Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Chaka Zulu Experience

Since Patrick Parker desires more info about my Chaka Zulu experience, I shall elaborate. This man stands no taller than 5'6", but has the presence of a very large dinosaur, the carnivorous kind. Think T-Rex. However, he moves like a puma, sleek and sinewy.

My Sensei, Jon Bottomms, spent some time training with Chaka Zulu and asked him if he would come to our dojo for a seminar. Luckily for us he said yes. What this man taught us was downright amazing. Most of his attacks were done with the elbows or grabbing the fingers. What Chaka showed us was an elbow routine, which I cannot for the life of me remember. This makes me quite sad, since it was this great flowing routine, with one elbow attack moving into the next in quick succession. I now people who still remember it, and it would be to my advantage to poke them about it. The seminar consisted of only those elbow techniques since there was a time limit. Since then there have been periodic trips to New Jersey, where he trains, but I have not been able to go. Maybe someday.

The thing I remember most about Chaka Zulu was his demeanor. He was so friendly, yet you could sense this fierceness about him, something almost feral. If you were to cross him you would most likely not live to see another day. I have not met many people who have that feeling about them, in fact it's just Chaka Zulu and Master Morallo (the man whose system I train in). There is just this energy they exude that says,"I will be nice to you if you are nice to me, but don't push it." They are constantly assessing their surroundings, who comes into those surroundings. That is the way I want to be.

On the teaching front, the wheels have begun to turn. If all goes well I may be teaching karate here within the year, or even within six months. It's so exciting, and brings up every single doubt I have about my abilities, both in karate and as a teacher. Yay self-esteem!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chaka Zulu

This is a video of Chaka Zulu that every martial artist should watch. Apparently my Sensei, Sensei Jon Bottomms, had everyone view this and it was forwarded to me. This is an amazing man. I had the honor of training with him about seven years ago and it was a great experience. The video is just over 15 minutes long, so sit down, take a breather, and let it soak in. It will be worth your while.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where does my time go?

And how do I reclaim it? The past week has been filled with chest cold loveliness and it's put a damper on my training, just when I was ready to get back into it all. This was not a surprise to me, with the move and the big changes, it's just damn inconvenient. Usually it's business as usual when I get sick, but not this time. However, it has lent me some time to just be here and not become obsessive about getting back into the swing of things.

I miss my dojo terribly. Miss the camaraderie, the trust, the routine. Put me on my own and I flail a bit until I get a new routine. This has been my goal in the past three weeks, but instead of giving myself time to stretch I've been impatient to find a new path in all of this. A spark arrived last week when I found out that the local YMCA was looking for a karate instructor. Fate? Coincidence? I'm not sure. All I know is, I'm not permitted to instruct in my style yet, but can be a second.

This leads us to Sensei Brian Moe (pronounced "moy"), one of the senior instructors of Koro Ken. He has said that he was willing to come to Burlington to train me and another student who lives here once a week. If he becomes the instructor at the Y, then I become his second and teach when he's not there. I'm not sure if all of this will work since he will not really get paid and can't charge a fee, which isn't very realistic. We shall see what happens.

Back to finding the rhythm of training. I have a place to train inside, have childcare, and have someone to train with (and also instruct at the same time since she's a green belt and will be testing soon.) There is also Wing Chun once a week, which will become a nice addition to my style. Then there's the conditioning that I want to do. Where does all this fit in when you have suddenly become a stay-at-home mommy? There lies the rub...

Again this brings me back to patience. I have very little of it and need to begin the practice of being here now instead of five minutes ago or five minutes ahead (or sometimes years ahead; to allow myself the space to breathe instead of doing it NOW. I used to meditate every day to keep my brain from running away on me and that all stopped once I had a child. However, meditating with a munchkin whacking you with a ruler he found on a shelf could be a great way to find inner peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wing Chun

Well, last night I went to my very first Wing Chun class, and even brought a friend! It was fantastic and it feels like the beginning of a new relationship. My friend was even delighted by what she experienced (she has experience with Judo and Kung Fu but hasn't trained in quite some time.) We began by observation, watching the first and second forms. As I sat watching I was amazed at how the Sifu moved and how simple those movements were. Every move came from the elbows, pooling the chi just below the bone. It was fascinating. Sifu Dan Leahy studied in China for fifteen years with a man whose name escapes me. So much was said and so many moves were shown that my brain couldn't quite keep up (I'm purely a kinesthetic learner.) The only moves we did were the vertical punching. It was very difficult to do. The move was so different from what my body has been used to, but the longer I did it, the easier it became. The rest of the class performed this punch 800 time. It was so intense!

What struck me the most was the simplicity of the moves. Every technique was performed from the center line of the body, with the waist providing the thrust. I'm so used to low stances, upper blocks, moving to the outside. There were some moves to the outside, but they were done very close to the attacker.

That's the other part, the closeness. Every block also contained a strike. It was done simultaneously, not with the block and then the hit. The kicks were all low. In fact, only three types of kicks were employed - front kick, upper rising kick and a side kick. Very simple. I can't stress that enough!

So, I'm hooked. Sifu was very engaging and full of information. You could see the passion in the way he moved. That's what I want in a teacher, not someone who professes his style is the best, but one who loves what he does and desires to pass along that information.

I was supposed to go train this morning in Rutland, but we ran into a SNAFU with the child-watching. You know what, I was okay. Before I moved I was so worried about continuing my training with Koro Ken, but now that I'm here I'm forced to see that I may not be able to train in that style (unless it's by myself) as much as I would like. I'm starting to feel that, and it makes me sad because before I left I was really in a groove. That doesn't mean I can't translate that groove into Wing Chun. Now that I know how to move and how it feels to move that way the transition from one style to another will be relatively painless, I hope. However, that does not mean that I will stop training in my style, just as often in the dojo.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A new home

Well, I've landed. It's been pretty bumpy.

All in all the move went very smoothly and most of the boxes have been unpacked. There's still a few, but it's decoration, which we're not ready for just yet. The rooms have been dedicated, dissected, drawn in. Me, however, I'm feeling a bit lost. This is not a sob story, nor is it any kind of complaint. I'm feeling lost because I'm in a new home, a new area, one that' much bigger than I'm used to. Even though we have many friends here I'm feeling lonely for my old ways. Mostly the karate. It hasn't even been a week yet and I'm so itchy to find something. Next week, I say, it all starts next week. There's such impatience in my character and it's maddening!

Next Tuesday evening I'm trying out a Wing Chun class. I'm so excited about this because that is a martial art that I've been wanting to try for a very long time. Hopefully, it's a fit.

Then on Wednesday I'm driving south to Rutland to the mother ship to train and then speak with Sensei Morallo about training privately to begin my teacher training. This is the only way for me to stay in this system. However, their is another sensei, Sensei Moe, who is willing to come to Burlington and teach a class once a week. If I can train with Sensei Morallo and then with Sensei Moe I should be fine. What I need is sparring partners, bunkai partners, ippon partners. That just takes scheduling. A good friend lives directly across the street from us and she's had experience with Kung Fu and Judo so I may tap into her well of knowledge. I'm sure she'd love to scrap now and then.

So, it's starting and I just need to find my patience. I'm also not working anymore, which is another reason for feeling lost. I love having a schedule, having me time put into sections. It's just a little glitch. I'll get back on track soon...