5 July 2022, even when it’s just you, keep it going.

The last night before term break, and I had the place to myself. What better way to warm up in the middle of winter than to run suicides. The hall is a bit small, but I managed to do blocks of 5 very slowly by #5 and sounded like a busted radiator but kept moving. My 2 big weaknesses are cardio and straddle stretches, so then I worked with every type of side stretch exercise I know. I feel like I achieved a lot for myself tonight. I’m also doing the 25 push-ups per day for the July challenge again, which means a 50 while in the hall because, if I’m too easy on myself, how can I be of use to anyone else?

7 June 2022. Striking practice, emotions are never far below the surface.

Tonight it was classic punch/block work.
Started with single punches and blocking to either the inside or outside of the strike. Then we moved to two strikes with random inside or outside blocks. One person found it confronting and cried a little, but that’s ok. The dojo is the place to work through those emotions and own them instead of them owning and controlling you.

10th May 2022, hanbo again

Started off with rolls.

Then it was getting used to moving while striking with the hanbo. The old hand, foot and eye combination never fail to trip someone up.

After that, we did some simple scenarios,

Attempted grab, evasion and drop back into seigan
Using the hanbo to do a wrist control (ura gyaku) from a grab
Blocking 2 punches to the inside wrist.

Watching someone who has never handled a hanbo before took me back to when I first picked one up and almost instantly fell in love with how they work, even though it was a very long time before I got any proficiency with one. (Still a work in progress, and I’m really happy with that.)

3rd May 2022. Hanbo, probably one of the easiest weapons to translate to modern life.

Hanbo intro
Getting a feel for how it moves.
Timing with the feet and keeping the shoulders relaxed.
Two-handed horizontal arc strikes working through the 8 angles, forward, back, sides and 45°s (no jumps or ducking tonight).
Led on to working with the large shield to feel the impact (and the bounce back!) of a simulated gut strike. Proper posture, balance, keeping the shoulders low and relaxed. Correcting to minimise/ delete any windup.
I’ve got a bad habit of dropping my lead wrist behind the strike; I’ll work on that!

Tuesday 22 March, it’s all in a bit of fun.

Kat got annoyed when I put one blue mat down in a random spot when we laid out the interlock mats last week all pink side up. So she got to it first this week and made sure that all were set up in a square with one blue mat in the middle 🙂

Today was all Sanshin and postures, hoko, hicho, ichimonji, ihen, hira with trying to move smoothly from one posture to the next.

Balance and posture

Had a bit of fun with a game of rolling tag for a warm-up. Followed by some light grappling practice to work on posture and balance. After that, it was an introduction to Osoto Gari, again really focusing on the need for good posture and how to mess with theirs.
Kamae were Ichmonji, Hoko & Doko
Introduced sword and the proper grip, showed the 9 basic cut angles and let them have a go. It started off a bit wild, so I added in a series of visualisations, one at a time.

  1. You are cutting a basketball.
  2. It’s really solid, so you have to slice instead of hacking at it
  3. You are cutting the ball in a corridor and don’t want to put dents in the wall.
  4. You are now on a slippery surface, so you need to slide your feet and not stomp.
    Got a few laughs out of that, but the cuts did look better. The last part was to focus on each cut and try and see it as an exercise in control, each cut travelling on the best arc, not losing one’s balance and checking the posture for tense shoulders or neck.

Resistance work for understanding postures

It’s hard to tell if your posture is good until it gets tested. Walking in a storm is a very different experience from an afternoon stroll. How good are my postures if someone is trying to push me back? When should I hold steady vs flow away? You can talk and talk about lowering your posture, don’t overreach etc., but until someone is pushing back, you don’t always know if you’ve got it