Sunday, September 17, 2006

Road trip with Supergroup7 Day 3

The day started off well.. we arrived at the University nice and early, found a place to park, and found the building that we needed to be in. There were computers in the entryway for students to access the Internet for free. I sent some emails to my children with a big smile on my face.

Sensei Colin walked in, and for me it was like seeing a long lost big brother. I knew him so well from all of those years of connecting through emails, and working together on his manual. My heart soared with the knowledge that for the next 2 days my husband and I will be spending time training with him.

Sifu Tim joined us a few minutes later. My first impression of him was of a quiet mountainside. I know.. that sounds strange doesn't it? But that is what I felt.. there is a rugged, powerful, and beautiful silence on the top of a mountain, and that was the feeling that I got from Sifu Tim.

We went into a special matted room designed for JuJitsu training. I playfully danced on the mats feeling them sink with my every step. I found that kata was difficult to perform on those mats because the floor sinks under your feet as you change weight in stance, and it throws your balance off.

Sensei Colin led the warm up. I enjoyed every challenge of it. He combined thinking with moving, and it was FUN! We stretched out some.. Sifu Tim took a picture of us doing the splits... Ha ha.. I can't help but chuckle as I see Sensei Colin all low near the floor, and our butts way up in the air.

Sensei Colin then introduced us to some new concepts about blind spots, and how to use them in our sparring. We learned to "see with the hip", and to improve how we use our kicks. It wasn't like he was "teaching".. it was more like a musician comparing how they attack certain parts of a song with other musicians. We were all learning together, and yet there was always a guide. It was fantabulous!

Sifu Tim introduced us to break falling. I shall never forget this experience. He started off simple, and advanced the challenge until at one point we were challenged to break some pretty interesting falls. I remember feeling my body stop moving, but all the organs within me shifted as if they were trying to continue going through the floor. I don't think that I've ever seen the wall spin past me so fast before.

We switched to some self defense maneuvers, and I became Sifu Tim's demonstration partner.

My Kyokushin training pulled me through here.. The things that we worked on were familiar, and I was able to understand what was expected from me, and apply it pretty confidently.

It was lunch time, and Sensei Colin had to go be with his family. Sifu Tim stayed with my husband, and I to join us for lunch. We had a couple of hours before we were expected at the next dojo, so I suggested that we go shopping at a mall. I found a little Spanish mall mentioned in the map that they provide for tourists to Dallas, and we decided to try to find this one.

We got lost. Mostly due to the fact that we didn't have a true map of Dallas. The ones that we could purchase at a reasonable price only showed the main highways, and left all of the smaller streets out of the picture. We wandered around for a good hour until we found the Spanish Mall... only to find that there only existed two active businesses in the Mall.. and that all the other ones were for lease. To Sifu Tim's credit, and proof of his patience, he wandered through the book store, and the furniture store with us happilly. Ha ha ha.. We had fun just walking together and talking. It didn't matter how fancy the surroundings were. We headed over to Sensei Brad Webb's dojo a little early. I was a little concerned because it was rush hour in Dallas, and we didn't exactly know where the dojo was.. I wanted to give ourselves time to spare. But with Sifu Tim's aide, we were at the dojo a whole hour ahead of time. Sifu Tim knows his way around busy cities, and he made each street choice make sense.

What a nice experience it was to train with Sensei Brad! If felt like our home dojo. It was close, intimate, and filled with suggestions of how to improve. I really was impressed by the students that I trained with.. they were so polite to us, and willing to apply themselves. Sensei Brad's little girls melted my husband's heart with their big adorable eyes, and expressive personalities. I, however, was immune to their charms.. (Yeah.. sure...) We focused on kata. After class, Sifu Tim asked me how many forms did I think that we did in that hour.. I tried to count them in my head.. I think that it was about 30 of them.. but my husband insists that it was only 22 of them. Either way, I think that we did quite a few of them.. and that put me in my happy spot. I LOVE kata.

Sifu Tim drove us home to our hotel, and we invited him to come up and have some fresh coffee, and snacks with us. Sensei Colin joined us for a couple of hours, also. My husband pulled out his guitar and we sang together, and listened to Sifu Tim play music. I didn't want the night to end, but the truth was that there was a full day of training waiting for me the next day, and already my eyelids were falling down. We parted ways with the promise that we would see each other soon.


Colin Wee said...

There's a certain trepidation when you shell money out for a seminar. You don't know what you're going to get for what you're paying. In this case part of the payment for you guys was this horrific road trip. I really felt somewhat responsible for that, and I wanted to make your training sessions worthwhile. Saying that I apologise profusely for having to attend to my children; if it wasn't for them, I would have been able to go through the detailed Basai session we discussed, or let you have control over a class, or have a nice lengthy sparring session. Alas, this was not meant to be and regretfully I could only share perhaps 2 hours of HRGB time. Of course that's not counting the conversations we had, but that's beside the point. One day perhaps we'll continue this type of sharing ... it was a lot of fun. Colin

supergroup7 said...

Colin.. Those few hours of training, and sharing that we did together made every minute of travelling worth while.

On the way home from Dallas, I asked myself if I felt any disappointment, or remorse for having done this road trip.. and the answer was "I'd do it again in a heartbeat!"

It was a fantastic experience!!! I have met so many wonderful martial artists from so many different styles that treated us as fellow artists. We learned so much about our own art through experiencing training from other perspectives.

I'm glad that we didn't get through that detailed Bassai Dai session that we had wanted to do... This gives us a valid reason for getting together again! Ha ha ha.. if ever there is issues about a reunion, I can always say "But Colin, you were going to show me all those Bassai Dai things.. You owe me."

Colin Wee said...

Perhaps you'd like to share some of the things you've learned on your trip regarding your own style? What do you see now differently than before your Dallas adventure?


supergroup7 said...

What wonderful questions Colin!

a) What I've learned regarding my own style of Martial arts: I learned that there exists a flexability within my art that allows me to see within the movements of others something that I can identify, and imitate. It's like we speak a similar language, but that the emphasis is different. Like Po TAE to, and Po Tah to. Through the experience in Aikido, I learned how useful a bent knee can be, and I became quite grateful for the low stance training that I have had in my Shotokan class. I also learned to appreciate the various self defense exercises that I have been placed through in my Kyokushin classes because I was able to adapt that knowledge, and participate in many of the activities in Dallas with some comfort.

What do I see differently? I've learned about using techniques in the manner they are needed.. sometimes one wants speed, and deflection, and other times one may want power, or to unbalance the other person. Or in other words, a block doesn't have to be a block.. :-)

I've learned that experience is the key to learning what works for you, and what doesn't.. but that experience can only come with time, and effort.. so I have to be patient, and keep my mind open to possibiities.

I've learned that keeping a calm mind is very central to being successful in a stressful moment.. The Interstate Freeway taught me THAT lesson.