Saturday, December 6, 2014

Basics Training Before Warrior Week

Way too much pain. I traveled for the holidays and traveling always takes weeks to a month for recovery. It'll get better, but today I sat, watched, and took notes. I also wiped down the sweaty mirror, that's being as involved as possible.

Hand work:
-The quickest way from point A (start of punch) to point B (target) is a straight line. Don't open up, hook, or sway. Stay relaxed, stay loose.
-"Muff" to guard the chin, almost like petting the hand to knock it away
-Hands are loosely closed, clench right before making contact
-Bring back a jab along the same plane from which you threw it
-Control your hands.
-Keep the leading hand more forward, save a millisecond.
-Hook: just duck ("bob") if it's a hook to the head. Just to move over ("slip") will still get you hit.

Keep legs slightly open so you can move freely, keep upper body closed and ready to avoid a jab

-Keep your chin tucked

-Stand sideways to the wall with your leading foot against it. When you jab, your arm shouldn't hit the wall.

-Jab/Cross punches: jab, and on cross, pivot the foot a little bit to tighten the movement, using extension to gain power from the floor. "Squish the bug!" Stay big, don't let the opponent close in on you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do You Tape or Splint?

I try not to tape up or brace my body for class unless I absolutely need it. My primary goal is self-defense, so I want my body to work as one cohesive unit, as I may not be taped or braced in the event of an altercation. God forbid. My Sensei keeps a very close watch on me and I have enough sense to sit out of--or modify--things that would be too dangerous for me to do safely. I follow all safety instructions from my Sensei to the letter, make sure I understand the instructions,  and I trust my partners to do the same. Rotten eggs don't stay in the dojo for long, it's all good people.

Quite a few of the people in my dojo, maybe even the majority of them, have prior combat and martial art training. This makes them well prepared to control themselves, and to taper their aggression. That's actually a part of it, being able to use the minimum amount of force required to be effective. So, they get something out of working with me, too!

Every one of us is struggling with something, whether we have a disability or not. We gather in the dojo to overcome what we can, and to help one another along those journeys. In fact, our ability to be a good partner is a part of our assessment for whether or not we level up. If we are not a good partner, we don't progress. Part of our success relies on how well we can help the people we are working with. Isn't that cool? It's easily my favourite rule in my dojo!

When I first began I only worked with black belts because they had the best control of their own movements, which kept me the safest. It also gave me the privilege of befriending people who had been there for a long time, and who were much farther along in their journeys than I was. As I became stronger and better at what I was doing, it became easier to work safely with lower belts, as I got better at defending myself and lower belts tends to not strike very hard at all.

Every day is different, and every day is a fresh start. You just have to overcome and adapt, keep a level head and keep going. You will learn volumes about your body in your first three or so belts, and after that you will get into learning about the martial art itself.

Don't forget that an enormous incentive of joining the martial arts is connection with the community greater than you'll ever fully access. For example, my karate Federation, IOGKF, is worldwide. We all do exactly the same exercises, and if I walked into any dojo I could expect the same results. It's also awesome to think about the fact that many of those people already have a lot more knowledge in physiology and combat than I do, many of them are medically trained in case I do get injured, and I park my car right outside the front door so that I have access to every mobility aid and pain reliever I can jam into the vehicle!

You're going to do great. Take the plunge!