term is Shoe.  I have no idea how it's spelled yet.  Keith has a sizable volume of partners work for his test and Andy is going to be his Shoe.  Hah!  

Aww Yeah!  Bill should walking away with the Midnight Blue!

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Fitness Alert!

I got another message from class - My fitness extends to kicking drills and then I'm starting to tap out.  I was told today by Keith that the process goes Basics then kicking drills, then self defense, then breaking, then endurance (120 punches in 30 seconds) and then forms.  Holy cow!  I was gassing at the end of the kicks.  Granted I'm not great at them which means that I'm working harder than necessary, but over all pretty tiring.   

Colette sent me a message yesterday asking if I was going to participate in the Friday evening pre-evaluation for potential black-belts.  I didn't even know what it was.  As far as I can tell, they run through the test to see what areas to work on.  On top of that I'm not sure if they wanted to me to show up at the school or do something via zoom.  I'm really not great at interpreting stuff via text or email apparently.  In the end I don't think I'm even ready to do the eval because I can't understand the words for stuff just yet.  Keith said I should be ready by March.  I'll take him on his word there.  

He and a couple of others will travel down to Camus tomorrow evening and take their tests while we can watch via zoom!  Pretty exciting stuff.  At least I can see the protocol and all that.  

I've come to find that being the morning zombie class of one is rewarding, but keeping up with the school is tough.  I feel like I'm missing a lot.  

Not me.  Photostock man is way more handsome

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Testing, But Not Me Thankfully

The Dan test weekend is coming up so my teacher, Keith is going to be heading off with a few others to show their stuff.  He's got a tremendous heel bruise, that looks horrific, from some hard practice.  He was a bit ginger during class, but ended up doing jumping axe kicks without any problem.  If he was having a problem it didn't seem so from my point of view.  

To prep for this week I made sure I practiced the last two days and sorted out a few more of the errors I've been making.  Namely a jumping side kick followed by a punch.  I'd been leaping incorrectly - I should have been turning in the air to use the rear foot as the kicking foot.  And I totally forgot the lead foot pumping to get me more height.  Ah well, that's sorted out now and looks a bit better.

Today's class was basics and we ran through that fairly quickly with corrections on only a few items.  Better?  Maybe.  

We ended up on forms where there was a plethora of corrections.  I'm good about remembered a third at best.  You skip a couple of days and it's all down hill I swear.


I'm coming up on my 55th birthday and have meditated on it a bit.  The only real question is how long can I be this active doing this kind of thing?  I would like to be able to keep doing this with the assumption that I'll get better, but I think the consensus is that you don't get better as you get older.  That doesn't appear to be true though, at least not in my case.  I'm getting more comfortable with the kicks and jumps and even a little bit with the Korean.  

So I'll update my profile in a couple of weeks and keep moving forward with the thought that I'll get better.  

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  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...