Bruised belly!

September 2009 training bruise

This is an image of my stomach just above the belly button after a short session of iron stomach training – Jyastin-kun has excellent targeting and accuracy considering how many strikes we did and it’s all focused into a single spot! This photo was taken Friday, so by now it’s started going all yellow around the purple/red area and isn’t as painful as it was last week.

I’m not sure what it says about me personally that I find this kind of thing amusing 😀 And yes, we all know how attractive my hairy man-belly is 😛

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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!

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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 🙂

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