I’ve done kata sessions TWICE this week, and yes, I’m proud of myself. As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t done much for a long while. Taking the time to run through a few which I could remember felt really good. It felt even better to move and realized that, while I might be a little rusty, I haven’t actually lost much. I threw a punch and could feel… something. Something good and strong.
I rewrote my notes for Pinan Sandan, which helped with remembering how to do it right. With that in mind, I’ve pulled out a bunch of kata notes which need rewriting anyway (if anything, for the sake of better organization) and I’m making a project of rewriting them. Not all at once, just… as I discover I can’t remember a certain part. (Today, it was Pinan Nidan. Tomorrow morning, I’ll take that one on again.)
I sent a message to one of my old instructors and asked if she happened to have notes on hand for Wantsu and Passai, since I have nothing for the former and only about half for the latter.
"I don’t have notes, but I have video. What’s your email?"
Hell. Freaking. Yes.
We had a good chat while waiting for the attachments to upload. It’s been a while since we last talked. One of the things we discussed is how martial arts can influence a person’s life — particularly in learning that it’s okay if something doesn’t come naturally to you. There’s a lot which takes determination and repetition to learn, and this is especially hard to internalize when you aren’t seeing immediate results. Learning to accept this has had a huge effect on the way I approach pretty much every other aspect of my life, and I’ve definitely become a better person for it.
So I’ve got more references and a pile of notes to sift through over the next few weeks, and I feel pretty good about this.
The Guts to Try, or How I Learned Pinan 4, by Jane nine-is-blue
Every year, my dojo holds an annual fundraiser called Kickathon, where we do a thousand kicks. Recently, we’ve added the kata (forms) challenge and the sparring challenge, which, respectively, consist of a Whole Lotta Kata and a Whole Lotta Sparring. I participate in the former and shudder to think of the latter (but that’s another story).
Year before last, I was in the midst of participating in the kata challenge. I was the most junior rank there, having just gotten my green belt last week. We quickly reached the end of my knowledge, and the rest of the group moved on. Sensei told me to “just do a 20-count kata” and proceeded to count gek sai dai for the advanced belts. Feeling left out and self-conscious, I tried to do sanchin kata, but sanchin has a slower pace than gek sai dai and I quickly fell behind count. This only worsened my self-consciousness, as gek sai dai was actually in my curriculum at the time, but, having only had my green belt for a week, I did not know it. It was a completely unreasonable way to feel, but I felt it nonetheless.
So for my next 20-count kata, I did Taikyoku 1, the most basic of them all. Just be safe; do the one you can’t possibly screw up, I thought to myself.
Screw safe, I thought suddenly. I’m gonna be dangerous. I’m going to do Pinan 4, a new green belt kata I’d known for all of six days. While the advanced belts did Overly Complicated Advanced kata number 3, I just went for it. They say all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and in that moment, I was unstoppable.
I think I may have possibly done a somewhat halfway decent job.
It’s not about whether you win or lose, or even about how you play the game. It’s about having the guts to try.
I love when nine-is-blue submits. I wish that I had the guts to try sometimes! I’m not always in that head space. But when there’s nothing to lose? When you have the support of your community? Get after it!
I see lots of people talking about cultural appropriation, and I’m trying to educate myself. I’ve practiced Karate for over 10 years now, and I’ve made it to black belt (woo!) but is practicing Japanese martial arts a form of cultural appropriation?
As I understand it, it isn’t cultural appropriation if you are actually learning about things like historical context of the art and the history of your lineage. There are a lot of McDojos which will tell you they practice karate. What kind of karate? “Uh. Shorinryu.” Okay… Which branch of Shorinryu? Silence. Blank stare. What’s your instructor’s educational lineage? “I don’t know.”
It’s one thing to be skilled in the art. It’s another thing entirely to have respect for it.
Hatsumi-sensei — leader of the Bujinkan — doesn’t really care about the heritage of his students. He accepts students from all over the world. There are myriad other examples of people from various cultures welcoming and instructing students regardless of race. This does not, however, mean the student is granted a free pass on cultural appropriation. It is still your responsibility to show respect to your teachers, their teachers, and the art you are learning. What you do with your art reflects on them as well. Don’t make them look bad.
After getting sick last fall, followed by the chaos that is the holiday season, I kinda just bailed on running.
Over the last couple months, though, I picked up a couple books relating to it, and I’ve made a new friend for whom running has been kind of a big deal, so… today, I coerced myself into my running shoes and out the door. I had to walk for a little of it (stomach cramp), but I went a little over three quarters of a mile, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Between this, circuit training, and the occasional kata run-through, I’m starting to feel better about my health.
Yesterday, in Circuit Training class, I did deadlifts for the FIRST TIME EVER.
We have two instructors. One usually deals with the academic athletes; the other usually deals with those of us (like me) who are just in it to do something fitness-related. The female teacher is definitely the harder one to work with — and is also usually the one I’m instructed by, as she’s usually got the non-athletes. Her focus tends to be on circuits with raised heart rates and heavy breathing.
The male teacher focuses on weights, especially on olympic weight training, and he was the one in charge. Not gonna lie, the olympic weight training is intimidating; I am aware there are ways to fuck yourself up good while doing them, and so — despite liking the pace of his instruction style much better — I usually go with the other teacher because, while her routine is more demanding and I’d honestly rather do weights, I’m more familiar with the exercises and I know I can do them.
