5PoS, TvC…lather, rinse, repeat….

Tuesday night kung fu. Was hoping to see CK there, but she was not feeling well. I’m trying to set up practices and sparring sessions with her for this coming weekend and early next week. Scheduling’s going to be a little challenging. Last time CK came to town, I bailed on most of my BJJ classes for the duration so that I could get training time with her- and Rodrigo actually noticed and asked me where I’d been. Embarassed I don’t want to be MIA to a whole bunch of jiu jitsu classes right after I got this huge promotion- that would look bad.

We got to class kind of early tonight because the carpool was decimated (SK out of town, JM sick as well, so it was just Nemesis and me). I used the time to work on Hurricane Hands, Anonymous Leopard (heh heh), and 5 Points in the Mirror (I went into an adjoining room so that no one could see what I was working on!). I’m getting fairly comfortable with 5 Points in the Mirror… I think after a few more sessions (somewhere that I can actually go through the whole thing, including the rolls and jumps- so somewhere other than in my tiny living room or at work), I will pretty much be able to move it from "in progress" to "maintanence". I have been playing some with 5 Animals in the Mirror, and have that one about 2/3 analyzed. Next mirror project will be Leopard 3.

I also went through Cannon Fist once… man, I worked so hard on Cannon Fist, and now I am so sick of the durn thing that I never want to do it again! (Much less spend six or eight hours straight doing reps while CK nitpicks at it!) But I thought I’d better run through it once in case CK wanted to see it right away. That was one reason to sigh in relief that she didn’t show up tonight… I have a Cannon Fist reprieve! I’m really anxious about messing it up the first time I show it to CK. Really, I *HAVE* worked so hard on it- but that performance anxiety, again.

Since SK was out of town, I was once again tapped to lead forms warmup when class began. Since MM was there, and it was a small class, I had the cheek to speak up this time and point out, "Ya know, there are two students here who outrank me," Nemesis, MM and I are at the same rank, and they joined the class a few weeks (months?) before I did and so have seniority. It still didn’t get me off the hook! Rolling Eyes But later, CN came over to me and said privately, "I asked *you* to do it because you obviously know the material better than anyone here," So that’s a good compliment. I just hate leading, I get such performance anxiety when I have to get up in front of a group.

After going through the regular warmup forms easy-pace and then "combat cadence" (DD loves that term), MM and JaE worked on Bung Bo Kuen while Nemesis, JB and I went through 5 Points and Tiger vs Crane. This took most of the class. Truth be told I would rather have joined the Bung Bo group… I still don’t feel very confident with my Bung Bo Kuen, and JaE and MM look like they have that elusive bouncy energy flow down pretty well (both are favoring Northern Mantis as a primary style, it seems… although it’s much too early for JaE to be deciding)- I would have liked to work with them and try to absorb some of that. But I wasn’t given a choice. We are going to be working with 5 Points and Tiger vs Crane all next semester. I feel pretty good about both of them already. TvC was going to be very low on my list of forms to mirror-image… it’s technically classified as a Tiger form, but it’s almost all Crane material. I would rather be mirror-imaging all my Tiger and Dragon material first. But if we’re dissecting TvC endlessly in class for the next three months, it might be smart to go ahead and tackle the mirror version at the same time. We’ll see.

Next semester is going to be a knee-aching period for me… both 5 Points and TvC are painful on my knees, and after many reps of both tonight, my knees were whimpering. I’ll have to be really consistant about bringing my ice packs next semester and icing my knees before and after class- maybe during the short water breaks too- hopefully I can prevent my form from starting to go south really bad by the last 45 min or so.

I have also been planning to hang some balls from my lving room ceiling on strings- at different heights- to practice jumping stright up and try to increase my max height. This would probably be a good time to start that, as TvC is packed with flying kicks and 5PoS has one as well- which is supposed to be as high and dramatic as possible.

We did a little 3 Step Arrow with applications, and then a new wrist release from Wing Chun.

I asked if anyone remembered the 2 most recent steps that had been tacked onto the end of the Tiger kick drill… we did them once or twice last year and never got back to them… but no one remembered any more details about them than I did, which was not enough detail to perform them. Hopefully DD will cough them up in the next month if he comes to class, or I can get CN or SK to get the steps from DD and transmit them to me. It would be nice if we got some more new pieces of that Tiger kick drill next semester, instead of *just* working on old material.

