Sensei gave lots of verbal instruction and demonstration tonight, so I was able to relax about keeping up. I learned a whole lot of great points about Saifa kata and bunkai. I consider Saifa my best kata, so a while night devoted to it was a treat!
It was especially a treat because this is my first day up after five days doubled over on the couch from gastroparesis pain. I've gone to work and slept, and that's it. Anything to keep the pain down. Nothing touches the pain. It's impossible to breathe without pain. If tonight had been a night to practice Sanchin I'd have been dead in the water.
I learned about how, when your body turns to do the knee-kick, your head turns because you are changing directions, so you need to continue facing the opponent.
In Bunkai we always push the opponent away after an application of the kata. It's a good base strategy to have, but it also signifies awareness (Zanshin) that the opponent is certainly going to attempt to counter your move.
The elbow break move is one of the most interesting bunkai I know. It's so simple, and it would be instantly effective on me, but I don't see myself ever developing enough strength to break the joint on someone else. Still, if I ever get control of my tai otoshi (body drop), maybe I can at least jar the person well and gain control of the limb.
While I rested I watched my karate family practice kakie (push hands). The black belts were more methodical in their movements while the -kyu belts were more aggressive. I enjoyed learning what I could from both groups, and comparing what I knew to what I saw.
It's always a struggle not to cry out in pain. Sometimes I can't help but let out a moan, which is frowned upon in self-defense, because it lets the opponent know you're hurt, and opens you up for further damage. When he's hurt Higaonna-Sensei says, "Thank you very much!" and continues on. Will I be able to cultivate that discipline? I don't know, but it's a good target. Sometimes the strike or movement is tiny, but it sends a shock through my body like I've had a limb severed. Other times I take a direct hit and I giggle effortlessly. I don't understand nociception (pain perception) in EDS.
I did what I could tonight and was super careful not to push myself. There will be better days for going all out.
It would be arrogant of me to assume that Sensei did so much technical instruction and demonstration just so I could be included, but I can't help but think it delights him every time he sees me get up off the bench. I think most people in my dojo like watching me succeed as much as I like watching them succeed. (Well, maybe not that much--I'm a bit overzealous when they level up!)
After five days on the couch, karate is the first place I could think to go. There's nowhere I'd rather be. I think I've written it before that, die when I may, one of the rooms in my heaven will be just like my dojo. I don't have a lot of expectations for heaven, but it won't be heaven without this room.