Archive: (Belated) post-training roundup!

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 5 June, 2007

Okay, just a quick one for today – training last Wednesday went great. Wasn’t as intense as I’d liked, but I pushed myself hard and helped out a bit in class with some of the juniors. Basic moves, some drills and kata took care of most of it. For some reason my kicks felt a bit crap… I’m not sure if I had my leg on weird that night, or something else was wrong, or if I was having an unco night or something… but it was still a good class. Can’t wait for this week’s one though πŸ™‚ Hopefully I’ll be able to make it – Wifey and I are looking at selling our unit to buy a house, so we’re in the process of seeing all those important people that make such a thing possible. I’m hoping I’ll be able to organise something so I can still train, but we’ll see.

Apart from that, there’s not much to tell – I told you it was going to be a quick blog πŸ˜›

Things are still mega busy so I’ll update as I can. I had over 70 hits on the blog last week which was really cool, so a big thank you to everyone for reading!

More updates as they come – I might be able to get another blog in before training on Wednesday, but if not, I’ll post something up later in the week.

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Archive: Taekwondo, 1991-style

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 30 May, 2007

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about it much before, but my first formal introduction to martial arts training came when I was in Year 4, when I was about… 8 I think. Either that or it was Year 5 and I was 9. Regardless, I was in primary school, and I was still in the throes of “Angry Sean-o”. Most people I talk to now can’t believe that I was a little punk when I was a kid. From the age of about 5 or 6 until about 11, I was a great big pain in the arse. I used to answer back to the teachers, would regularly have to see the principal, would get constantly grounded, used to pick angry fights with my older brother Miguel, I started up a ‘fight club’ at school when I was 9 (not that (a) Fight Club was anywhere near to being created in all its uberness, or (b) a primary schoolyard organised scrap constitutes a ‘fight club’ :P) and was generally an arsehole.

Anywho, I had this passion for martial arts, and my Dad thought that it would be a good idea to take himself, Miguel and I to Taekwondo classes by the time we returned from a few years in Darwin and I was hopefully old enough to tell the difference when to use the martial art, and when not to. To be honest I wasn’t sure what the outcome was – I was still a pain during the time I did Taekwondo (which was for maybe a year, possibly more?), but to my credit I don’t think I actually used it to randomly injure too many kids… I know I would have used it on Miguel because we used to fight pretty full-on as kids, but outside of that… I don’t know. I remember picking a fight in class when the teacher was out getting something… I’m not sure why, I was probably bragging about the fact I did Taekwondo knowing me πŸ˜› This  proved to possibly be a good thing however…

You see, the kid I picked a fight with used his hands, and I learnt the hard way that in order to kick at someone, you need some room… and being wedged between classroom desks and chairs is hardly fertile ground for delivering a clumsy kick at someone. So, in short, I lost the scrap, and probably looked pretty goofy as well πŸ˜‰ I’ve never forgotten the lesson though – be wary of your surroundings.

But back to Taekwondo. I only managed to scrape to my yellow belt, which in my mind’s eye took forever. I daresay the reason I stopped going was because I had a habit in those days of being pretty fickle with stuff – I did swimming for a few years and was getting really good, then got bored of it and stopped. Did Taekwondo for a while, then stopped. Got really into basketball (basketball was very in circa 1992-1994, as were parachute pants and Megadrive; things change :P) for a few years, then stopped when I got to high school. In fact, I pretty much stopped everything when I got to high school – changed my focus to studying and by then I’d gotten out all of the angriness… or learnt to suppress it πŸ˜‰ That, also, is the subject of another blog.

So, how did I go with TKD? Not too sure to be honest. I mean, I see the kids at karate, and while you have to admire their effort, they’re not exactly excuding perfect form. I’d be kinda weirded out if they did; in that sense, watching little kids do martial arts isn’t entirely unlike watching junior, like primary school soccer or footy – the kids get out there, and kick the ball somewhere and run after it. It’s very cute, but we’re talking elite sportsmen for the most part. Sure, it probably solidifies concepts or foundations for later on, but I’m getting distracted again… πŸ˜›

Anyway, I remember doing all the moves and stuff, the kicks, punches and so forth. It was actually a good thing I reckon in the long run, even if I only did it for a short period of time. I felt it made starting karate a little easier since I remembered some of the basics – chamber your punch, long stances, first kata, raise your knee for your kicks – and the lesson format was kinda familiar, too. And all training halls with the wooden floors and kinda aged stone walls (aka your average community gym/hall) have that same smell/feeling when you go inside.

