Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Beautiful Thing

Sunday was my school system's Team Tournament, and the last one of the season in this area.
It features tag-team sparring for adults, and team forms for adults and youth.

My daughter and I presented a form together as part of the Family Performance division.
This is an open, non-competitive division for fun--and everyone gets to take home a trophy.
As a family of Scandinavian heritage, we had some fun with the form, calling ourselves Team Uff-Da. That's pronounced "Oof-Dah."

This blog from a local news anchor describes what I witnessed in this division far better than I ever could:


I am so proud to be a part of an organization that welcomes people of all abilities.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sparring, sweet sparring...

My Karate school has an intramural team tournament coming up in a week from Sunday, so Monday night sparring classes for adults have focused on tag-team strategy.

Needless to say, the fighting gets pretty intense, but with some goofy moments as well.

I did extensive taping of our class this past Monday:


Check out #5 at 6:25 - the slide kick that was more slide than kick
Check out #6 at 5:30 - Ouch...

The tape of ground work was for the woman in the video. She, along with my instructor, are competing this week at the East-West Open, a "Martial Arts Olympics" held annually in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since some fights at that event include grappling, she's receiving a cram course in basic ground defense. I shot this so she has some study material to review.

Best of luck to both of them!

For Thursday's class we had a guest instructor who was well-versed in one of my favorite torture techniques, the slow-count kick. As a warm-up, we did a lot of stationary work, simply holding stances and fine-tuning them . Then we did slow-count kicks.

While working slow-count kicks, I idly remarked that it'd be interesting to combine stances with slow-count kicks; She took me up on the concept, and we did just that!

So imagine this for a strength exercise:

1. Begin in a fighting stance.
2. Rotate hips forward, squaring yourself up, then bend your rear leg and slowly squat until the rear knee touches the floor.
3. Raise up from the floor slowly and execute a slow-count front kick with the back leg.
4. Lower the kicking leg forward into a fighting stance on the opposite side.
5. Repeat, marching across the floor and back again. Slowly.

I hated it, and loved hating it...

On a side note, big thanks to Black Belt Mama for the free book. Should make for interesting, light reading before bedtime.

Monday, April 6, 2009

2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Today is week 16 since surgery, 8 more to go until no restrictions.

2/3'rds of the way, and feeling great!

That first week back was absolute murder on my quads, hams, and shoulders, but absolutely no complaining from my knee. I made it to classes Thursday evening, and though I could hardly walk Saturday morning, I went to a 30-minute class, primarily to loosen up all the stiffness. Last week my muscles complained far less, so I think my body is beginning to acclimate to my return.

At the end of Thursday's class we worked on some kicking drills, including an offensive side kick. No, it's not meant to offend, it's just an attacking style versus a defensive style.

From a fighting stance, the front foot crosses over the center line of attack as the rear foot steps behind the front. This leads to a natural chamber of the front leg for a side kick, and covers a lot of distance while delivering a powerful blow to your opponent.

My partner holding a large body shield was a 13-year old boy who plays football besides studying karate. Since the first side involved kicking with my left leg, I simply walked through the motions. My foot just touched the body shield, no hard kick at all. That was fine, just going through the motions.

Then we switched sides, and the instructor, Miss O, suggested she should probably hold the shield for me, knowing my past kicking ability.

The Kid, being reasonably good-sized, said not to worry--he's used to hard hits playing football...

...and promptly folded like a flying soft shell taco.

Miss O held the shield for me the remainder of the drill.

It's good to be back.