Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why this? Why this name?

I started practicing kenpo karate in April of 2003, after my son had been practicing it for a full year. At the time, it was mostly to learn if my then 5 year old son was doing it right, because I was kind of intrigued by it and because, coming back from a knee injury while playing football, I needed an activity in which I could pace myself while gradually putting more and more heart into it if I wanted to.

Fast forward some 2 3/4 years later, with breaks in the middle (for me, not my son), the birth of a second son, and finally so much learning, I found myself testing for my brown belt (3rd kyu) on December 22, 2005. On that Thursday night, we were told that with hard work, we were maybe a year and a half from a possible test for our black belt. I've never done any martial arts when I was young, and since I didn't start practicing as an adult with the immediate goal of getting a black belt, this kind of took me by surprise.

Add to the whole experience me and my son picking up a bo class in the Fall of 2005 and enjoying it so much that we both decided to start competing, me for the first time ever, him for the first time with any kind of weapon. Picking up that weapon as secondary training was the best pick me up me and my son could have ever found. We're now both really motivated to keep on going, me to get that black belt, and him to try and get one too. He just tested for his green belt (5th kyu) at the age of 9.

This answers the "why this?" part. I will try to write down my thoughts, my experiences in training and in competition as they happen. Not only them, but those of my son, as we go along together.

The "Why this name?" part is pretty straight forward. I know that I will eventually know all the techniques I need to know to test for the black belt, it's only a matter of time and perserverance. Yeah, there are subtleties in every katas, self-defense technique, kicks, punches, but with time, I'm confident that I will get to master them. It could take the proverbial year and a half, but if not, I'd keep going two, two and a half, three years if need be for a chance to test for that black belt. Even the physical fitness needed to go through the test, I know I'll have it. One thing that has always "scared" me is the horse stance.

From the first test I've done, it's always been clear that some horse stance session would be at the menu, then if it is when you pass a lower belt, you can bet it will be when I'll go test for my black belt. Being able to hold the horse stance for some good period of time is not something that will come without practicing. I'm not saying I won't practice my techniques and katas and such, but we will at least always brush with them as I go to class twice a week, but we don't always have sessions of horse stance. And then what good would a horse stance session do to me if I only do it twice a week? Because of that, I decided to start working on my horse stance during my lunch hour at work. I started with a fairly low stance but couldn't do more than 90 seconds at first. That was maybe three weeks ago and I'm now up to one session of 3 minutes and 15 seconds (with the last 30 seconds with the knees in a perfect 90 degree stance) followed by another of 75 seconds in a perfect 90 degree stance. This is where the "Taming the horse stance" part comes from...

Just a week ago, this darn horse stance prompted me to post a rant thread on Front Office Football Central called "I hate the horse stance!!!". The discussion that ensued then prompted me to revive what we call a Dynasty Report over there, report that I had started when I tested for my brown belt. You can find it in this thread called "Real life Kenpo: FrogMan's quest for the Black Belt". Any first-time visitor here is invited to at least read some tidbits of that thread as there are some more information about the school, when I started and such.

From now on, I'll use both place to describe my karate experiences, most of the time simply crossposting from one place to the other.

I like reading comments, and more often than not, replying to them too, so feel free to leave one.



supergroup7 said...

This post is just a week old.. aha! I'm the first to comment too.. great!

I would like to support your effort to train in martial arts. It's wonderful that you can share this with your son, also! Alot of good memories are ahead for you and him.

I love the name that you chose for this blog.. "Taming the horse stance" VERY nice! It made me smile with that secret wise smile of knowing something that others would not be aware of...

Perhaps I can give you some little ideas to help you on your path, or not.. either way, I'll be glad to watch you succeed.

The best to you,

supergroup7 said...

OH.. the rant thread "I hate the horse stance" was hilarious! I enjoyed it greatly.

Quote from the thread: "Do about 25 punches to start. Then fire off 50. Then 75. Work your way up to 200 punches at a time. If you aren't exhausted, you aren't human. "

Um... well.. not blowing my own horn but I'm pretty used to holding low horse stance for 30 to 40 minutes, and firing off all the technique requirements from white belt to 5th kyu ( strikes, and blocks) We are allowed a break in between the ranks by doing push ups, jumping jacks, or sit ups. Yes, my legs cramp up. Yes, it hurts.

I'll pull together some thoughts about side stance, and how to strengthen it, and place it on my blog. I don't have time today though.

FrogMan said...

thanks for your comments Mireille, I was almost wondering if you'd stop by ;)

My first idea of a name was simply "I hate the horse stance" but I found it was just too negative. Taming the horse stance, I thought was just too cool to pass up :).

The rant thread is basically what got me started to post my thoughts as my martial arts life goes. Remember that the board on which it was posted is called "Front Office Football Central" and while it has some people interested in martials arts, most of them are more into the four big team sports. Anyway, that thread got a few good comments in it.

I read your thoughts on your blog and wow, I'll reply over there, but seeing how deep you've thought about it, it doesn't really surprise that you can hold it for so long... Keep going!