It’s so long ago that I can’t remember in much detail how I coped with learning different things, how I overcame stuff, how my technique evolved… if it did at all πŸ˜‰ But I knew from experience that when it came time to learn a martial art that I couldn’t do Taekwondo – too much focus on leg work and not enough on upper body techniques. I know this is a generalisation (and conversley, TKD practitioners criticise karate for the quality of their kicks; in fact, most martial arts have participants who have a habit of criticising different styles or different arts altogether [again, food for thought and the subject of further blogs!]), but I believe that I’ve made the right choice in choosing to go down the path of karate.

I waffle on too much πŸ˜› Quick summary – I did Taekwondo as a kid, it was fun, but I was fickle and gave it up πŸ˜› My Dad and brother kept going a little longer and got to their green belt (it went white >> yellow >> green), but they stopped after Miguel got hit by a car and broke his leg, which is pretty understandable.

Well, next time I report I daresay will be a post-training round-up. Oh, and for those interested I’ve added a few more photos and stuff to my pics; nothing training-related, just random stuff πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

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Archive: I’m back :P

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 27 May, 2007

Ack, apologies for the lack of blogging last week – between work and everything else, it’s been crazy.

Now, I know I was going to talk about my first karate lesson or bring up my previous Taekwondo experience when I was a kid, but I thought for today I’d simply go over last week’s training, because it was pure awesomeness πŸ™‚

As I’ve brought up over the last couple of weeks’ blogs, I’ve been working on my leg stretching, and I reckon it’s finally paying off. Part of our training on Wednesday night last week was to spar with Sensei R with the aim being to go into a full offensive pattern aiming for his big punching pads he wore on his hands. Now in the past I would have gone into a routine with more emphasis on punches than kicks, but I was feeling pretty good about my kicks and thought this was an excellent opportunity to try it out. Not only was I impressed, but I think even Sensei R was surprised with how developed my kicks were – I was lunging with double-strike side kicks, thrusting side kicks, head-level front kicks, round kicks, crescent kicks, going from one to the next to the next with barely a break! It felt so good, so amazing to be able to pull it all off, and I came home feeling really proud of myself, like I’d really started to accomplish something.

The other thing I discovered whilst waiting outside at 10:30pm at night waiting for Baxter the Ninja Dog to do his business… because, you know, there’s nothing unusual for someone to randomly train their karate before they go to bed at night, leaving the neighbours to wonder why they keep hearing these random stomping noises as the foot on my artificial leg goes ‘PLONK!’ on the pavers πŸ˜›

Anyway, I was trying different kicks with my fake leg, and I stumbled across a jumping inside-out crescent kick I can do! I look a little goofy when I land, but it’s really cool πŸ™‚ I’m not really sure how effective it would be in practice, but it’s great to be able to use my legs in this way. Hopefully with more practice I can get closer to trying butterfly and tornado kicks πŸ™‚

Also, on Thursday night Wifey and I went over my parents’ place, and Tank and I went out the back yard to do kick training and stuff, which was awesome. He’s convinced me to take some video footage and post it up on MySpace showing some of my kicks (including my 360-degree vertical heel strike… well, that’s what I call it anyway :P), and I learnt the my forward kick with my real leg is actually more powerful than I thought. Oh, and I also helped Tank make is MySpace look awesomeness.

Well, hopefully next will be a little less crazy and I can post a few more blogs.

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Archive: Robot leg, anime, food

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 14 May, 2007

Three parts, all equally awesome – that is today’s blog stuffu.

Okay, robot leg time. I remember one time in my job previous to my current one that one day a wee tacker asked me why I walked funny. Kids are awesome, aren’t they? So I said to him that I had a metal leg. He thought the prospect of having a metal leg was supremely uber, as did his younger brother. So, with a nod to their Mum, I showed them what the artificial leg (well, the knee and below) looked like – first they saw the knee (“Wow!”), then I did my favourite trick and pulled off the foam shroud that helps keep the leg’s shape when I wear trousers/jeans/whatever, displaying the awesome might of the silvery-shiny metallic pole that connects the knee unit to the foot. This somehow surpassed the uber-factor of the knee, and they stared agape at this crazy creation. From that day onward, I became the ‘Metal Librarian’, or for the younger one who had trouble spitting out ‘Librarian’, simply ‘Metal Man’. This was/is/will continue to be a cool diatribe in the daily life of Sean.

