My Leopard rakes are smokin’ tonight.

Thursday morning BJJ. Stephen was teaching this morning. I continue to do warmup and drills only.

Defense from standing guillotine, leading to hip throw. We’ve sure been doing a lot of variations of this escape in the last 2 or 3 months. I worked with Bree, and asked her to throw me ONLY on the side that allowed me to breakfall with my good hand. For the other side, I had her stop at the load.

Then the same guard break that we’ve been doing for the past few weeks, this time getting to one’s feet and then underhooking both of the opponent’s legs. To be followed by stack, smoosh, and pass guard. Stephen took Bree away from me and had me work with Susie. She is *so* tiny. I hope she’s going to survive in here. She’s catching on to the techniques a little faster now, but still needs a lot of help.

Ankle check- at about 90% capacity now.

Thumb check- still useless, but writing the air-alphabet with it today is noticably less painful than it was on Tuesday. And I can make bigger letters, too. It’s healing… just way too slooooooooooooooow for my satisfaction.

Later…………….

Kung fu basics. No CN, small class tonight- just SK, JM, Nemesis and me.

Hand strike drills. I pulled out that White Crane fragment again, the one that CC taught me… it stymied JM a bit because she hadn’t been here the last time I intro’ed that, and it’s a bit complex. But since it was all veterans there, I decided to go for it.

Nemesis wanted to do overhand Leopard rakes. I started laughing after the first few reps, and SK wanted to know what was so funny. Now that he’s leading the class, I can’t laugh at anything without having to explain myself in front of everybody… I’m going to be in trouble the first time I’m laughing at something inappropriate! Anyway, this time I was laughing because one of my perpetual challenges is that my dance training has hardwired me to come up on my toes whenever I do a turn. Of course, this is rarely appropriate in kung fu…. I’m supposed to stay in low stances and not be doing little upward bounces during my stance shifts. The overhand Leopard rake drill has a drastic stance shift in it that for some reason I have a particularly hard time maintaining my proper altitude when I’m doing it. THIS time, however, once I got into a semi-reasonable lunge, readjusting the level of bend in my injured ankle hurt too much to change altitude. So my injury was actually forcing me into a cleaner technique. I found that amusing.

SK was rotating around with the kick pad, holding it for people to strike. My Leopard rakes were masterful. There are a bunch of them in Leopard Three, and none of my classmates (not even CN or SK!) know that form- so I have practiced Leopard rakes more than anybody!
When we did Mantis seven-stars stance rolling forward into double back-of-the-wrist strikes, SK held the kick pad for the others. Then he put it down and got the focus mitt to bring over and hold for me so that I was only hitting a solid target with my uninjured hand. See why I adore him? Smile I said, "You’re so thoughtful!" and he laughed.

Since it’s the end of the semester, soon the intermediate class will be working on Mantis and Dragon material(we rotate through a pair of animals every semester). So SK had us review the fragments of Bung Bo Kuen that everyone knows (half the class knows the whole form, the rest know only fragments). My bad ankle did *NOT* like the Northern Mantis hip-switch stance shifts. Other than that, I think my Bung Bo Kuen is still looking pretty good, considering how much I struggled with it last year.

Then we paired up and did a little Wing Chun drilling- one person attacked with palm-heel midlevel, punch high, punch low- while the other person defended with bon sau, tan sau and a press block. This really jarred my bad thumb painfully, especially when I worked with Nemesis- even going "light".

Individual formwork- I went through truncated versions of all the Mirror forms and their standard-side counterparts. Still some bobbles in Five Points In the Mirror, involving the corrections I recently made in it. I haven’t worked on Leopard Fist In the Mirror much, so I spent the most time on that. It still needs lots of practice. Five Animals In the Mirror, Leopard Three In the Mirror, and Little Red Dragon In the Mirror all feel solid.

SK came over to see if I needed any help, and I said no, that I was just sort of easy-rehabbing my way back into formwork. He had caught sight of a piece of Leopard Fist, as I was comparing techniques off both sides, and asked if Leopard Fist was being particularly helpful with the rehabbing. Then I had to prevaricate, because I still don’t want anyone but CC to know that I’m working on "Mirror" forms.

I also talked to SK a little about the fact that I’m worried my injuries will make me more timid when I get back to sparring. I’m not afraid of pain, and I’m not afraid of the injuries in themselves- but I am definitely very afraid of ending up back on the F’ing bench for weeks at a time. I’m afraid that that fear is going to be in the forefront of my mind when I spar, and cripple my performance.

When we sat for meditation, I tried to sit down in the circle crosslegged, and had to wince and hurriedly change which leg was folded on the bottom. But once I had, I was able to sit cross-legged for the first time since I hurt my ankle.

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