Monday, March 27, 2006

The one armed karate ka

I was having issues with my left arm, and shoulder so I went for some therapy. I was told to "lay off of the martial arts" for awhile to allow that shoulder to heal.

This gave me some concerns, since I enjoy martial arts, and that I didn't wish to allow the rest of my body to lose what I had gained. I managed to strike a bargain and placed my left arm in a sling to isolate it from training.

I performed all of my basics, and kata one-armed for my classes, and I learned SO much about karate.

a) I learned that I was capable of separating the goal from the technique. If I wanted to do a downward block, I could just as easilly use the opposite hand, or my knee.. it didn't have to always be the textbook version that I've been doing up until now.

b) I learned that you have to speed up the movements if you want to block/counter with only one arm. The block has to be more of a strong flicking feeling rather than a solid block to allow the time to pull your fist back for the counter.

c) I learned how important that pull back hand (Hikite) really is! There was no balance without the pull back hand. All of the power of my techniques suddenly had to come from hip vibration or rotation. I became exhausted very quickly.

d) I felt the open-ness of my left side, therefore I went into fighting stance with my right side forwards. It felt awkward.. the left has always been my preference. This alerted me to the fact that I might like to train so that both sides are comfortable when I defend myself.

I don't know how long I have to let my left arm recuperate, and heal, but I do know that I appreciate all the lessons that I have learned from this moment of my training.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


It almost feels like I've hit my stride physically. I train with intensity, push myself through the whole class, and yet I'm not struck down to a sore non-moving slug when I get home. Sure.. I feel slightly sore, but it's not the same kind of total stiffness that I used to feel. It's almost like my body has accepted the fact that I'm going to ask this of it every time that I train, and has said "O.k... if that's the way it's going to be.. I'll cope somehow."

I remember how horribly stiff I was one day after karate class. I came home and saw the three cement steps up to my back porch. I stood there for a couple of minutes trying to figure out how I was going to lift my foot that high. I had to figure out for a second that my arms still had some energy left to help.. not much though. I had to grab the porch railing and pull my body up each stair. I swear that it took a good 5 minutes for me to grunt, groan, and pull myself up into the house.

I remember how my poor husband was so energy-less after class one day that he had trouble pushing the gas pedal of the car. We had to take a good 15 minute rest break before we drove home. We just sat there in the car feeling so tired that we couldn't move, or didn't even want to talk.

Oh heavens.. talking about energyless. I remember my white belt test for Kyokushin. I ended up laying on the ground, staring at the ceiling, feeling so empty of energy that I had difficulties remembering my name. The walls swirled around me, as I felt the earth twirling under my back. Opening my eyelids took effort, and concentration. I remember seeing my Sensei looking down at me saying "Are you alright?" All I could say was a very weak "no.." It took me 3 days of resting to recuperate from that test. I would fall asleep everytime that I stopped moving... it didn't matter what time of day.

It's nice to feel just a small amount of soreness from training rather than a total debilitation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The second part of my interview in Combat magazine

Yes, the second half of my interview has now been published. You can read it by clicking here:

I have to say that I'm totally astounded, and thrilled to have participated in this Combat Panel. It is quite a wonderful chance to contribute my thoughts to the martial art community.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I surprised myself yesterday...

I was instructed to take one move from any kata that I wanted to.. and find an application for it.

I decided to take the opening move of the kata, Jion. I stood there, holding my hands in front of me. My mind swirling with "O.K... which way is the power going? What am I doing? Why am I doing it?" All of my thoughts were blank.. just blank.

So.. I decided that since my feet, knees, and hips will help give me a hint as to what I'm doing.. I paid extra attention to what they were doing. My left foot went back, and my body sunk down using gravity as a force. The power of the technique was heading down.. not sideways.. but down..

Yet.. my hands were doing a circular (almost sideways double block).. I suddenly asked myself "What if?" "What if the power was actually being sent inwards, not outwards? That would mean that I was going in, and down strong enough to break something.. "

I gave myself permission to entertain the thought that I was stronger than I really was, and I realized that if I grabbed my opponents oncoming wrist with my left hand, my right hand would do a hammerfist strike on his elbow at the same time that my left arm was violently pulling the arm twisting, and downwards against the power of the hammerfist strike. Adding my body weight dropping with this move.. the chances are that I could break, or horribly hyperextend the arm of my opponent.

I stood there in a state of elation that I had figured this out.. even IF it was not actually applicable... I was also shocked that I could think so violently with such calm reserve.. almost like a doctor describing surgery. Is this still "Me"? What happened to the person that I remember being.. the one who begged her father to release one of the fish that he had caught from the line because she thought that the fish was looking at her so sadly?? I still remember the frustrated growl that my Dad gave as he released this fish so stop the tears of his daughter.. and then we saw it floating on the water a couple of feet away from the boat.