Anywho, fast forward to last week (or should it be rewind? I confuse myself sometimes :P), and there were a couple of new kids at karate, and a new boy I hadn’t seen before. Anywho, the kids who come to karate are very talkative once they work out the loud man with the orange goatee isn’t scary, and one of them said my foot looked funny. And then another piped up with a question about my leg. So, being me, I thought it was leg time, and showed them the knee unit, the titanium pole and how it worked. I am pleased to announce that my leg has evolved now to the ‘Robot Leg’. One of them thought it was such an awesome thing that he thought having a robot leg was cool. And then he said it was like Astro boy’s leg. I agreed that Astro Boy is awesome, and my leg would be even more awesome if it had a rocket on the end of it so I could fly around like Astro Boy. He agreed, but pointed out that I’d burn my other foot off if that happened, but this wouldn’t be so bad because I could then have two robot, Astro Boy style feet. I repeat, this kid is a champion. Thumbs up all around – having one leg is cool in the eyes of kids. Pity it wasn’t like that when I was at school πŸ˜›

Part two – anime. I’ve started watching the sleeper series ‘Somedays Dreamers’ – I picked it up when Madman had their server-crashing ultra 10-year anniversary sale last year; I felt like something a bit chilled out after indulging in the first 30-something episodes of ultra-80s-classic cartoon Thundercats, so I picked Somedays Dreamers. Now, I”m only three episodes in (and I had a break over the last couple of days to watch the final episode of the retro gaming awesome that is Retrocore), but one of the characters in the series has one leg! How cool is that? I’ve seen a lot of anime over the years, from the retail and fansub VHS to DVD (and when I get a player + telly to match, Blu-Ray), but I can’t recall any contemporary anime series’ (even alternative-universe ones like Somedays Dreamers) where someone has one leg. Very cool. The only bugger is that I think the character’s just a one-off and won’t come back; that’s the feeling I’m getting anyway. I’ll wait and see what happens, but yeah, it was really cool. Might have to post a screen cap of it πŸ™‚

Oh yeah, I ate heaps over the weekend – massive lunch on Saturday with Wifey’s family, then yesterday we prepared a big lunch for my Mum, Tank and Meru, and then had the in-laws over for dinner for a massive roast lamb and sticky-date pudding for dessert. Yum. Was a good way to end too much eating – I’ve put on a couple of kilos over the last two months, and I’m keen to shave them off and slim back down to get my ‘karate body’, as I call it, back. Yes, I’m vain, but at least I’m not in denial πŸ˜›

Anywho, I’m not sure if I’ll get around to another post until the post-training round-up on Thursday or Friday. Looking forward to karate on Wednesday, and I’ll be getting back into weight training on Thursday. I’ll continue working on my stretches during the week, too.

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Archive: Training mashou!

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 11 May, 2007

Yay, I went to training on Wednesday night! I picked Hamez up on the way through, but slack Tank was recovering from a mega weights session and was stuffed, so he didn’t come along. Anywho, training was great – small class, but it was all good. We did the usual array of strikes, blocks and some kata as well; my form was a bit sloppy, but wasn’t too bad after two months off. We also spent some time working on jumping kicks, and that was ace, as we’d never done that before. It was uber πŸ™‚

I was expecting to be really sore yesterday and today, but the only thying I’ve noticed is that my shoulder blades’ muscles are a little tender, everything else is goood, even my ankle (though I iced it up after training as a precaution). The other thing I noticed is that my gi wasn’t as slimming as usual, not that I think gi’s tend to be slimming really πŸ˜› Turns out I’ve put on 2 or 3 kilos over the past two months, which is very rude of my body. I’ll have to work them off by pushing myself a bit harder at karate each week and get back to weight training as well, and do crunches between classes. Hopefully I’ll be back to my previous weight shortly. I’m so vain πŸ˜›

So yeah, all went well. There’s another story from class I’ll write about next time, and something cool that happened in an anime series I’m currently watching (Someday’s Dreamers); again, material for a future post. Will fire more updates next week. Can’t wait for more training!!

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