Friday, March 23, 2007

Martial arts inspired comics

Seeing how I really got to enjoy watching the NBC show Heroes, I just got interested in checking out comic books, or graphic novels as they're often referred to nowadays.

I've never really read any of the common superheroes books (i.e. Spider-man, Superman, X-men and the likes) when I was young but the way that Heroes show depicts ordinary people with extraordinary abilities had me looking for more of the same.

I found more than a few and will be happy to share them if you want to hear about it, but this searching through comics also led me to a few martial arts one.

I have decided to read only one for now, a webcomic called No Need for Bushido. It's been going on for a long while and I've just started reading it. It's pretty funny with some swordfighting in there, check it out.

Another one that I want to get to someday is a series called Blade of the Immortal. It's a manga (i.e. Japanese for comics and print cartoons) style comic but looking at some previews, I found that the drawing was less cartoonish with big eyes than your usual Japanese mangas. I like the background story for the main character, basically the setup for the whole series: "Manji, a ronin warrior of feudal Japan, has been cursed with immortality. To rid himself of this curse and end his life of misery, he must slay one thousand evil men! His quest begins when a young girl seeks his help in taking revenge on her parents' killers...and his quest won't end until the blood of a thousand has been spilled."

I'm not a fan of manga comics that read right-to-left but this one is translated from Japanese by the publisher and put into a more North American setup of left-to-right reading by using some cutting and pasting of the panels. The series has been going on since 1996 and there are tons of trade paperbacks who usually collects five 32 pages issues in one book for cheaper reading.

Are there any martial arts inspired comics that you read? If so, share theme in the comments, I'd be interested in checking them out...

And yeah, I know I'm still a little kid. ;)


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sir, you are making me nervous

Was a good, borderline great class last night. Not so much in the whole of what we did but just how it's going.

Warmups then worked on kicks and I felt good with them. My sidekicks, while not super high, are coming into form more and more, as do my back kicks.

We then worked a bit on a simple strike/block drill. Nothing super special, two by two, one attacking the other with various strikes and you just had to block the first strike and counter with one punch, just that, one punch. The rapid sequence at which we went was great to help me see and decipher what's coming and simply get out of the fire.

We then kept on working by doing the strike/block sequence but also adding one lock to end the attack. I'm feeling better and better with how how I can see the attackers hand once I've blocked the first strike and get back to it to grab and lock it. Still much work is needed.

We then were sent to practice on our own with my group of three higher brown belts to work on Cat 3. I was the only one who knew it all so I kind of led the way and helped the other two in filling in some blanks they had with it. I'm feeling better and better with that kata. I remember when I presented it in competition and even a bit afterward, I kept having to think a whole lot during it. Now, it's coming a bit more naturally. Still need to work on the back kicks, gotta stop losing my balance, but it's much better now than it was only a couple months ago. Our instructor had us present it to him just as class was ending. I punched with the wrong hand and one point in the kata but otherwise, I felt it went pretty well and that was also his comment about it. He told me that technically, my interpretation of the kata is sound and sincere although I still look like I'm thinking during a couple of tiny sequences. He really liked my double kick that happens toward the end. He always likes to put the emphasis on the fact that the double kick should be linear, more horizontal than vertical and he told me he thought I nailed that aspect of it during my kata last night. That was a huge ego booster.

Class was done just after my kata so we kneeled down and meditated and he talked to us a bit. He went on talking generally to "those of you getting close to the black belt" all the while looking in my direction. Sure there was another 2nd kyu next to me, but I felt like he was looking at me. ME??? Hold on there mister, I'm in no way, shape or form getting close to a black belt. Sure, closer today than I was yesterday, but never close enough.

On the other hand, will I ever be close enough, at least by my own standards? Probably not. And then, maybe he didn't mean anything more than "keep working on it, someday it'll be your turn". That's what I intend to do, keep on practicing for the fun of it...


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stepping back

Wow, it's almost been a month since my last post here. Have I stopped training? Nope, not at all, in fact I enjoy it just as much, if not more than before. I just ran into some weird self inflicted fears. The fear of not writing anyting important and the wanting to impress people too much with my posts.

I'll start posting again, but I'll try to keep most posts relatively short and most of the times without a big morale to them because frankly, I practice kenpo for my enjoyment, not to try to fulfill some big holes in my own self. :)

Anyway, training's not been very special lately, although I've found it to be very entertaining. We've worked on locks and throws a bit during almost every hour of class and I like that. We even did a "circle of love" drill, where people make a circle around one person and each of us attack him one after the other. I got out of it okay, feeling much better than I would have only a couple months ago.

The next few weeks might start getting tougher for our Saturdays as Andrew is supposed to start his soccer training camp on Saturdays.

My Monday evening class that was for advanced students has been merged with the intermediate class and is now one hour earlier. That bummed me a bit, since having a class full of brown belts was very nice. Not much I can do about it though. The silver lining is that with the class being from 7 to 8 now, I'll bring my bo and should be able to sneak in half an hour of practice until 8:30.

We had a snowstorm last Sunday and we didn't even venture ourselves outside the house. I'm making up for that class with a special appearance in tonight's class. :)