Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sloughing away the outside....

I feel like my outer protective covering is sloughing away.

One of the things that has astounded me while training for my blackbelt back in 1996 and again now as I prepare for another test, is the emotional impact of training. The training can be pretty tough and sometimes strips me of the normal defense mechanisms I use to make it through the day.

I am just starting to train for my Nidan and I feel this emotional exhaustion and I've yet to really begin the most intense part of the process. I think this new "naked" self is a generally positive thing. With my mom's cancer, my stress over medical school waitlists, and Steph's hope for a new job, there are very few things I can control the outcome of. The quality of my performance at the test in August feels like the only locus of control I have. So there is a sense of purpose to my training, only if to escape the tortures of the waiting game that is the rest of my life.

But there are other benefits too. I am very...proud of karate. Not "my karate" but the tradition I carry on, this living antique I carry with me. Reivigorating my training is like polishing the antique. I am taking care of my posession so it can be passed onto others, shared and disseminated, continuing the chain of knowledge that stretches back to those unknown and forward to those unthoguht of.

I am also excited to see my own personal growth. I am coming into my own identity. Second degree in my school is really the first step to cementing your martial identity. It is the last true test we face in our school. So in this case, the stakes are higher than ever. The outcome of this test impacts my self-perception, my ability to establish further links in the chain as I move to Philly, and my lasting impact on my martial family.

The first layers of protection, my 10 years of floating in the school and my inconsisteny in training are being beaten off of me. I am raw. I am obsessed. Excited. Scared. And it's going to get worse. Six months of hard work ahead.

Beatings will continue until morale improves.

It'll be a bumpy ride till August... let's see what happens.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Black Belt Exam

Two Provisional Nidans tested. April passed and is now a full Nidan; while Nick didn't pass, he DID kick Brad in the head, which was awesome.

The Junior Black Belt Candidates: They were awesome. ALL of them. Even though not all of them passed, it was great to see their passion for their training. I was very impressed with some of their techniques as well.

I got to actually fight one of the Senior Black Belt candidates. I had a good time. He did get in one shot to my left eye. I think I kicked him in the head a few times and controlled the fight. So I looked good. Andy fought well enough to pass as well. Wins all around.

One of the older gents passed as well and received his provisional Shodan the same night his daughter cleared her provisional off. Great job Bullens! Maybe photos or videos to come.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Karate Gear Distribution

In keeping with my sometime-career of Private Karate Instruction, I've acquired access to wholesale karate merchandise. While I don't plan on running a brick & mortar store, I'm more than glad to help out any friends who might need help acquiring training equipment.

Plus I can get Tokaido uniforms for cheaper now!!! Wish AWMA would carry Shureido too.

A week with very little training...

So, this week is slow due to testing and school schedules. I was scheduled to attend a Monday and a Wednesday class. Monday happened to be President's Day.... No class there. Wednesday, the county closed afternoon activities, so I ended up with no classes. Thankfully, Jake took me to his house and we worked on kata/hyung/forms for about 90 minutes. We spent a good amount of time on my sidekick in Bassai Dai. Did a bit of work on Kanku Sho and Nijushiho as well.

The interesting thing about the training with Jake was the video. (Sorry no Youtube videos this time... I'll explain why.) I was both entirely satisfied and totally disgusted by the videos. The kata were boring. Fundamental technique was strong, but they were inherently boring forms. Jake said I obviously looked like I was a 1st Dan looking to move to 2nd and that the foundation was strong... BUT it's obvious my armchair karate-ka nature had taken some of the vim and vigor away.

To quote Vaughn:


Monday, February 18, 2008

The Youtube Forms Project

Hopefully, you'll be hearing (maybe seeing) more about my training in the months to come.

As you can see, I've posted a video of my Nijushiho. Now' I'm looking to catalog videos of me doing forms at an acceptable level. I'd like to catalog all 1st and 2nd dan forms I know without looking (more) like an idiot.