Angst, oh angst… or, a Question Of Investment

I am sooooooooooooooooo sick of angsting about these issues that are derailing my kung fu training. I lay awake half the day yesterday tossing and turning.

CK is in town. It’s probably going to be impossible to avoid multiple conversations with CK on this topic. As tempting as it is to ask/wish that someone with more pull (like CK) would intercede on my behalf, even a best case scenario would be merely a bandaid on the real problem.

I have finally coalesced The Real Problem from an encyclopedia down to one salient point: a question of investment.

I got very emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually invested in this path. Hitting the glass ceiling has been terribly difficult, disappointing, and frustrating.

I’m afraid that even if the barriers vanished, trying to progess- and getting even more invested- may well end with me crashing against yet another glass ceiling a little further on.

*THAT* is why I keep seesawing wildly between thinking, "If DD ever agreed to train me, I’d jump at that with both feet," and the next minute, "If DD agreed to train me at this point, I’d say no thanks."

Is it possible to do this without being invested? Is it possible to just take whatever may become available and be okay if there’s a brick wall beyond it? Or is the INVESTMENT part of what makes this different- more than just a hobby.

Leopard stuff!

Morning BJJ. Jesse was teaching. he has cut his facial hair so that he looks like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine… I have to cover a smirk every time I look at him. He always puts some yoga into his warmups. You would never look at Wolverine on the street and think he was into yoga. Wink

We didn’t work on a specific technique today, just relay and king-of-the-hill type circuits from different positions and with different restrictions on what you could do. I enjoy circuits, where you get to try your skills against a lot of difefernt people of varying sizes and abilities. Jesse told us to divide into three groups based roughly on "small, medium, large". He paused, looked me up and down, looked at my belt, and said, "We’ll put you in with the mediums." ROFL

I got a turn with Jesse… of course not till I was exhausted and out of breath, and puffing like a steam engine. I wish I’d had a little more gas to that I could have made a better showing. But I think I put up a decent fight.

A little later, I put up an even more decent fight against a brown belt I’d never met before. Rodrigo had made some chuckling remark last week about how during "promotions week" people start coming out of the woodwork and the classes are all full, with folks who haven’t shown their faces in weeks or months. He’s right. The more-crowded mats are a minus, but I like being able to work with new people who don’t know my tricks.

The brown belt guy grabbed my sleeve, and I immediately flicked him off with a circular wrist release. He grabbed my sleeve again, and I immediately removed him with a different wrist release. Then I watched him do that slight pause/reassess/dialing-my-game-up-a-notch thing…. Man, I love watching that. Mr. Green I never get tired of that.

We had a long, fun, competitive roll, and I think I did pretty well. After he subbed me, he told me I have a great guard pass. Smile

Stop at home to shower and blog update, now off to kung fu.

……………later……………..

Leopard stuff! CC started teaching me a new Leopard form. I’m so thrilled. It’s way cool so far. thumbsup I just adore Leopard. It just feels so RIGHT, so deja-vu-y, like I already learned this style in a previous life or something. This is definitely the style for me.

CC has some kind of weird twitch about not being willing to tell me the name of the form we’re working on till we’ve gotten all the way through it. So I don’t know the name of the form. It’ll have to be "Anonymous Leopard" for now.

I did tell him that I’m working on Five Points and some other forms off the opposite side. I’m not going to tell anyone else about that project. There are rarely perks to this schism in the organization, but here’s one. No one in DD’s group will hear about my little mission from CC.

Evening BJJ (no-gi)

Yeah, three martial arts classes in one day…. am I one sick puppy or what?

No Cindy tonight- bummer! I so rarely get to make any of Cindy’s classes, and I was looking forward to taking class with her tonight. The high-ranking blue belt who taught did a great job, although he cardio’ed us till I had to take a break. Lots of running. My crappy cardio combined with my breathing issues make it really hard for me to run for a long time.

Then we did a few fun drills, and then learned two different ways to get an opponant out of turtle. Then a couple of escapes from back mount.

