haggholm: (Default)
I think I'm finally getting over the worst of my fear in sparring: The mind going backwards mentality, where my instinctive reaction in every bout would be to hold my ground (at best) or retreat, and where every attack I made was done not because I felt the time was right, not because I sensed an opening, but because I knew rationally that I had to move in sometimes and…well, there was no good reason at all for the specific times I did it.

Now (after a year and a half) I can start on that whole bit about going in intelligently and effectively. And doing it with my hands because I clearly don't know how to kick. And making clean techniques. And not telegraphing my intentions. And relaxing. And…

Let's just say I've finally worked my way up to zero.
haggholm: (Default)
  • I just realised that the reason I set up a subversion server in the first place (paving the way for my homedir repository) is that I couldn't get a subversion repository on the department's servers. Essentially, I would ask my supervisor, Norm, about it; he would give me some names of people who talk to. Unfortunately, they would generally tell me to talk to Norm. I foud it much easier to set up my own subversion repository than to deal with these people problems.

  • On the other hand, I need a space in the lab. I'm making a general effort to organise my life—hence all this document synchronisation, my online calendar (iCal), and so forth; in order to work effectively and/or efficiently, I need a proper workplace. Months after getting kicked out of the bullpen, I still don't have a desk … time to fix it. Hopefully I should have something by next week.

  • Karate is picking back up—the fall session is officially running; we now have three practices a week again, rather than just one (though I am grateful to Joel for coming out to UBC once a week all summer to lead our practice—one could hardly have blamed him had he wanted a break from it!). There are also lots of beginners, some of whom may even stay. I found it interesting to note the effect so many raw beginners had on my own practice. I found myself focussing harder on doing things right, with two reasons beyond the usual ones; one good and one bad. The “bad” reason, I must confess, is some degree of ego: I don't want to look bad in front of a bunch of beginners. (This is especially stupid as, merely one year into it, I'm very much a beginner myself.) The good reason is that to these students, I am a senior student (albeit less so than many others), and I don't want to show them the wrong thing when I am one of the many people they may attempt to emulate. (Hopefully, they will strive to emulate me much less than—well, pretty much anyone else. But still …)

  • A consequence of the above appears to be that I've actually been doing some things better this week than I think I have previously. No large changes, just a little less effort in some of the moves, better balance in some things that I tend to mess up to remarkable degrees … I don't know if it's even visible, but I feel it. I guess extra motivation is never a bad thing.
haggholm: (Default)
Note: Even through a kicking shield consisting of some six inches of heavy padding, getting kicked in the groin still hurts. Especially if done twenty or thirty times.
haggholm: (Default)
The brief version is this: Special training was intense and exhausting, draining and painful, and incredibly rewarding, and awesome.

The less-brief (though not comprehensive) version is that I generally got up at 5 am to have some time to wake up before morning practice; line-up was at 5:45 am. We would practice for about an hour and a half before breakfast. There was another practice session between breakfast and lunch, but this was for brownbelts only; there was another general practice in the afternoon, then after dinner, blackbelt practice. For us whitebelts, then, there were "only" two practice sessions per day—each of which was far more intense than any normal practice (with the sole exception of midnight practice, which consisted of doing 1,000 oizuki—front punches—but which, on the other hand, was at midnight).

The most exhausting practice was kicking practice—1,000 kicks. I thought my legs were going to fold. The sweatiest was kata practice (100 repetitions of tekki shodan). By far the hardest and most painful was kibadachi practice.

Kibadachi ("horse riding stance") is a stance used primarily for certain side kicks. To assume kibadachi, stand with your feet about (or just over) shoulder width apart, pointing forward; turn your toes in, just a little bit. Keeping your back straight, lower yourself by bending your knees until you can go no lower. There should be a feeling of pulling your feet together (though they should of course be stationary—this is merely a question of tension). This stance is ... well, it's not a bad stance to assume for a little while. Try holding it for a couple of minutes, though, and it begins to hurt. We had to hold it for 90 minutes—an hour and a half. No breaks. No talking. No fidgeting or looking around or closing your eyes.

It was the mentally hardest and physically most painful thing I've ever done. Trying to explain just how is meaningless—hold the stance for a few minutes, yourself, and try to imagine doing it for over an hour. Suffice to say that one of the blackbelts fell over (twice); people's legs were shaking, and by the time we were finally allowed to stand up, a lot of us were nearly unable to. Walking was nigh impossible.

There were about forty of us doing this (though people over the age of forty only had to do an hour, not an hour and a half). One person "cheated" and rested for a minute or two (by taking a more shallow stance) before being yelled at. One person (one of the blackbelts) fell over backwards with exhaustion after 40 minutes or so (and after being dragged back on his feet by the senior blackbelts, fell on his face after another couple of minutes). The rest of us all made it. I am thus in no way unique, but I made it, and I'm proud of that fact, damn it.

In theory, we had a lot of free time—only three hours of practice per day, not counting the one midnight practice!—but with the intensity of this practice, I was able to do little else save to eat and sleep (and of course watch the blackbelt practices—those were interesting). In conclusion, back in the real world, I must now catch up on homework and readings and ...

Good gods. I think I want to go back to special training, even if I have to do kibadachi practice.

Karate

Mar. 3rd, 2006 02:34 am
haggholm: (Default)
Today—tomorrow—whatever: Friday afternoon, I go to some place called Camp Elphinstone where I check in, try to rest and sleep: Saturday special training begins (see horror stories), and I am scared out of my mind.

I will also be entirely incommunicado for the weekend—don't see the point of bringing either laptop or phone. Training proper lasts four days, so I will be back Tuesday, either walking into my room or shipped in a wheelchair or pine box, as circumstances allow.

Wish me luck.
haggholm: (Default)
Lie down on the floor, resting on your toes (as though for pushups) and elbows (upper arms straight down, hands resting on the floor in front of you). Your body should not touch the floor—again, this is very much as though you were doing pushups, except for your arms, which are relaxed. Keep this position for two minutes.

With a timer that goes off every ten seconds, this is a wonderful illustration of how subjective one's perception of time is.
haggholm: (boat)
I did mention that karate class, right?
haggholm: (Default)
Today, a guy punched me in the face. It was fun.

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