The 40-count game

Kung fu basics.

I had asked that we play the 40-count slo-mo sparring game (we have to come up with a clever name for this). You do a technique, easy pace, and the other person counters, then all freeze. Other person attacks, you counter, freeze… etc up to a count of 40. The objectives are many. You get practice discerning what the other person is leaving vulnerable and thus where you should attack; you learn what *you* are inadvertantly leaving vulnerable; you work on flowing your own energy and momentum from technique to technique, as well as trying to harness some of the opponent’s energy; you start getting a better idea of what works well for you and what doesn’t. With the slo-mo and freezes, you eliminate (or at least decrease) that mental white noise of "OMG a fist is coming at my face 200mph what do I do what do I do what do I do Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-" It also lets me get more creative and try a greater variety of techniques… when I’m sparring at speed, I tend to stick to the same small handful of techniques that I am very comfortable with. I also tend to not take many risks… this game lets me try some "Hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if I tried _____" without having to pay for it with a black eye.

Sometimes we play this game with one pair working at a time and the rest watching… so that the teachers can make commentary and suggestions, and sometimes we all discuss the strategy.

First we did some hand strike drills, though… one person picked a strike and then the NEXT person in line had to explain the technique and answer verbal quiz questions about it.

Then we played that game for most of the class. I was up first, was asked to pick an opponent. I bit the bullet and challenged Nemesis. Then it was Nemesis vs JoE, then JoE vs me. JoE vs me turned into a grappling contest on the floor. It gets a little trickier, though, when your grappling opponent can sock you in the face, pull your hair and drive hir knee into your ribs. I had to change up my usual BJJ game, knowing that strikes and dirty moves were permissible.

I suggested that SK and CN play too- so they challenged each other. That was pretty fascinating to watch! popcorn

I was hoping to get a chance to play the game with SK or CN or both, but we ran out of time. This was a very educational and fun exercise, though. I’m going to push for us to do this more often.

Forms time. JoE and I had an agreement that he would trade me a little Southern Mantis in exchange for me helping him review Frolic Of the Five Animals. So we worked on Frolic a bit, and then he taught me the first five or so moves of one of the Southern Mantis forms he knows (I forgot to ask him the name of the form). I hope I will get some time during my trip to work on this, so it will be solid by the time I return.

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