Then specific relays, king of the hill type stuff. I went several turns with Alisson, who’s a really skilled blue belt. (In fact I heard one of the brown belts ask on Monday, "When’s Alisson going to get promoted? I’m sick of getting my ass kicked by a blue belt!" ROFL ) I think I made a halfway decent account of myself- all except for when he reversed me about four times in a row with the same technique; involving catching my ankle, pulling me into the Chinese splits and then tipping me over. Every time he did it, I tried a different way to escape, but none of them worked. Sad Brian has gotten me with that one a few times as well. The next time somebody does it to me, I’m going to ask hir to teach me how to defend it. Of course one good place to start is probably to not let him get my ankle.

I was feeling a slight pulled inner thigh muscle when I went into the evening class, and being yanked repeatedly into Chinese splits didn’t help… it’s not that bad, but it’s probably good that I will have the next few days off MA.

Two-class Tuesday

Somebody commented,

Quote:
Have fun with that bullseye on your head Smile

Oh boy, and am I ever feeling that bullseye. In radioactive screaming neon; I’ll bet you can see it from there.

My housemate asked me last night, "So, are you going to try to skulk into your next class with your old rank belt on, like you did the last time you got promoted?" and I said, "NO, I CAN’T, too many people saw me get promoted!"

I’m still trying to process this; it was just such a huge shock… but what I already know it means is that I have to pull it out and work about twenty times harder than I was before. I’m up for the challenge. I want to make BJJ proud.

………Later…….

Morning BJJ class. Pat the Great Panda taught us. We worked on three different- but related- escapes from side control, and then a series of three different- but related- escapes from scarf hold. Then some relay sparring. Then I did some rolling with one of the white belts, and spent my first full class as a blue belt tapping out repeatedly to him. Rolling Eyes It’s okay, he’s bigger, and he’s pretty good- and most of the times he did get me reversed or subbed, he was muscling me a bit. I escaped from a lot of his positions and sub attempts. Several times, he ***SO*** had me…. but I kept fighting, and eventually weaseled out. We did half a dozen really good, long, competitive rolls….. I made him sweat hard for those subs. I did okay against the blue belts in the sparring relays, too. I’m still not trying for very many subs- I’m still mostly focussed on getting and keeping and switching between good positions. But I think I’m getting decent at that- especially since most of my opponent have size and weight on me. With the white belt, I was keeping dominant positions mostly by controlling his hips, keeping a good base, and I let him wear himself out wriggling around… then I would try to slip into a better position.

I never gave up positions and subs easily, but I’m definitely feeling a little added pressure now to struggle even harder. I know that I’m still going to be tapping out right and left to white belts, especially the big ones. I have not really been having a lot of angst thus far over tapping to everyone… I’m just keeping my eyes on my goal of learning steadily…. so I hope I can hang onto a healthy outlook now that I’ll be tapping to everyone while wearing a blue belt. Rolling Eyes

I really hope Ron gets his blue this week too. If I warrent one, he sure does. It would be a really quick promotion- he started a few months after me- but he’s been working his @ss off and he’s good.

……….later……………

Evening Kung fu. First we did all our usual warmup forms slow, then all our forms fast, then 5 Points twice more.

Then we split into three pairs and went all the way through Leopard Fist, taking turns demo’ing an application for each set of techniques.

Then we did some rolls, then a handful of different armlocks to use after a takedown.

Then we did a drill wherein one student stood at the far end of the room, and the rest lined up. You had to roll all the way to the opposite end of the room, then immediately jump up (dizzy) and confront a random attack from the "bad guy" student. Defend, counter, takedown, "finish off". That was fun. I really like these practical exercises where we get to improvise different defenses. Wish I’d had my contacts in, though. I had to take my glasses off and do it half-blind- hate that.

When I was the attacker, I gave them a little resistance to the takedown and made them work for it. I even confounded SK once and he had to back off and start over… he can usually stomp all over everyone without even trying, so I felt it was fine to resist him more. thumbsup

Twilight Zone

Woke up to more aches, mostly in the thighs and glutes. I worked on Five Points In the Mirror and Hurricane Hands some more last night… I just couldn’t help myself! I took 2 ibuprofen when I got up this morning… that worked a little better than the aspirin/acetaminophen. Anyway, I knew BJJ wouldn’t ache nearly as much as more Shaolin would…. that’s one of the things I like about training multiple MA’s. When something starts to hurt, you can just switch to something else that uses different muscles in different ways.

Started the day with a little more 5 Points, a little more Hurricane Hands, then a little Five Animals In the Mirror. That was not the next form I had planned to invert…. I dunno, I just felt like playing with that one a little. In fact I pretty much worked on this all day, off and on. I’ve worked my way through the entirety of 5 Points…. it needs about a bajillion more reps, but the analysis part is done. About halfway through the analysis of 5 Animals.

