I mangled my thumb :P

In the spirit of rampant enthusiasm, after getting home from work and starting my workout tonight, I began my usual exercises on the punching bag. It’s been a while since I’d worked on my backfists, so after some kicks and punches I thought I’d give it a whirl. Two weeks ago I got a bit enthusiastic with practicing knifehand strikes on the bag and had a great amount of success, so I figured some backfists would be good practice. Looks like I got too enthusiastic, and my form was a bit sloppy, as I now have a bruised thumb from the whipping action at the end of the strike due to not completely closing/forming my fist on impact.

A year or two back I found that backfists were a great way to demonstrate the effectiveness of a whipping-motion in a hand-strike, and this was emphasised more-so by starting off with open hand and using the clenching motion of forming a fist towards the end to dramatically increase the final intensity of the strike. I got the idea from reading up on the principles behind a 1-inch punch, whereupon you use every ability of your muscles (including the expansion and contraction of the fist upon impact) to deliver the greatest amount of dynamic impact possible within such a short space. I’ve also read up since then that you can apply similar theory to many other strikes in karate, but obviously you get to this stage with time and practice. Anywho, as nice as the theory was, if in practice your form isn’t accurate (or consistent), there are obviously going to be consequences, as I found out tonight!

Ah well, another lesson learned 😛 Mind, it’s nothing serious, but I ended up stopping my workout and put an icepack on it as preventative action, then nearly gave myself a freezer burn on another part of my thumb while doing so 😛 If this is what I managed to do to myself on the punching bag, I’m afraid of what I would have done once I started handling the weights. Methinks I’m having a clumsy night.

It also doesn’t help that the enthusiasm with which I attacked the bag tonight was in part inspired by watching Rapid Fire last night (see my previous post), so I’ll try and re-focus my attention on getting my kata correct so I can show off some solid form in class this week. Speaking of class, it looks like I may be roping Jyastin-kun back into training, as he’s coming along with me this week to see what he thinks of where I’m currently doing karate. We’ll see how it goes, hopefully he gets a kick out of jumping back into karate after a couple of years off.

Well, with that all done, I’m off to watch some kata on YouTube!

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I heart Rapid Fire

Last night I watched the supremely awesome Rapid Fire, starring the late Brandon Lee. Now, let’s get this straight – Rapid Fire isn’t an example of some kind of crazy, mold-breaking martial arts flick that re-set the stage for Hollywood live-action martial arts movies (you can probably attribute that to The Matrix, which introduced Hollywood to the concept of *shock* kung fu, choreographed by HK talent no less [it also liberally “borrowed” from more movies than you can poke a stick at, but that’s another story]). Nope, this is a piece of 1992 wrapped up in cliche after cliche, but it still wins at life.

The movie sees our hero (and Art major) Brandon Lee running around a college campus with super-champ Dustin Nguyen following Brandon surviving some tanks at Tienanmen Square. Brandon then attends a party at a trendy warehouse where a Taiwanese drug trafficker gets shot by an American mafia hitman; Brandon sees it, everyone brings out uzis and shoots out all the glass they can see, Brandon does some biffo, drives his motorbike through the warehouse (also through lots of glass), and gets picked up by the cops. Given the mafia connection, he’s taken as a witness with the “feds”, corruption and more awesome biffo ensue as Art student Brandon beats the snot out of more whiteshirts, whereupon he gets taken in by a tough-talking police detective guy who says “damnit!” and in extreme situations, “God damnit!”, an awful lot. He also meets a female detective, and as per the rules of all Hollywood martial arts flicks of this era, they shag. There’s also a shootout at a mafia headquarters/restaurant in there, and more biffo in a Chinatown laundry where the chief drug trafficker gets taken down in yet another shodown. Cue the credits, rpelete with wiggly-wiggly guitar, and possibly some saxophone.

In short, utter win 🙂

What stands out in this one is that Lee is actually not too bad on screen (as opposed to Showdown in Little Tokyo, which is a hilarious mess), the fighting choreography by Jeff Imada and Brandon Lee is actually very tight and snappy, and the whole production isn’t too overblown with silly acting and stupid inconsistencies. Wifey also reckons Brandon Lee is a bit of alright, and since he spends reasonable portions of the movie without his shirt on, it meant that we could watch it together without her falling asleep 😛

Rapid Fire won’t win any crazy awards for anything in particular, but it does make for an enjoyable 90 minutes of awesome crazy era between 1988 and 1993 where cheap martial arts flicks ruled the video shelves at your local, and every now again you stumbled upon a winner.

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