Thursday, August 2, 2007

Randomness that comes around

I recently read John Vesia's blog ( about women in the martial arts. In my dojo there are a few women, but mostly men. What I find is the women, when sparring with Sensei Bottomms and the other men, focus on the techniqes they are performing instead of trying to hit who they are sparring with. The men, on the other hand, are always trying to land the punches and kicks and then get these huge smiles across their faces, which of course result in a counter-attack landing in their faces, etc. This especially happens when they are sparring with Sensei. All they seem to think about is how they can trick him. Well, that's just not going to happen since he seems to know about each move they make before they make it. In a sense they are telegraphing their intent, making it easy to counter any throw they make. When I spar with the men I often have to hit low and kick low (although I can throw a mawashi geri to the head) since they are so much taller than I am. I barely stand five feet. However, I am starting to find that some of the men "run" away just out of my reach when we're performing offense/defense drills. This happened the other day. So, I run after them for the attack. It's fun, which is what these drill should be. Sometimes there is far too much seriousness, which results in raised shoulders and punching from the muscles instead of punching from hara. Again, the men seem to have this happen much quicker, to escalate much faster into a very defensive posture, which results in poor body mechanics. It happens to women, too, don't get me wrong, just not as fast. Ah, all this talk about differences...

I gave Sensei a massage today, which he really needed. It's a little hard for me to do that since it brings into play a dual relationship, which can only work if both parties are comfortable. This is not so hard for me that I will not help him feel better, it just takes me a few minutes to relax into it. But, it was a great session. I wanted to remark to all the other martial artist out there how massage therapy can benefit your practice. Not only does it relax the body, but it allows you to sense where in you body you have pain, or potential pain. My main form of massage is deep tissue/Myofascial Release, which significantly reduces chronic pain anywhere in the muscular body. Once a month is sufficient and if you try this you will be surprised how much more fluidly your muscles move, which of course makes it easier to throw any waza from hara. Okay, off the soap box.

There is four more weeks until my shodan shiai. I'm a little concerned about not knowing all the bunkai and do not know how I'm going to fit in extra practice. I do not know the bunkai for the last four kata and have a rusty recollection of at least three kata and a very good recollection of everything else since that is what we work the most. I'm confident that it will all fall into place by the time I need it to. Positive thinking!!! It really works people!

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