In between reps I watched snatches of CM demo’ing basic Leopard defenses on DVD.

Morning BJJ. Shawn, one of the brown belts, taught the class. He is one of those CARDIO-TILL-YA-PUKE teachers! faint After we were all close to passing out, we drilled shoulder throws till we were ready to DIE! Then with what couple of ounces of gas we had left, we drilled a reverse from guard that looks vaguely similar to something I did a few months ago. As much as I often feel that all this isn’t sinking in, today was one of those days where it was like, "Oh, yeah, that has some familiar bits in it" and I had to obsess a little less than usual
about which grip to use and which foot to post on and all the little details that I tend to mess up.

Parts of the technique involved things that I had found impossible to do in the past. This time I managed them- sort of- well, better than I had before, at least. Shawn offered a couple of work-arounds if we couldn’t make the technique work, and I found another work-around on my own. I’m getting better at coming up with my own work-arounds in Kung Fu when my size prevents me from doing the technique, but I’m not very good at that type of MacGyvering in BJJ yet. It will be nice when that starts kicking in more.

A few rounds of pass-guard/reverse. I was too wiped to do open mat. But I gave myself permission to bail since today is a "BJJ Toofer". Razz

……LATER……..

WE HAVE NOW ENTERED THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

A place where the Earth spins the opposite direction on its axis

The sun rises in the south

And Kitsune gets promoted to blue belt.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I’ll try to remember what else happened at BJJ evening class tonight, through the haze of shock-

Cardio- this was Enrique’s class, and I was noticing- and enjoying- the fact that each teacher does their cardio warmups differently. When you take classes from different people, you just get a more well-rounded workout. And when you do two classes in one day, you are doing different stuff- which is a good thing. Also, you learn lots of different stretches, different exercises, different little drills… which you can do on your own time or share with your other MA groups.

We drilled a body-drop-esque hip throw… it wasn’t a body drop, but it had a lot of similarities. They often do not give us the names of stuff (or they give them in Japanese or Portugese, which I’m not gonna be able to remember!)

Then an armbar from guard, with two different transitions to a second type of sub that you could switch to if the person tried to escape.

After that was the belt promotions. I was thinking that I *might* get a stripe, but wouldn’t have been surprised to not get one. No big deal either way. They said that they were only going to do belts in front of everyone, and just walk around during sparring to hand out the stripes, because doing all the individual stripe promotions as a group was too time-consuming. I knew that Leah was going to get her blue, because I had heard Pat the Great Panda ask Leah’s mom if she had a camera… then he said to her, "you might want to have a camera ready tonight," So I was *really* excited for Leah to get her blue, and for me to be there to see it and congratulate her. We only have *ONE* other female in this school above white belt- that is Angela (she got her purple a few months ago).

Rodrigo, Enrique and Cindy were all standing up there, and Rodrigo said my name. I just stood there and stared at them, and they just stood there and stared back at me. Everybody started applauding. I bit my tongue just before blurting out, "Are you KIDDING??!?" Thank Gods- that would have been so disrespectful! Embarassed Somehow I got my feet moving. As Rodrigo was tying on the belt, he admonished me in a low voice for having the gi jacket folded wrong- it is supposed to be left lapel over right- how embarrassing! Embarassed

When open mat arrived, Pat started chivvying one of the smaller-sized white belts to roll with me, "Come on, you have to break in her new blue belt!" So I went over to the guy and asked him to roll, but he turned me down. So the Great Panda rolled with me, and the whole time, he was ragging on me about how he had to use more tricks on me now, because I’m a blue belt… and he has to choke me harder now, because I’m a blue belt… and so on. Gahhhh! Razz

Then I rolled one with Leah. I announced, "My Monday night is just not complete without getting triangled by Leah." But you know what, I did not really want to end that night being triangled for the zillionth time by Leah. So I defended against THAT in particular, really hard. As soon as we closed, I was thinking, "Holy crap, you weigh nothing." She probably has twenty lb on me, and is several inches taller- but I only roll with her once every other week at most, and the majority of the classes I go to, I’m working with much heavier men. So I haven’t worked with her in a while, and she seemed ridiculously light tonight. I did well against her tonight- it was a great spar, and she got me in the end with a gi choke (I waited till things started greying out before I tapped). But at least it wasn’t a damn triangle!

