Archive: Bummer

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 1 September, 2007

Interesting thing happened this week – went to karate on Wednesday night, and nobody was there!! I knew numbers were low, I guess over the last 8 weeks of absence the class must have closed up if there weren’t enough people attending. Bummer šŸ™

But, rather than getting bogged down, I’ve started looking elsewhere. I’m looking to jump into another school, either shotokan or goju ryu, but I reckon goju ryu might be my preference if I can find one in my area. I’m trying to stay away from mixed or freestyle karate – I recognise that these might be broader in application and I intend no disrespect to those who practice these styles, but for me, I still want to train within a traditional framework. I’m going to check out a class near where I live next week, and the advantage is that they train multiple nights a week, have affiliation with some of the broader national groups, and also offer traditional karate/Okinawan weapon training as well, which is ace as I’ve always been keen on doing some weapon training – bo, sai, nunchuku, kama, it’s all good. I’ll post my thoughts next week, but I’ve already talked to Jyastin-kun and he’s pretty stoked to see what it’s like. We’ll be starting again at 10th kyu, but that’s okay – the syllabus will be different anyways, and I’ll hopefully be able to breeze through the first few kyu before I hit where I used to be.

Oh, and as an aside, I’ve thrown up a heap of new training pics – feel free to have a look and leave some comments if you want, it’s all good šŸ™‚ There’s some cool mid-air shots Wifey captured that I thought looked pretty awesome, I’m really happy with how they turned out. Oh, and note the awesome Activision t-shirt I was wearing on the day that Tank and Meru got me for my birthday – retro awesome šŸ™‚

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Archive: Learning new techniques

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 24 August, 2007

Part of being an above-knee amputee is accepting that it’s tricky learning new techniques and mastering ones you’ve already been taught – granted this is difficult for anyone trying to master any kind of martial art, but when you’ve lost a limb (or part thereof) in a discipline that is designed to work your entire body in perfect harmony, you get some tricky stuff coming up. To this day I still can’t fire off a decent round kick with my right leg as I have very little support from my prosthesis on my left – I don’t have a foot to subtly shift my centre of balance, I don’t have an ankle to control the pivoting of my body, and I don’t have a knee to take the weight and securely leverage and assist my hips in swinging through a powerful kick; in contrast, I can feel all of this working in natural coordination when I kick with my fake leg and accordingly stand using my right. The best analogy for someone able-bodied is to imagine that they have to kick with their good leg whilst they balance on a stilt attached to their hip with a hinge in the middle in place of a knee – not only do you have to balance yourself by default, but if you shift your weight a little you’ll go arse-up as the hinge will cause the leg to collapse on itself. It means that your stance isn’t as stable as you would like, and its from your stance that you deliver true power.

On a technical note, there are legs with knee units that can counter the ‘collapsability’ of the knee unit I use; the side-affect of such a knee is that by doing this, I lose the ability to swing my left leg around and snap it back like a nunchaku. The knee I use is better suited to the way I use my leg, and it has the benefit of being servicable locally.

So, technicalities aside, I’ll get to the point of this post. Due to my physical condition, there has been a bit of self-taught/self-learnt techniques, or rather, variations of existing techniques better suited to my body. I’ve started working these out over time, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to start to write about them, if I haven’t mentioned them already šŸ˜›

The easiest (and the first) variation I learnt came early on, after I’d been training for about 6+ months and I had my boxing station to help with my training. When breaking down a simple round-kick, the move consists of raising your leg (bent) so that it’s horizontal to the floor, swinging through with your hips and letting your leg swing out, quickly retract it once it hits full extension, then return to your stance. The variant on this technique is what I call a ‘torque kick’; the principle movements are the same, but it employs a greater swinging action by using your supporting knee and your hips to generate a much greater level of impact.

I’ll explain by using myself as a reference – remember that my right leg is the good leg, and the left is my above-knee prosthesis; I’m not sure if this will be of much use to below-knee amputees, but I thought it might still be interesting in case the technique some how helps them. First up, start off in a short fighting stance. Slide your right foot across a little to your left, keeping your foot pointed straight ahead like you normally would in a short fighting stance; keep your left leg in the same spot. Doing this should twist your hips very slightly.

Next, keep your right leg in the same position, but twist your right foot further to your right about 10 – 15 degrees and turn your hips slightly clockwise. This movement is what earns this technique its name – you’re literally holding your body in a twisted position and have all the muscles in your leg, hips and torso torqued nice and tight.

