Archive | January 2014

Pick, Pick, Pick

My knee is nudged forward into a better stance.

The Shodan candidate does her self-defense move again after being reminded she forgot the chop to the neck.

Kicks are tweaked to be stronger, faster, higher. 

Arms are moved ever-so-slightly into the correct position.

‘Tis the season for nit-picking! With the next black belt test just a few weeks away, we know our material. We’ve done it enough times that we can do things without stopping to think about what comes next.

Now it’s a matter of working on the nuances, those things that make our performance even better. They’re teensy little things, maybe even trivial to some, but it’s the tiny little things that show the difference in ranks. This is where the true understanding of what we’re doing shows. This is what makes the difference between dance moves and a good understanding of our art.

Now, instead of Kyoshi teaching us new material or walking us through moves, he is fine-tuning us. Reminding us of those little things, making corrections when he sees errors, and running us through things we’re not sure of.

Sometimes it feels like we’re being corrected on the most minuscule things. And sometimes it feels like we’re just beginners and starting over. But this is all part of the learning process, and just the fact that we’re at the stage of being nit-picked is a good thing! After all, it means we have achieved a certain level of knowledge and are on our way to more. 

For now it’s pick, pick, pick. All to make us better, and all done with love, of course!  😉

Brown Belt in Okinawan Kobujitsu!

Brown Belt in Weapons!

Kyoshi awarding my certificate.

Last night I earned my 3rd brown belt in Okinawan Kobujitsu (Weapons). Yea!

I did OK but I didn’t do great. I have lots to work on before I test for black! I could use some time in front of a mirror so I can see where my weapons are when I manipulate them, so I’ll be spending some time at the hombu for that. We don’t have mirrors where we train. Or mats, but that’s a different story.  😉

A couple of weeks ago Kyoshi asked me if I thought I was ready to test. I wasn’t sure and said so, then asked what he thought. Kyoshi said he needed to see me run through my weapons again before deciding.

In my opinion my tonfa kata was fine and my sai kata was fine – up to a point close to the end which confused me for some dumb reason. I was having trouble keeping the bo katas straight, though, and couldn’t remember the name of any of the katas for the life of me!

After my talk with Kyoshi I spent the weekend studying. I worked the bo katas in my basement using my broken bo. I stabbed myself a couple of times and scraped up my arms with the broken end, so I might have to sand that down if I’m going to do that more often!

I worked one kata repeatedly until I thought I had it, then I moved on to the next one. I attached the names of the kata to the actual katas. I even made a cheat sheet of a few moves in two of the katas where I was mixing up the moves. Amazing how much that cheat sheet helped!

While I was studying that weekend I discovered that for the most part, I knew the katas. I’d done them many, many times in class. I just needed to focus on them one at a time, with no distractions, and do them again and again. The names just needed to be refreshed in my brain and that didn’t take long.

And on Monday I went to class and showed Kyoshi my kata. I surprised him by knowing the names of all of them! And then I waited for his decision on whether I was going to test or not. I was very excited to hear my practice paid off! I would test!

So last night was my test. I remembered my kata, I remembered the names, and I passed! Whee!!! OK, celebration over. Time to get back to work!

Heard on the Mat…Belt Test

From last night’s belt test…

Kyoshi: What happens if you forget something during your kata or self defense?
Me: Keep going and make it look bad-ass!
Kyoshi, after an eye roll: Just do SOMETHING!

I like my answer better.  😉

I’m Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry Shortcake 2

I packed my gi last Wednesday night but didn’t make it to class until today. I was sick Thursday and my lesson Sunday got derailed by the weather. Anyhoo, I didn’t really pay attention to what I packed – it’s just a gi and it’ll be sweaty within the hour, right? – so my clothes were a bit of a surprise when I opened my gym bag. I’d packed my pink gi top and white pants – my fave!

I normally feel like a princess in my pink gi 😉 but when I looked in the mirror I thought, “I look like a strawberry sundae.” “No, Strawberry Shortcake!”

You know that cute little cartoon character from the ’80s? My daughter used to watch the cartoon and had the dolls. You could sometimes find a strawberry-scented doll, and if you were really lucky you might find her friends and have a fruity-smelling collection.

That crazy strawberry theme popped in and out of my head throughout class tonight. Weird. Does that mean if I wear all black to the next class I’ll feel like black licorice? Again, weird.