I’m really glad for the experience, though. I mean, I’m sore as hell, but damn, that was pretty fun.
Yeah, sorry, not MA related — but yo, Fitblr. I did a thing, and I’m proud. <3
I’ve really wanted to go swing a bo around since then, though. I was smart and did not test to see how well a heavy bar will improvise as a bo staff, but it definitely crossed my mind.
When I was training for my black belt test a couple years ago, I also spent some of that summer getting into the habit of running. I was able to go more than a mile by the time it got too cold to continue (note: I am a sissy about cold weather, and Wisconsin did not fuck around with cold).
Earlier this year, I attempted to get back in the habit. It didn’t go well. It went pretty abysmally, in fact. So you can imagine my surprise when, on Tuesday, I went for a run for the first time in a few months and went 0.8 of a mile.
Today, according to Google Maps’ calculations, I went a full mile in eleven and a half minutes.
hell yeah, hell yeah, fucken right, hell yeah
I am blogging about this here because MAFTW seemed like a good place to celebrate kicking some ass, even if it isn’t quite so literally about kicking.
I had been doing really well at daily T’ai Chi practice for about three and a half months. I faltered, then I got a new computer and it’s taking up a significant chunk of my T’ai Chi space, which really took me out of it for several weeks. I found I can practice in my apartment complex’s parking lot in the morning and not have to worry about cars, but there was someone running a leafblower out there today so I went inside and moved the coffee table. I can make the space work, though I don’t love the idea of rearranging the living room twice a day.
This isn’t really about T’ai Chi, though. T’ai Chi, as a discipline, is really easy for me to work with. If I can find the space, I can make the time.
The bigger problem is kata practice.
I haven’t been to a class in a few years, now — I didn’t find a new dojo after I moved — but I still have all my notes and I know the kata is still in my mind and body. I just need to excavate it. It is around this part of the process where I realize I have been too indulgent with myself lately: as soon as I run into a struggle with my memory, my first impulse is to give up and find something else to do. I still have T’ai Chi. I’m good at T’ai Chi. I should totally just stick with that, right?
It is the memories of practicing before my black belt test that have stopped me from throwing my hands up in apathy. It’s like my past saying “Nuh uh, no way. Suck it up, make sure you can get through this kata from beginning to end without forgetting what you’re doing, then move on. You used to do this. You can do it again.”
I miss the open space I used to have for practice. It’s good to learn how to shuffle your feet appropriately to get back to kata point, but I keep remembering how nice it was to have roughly enough room to run through all my kata without a lot of recalibrating to account for the coffee table/couch/TV (roommate’s stuff, so it’s not like I can make a Bold Decision and clear out some furniture for the sake of the art or whatever).
Once school starts, I’ll probably be able to find a quiet place on campus to let my ninja-freak flag fly. In the mean time, it’s not only discipline but adaptation I am drilling into my skull.
As punch-related deaths keep hitting the headlines, is it time that self-defence schools sideline the close-fist strike? Graham Kuerschner believes so. Read the full article at www.blitzmag.net
Article on how the close fist punch should be second guessed when it comes to self defense due to the fact that it could seriously harm someone or kill them.
It got me thinking of my immediate reactions if someone were to try and attack me. They are as listed
Punch to the chin and/or jaw.
Punch to the temple and/.or orbital bone.
Open palm strike to the nose
Eye gouge with thumb or finger
Grip and crush the throat, or punch in the throat
Grip the testicles(if a dude) and squeezing or ripping
Stomping the knee
elbow to the jaw or temple.
elbow to the nose
knee to the face(nose or temple specifically)
taking the persons head and ramming it into something(a wall or something sharp)
Jesus christ. I’m so violent. So it seems like me punching them in a self defense situation would actually be the safest thing out of all of my instinctual reactions.
But hey man, thats what happens when you grow up in a bad chicago neighborhood, you don’t fuck around.
…What. I don’t think the author understands what self-defense is even about. We don’t train for bad circumstances, we train for worst-case scenarios. Heck, even an ippon in Judo is supposed to signify that you killed your opponent.
The author says that “Open-handed strikes should be the default response in all circumstances where striking is deemed an appropriate response. Don’t get me wrong, punching has its place, but not as a first-choice weapon in self-defence.” You need to use the type of attack appropriate for the situation immediately, not go test the waters to see how strong your attacker is.
Really, not killing someone in training isn’t hard. A few people losing control is a shame, but no reason to discredit close-handed striking.
yep. Plus I mean. WHat are really the chances of actually killing someone in one punch? It’s what we train for yes, but you would have to have a lot going right to do that. Timing, body alignment, relaxation. So many factors, that likely would NOT come about a stressful situation like that. Much more likely to kill someone doing another movie.
…Aren’t openhanded strikes much more likely to give someone a concussion (without the lame-o side effect of breaking your hand)?
I was arguing with myself earlier about whether or not I was going to get a workout in today. I won the argument by doing enough of a workout to feel like I earned a shower and still had energy left over to do some chores. It wasn’t my best EVER, but it was the best I could swing today.
Attempting to motivate when one of your internal organs is actively sabotaging your efforts is a serious bitch, but in light of that, it makes ANY success feel so much better. Like flippin’ the bird, but more satisfying.