Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh the aches....

And I don't mean from training. I've contracted the plague and it isn't pretty. So, no karate this week at all for me. Time to rest and get well. No work for me, either, which I'm not all that upset about. I have a "flu-like virus" which is sending me into coughing fits so hard I have to hold onto something. If I don't take ibuprofin my body aches and aches. It will pass, at least it better by this weekend. Saturday is my 36th birthday! I plan on getting a girly facial and hubby and I get to go out the night before. His birthday is on Monday and he gets some tattoo work. That's how we met. Eric, the man who did my recent tattoos, is his best friend and one day he was working on another dragon on my upper left shoulder and G walked in and sat down. We locked eyes, the rest is history. The big 4-0 for him. I don't think he's amused about that....

I'm hoping to resume training next week and perhaps ramp it up a bit. Recently I purchased "Combat Training" by Matt Furey. Interesting and I actually do the exercises. They are all based on body weight training: push-ups of all kinds, back bridges, crab walking, bear walking, hindu squats, one-legged squats, etc., all stuff we used to do during gym class. A weight traininer I am not. I find it incredibly boring and hard to make into a habit. These exericises I can do in-between clients, a plus since there really isn't any time to be made for me to go back to the gym (where the dojo resides) and lift weights. I've come to accept that and have moved on. Doing the Matt Furey exercises makes much more sense and when it's warmer and not snowing and icing I can start doing hill sprints and yardage sprints like we used to do for field hockey. To me that is so much more fun and I'm more liable to do them. I'm also not a runner. My body just isn't built for that kind of pounding. I enjoy sprinting, just not the long distance running. Maybe if I were tall and slender, which I am not. Short and stocky, Austrian and Irish ancestry, you get the picture. I will miss training this week. I will miss my comrades. It's so much about the family unit of the dojo for me. If you don't like and trust who you train with it's not a very nice place to be. We have such a great unit at our dojo. Everyone helps everyone else and there's not much ego, a little maybe, but nothing out of control. If Sensei senses an ego out of control he has this wonderful way of nipping it before it grows any further with no harm done. Now that's talent.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Perhaps this is what I feel like: a samuari with lots of confidence. Last week and the beginning of this one was all about weapons: sword, bo, escrima sticks and canes. The sword was amazing. This was only the second time that I was shown the sword form for our system and it felt so good. I do like the bo, but it really makes me focus and I get all "up in my shoulders". Mind you that isn't a bad thing, to be uncomfortable, the sword just felt so much smoother. But it's smaller, although my forearms are still talking to me since I used a real one (which was rather heavy...). The escrima sticks make me nervous since your hands are so susceptible to being hit, that is if you're not paying attention or only placing your focus on the stick itself and not the target (which can be a difficult thing to do when you're first learning). I'm also nervous about hurting my hands since they are the main source of my work. Anyway, I love weapons and wish we did them more often. Maybe a day devoted just to weapons. I have my own bo and now plan on purchasing a bokken and perhaps some sticks to practice with. The bo I can only use outside, and being that I live in Vermont that isn't always possible but I take advantage when I can. The bo is becoming more an extension instead of this foreign piece of wood in my hands. I have this annoying tendency to over-extend, but am focusing on being aware of where my elbows are: if they are out I over-extend; if they are in I do not. Pretty simple, right? I'm not sure why I have this tendency, but it happens in kata as well and I'm always aware of keeping my strikes to the point and not over the point.
Ugh, it seems I've been in a bit of a slump lately with my training, meaning there has been some difficulty "getting" it lately. It will pass as it always does, but when in the moment it's frustrating. I desire more time for practice and don't always have it available. Work, family, you know. My only practice space (for doing kata and weapons) is outdoors. My house is very small, so in it I only work on strikes and kicks and my stances. I shouldn't be so hard on myself and need to change that perception. There is so much available to me anywhere

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fresh ink

I had these tattoos in my head (to go on the underside of my forearms) for when I passed the Shodan test and last Friday I finally had them done. The kanji under the tiger is fire and the one under the dragon is wind. The other two, earth and water, are on my ankles and they are from "The Book of Five Rings". Someday I'll get the one for the emptiness chapter. I'm not sure where I want it to go. I

Normally I can handle getting tattooed, but these really tested my endurance. Breathing was key, but there was a point where I had to say, "You know, I think we can do the scales some other time on the dragon." I was done, finished, no more pain tolerance. However, that's all a memory and I'm left with these beautiful tattoos that represent my training, my willingness to endure. They are also my guardians.