Archive: Getting ready for more training

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original post date: 20 February, 2007

Well, not much has happened over the past few days – I’ll admit that I haven’t done any extra training since last Tuesday 😛 Very slack of me. I did some push-ups and crunches last night in the hopes of loosening up my muscles, but apart from that I haven’t done a whole lot. I have weight training again tonight, and I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully it’ll give my arms a great workout, and I’ll be all good to go for karate on Wednesday. And hopefully Sensei R has remembered to find out about Monday night training too!

After Wifey read the last blog, she reminded me of the latest stupid thing that I did that I forgot to mentioned, so I thought I’d share it with you all as an addendum to the previous blog I posted. I while back I mentioned how I watched some karate competition stuff on the telly. Well, the next day I was all inspired, and having bought a stack of ice from the servo for the esky (it was Australia Day), I thought I would try my ice-breaking technique on the bag of ice.

Now, no surprises what happened here – I scraped a huge chunk of skin from the knuckles on my right hand, and now nearly a month later, it’s almost healed up 😛 Mind you, in looking at this, I augmented my stupidity by punch the block of ice when it was sitting on concrete. Not too smart, am I?

So yes, that’s the latest ‘Omigosh I’ve done something stupid’ episode in the life of me. From this I learnt a few things –

  • Number one: don’t imitate the telly. I’m not a kid anymore, even though I may act like it sometimes 😛
  • Number two: if you’re going to strike a dense object, don’t use your knuckles if they haven’t been conditioned. Because you’ll mangle them. This is silly.
  • Number three: if you really feel the irrepressible need to strike a bag of ice from the servo, don’t strike it when its sitting on a concrete path. Because that’s also very silly.

So yes, there we go. I’ll probably add another blog before the end of the week, probably Thursday. Before I close off, I want to take a moment to say hi to the people adding me to their MySpace profiles and stuff, and to Renny in particular, who has been passing along some great info on other martial arts he’s trained in from the perspective of a current karateka. Good for expanding my view on things, and it helps me learn about how other styles out there work.

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Archive: Stuffu

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original posting date: 15 February, 2007

Like I predicted, no training last night – was spending it wiith Wifey, watching DVDs, eating uber Chinese takeout, that kinda thing. Did another weight training session on Tuesday after work though – went really well. Fo some reason I couldn’t bench as much as last time, but that’s cool. I’m sure in enough time I’ll be able to get past that. The back of my upper arms (the bit that’s normally wobbly if you don’t work on it) feel like they’ve been stabbed with a tetanus injection, so I figure I must have done a good job working on them! I’m really enjoying the weight training so far; mind you, I’ve only had two sessions, but oh well, it’s all good 🙂

Anywho, for today’s rant I’ll touch on the many random things I’ve done to injure myself since doing karate, maybe as a warning to others to not be as clumsy as I am 🙂