Next, release all of the built-up pressure and swing the leg out using your stump, leg, hips and torso (in that relative order) into the target. The result, with practice, should be an incredibly powerful round-kick into your target. When I got the hang of the move, I spent a good 10-20 minutes pounding my boxing bag with the kick repeatedly, using both the foot and the steel pole of the ‘shin’ without the padded cover as striking points. The technique proved so effective that I actually tore the bag apart, sending shit everywhere. It was supremely awesome in the heat of the moment, but it also meant I had to grab another bag šŸ˜›

All that being said, the technique is certainly not without fault. It’s difficult to master control of the technique, making it extremely dangerous if performed outside of the appropriate circumstances, and never, ever use it when sparring; never.

Secondly, the pressure it places in your joints (ankle/knee/hips/lower back) is quite high and without the proper precations and care, you could do yourself a pretty serious injury to these vital parts of your good leg and your lower back – don’t say you haven’t been warned!!

Finally, if you don’t connect with your target and you haven’t mastered control of the technique (which is difficult as it relies un unleashing a large portion of stored energy), you’ll be leaving yourself open for a nasty counter attack. Again, don’t let me tell you that you’ve been warned šŸ˜›

I was going to write about a couple of other variations I’ve worked on, but I’ve waffled on enough for one post šŸ˜› The names I’ve attributed to some of the other variations include the spinning-heel strike (like a modified roundhouse kick, but taking advantage of the strength of the artificial foot), modified jumping round kick, inside-out hook kick, jumping inside-out hook kick and modified-ish jumping roundhouse kick (possibly evolving into a modified tornado kick – we’ll see how it goes).

I’m hoping to actually throw together some footage of some of these techniques as well as some basics that show how amputees can perform and control a number of the basic moves if people are interested, and will probably fire up a blog and send out a bulletin whenever I get around to doing it. I’ll probably get it done whenever I manage to get Wifey to take some training photos, which we’ve been meaning to do for ages. I’m keen to share all I can about how these excellent moves can be modified to suit the limits of what amputees can do. I think what I’m afraid of is coming off like some kind of faux-expert, when I’m a student through-and-through, and am always learning from my teachers and from personal experience. Humility is the best trait one can have when doing martial arts, and my fear is that this won’t be reflected if I throw some footage together or what-not. Having had to learn a lot of this myself through trial and error, I’m hoping that by showing it in motion it’ll be easier for people to understand.

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Archive: I’m back :)

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 12 August, 2007

Despite belief to the contrary, I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet šŸ˜› Apologies to any regulars for the lack of updates for so long, it’s been ultra crazy around here lately. Wifey and I are still getting the house ready for sale, it’s been taking much longer than we thought, but it’s looking great. On top of that, we also celebrated our first wedding anniversary in July, I had my industry’s ultra huge conference/exhibition two weeks back that I was heavily involved in, and Wifey and I have been in Sydney holidaying and visiting my brother and his wife for the past week. Crazy stuff.

As a result, I haven’t had the chance to train for about 6-8 weeks, but I’m finally in a place where I can get back into the groove of things. I’ll be training Wednesday night and starting back on my weekly regime of stretching and pushups/crunches/etc. I’m also going to do my best to knock out my love handles by trying a few more exercises that should do the job.

So you can expect some more regular updates as a result of this šŸ™‚ Wifey and I are also taking this week off work and she’s offered to take some pics of my doing some techniques so I can plonk some more photos on MySpace, which is cool. I’ve put some pics from the recent trip top Sydney up as well if anyone’s interested. The new lotus pic on my profile was taken in the awesome Chinese gardens in Sydney, and there’s an amusing composite of me doing jump kicks in front of one of the things in another part of the garden šŸ˜‰ Kudos to Wifey on both accounts for indulging me ^^

I’ve also recently been in touch with a guy from the US who is an amputee martial artist. He coined the best phrase for it – amped fighters. He’s into full-contact mma, and I’d encourage you to check out his profile (click here). Even though we approach this from different angles (I’m going down a more traditional martial arts path, whereas Robert is going into the more full-on, full-contact tournament style with greater practical application), we’re both heading towards the same goal – to push our bodies to the max regardless of our physical condition. I wish him all the very best of luck and look forward to continuing to read up on his progress.

