Monday, January 29, 2007


The last week has been one of suffering blows, physically, although pretty minor, and figuratively.

It all started last Monday. After warmup, we did about 35 minutes out of the hour on revising stuff we knew like katas, self defense techniques and KC's. That part went fairly well. I drew a couple of tiny blanks on some mid-level and advanced techniques but otherwise, it went well. We finished the last 10-15 minutes doing some freestyle selfdefense two by two, i.e. one attack the other without telling in advance and you need to defend with something different every time.

I was paired with a 4th kyu student while the class is usually only 3rd kyu and up. It went well for a while even though the guy was freezing a bit when defending and sometimes not controlling all of his strike. First came a shot to the solar plexus that made me go "ow!". Nothing to break bones, but a good reminder to watch for myself. I guess I didn't watch enough since only a few minutes later, he got in close and pulled up a ridge hand that should have been stopped short but wasn't and he hit me in the jewels. ow ow ow ow ow!!! I did tell him to control his strikes, loud enough that our instructor came to see and talked to him with tricks on how to gauge the distance. It wasn't bad, as in I didn't get any black and blue but it really was not a pleasant experience.

As much as you don't want this to happen, it's bound to happen. Strikes will touch hard and injuries can happen. I spoke up to him only to make him understand it was not the first time (because it's happen more with him than other people with whom I practice way more often) and that I felt he neede to work on his control.

Then the next day came the figurative blow. Looking at the schedule, I saw that there was a semi-private traditional class for adults during Andrew's traditional class. I was pretty sure there was room for me in that class and was bout to enquire about it right after Andrew's class would end. Little did I know, they have decided to move that class to Monday night, at the same time as my own Monday nights class. Heh, so much for trying to make something out of the driving Andrew around... I would offer my service to suit up and help Andrew's instructor in his class, but that's a 4th kyu and up class and since I'm only 3rd kyu, some/many kids would be higher in grade than me and I think I would feel more inadequate than anything else...

Finally came Saturday. The morning traditional class went well. Lots of work done again on self defense techniques and katas and KC's and yay, no blows in that class. :)

The afternoon was different however. It was the first bo class of the new session. I have pretty much given up on the idea of competing in February and I have found that this thought has kind of made me enjoy my bo more. The class was cool and I got to work on techniques and new moves without putting pressure on myself. Our instructor gave all of us a challenge, a different one for different people. My challenge was to spin the bo around my wrist, similar to what I do in my kata (right before the throw) but this time over my head and then throw it in a horizontal rotation. I had tried it before and had missed badly. He told me to work on it and I went to work. Well, that'S when the third blow of the week came. At one point, I was getting better and better and I tried applying a bit more speed to my bo. Bad idea. The thing swirled and hit me on the lip, leading to a nick on the inside of the lip from hitting my tooth. Not bad, no stitches needed, still not pleasant. I kept on practicing and even was asked to try it while lying on my back. Try to picture this: me at about 200 lbs, on my back spinning my bo, then throwing it copter style from my right to my left hand. I was getting pretty good by the end of class and never hit my head again. His way of thinking when asking us to work on stuff like that is that if you do a spin thing that's way tougher than your usual, when you'll go back to your regular thing, it'll simply seem so much easier. I kind of agree...


Monday, January 22, 2007

Lack of updates

Sorry everyone, a few not so special circumstances have led to me not posting so much lately. By "not so special" I mean simply that work has been a bit hectic and that well, there's not much new to report.

It's been mostly working on already known stuff in order to be ready for the belt test whenever it comes. I'm feeling better about it with every hour of class that I have. There are always little things here and there, well everywhere, but we'll get around to them with time.

The whole new schedule we're going with since the new year is bumming me a great deal though. Gone are the Wednesday night practice hours for me, there's no room for me to practice when Andrew takes his midweek class, now on Tuesday at the Dojo. Also, due to some reorganization of belt levels in classes, his Friday night class is now the one going from 8 to 9 and then again, there's no room for me to practice with my bo. These two lost hours have practically now reduced my bo practice to one hour a week, the group class we will have on Saturday afternoon.

