The psychological intimidation of the stick.

I didn’t just blow my diet last night, I NUKED it. Frankie’s Italian Restaurant in Redmond is having its annual garlic festival. They have a special menu, plus you can order any of their regular menu items with a garlic quotient on a scale of one to five "cloves". I ate enough fettucine alfredo (with chicken and mushrooms, and loaded with cheese) and garlic bread to feed a third world country, with a near-lethal amount of garlic added. It was probably a week’s worth of calories, although I did take home a doggie bag and thus stretched the meal over two days. The upside is that now I will be able to tap people out with my breath for the next two weeks. My sweat is probably pretty toxic as well. I exist in a garlic aura. Can you smell me from where you are???

Kung Fu Thursday. The usual hand strike drills. I had asked if we could review Kiu Two, at least briefly- even though we usually try to keep Basics class material and Intermediate class material separate. So we did a little of that. Then review of stick/club/etc defenses. I worked with JB on Kiu Two and then JB and Nemesis on stick/club.

Interesting how the psychological intimidation factor plays out when someone is coming at you swinging a stick. There is such a small window of opportunity- and before you can even jump on it, you have to have 1)gotten past the freeze-moment, and 2)decided what technique to use. The freeze-moment is a bigger obstacle for me than usual, in this scenario. And even when I’ve pushed past that, there is a hesitation to commit to a technique, for fear it’s the wrong one. Yet if you fail to fully commit- in that split second you have to decide- the next thing you know, you’re being whacked with the weapon.

Going from JB to Nemesis was also disquieting. The TIMING of everything- which I had struggled with against JB- was now completely different due to Nemesis’ reach. I had to recalculate everything. It took a lot of brain cells focussed on just that aspect of it, when one’s entire brain is wanting to be distracted with "AAAAAAGGH, I’M ABOUT TO HAVE MY HEAD SMASHED IN LIKE A ROTTEN WATERMELON!!!"

There is a terrifying awareness that there is NO room for error; one hit is likely to take you out. I don’t think I find even knife defense as psychologically intimidating as stick/club defense.

Individual formwork. I did several more reps of Kiu Two (side A and side B), one rep of Touch Bridge, a couple reps of Little Red Dragon In the Mirror, and a few reps of Box form. I asked SK to look at my Box Form. He was bemused and wanted to know, why that one? Well, I just picked one at random- it having to be one that SK knows- and better it be one that the whole class doesn’t know (and thus one that we never do in class time).

SK observed a flow problem in the same area that CN has observed a flow problem. So I am aware of it, but haven’t been able to fix it as of yet. It was kind of funny, and kind of frustrating, that we both recognized the issue but neither of us could articulate in English exactly what it was or what was behind it. It was like having one of those conversations where you are finishing each other’s sentences and only putting actual words to a fraction of the communication. We discussed it and played around with it a bit, and finally I figured out that it’s a balance issue. I have so much momentum moving my "energy ball" 180 degrees that I’m having to stop the flow to try to regain balance for the next move, and to prevent myself from falling over backwards. I’m going to have to experiment with it some more, but I think it will help to lower the stance and focus on gathering the "energy ball" inward and downward instead of holding it at arms’ length like a hot basketball. Note, NO PAUSE here. Also note, no pause after the ridge hand strike. Okay to pause after you break the opponent’s leg.

Then he asked to see Hurricane Hands. Ack, I haven’t done this one for a bit. He said, "Relaaaaaaaax!" before I even began. Sigh. I had to restart it once, but I got through it- a bit clumsily. I knew I’d forgotten the two little kicks that he’d added after I’d learned the form through, so we went over those again- note that they are after the strike to the ground followed by the foot shift, just before the big lunging stretch. Right low kick to knee with ball of foot, inside of foot upward. Left low kick, outside of foot upward. Then the lunging stretch.

One other correction- the closing, no pauses in the loop. Make it bigger and with continuous motion.

I did e-mail my name in for the small tournament on Saturday. I can still bail if I want to. I listed my weight as 135 with gi. It’s IBJJF weight classes, so that puts me right smack in the middle of "light" (129-141). So I shouldn’t have to fast or stop drinking water or anything nuts like that in the next two days.

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