So with that, I’ll leave you all to it. Thanks for sticking around, I’ll be looking forward to posting more as I go!

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Archive: You suck Scott Wolf – Red is better

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 26 June, 2007

Okay, Wifey and I watched the incredible wrongness that is Double Dragon the Movie last week. I hadn’t seen it before, and my other half had seen it as part of one of her friend’s obsessions with Scott Wolf. Now, for the people out there who aren’t aware, Double Dragon was a videogame released to the masses in 1987 by the now defunct developer Technos. Double Dragon pretty much pioneered the side-scrolling fighting genre in video game land, and the games are classics – XBox 360 owners recently have had a remake thrust on them, but thankfully there’s also the option to enjoy it in all its original blocky glory.

Oops, got carried away again. Anywho, Double Dragon is a video game. Video games generally don’t translate well to movies, due to (a) the Hollywood studio execs are idiots, (b) the director and producers are idiots, (c) a story is contructed out of a property with no real story, and (d) there was no money to begin with, so it was a lost cause. Double Dragon pretty much falls into all of these categories – the studios behind it were idiots, the final package doesn’t speak all that well of the director/producers, there was obviouly very little money, and there is little premise for a story. That is because the storyline for Double Dragon is as follows – Billy Lee has a girlfriend. A dude in a mohawk punches her in the belly and then walks off. Billy and his brother Jimmy rescue the girl. Billy and Jimmy then fight each other as as to win her.

No, seriously, that’s about it. Wikipedia reckons there’s some post-apocalyptic futre thing going on. I think Technos (and by extension, Taito (who translated it into English) were smoking crack when they determined this, as the blocky scenery suggests 80s tragedy, not post-apocalyptic future.

So, in the movie Double Dragon, we start off with a winning opening – ninjas raid a Chinese village. We don’t know where, as a handy subtitle suggests that we are “Somewhere in China”. The shonky factor increases when we go a post-apocalyptic future – 2007 – to LA, whre a big earthquake blew everything up. We then witness Billy and Jimmy Lee in an underground fighting tournament that demonstrates that Wolf needed more body double shots, as he is officially shit. Jimmy Lee, unknown but talented, doesn’t suck. The dude that played T-1000 from Terminator 2 is the villain and has a goatee, and there’s lots of biff, bad effects and cheap explosions. There’s also Alissa Milano in short blonde hair, who, like Wolf, can’t fight to save her life either. Then at the end of the movie, they join two dragon-shaped pendants (the ‘Double Dragons’) and suddenly they have campy uniforms in blue and red colours. The end.

This movie fails on so many levels and should only be watched with a healthy sense of humour handy, possibly enhanced by (responsible, over 18 and legal [don’t close my blog MySpace :P]) consumption of alcohol. I won’t get those two hours of my life back, but at least I could laugh at it and didn’t waste any money on watching it.

Scott Wolf, go home to your Party of Five. Or better yet, Go Home and Be a Family Man. Man, I’m such a tragic geek šŸ˜›

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Archive: Wonderbo~~~~~~~~y, what is the secret of your power?

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 19 June, 2007

This is the third time I’ve tried to write this blog, hopefully I get it done šŸ˜›

Anywho, training last Wednesday was great – I pushed myself really hard and felt I finally smashed through whatever imaginary barrier was holding me back. My form was better, my kata was more accurate, and kicks weren’t shithouse šŸ˜› Can’t wait for this week, should be ace.

I’m planning on trying to get back into a routine at the moment, and have decided to follow Renato’s use of body-weight training and have started implementing three sets of knuckle push-ups into my training between classes, along with at least 100 crunches. While things will be a bit frantic as Wifey and I are preparing to sell our place and buy another, bigger one, I’m hoping to continue to squeeze in more regular training between classes. Hopefully šŸ˜‰

Oh, and in non-karate news, I finally finished up my Media/Lounge Room PC on the weekend. I originally started playing with the idea back in 2004, and I finally got it done. I’m such a slacker šŸ˜› I’ve kept a journal of my progress and I’ll be setting it up on a separate webpage down the road. I’ll post a link up somewhere when its done.

Again, I’ll try to squeeze in another blog before the end of the week, but no promises – things are still pretty busy!!! Wifey and I watched the utterly terrible Double Dragon movie over the weekend for a laugh, and I feel compelled to write a blog about it somewhere down the line šŸ™‚

 

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