These bo group classes start next Saturday which meant we had three free Saturday afternoons before they'd start. I had booked three semi private one hour long class for me and Andrew, alone with our instructor. As I posted earlier, we turned the first of these three into a free practice. The second hour was nice, with the instructor and all, but quite a bit intense in terms of stuff to correct. When in instructor is asking me to do my kata at half, or even quarter speed, and is stopping me 5 or 6 times with some more and more technical things to correct/change/improve, my head has a tendency to swell up. Not that I mind being corrected, I actually appreciate it and thought it was a great class, but I needed time to practice what I was being shown. And that time as kind of disappeared. Because of that, I asked our instructor to cancel the third hour of class and we turned it into another 30 minutes of free practice, me and my boy. We had some joyful moments in that practice. At the very end, I told Andrew that we'd do our kata 2-3 times and we'd go home so I take place and he is by my side. I could see him by the corner of my left eye as he lined up with me. I started my kata, concentrated on what I was doing but couldn't shake the feeling that I was being followed. I, well we got to the end of the kata and I turned to him and asked him: "you were trying to do it synchro weren't you?" Be smile a huge smile. We did it twice after that and it was indeed pretty cool to do the kata next to my son, in almost synchronized fashion. :)

Finally, With this new schedule, as well as the test coming up and my wanting to concentrate a bit more on learning, I'm putting in question my participation to the Levisien Open on February 11. No final decision has been take, but it'S quite possible that I won't do it and hold on until the Quebec Open, scheduled for the end of April.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

ranking and helping out others

Had class yesterday, a good, get back into the groove kind of class. Prior to it happened something that I just made my day. As I settled to the floor near one corner of the room to stretch a little, as I usually like to do prior to the start of my class in which we will stretch anyway, I saw a purple belt practicing with a white belt maybe 5-8 feet away, looking to me with an inquisitive eye. Turned out the instructor was helping out at the other end of the room and they needed some help of their own on an intermediate self defense technique. The purple belt, a young man (maybe 20yo) actually asked me very politely if I could help them sort out the sequence of moves in a couple of techniques. That might be silly, but I felt very good being asked to help and did help them to the best of my knowledge. They certainly seemed to appreciate it.

This is one thing that's quite particular to martial arts, you wear your rank. I don't boast about it and would neverput down a "lower" ranked belt on something he would say to me just because I'm a "higher" ranked belt. I just hit me that the more I see other adults coming up through the ranks, the more I sometimes see them looking at me with somewhat different eyes. Maybe it's all in my head, but I remember seeing the brown belts when I first got to practice with some of them when I was a purple belt and I was impressed by how they moved and would look up to them for any tip or hint they could give me to improve my technique. Now if I can give back that little bit to someone else, to the extent of what I certain of, meaning that I don't give false advice leadning others down a wrong path, I'll try to do it. I also realize that this means I am far from done from learning. I have to listen even more closely to what my instuctor tells me, practice harder, if I want to be a better exemple, a better "teacher"...

I think that from now on, whenever I'll have a chance to on these Mondays, I'll try to get to the dojo a bit more ahead of time. Don't want to impose myself, but if I can help anybody improve, that will only make me a better martial artist... Even better, if there's no need for my help, there is some available space in the room next door, and in that case, I'll practice on my own. That should definitely make me a better martial artist.


Monday, January 08, 2007

There will be 28 days in February

First things first, let me wish you all a very happy new year, if only a bit late. May 2007 be healthy more than anything else. Seems the more I grow up, the more I seem to hear about people getting ill left and right and the more I realize that our good health is something we often underappreciate and take for granted. With good health, everything else comes together fine, be it happiness, prosperity or just about anything else, really...

As for our karate life, well, I have not posted since Christmas day because well, there was not much to post about. I did not practice once over the holiday season but I feel it was a good break. It allowed me to heal whatever was bugging me in my left shoulder and I feel new and rested, although a bit bloated, even though I didn't overindulge in food too much. Okay, okay, maybe once or twice, but not too much. :)

We had our first class back last Saturday. It went well, mostly reviewing what we knew before the long break. Say what you will, the human brain is made to forget, although I felt pretty good with how it went. I had no real blanks on my forms and was even able to do Cat 3 fairly confidently. We did learn something before the class had even started. On one of the 28 days of February, there will be a test for 2nd kyu for those of us at first kyu. We'd heard it would be after the holiday break but to get some sort of confirmation that we will have January to get our body back into shape and get our mind to top speed was nice. I will be ready for that test, whenever they say that the time has come.

We were supposed to have a semi-private bo class in the afternoon but when our instructor failed to show up some 5-10 minutes after the supposed start time of our class and we called him, we learned that he was still sleeping and his groggy voice told us he was sick (although he admitted having completely forgotten about the class). He lives some 25 minutes away from the school so we told him not to bother and Andrew and I ended up practicing on our own for 25 minutes. I actually was not too mad to not have that class as I was more looking forward to getting some free practice time more than being scrutinized by one instructor on our first day back. That way, we got to get reacquainted with our bos without having to pay for a private instructor.

Surprisingly, I did not feel as sore on Sunday, or today, as I thought I would, even though our instructor took us through the squat on tiptoe routine and had us do a good bit of abs work. Glad to be back too...