Ow

Post-conditioning-day-ache. Not too bad, but bad enough to take an aspirin and send CN an e-mail that said simply:

Ow

Ow

Ow

Ow

——————
CC wants to postpone today’s class to Wednesday. I sure wish he would be a little more consistant. But I guess I need to take what I can get and be grateful for it. I will go to the gym today and work on Hurricane Hands and Five Points In the Mirror. But first we’re gonna wait for that aspirin to kick in.

…..later……..
Aspirin never really did kick in, so I took a second-which never did kick in either…. to hell with it. Pain is just weakness leaving the body! Wink

Went to the gym and worked on ONLY Three Step Arrow, Hurricane Hands, and Five Points In the Mirror.

I wonder how many kajillion reps I’m gonna have to do before the two rapid-fire hand strike sequences in Three Step are going to gel. And I hear there are more of them later in the form. Ugh!

Hurricane Hands- coming along nicely, I think…. I hope it’s not too Tigery…. the transition between the low-horse-stance-with-blade-hand-strike-to-the-ground up into the little-wrist-rotation-plus-double-Snake-strikes is still bobbley and non-flowy. When SK does it, he has a bunch of complex Snakey wrist curliques in it. Since I am not a Snake stylist disciple, I need to simplify that a bit (at least for now). I just need to try to make sure the arm movement keeps flowing in a circular fashion so that it doesn’t break/leak the energy.

Five Points In the Mirror- what a fun and challenging project this is! I worked my way through almost half the form today. I could have worked on this all frickin’ night… I got home from the gym and I wanted to work on it some more! But I know that if I try to do too much at once, my brain won’t retain it well enough. I just can’t wait to do this with most of my forms. There are a few that it doesn’t make sense to do. Box Form is section A off one side followed by section B off the other side- so that one is essentially already done. The two "Needle" forms wouldn’t be different enough off the opposite side to be worth it. And Sil Lum Tao is a form full of

technique 1 off the left
technique 1 off the right
technique 2 off the left
technique 2 off the right

…so that would be useless. But all the others would be good to go. This is enough potential
material to keep me busy for a very long time… a very VERY long time if I count all the tai chi forms as well as the Shaolin forms. And it’s material that I can work on at my own pace and without needing anyone’s help (or anyone’s permission).

Between my secret mirror-image forms project and Hurricane Hands, I’m feeling really excited about my training for the first time since CC stopped teaching regular classes. It’s so nice to be this excited about my training again.

You know your MA group is hard core when…..

… you find yourselves doing pushups and burpees outside on the muddy cement while a freezing December rain sprinkles down on you.

Saturday Park Fu. MM was there- he is one of our intermediate students, who moved out of state for college last year. He is in town for a month, so that’ll be cool. He’s good to spar with.

SK, JB and I went through Catherine Dao as a team several times. We are having a bit of a challenge with syncronicity, as well as with keeping a flow without having little pauses between each technique- but working on either of those problems makes the other even worse! Another thing we all need to work on is keeping a STEADY flow- without speeding up during the easier bits and slowing down during the more challenging bits. These latter two points are ones that I know CK- with her tai chi + Dragon background- will harp on.

Another little tidbit of Hurricane Hands. The last two or three bits still need many reps to smooth them out (I did a good twenty or so reps of just those portions right before going down to the park) but I must have the basic technique down pretty well, because SK had only a few minor corrections.

The others wanted CN to lead us through some conditioning. So he led us through a series of different exercises. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I kept up on both form and speed better than any of the other students- said smugness compounded by the fact that the other students are all half my age. Mr. Green I often have the sense that the cardio/conditioning warmups I’m doing at the Gracie School aren’t making me any better- I still struggle through them- but they must be doing something if I can out-burpee twenty-two-year-old Kung Fu boys. thumbsup

We all *did* struggle, though…much moaning and whining and flopping…. which makes it obvious that we need to do more of it (the conditioning, I mean- not the moaning and whining and flopping!). We will be incorporating some of that into our Saturday practices from now on.

