Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sort of side-lined

About three months ago I was holding hand pads while sensei pounded into them. As he threw his right cross into the right pad I lost focus for a split second, the second where he connected and my arm flew behind me. Of course there was pain and I had to stop and hold onto my arm, but then continued on. That's always the case, hmm? You get hurt but then figure it's not that bad and keep going. Well, now that shoulder is not doing well at all and I requested physical therapy. I went today (he's also a good friend of mine and dojo mate) and while I can still do karate I cannot do many of the blocks and strikes. Anything that goes above my head or too far into abduction is not on the menu for the next four weeks. At least I can still train! I'm also forbidden to do push-ups and heavy bag training (at least with my arms. I can still kick!), which makes me sad since that's been my weight training recently. But, if it means my shoulder will get better and that I won't have to get a cortisone shot then I'm more than happy to make those small sacrifices. Train smart. As for the handstand push-ups, I got halfway down and back up, but now I have to stop those as well. The reality is I need my shoulder to heal so that I can continue doing karate the way I want to. That's the important piece. The lessons aren't only in how you train, but how well you keep your body going, too. Injuries are a pain but they can teach you to slow down and pay more attention. The world will not end if I can't keep up the level of training I want to for the next four weeks. It just means I now have the opportunity to work on those pieces that need polishing. No biggie.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You have got to believe

You really, really do. Today I believed in my technique, in my self more importantly. The past two classes have been primarily on bunkai of Gekasai Dai Itchi and Ni. For Itchi there are five bunkai (at least in our system) and for Ni there are two. The very last Itchi bunkai has been difficult for me to get right ever since I learned it, oh, seven years ago. Today it just clicked. It finally went smoothly. The tricky part of this particular bunkai is to step straight back away from the punch (a chodan punch) in order to "suck" it into you (which forces the uke forward even more into their strike), while at the same time striking a pressure point found on top of the forearm (just below the elbow) with one hand and performing an uchi block with the other. It's like a windmill, or a whip, type of strike/block which results in the arm of the uke being thrown behind him/her. At this point you then move in for a double punch, one aimed near the bladder and the other at the solar plexus. Seems simple, right? Well it's not! At least for me it hasn't been. I've always performed it cautiously, aiming at the pressure point, making sure my uchi threw the arm back in a whipping motion and then moving in for the strike. Today I just decided to believe that the two hands moving in unison would find their marks. Well, it worked. Funny thing, belief. But you have to give yourself over to it and leave doubt completely out of the equation. As soon as my brain started to assess this move it would not work. In fact, I treated all the bunkai in this way today and it went so smoothly. Just let go, seems simple, doesn't it?