Thursday, September 30, 2010 - Session Eight

Class began on a slight sad note tonight. Well not sad so much as a mixed blessing or something like on that. Maestas Sensei began by coming in and putting on his bogu. We were going to begin drilling out various strikes and striking combinations (men hiki men, men hiki do, kote do, kote men) and he said that class would only be an hour long, in part because he probably expected that I would otherwise collapse from exhaustion. I warmed up and got ready to begin when, not long afterward, a woman popped her head into the room and asked if she a person needed their own shinai to participate in the class. Sensei loaned her one of his for the class and invited her to join us, and she did! She also went to ask her son to join in but I guess he declined. Anyway, it was fun having another person in the practice and she really picked it up quick! Sensei told her that she was picking up the material quickly, and that some students take weeks just to get the footwork down. Naturally, I raised my hand and said "Like this one!" while pointing at myself with a grin. Fun practice!

We still drilled out the various strikes while Sensei was in his bogu, and it made certain parts of the material much easier to understand. I could see where I was leaning forward too much when striking at men, and I could also see that I really need to work on not telegraphing when I strike at do and when I strike at kote. I do feel like I am better at haya suburi than I was, but then he had me practice it with a do strike and I totally flubbed. More to improve upon! I also did not collapse during class this time, and I think having someone else in the class helped me to perform better during the training. It might sound a bit funny, but I can be a vain person at times and I tend to perform better in most things when there are other people around to see. The comparison between us also helped me to see how much progress I have actually made, and to also see that - yes - my learning curve is a bit more steep than it is for others. So I am a slow learner at first but once I do get into a stride (not there yet) I tend to pick things up more. But I have always been that way so I will just keep on going forward as I have been. Obviously, it is working out well! It was also rad to see someone come in and do so well on their first night! I hope that she comes back.

On another note, tonight I tried another method for dealing with my weak and hypermobile knees. I had tried using a heavy duty knee brace on each leg a few weeks back, but that did not work out so well because the braces did not provide much resistance to the actual hyperextension that occurs whenever I straighten out my legs. This time I tried wrapping them each with ace bandage and it worked out well for awhile. The ace bandages definitely gave me the resistance that I needed, but the pressure from the resistance was not well distributed. So now I have this tight knot behind my left leg, right where the calves meet the knees. I am going to stretch that out later tonight. So ace bandages are out! Once I get back from California - High School Ten Year Reunion!!! - I am going to make an appointment with an orthopedist so I can get some more input on how can I better support my knees as they grow more strong.

Oh, and Sensei told me that my ability to control the shinai has improved! Now I just need to figure out a space where I can put more time into my footwork. The room we practice in is empty sometimes, so I might look at the YMCA schedule and see when I can go in and practice on my own. This was a great class!

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