Hard training

Just wanted to add a quick post on this week’s training – in addition to the iron stomach conditioning, we also did some general arm conditioning as well, and some cool 2-person drills that eventually evolved into a continuous flow of blocks and strikes, with both sides playing the part of aggressor/defender with relative equality. The combination seemed like it would make for good application during sparring as well, which is ace.

What was interesting was how we started the lesson – after doing our warm-up routine, Sensei had us stand in a low kibadachi and practice standing continuous oitsuki (reverse punches). After doing this for a while, we then walked along the line, standing in front of each of us with a pad placed against his abdomen, which we were to strike with as much power as we could a certain number of times. After this, he then demonstrated the importance of the use of hips, thighs, knees and feet in executing an extremely powerful oitsuki in order to get us to improve our technique. From here’s where it gets interesting – to encourage better kibadachi, we all had to stand in a line, but so that the sides of our feet were pressed up against out neighbours to either side. This actually helped reinforce my stance, but overall it helped encourage all of us to dig lower in our stance and find greater strength, kept our feet straight and knees solid – the techniques that followed were apparently greatly improved, and I know I felt the difference as well.

We also went through kata (by the end of the session I’d gotten the basic pattern down reasonably well, so now it’s time to work on refining my technique, and I’m hoping that by the time we get to the end of the year I’ll be ready to grade again), some groundwork (which was a bit of light BJJ) and some other two-person drills/techniques.

It was a really exhausting session, half-way through I was already starting to feel it, but I dug deeper when I needed to in order to push forward. The end result was an extremely good workout for the mind and body!


Iron stomach training

Had a bit more body conditioning at training this week, including something that was really fun – iron stomach training!

In the previous style I used to do, we’d messed around a little with this premise before, so it’s been a while since I’ve last done it. I was quite surprised at how much punishment I was able to take though, much more than previously I reckon, but still, I want to be able to take more 😛

This isn’t too surprising in the grand scheme of things, as I’m currently suffering from Cake Belly. For those unawares (which would be most, since I’ve just coined the term :P), that when you’ve eaten multiple instances of yummy cake over a week and haven’t exercised your abs appropriately to offset all the awesome food 🙂 It also brought home that I really need to get back into the swing of doing weights, as it’ll help develop the muscles in my torso to withstand a bit more punishment.

BTW, for those unawares, broken down into its most basic form, iron stomach training teaches you how to tense and use the muscles in your abdomen to withstand a direct strike. The process involves two practitioners standing in front of each other exchanging reverse-punches directed at the stomach on each other, starting with a low intensity and progressing to gradually higher impact until the receiver of the strike reaches their absolute limit.

Or in simple terms, it’s two people punching each other in the stomach until one of them almost falls down 😉

At more advanced levels, I’ve seen iron body demonstrations where planks of wood, baseball bats, concrete, and so forth, are smashed against parts of the body (head, stomach, arms, legs), with little to no harm to the practitioner despite the object breaking/shattering as part of the process.

The awesome part of it was that I was actually doing the iron stomach training with Jyastin-kun, so we were pretty comfortable with upping the intensity of the training as we went, which was awesome fun. I once again fell into the habit of pulling my stomach as some of the punches were coming in instead of letting it hit without obstruction. By the end of it I was working hard to break the habit, but I still need more work.

The disappointing thing at the time was that it wasn’t looking like I was going to get any bruising, despite the fact I knew it had to have had some impact given that I was struggling to bow out at the end of class due to the tender muscles in my belly! Looks like some bruising is starting to come through, so at least I’ll feel a little justified for being a bit tender for the next few days!

So yes, I’m stupid, but body conditioning is fun 🙂


Paint the house

Mr Miyagi says: Paint the fenceYes, I know he’s painting the fence – I couldn’t find a picture of Miyagi helping to paint the house 😛

Last weekend was spent trying to be useful as McAdam is moving into his new place next weekend. This involved lifting heavy things, driving around with a trailer on the back of the car (which was pretty amusing in itself as I demonstrated my complete inability to reverse with one sitting on the back of my car :P), going to the hardware store and painting the house. Having painted our previous place, I have to say I’m not too shabby at the task – plenty of practice there.