JB and I were discussing the state of our tai chi material on the way to the car… she’s anxious that CK is going to be on our backs about the zillion little technical errors that are certainly in our Cannon Fist and Catherine Dao forms. I told her that although there are surely plenty of errors that CK will be correcting, JB and I have been working really hard on this material since CK’s last visit- and hopefully that will show. We are at the point now where we are often able to find and correct OUR OWN technical errors- because something just doesn’t feel right, or doesn’t make sense in a practical application aspect. This is a real sign of evolution in the big picture of our MA, in my opinion. It is much more valuable than being able to parrot a bunch of forms by rote.

My buddies got promoted!

Brian, my favorite blue belt, is now Brian, my favorite purple belt! And one of my other favorite people to train with, Glen, got his blue. I’m so happy for them!

Morning BJJ- single leg takedowns, then two different escapes from side control. Then I rolled with one of the white belts, and after that, I got to roll with a blue belt I’ve never met before- he was not much bigger than me. I did better today at staying on top. At one point, the white belt had me in an armbar and I flipped us both over, then slipped out and got his back. It was very sloppy technique- I knew even as I was doing it that it was going to put me in a WORSE position than I was already in, but I couldn’t really escape any other way, and I was banking on the white belt not being experienced enough to exploit my position. I’m sure if Rodrigo saw it, he was shaking his head and rolling his eyes. But it worked! thumbsup It was one of those things that would only work on another white belt, though…. any of the blue belts would have armbarred the shinola out of me if I’d tried that on them.

My main limiting factor- even more than my size and weight, I think- is that the overheating and exhaustion is still sapping my speed and strength. I would do so much better if I could keep my energy up and keep moving. I would have liked to roll with the small blue belt some more, but I got so exhausted that I had to ask for a break. surrender

Five Points in the Mirror

Working a little on "Five Points off the opposite side" during a lull here standing at the counter at work. The first portion seemed pretty easy and I thought it was going to be a breeze; but ye cats the middle portion is HARD! There are a bunch of lunges- and trying to work out which leg is supposed to be in front, and then which way to turn… I’m starting to have bad flashbacks to high school geometry. But it’s a good challenge!

When I get to the Dragon-Rides-The-Wind throws, I am going to be very happy that I worked the Tiger Kick Drill off both sides…. I still remember how tough it was to learn to do Dragon Rides The Wind off the left side.

the Real World vs the Dojo

Thursday Kung Fu basics class.

After hand strike drills, we paired up and one person launched a specific attack twenty times, while the defender used any free-form technique to defend and counter. This is a really useful exercise, and I asked that we do it a lot more often. It really bridges between easy drilling and sparring. It’s more realistic than easy drilling, and gives you a better idea of what REALLY works for YOU in a defense situation, and also lets you try out some experiments in a lower-pressure environment than a spar. If something doesn’t work, you have nineteen more reps to tweak it. It’s also a good opportunity to try to branch out from your stock go-to defenses.

Forms- I wanted the three of us who know Catherine Dao to go through that a few times as a team, but both the others forgot their daos. It was just as well, though, since I got another small chunk of Hurricane Hands, and it’s complicated. I’ve been getting miniscule chunks at a time, and they are all difficult! This is slow going and sometimes a bit frustrating, but I’m learning good stuff that is completely new to me, so it’s positive.

On the walk back to the car, SK and I discussed the fact that since he is now in charge of the Thursday class, this might be a good time to consider various ideas for class activities which have been mentioned but never came to fruition. One of my ambitions being that I’d like us to watch some video of actual fights/muggings/attacks and analyze them in class to better understand how to recognize trouble early, how to avoid it, options for responding to the scenarios, what types of attacks might we actually expect if we get attacked on the street (the guy is probably not going to try Tiger Scoops The Blade on us….), crime stats and what types of weapons are most commonly used, etc etc etc… with a very practical real-world defensive focus. The instructors at Insights training workshops have participants watch vids and engage in such discussions, and I find it invaluable. I see somewhat of a disconnect between many martial artists’ training and skills for handling REAL WORLD situations. Plus, all the stuff I got at Insights about avoiding and recognizing potential danger, and how to get out without having to fight at all, is more valuable than all the physical fighting skill in the world, IMHO. The others in my class haven’t studied at Insights, and so are lacking that important piece of the picture.

I also aspire to find some way to get my hands on an actual FIST suit so that we can practice almost-full-speed-full-strength defenses. That’s another thing that I got to do at Insights that is woefully lacking in most MA schools, and it really helps you put the pieces together.