  • My first injury came 1 week after starting up! I’d moved out with my then-girlfriend (now wife) only a few months earlier, and being the clutz I am, fell down the last few stairs in the place we were renting, mangling my little toe. Three or four weeks later, I started up again, but in the interim I’d thrown my knee out by compensating for my mangled foot. It also didn’t help that when doing some extra training outside of normal class I worked out in the backyard, which was a combination of pavers and concrete; not a smart decision 😛 Ended up going to the physio for a few weeks, and all was better. Huzzah, and all that.
  • Injury number two… hmmm, let’s call them repeat offending injuries. Early on in our colllective training, when Jyastin-kun, McAdam, Tank, Buu-Adam and I were starting out at the same time (Jyastin-kun having a few months on the rest of us), we typically went really full-on against each other. It was very funny and I think it amused (or bemused) our sensei greatly that we got so into it. Anyway, in learning the art of control (and the proper ways to block/kick/punch :P), we would habitually bash parts of our bodies quite hard. If Wifey + co and any of the girls at work are reading this, you’ll remember the swollen bruises lined along my upper arms, forearms and calf throughout this period. I also sustained some impressive bruises on my chest and upper thigh. I still think doing that was great fun, but it was probably very worrying for those watching from the sidelines… such as my other half 😛 Thankfully, I never got knocked in the goolies – one time when I was sparring wth Buu-Adam I got a clip in that general direction when his kick didn’t get as high as he thought it would, but I’ve thankfully been injury free with regards to getting a knock in the nads.
  • During my second year of training (2nd year? I think it was, but I might be wrong), I had an unfortunate instance of bad circumstance – I was sparring with Jyastin-kun, and moved forward just as he was striking and didn’t properly guard my chest/abdomen (this is a recurring problem with me – I need to tighten up my guard as a general rule of thumb). I received a punch to the ribs, but since this wasn’t the first time I’d gotten knocked there (and winded in due course), I didn’t think much of it. Two weeks later, and it still hurt to breathe – went to the doctor and found out I cracked a rib. Very annoying, as I had to take it easy for 12 weeks to let it heal, which meant three months without doing any karate. I reckon I drove Wifey crazy during that period, strolling around the house doing random techniques to continuously jog my memory. I remember that Jyastin-kun blamed himself afterwards, but let’s be honest – I should have tightened up my guard. In that sense, it was a good learninig curve for me.
  • Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, Night of the 3 Falling Overs. Erm, tthat sounds stupid. But that’s okay. I say stupid things all the time. And use words in a stupid context. like Uber. Or Golden. And so on. Anywho, this was during training during winter, and I’d just finished a marathon 21 days in a row, no breaks (no, not even weekends), of work. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and it isn’t anything I’m keen to repeat again 😛 During sparring in the night following my last day in the 21-day straight, I was destined to fall over three times – first I kicked with my real leg, and threw myself forward without enough control slipped up into air and landed on my knees. Unperturbed, I continued sparring… until I kicked with my artificial leg (don’t know why I was doing that – I don’t normally use it when I spar to attack), and promptly fell backwards and landed on elbows/back. This not being embarrasing or painful enough at this point to stop me, I continued to spar, and lost my footing again, landing face-first flat on my elbows, then my knees slammed into the ground behind me, landed on my belly, and was promptly winded. It was at this point (unable to move), that I decided that I should stop for the night. Sensei agreed, and I shuffled off and waited the remaining five minutes for class to end. The lesson I learnt from that one was to always be mindful of your balance, and slow down if you’re not in enough control. I can’t emphasise this enough to others out there training!
  • The last injury I can think of is to do with my leg, and I mangled it something nasty and caused the 12-month break I took from karate – I’ve already details this in my blog from 16/1/2007, so have a read if you’re interested!

Now, I personally find my random injuries amusing. For the most part, they were generated due to rampant enthusiasm for the class. I should note that I don’t know of any of us who have done such consistent damage to themselves while training, and I can confidently state that in learning from these mistakes, I’ve become a better, less injury-prone karateka as a result.

Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way 😉

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Archive: Weight training

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original post date: 13 February, 2007

This one’ll be a short post – just wanted to note that I had my first weght training session Thursday last week, and it was great. Wifey’s Dad took me through everything and it was a great workout (Hamez joined in as well). I’m not benching that much at the moment, but I figure I have to start somewhere, and hopefully it goes well. I’m of course not in this to become some huge beefcake, just to build up some extra strength and temper it with speed as well.

I’m hoping to do weight training at least once a week with this – I’m heading over tonight, so it’ll probably be every Tuesday until I start up the extra karate sessions on Mondays, whereupon I’ll train Tuesday one week, then Thursday (when Wifey and I go over for dinner) the other week. In the meantime, I’ll train three times a fortnight until I begin Monday classes.

See, I told you it would be a short post 😛 I’m not going to training on Wednesday night as it’s Valentine’s Day, and I’ll be spending it with my other half. If I get time, I’ll post another random story or something, maybe a recap of the various ways I’ve injured myself over the years whilst doing karate 🙂

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Archive: Kata + kumite

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original post date: 8 February, 2007

Alrighty, a quick summary of last night’s training would be two words – kata and kumite. Was an excellent class – went through the usual warm-up and standard striking/blocking techniques, then we jumped straight into kata, and I’m really feeling solid with my saifa at the moment. It’s much stronger and my form is more controlled and better executed than it has been in ages. I’ve started going through it when I get to the training hall before class, and sometimes in the 5 minute break we take in the middle of each session (very handy that – we train for an hour and a half, so it’s a great chance to grab a quick drink before getting back into it). Sensei K commented on the quality and strength of my form and suggested that we look at going through at the next grading, which isn’t for another two months (last grading was actually on Monday night). I think June would be better, as it will give me more time to not only continue to refine my kata, but also to work on my technique in general, and get me up to speed with sparring.

