Knives are the COOLEST things EVER.

Drove into Seattle Thursday lunchtime and again class got cancelled (rats!). Cindy was there this time, but when I walked up, she was on the phone telling Lamont to not come in… "You just don’t even want to grapple with me today, because it wouldn’t be pretty." I’m like, "Ah, one of *THOSE* days, eh?" Bummer to not have class, but it’s fine. I’m actually very happy that we have a good enough student-teacher relationship that she can just tell me, "You know, I’ve had a phenomenally shitty morning and I really need to bail out of this class," and know that I’m going to be cool and back her up on that- as opposed to, "Here’s somebody that I have to grit my teeth and do the song and dance for." I’m so much more comfortable when I know we can just be real to each other.

Another couple days to rest the finger, anyhow. Maybe the universe is conspiring to make me rest that finger.

Thursday evening kung fu. SK told me in the car that CM had e-mailed him and they’d discussed some things about the class. I was happy; I had asked CM if he would touch base with SK and offer some encouragement/advice, so that was really nice of him to do that.

Three cycles to warm up- one person holding the kick pad, one person flow-sparring (1- just arms, 2-just legs, 3-anything goes), one person doing an endurance/conditioning exercise (1-low horse stance with pennies balanced on knees… you know you’re in trouble when SK breaks out his pennies….2- plank pose on elbows, 3-low horse stance holding a weight straight-armed at chest level). I had to hold the kick pad for Nemesis… always a workout in itself.

Monkey-in-the-middle self-defense techniques. Good thing I wore my contacts. Had to go a bit light because of the finger. I did most poorly against the hair grabs. I HATE hair grabs. SK gave me grief for growing my hair out again and then bitching about it.

Despite the finger, I actually did a halfway decent job holding RNC’s and even rear bear hugs (!) on Nemesis tonight. It’s not like I would have been able to DO anything to him- but he had to work harder/longer than usual to shuck me off or reach any part of me for a counterattack. SK always yells, "NICE!" whenever I do a flying leap onto someone’s back to latch on an RNC (I have to get a running start to reach Nemesis’ neck).

Knife work. This was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. And not even just the attacking (although of course that was the best); the defending was a lark as well. I loooooooooooooooooooove knife work!

First me defending against Nemesis (he had the knife). The fact that I was up against NEMESIS and still having fun is telling. I dunno, I just felt like I had everything under control (for a change). I know I’ve done a lot more knife work than anyone in that group, and even SK seems to consider me some kind of badass knife fighter (heh heh heh). Not that I did everything perfect, but it just felt like the playing field was a lot more level.

The spar is much more adrenalized when the knife is in play, and everyone is so hyperfocussed on it. The only time Nemesis got the drop on me really bad was when he had the knife in his right hand and threw a haymaker at my head with his LEFT fist. Often, the attacker with the knife doesn’t think to use hir other strikes.

JM with the knife, Nemesis defending. It looks like people are better about remembering to keep their guard up when the knife is in play. I had been noticing that with myself as well (I’m bad about remembering to keep my guard up).

Me with the knife, JM defending. I was DROOLING to get out there and start slicing and dicing, LOL. The first thing I did was start slashing low to her thighs, since no one else had done that. Caught her completely flat-footed. (HA! GOTCHA!) Darted in and totally hamstrung her a couple times. I also did a lot of slashing to her fingers and wrists whenever she was foolish enough to let me get within range of her guard.

I made a point of backing her into a corner… it took two "deaths" before she wised up and stopped letting me do that.

I did wide horizontal slashes to the midsection, stabs to same, overhead ("Psycho shower-scene style") stabs, wide looping attacks. I found that she tended to freeze up whenever I quickly switched the knife from one hand to the other and came in, or whenever I quickly changed the grip (horizontal to overhand, etc) and came in, so I exploited that. I am pretty dextrous with juggling the knife around, and the other way that served me well was when she closed and controlled my knife hand, I was often able to switch the weapon to the other hand and stab her.

I’ll never forget one of my very first knife seminars several years ago- SK and I had gone together. At the beginning, they just had some of us sparring (one person with a knife) as an initial exploratory thing. I had the knife, and SK and I were rolling around on the ground- he effortlessly got my knife arm well pinned, and I proceeded to switch the knife to the other hand and totally gut him. The whole class clapped and cheered uproarously for me, and I was so pleased with myself, because I had figured that out all by myself. None of the previous sparring "attackers" had even thought to switch the knife to the other hand. I think that same high-intensity "fixation" that both parties tend to get upon the knife itself tends to make you forget you can switch hands- just like it tends to make you forget you can also punch the opponent with your free hand, or kick hir.

So anyway, I could see JM getting a little frustrated, so I reassured her that she was doing fine- I was getting her quite a bit, but I was also going really hard and fast on her. I said, "If you sucked that bad, I’d be going slow and easy on you." She says that she just doesn’t seem to click well with the knife in general. I wish I could take her (and SK too) to the Insights Defensive Knife classes. Too bad they are so expensive.

That was a blast… I hope we do some more of that.

We finished with a run-through of Five Points of the Star. SK tells me that:

1)I am still doing some leaning of the torso (notably during the double Tiger straight punches with front lunges)

2)There are still some things that I am not fully extending

3)I continue to sometimes cheat the circling-inward part of the double Tiger straight punches.

All stuff that I know about; I still need to clean it up.

When we bowed out, we noticed that SK had a perfect dusty outline of a bare footprint in the middle of his black t-shirt; it was funny.

I didn’t have any notable accidents with the injured finger, but just the generalized jarring and bumping around had it sore and throbbing on the ride home. Not too bad; just bad enough that it was seeming to say, "Hey, don’t forget I’m HURT, here."

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