I bought these puzzle mats (minus the multicolor ones) after becoming frustrated with practicing my forms outside. The concrete is too rough to go barefoot on unless you are very light on your feet -- something that I have not mastered quite yet. On the other hand, practicing in shoes is just not the same. Like I said, I'm not the lightest on my feet, so my shoes are constantly catching on the concrete and messing up my deep stances. It doesn't help that my driveway is at a slight incline either.
My solution to these problems? Puzzle mats! I found a pretty good deal on Amazon: $29.99 for a set of 12 that cover 48 square feet. The only downside? A whopping 18 bucks for shipping! I couldn't find a better deal for the same amount of coverage, so I went ahead and bought them.
It's been raining here for the past several days, so I haven't been able to take them outside until now. Today was warm for a change, with temperatures in the low 40's! Note: Temperatures in the teens and 20's are getting old fast. Summer needs to be here! Anyway, after school, I headed out to the driveway to set everything up.
My practice went very well. Other than the wind gusts that kept lifting half of the mats into an almost vertical position, the mats cushioned my workout area rather well. It was just enough padding to take the shock out from landing on hard concrete, but firm enough that my feet glided easily on the surface.
I ran through a quick warmup, then started with forms back to back. I've come to realize that doing forms back to back like this without stopping for a recovery, is also a good warmup. Add proper snap, power, and the fact that we have 3 basic forms and 5 advanced forms in our system, and forms can really get you out of breath and worn out.
Speaking of forms....for the past week or so, I've been learning and practicing a new form (5th advance) for red belt. I love what I've learned so far. It's so rhythmic compared to the other forms! I need a metronome or something with a beat to practice to.
Now, on to the frustrating and most challenging portion of the form. The jump. I don't like jumps. Why pick both feet off the floor when you can be balanced in a nice stance? But for this form, that's not to be. Let me explain what the form calls for up to the point I know. I hope I have this down correctly.
1. Turn left foot out so that you're in a back stance. Inside out block followed by a reverse punch.
2. Bring right foot in to meet the left. Stack your hands.
3. Repeat, turning right foot instead of left this time.
4. Slide left foot forward and x-block down, immediately coming up with an open hand x-block at about face level.
5. Slide right foot forward, grab with left hand and punch with right hand.
6. Lift right arm straight up, pick right leg up, pivot, and change directions.
7. Low backfist, then snap it up to starting position.
8. Left arm goes straight out, palm open, at around face level. Back leg crescent kick to your hand.
9. Set foot down.
10. Left foot slides forward past the right foot (so that your feet are almost in a pretzel shape), double punch.
11. Slide left foot back. Double punch again.
12. Bend knees, jump into the air (switching the way you are facing in the process), land on the blades of your feet, right foot over left.
13. With your feet still like this, double punch down.
I was fine up until # 12. When I got to the jump, my right foot complied with my wishes and went up into the air, however, my left foot decided it did not like this idea mid-jump, so it did an awkward half jump and did not lift more than six inches off the ground.
So....the jump isn't going too well at the moment. I kept practicing it, but my mind and my body don't want to cooperate with each other. One is accepting of the jump, the other is questioning landing on the blades of my feet with my full weight.
I had to take a picture of what my feet are supposed to look like if the jump is done properly. It should look something like this:
On Thursday night I told Mr. Mc that this had to be the strangest and most awkward move in any of my forms. He agreed.
Hopefully tomorrow I can get a better idea of what I can do to make it less awkward -- and maybe convince myself that I'm not going to break my ankles in the process.