This brings me to other chunk of the class – kumite (i.e. sparring), and lots of it, and with the senseis at that! I learnt to develop some new parrying tachniques and continue to work on how to move around that is advantageous for my condition, and I felt really good about it after last night’s training. I managed to sustain a foot to the belly (and to my credit, I didn’t have to take a moment to recover my breath and sparred throughout) and my left forearm is a little sore from taking the force of another kick, but it’s all good, and it’s been a while since I’ve been pushed hard whilst sparring. The good thing about the aforementioned blows is that the first one re-iterated the necessity of keeping my belly thoroughly guarded, and the latter should teach me to parry or shift the weight of the kick away from my body, rather than just try and absorb it!

So yeah, that’s pretty much last night’s class. I’m heading over to the in-laws for dinner tonight, so I’ll have a chat to my father-in-law about weight training and stepping things up, which I mentioned in a previous blog. This will also be the last class I’ll have for the next fortnight – next Wednesday is Valentine’s, so I’ll be spending that one with my other half, and will return to training the week after that; I’m hoping by then Sensei R will be able to let me know what Monday classes are happening so I can start training with Hamez and Jyastin-kun, whilst still keeping up with my Wednesday night training. Oh, and speaking of Jyastin-kun, I saw him Friday last week, and he’s got a few weeks off work soonish, so he’ll be coming along to Wednesday nights for a couple of weeks. That’ll be awesome 🙂

So yeah, there won’t be a karate-class update next week, so I might fill it in with a backstory, either about karate, or something else to do with my leg, or both. We’ll see how it goes!

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Archive: Randomness

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original post date: 5 February, 2007

Hmmm, I’ve been thinking of posting some more pics, or even some video footage or something. One of the guys on my friends list (Ricardo Vich Busca, a one-legged surfer [how awesome is that?]) has asked how I do karate, which is a pretty reasonable thing to ask, since I haven’t really gone into that yet. I uploaded a few pictures last week, and had a chat with Wifey over the weekend and I’m thinking of adding some more stuff to my profile. I’m thinking of getting a few photos of my prosthesis so people can see what I use, and some clearer training pics (the current snaps were taken with my mobile phone, hence the crap quality ^_^). I’m also thinking about maybe taking some footage of how I do some of my techniques, but I’d probably wait until my form was a bit tighter and more refined before I’d be brave enough to post those!!

I figured that seeing an image of how I do my techniques (or even better, video footage – my father-in-law has a digital camcorder and I’ve got an old MinDV tape with plenty of space on it) would help show how I’ve adapted karate to suit my physical state. If other people are keen, send me a message, or post a comment in any of my blogs or on the front page. Its all good! I lost my leg before I could walk (I had it amputated when I was 3 months old), so there may be a lot of stuff I take for granted and wouldn’t explain in words, so maybe going for something visually would be something to think about

But, this gets me thinking about something. I caught up with my folks on Thursday last week for the usual dinner we do each fortnight, and I was having a chat with my Dad about how I’m going with my karate. Dad, my older brother and I used to do Taekwondo together when we were kids (my younger brother would have come along, but he was too young at the time – I was 8 or 9, and he’s 4 years my junior); so, when I told him I was going to start karate several years back, he was stoked. Anywho, I was talking with him last week and tried to pin down the tenets of karate and me, the essentials that bridge the gap and allow me to progress and, generally, try to not be entirely crap at it. At a glance, these things, let’s get all deep and meaningful and call them the heart of Gisoku no Jutsu (or the Technique of the Artificial Leg), came down to four points:

  • Setting your centre of balance behind you, dynamically moving it from your centre-point to your left leg (i.e. artificial leg) depending on your needs (moving the centre of balance to behind your artificial leg helps lock the knee and hold you in place… with practice!);
  • Emphasising control and technique in the upper body, particularly with regards to speed, accuracy and the ability to parry and counter effectively with your arms;
  • The artificial leg is not to be used unless guarding whilst sparring/kumite, and be wary of your footing when kicking to avoid loosing your balance;
  • Utilise the biomechanics in your shoulders and arms to compensate for a lack of power in your hips.

Over time, as I discover new ways to do things, this list may grow in size, or change radically. But, at this moment, it’s how it stands, and hopefully it will grow into a more refined group of principles I can use to further push myself, and perhaps act as a list to help other amputees adjust to learning a martial art – this list certainly isn’t restricted to karate, as it merely indicates what I have discovered over time.

See, I told you this would be a random post 😛

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