Anywho, when I woke up Sunday morning after a hard day’s work, my thigh on my right leg was absolutely killing me! On Saturday night when I went to bed I was struggling to be able to hop like I normally would, and after a full day of painting on Sunday, my thigh was absolutely shot come Sunday night. When I woke up on Moonday morning, I knew I’d done a good job 🙂 It wasn’t as though it was permanently damaged or anything, it’s just that the muscles were extremely sore. While this is pretty normal for most people I guess, I think it’s exasperated by the fact that when I suqat down or head up on the step ladder when painting, I’m doing everything using only one leg, as my prosthesis is such that it’s there to provide support while walking or when stationary, but because of the lack of a working knee, my body relies entirely on my right leg to lift the body when crouching/climbing step ladders, that kind of thing. It means it gets a good workout, too!

So come Monday night, I was getting worried that the muscles weren’t recovering as quickly as I wanted when I had one of those light-bulb moments – the magic mud!

Rotarua Thermal Mud Heat RubThe infamous Magic Mud

I’ve posted before on this magic stuff, so have a read if you’re interested – once again, the stuff made a huge impact on my thigh, I massaged in a pretty generous amount on Monday night, and while it was still sore on Tuesday, it was considerably less so. And today? Feeling almost back to normal.

If you’re keen to try it, Google ‘Rotorua Thermal Mud’ – the maker of the one I have is Parrs, and they were readily available when Wifey and I were holidaying in New Zealand a few years back. When my current batch runs out, I’ll definitely be ordering some more online from NZ. At least for me, it works really well on freeing up aches and pains from my joints and muscles.

Will have to try and remember this for when I start painting our place later on this year and I inadvertently mangle my muscles in the process 🙂


Four lies and one martial arts fact

Jesse over at The Martial Explorer has tagged me in an awesome bit of blogging tomfoolery. Being rather chuffed to be picked out for this (despite the fact he tagged my almost 2 weeks ago!!!), here ’tis:

The meme works as follows. You post five things about yourself. Four are untrue. One is true. All are so outlandish, implausible or ridiculous that no one would be inclined to believe that any of them are true. And despite the pleas from your readers, you never divulge which is true and which are fabrications. You then tag five other people (four seriously and one person you are pretty sure would never participate).

  1. During a home training session, I caused irreversible damage to both myself and my boxing station
  2. When I was much younger, inspired by pop culture icons The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I performed a jump kick while waiting to get picked up from school and snapped my leg in half whilst mid-air, sending the other half flying across the road
  3. My brothers and I used to break into my Dad’s tool shed when we were kids and fight each other with spades, rakes and sticks in the spirit of Monkey (or as it was locally known, Monkey Magic)
  4. When I was still in primary school (which is elementary school for those of you on the North American continent!), I used my newly-learned Taekwondo techniques to successfully defend myself in a classroom scrap
  5. I can still effortlessly perform vertical axe kicks with my prosthesis

There are elements of truth in all of them, so good luck!

Should they happen to drop by (and haven’t been tagged already!), I’ll tag BBM from Black Belt Mama, Wim over at Wim Demeere’s Blog, Patrick from Mokuren Dojo, Jon at EPIC Martial Arts, and brother Tank (who can leave a reply in the comments if he’s interested :P) 😉


Open your mind

Matt over at Ikigai posted an awesome and humble post on the importance of keeping an open mind when approaching the study and practice of martial arts. There really isn’t a whole lot more to add to what he’s covered, and I can see my journey through a lot of what he has said. While I don’t have anywhere near the knowledge and experience he has, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has put the walls up and have tried to tear them down in trying to learn about martial arts wholistically as time has gone on.

For me, I have found that posting in good, open-minded martial arts forums (like OzBudo) have been one step in getting my mind out of the comfortable space it had setup with regards to martial arts, and attending seminars and training with people of varied experience also helps. While there are systems I still have a personal preference for over others, I’ve found I have really started to lower the irrational prejudice I had towards other styles, especially since at times they were petty or ill-informed, and to see things as wholistically as possible.

So this is a tip of my hat to you Matt – I’m committed to making it a habit to empty my cup 😀


Companion blogs


September 2009