We had a great class on Tuesday with only advanced belts in attendance. Two green belts, two blue belts and myself.
Mr. G led a very thorough warmup that focused on joints. He told us we would be working on some hand techniques and some sparring tonight.
I love when we spend time working on sparring, so I was happy when he announced this. I've been nervous about the tournament coming up in September, so the more time I spend improving on the things I'm not so good at the better.
Some of these things that I'm focusing on are:
Being light on my feet, being more mobile, moving in and out of the close range and the kicking range effectively, using angles and not being so linear, using more combinations, and getting in good, solid shots.
Anyway, after the warmup, we moved on to some hand technique combinations. We began in a side stance and our sequence was jab to the face, reverse punch low, then slide forward and ridgehand to the back of the neck. We tried not so much for speed, but to flow from one technique to the next.
Once we starting getting comfortable with the combo, Mr. G added in a backfist to the head, then an elbow smash after that. I think several of us had a lightbulb moment when he brought up the elbow smash - because it's the exact technique that's in Pyung Ahn 4. I knew what the technique did in the form, but used in this format that I could see myself using in a spar put in in an entirely different perspective.
Finally, Mr. G had us pair up for conditioning drills. The green belts were paired together and so were the blue belts. That left me to be paired up with Mr. G. I did a mental fist pump at hearing this. Precise control and form are important to not hurting uke when kicking or punching them, and I knew that with Mr. G, improper form and lack of control would not be an issue.
We faced our partner and were told that we were to throw twenty-five instep kicks to the stomach. Side A would throw a kick, then Side B, and repeat. No one was to throw full power kicks since we're not at that point yet. We were still to make good contact though, and the person being kicked had to kiai so they wouldn't get the air knocked out of them.
I settled into my side stance and held my guard up. The kicks stung, but it was nothing I couldn't deal with. A good kiai, tightening up the stomach muscles, and having a solid stance helped. There were a few times that Mr. G had to tell me "Too high" when I kicked him, so the next time I made sure to point my knee and land the kick a little lower. We finished before everyone else, so we ended up doing about thirty or so kicks total.
Next, we did ball of the foot roundhouse kicks. These hurt more, because you're striking with a smaller surface and the kick penetrates more.
Mr. Mc then set up a drill for a straight punch. Side A would step forward with an overhand punch. Side B would step forward and block/strike, then do a straight punch to the stomach. I was paired up with Mr. Mc for this one. After several turns of this, he told me that I was really putting a lot into the strike to block the overhand punch.
Things were going well until. . . I stepped forward with my right foot at the same time as Mr. Mc stepped forward with his left. The angle that our feet collided was just so that we both said "Ow" (or something to that degree) and paused to assess the situation. I had bent back the toenail of his big toe. He asked me if I had any collateral damage. There was a slight stinging at the end of my toe, but I said I didn't think so. I picked my foot up anyway and saw a nice cut at the end of my second toe. A flap of skin was still attached and I saw some blood under the skin. We looked at the cut and it didn't look like it was going to bleed out, so we changed how we were stepping so that it wouldn't happen again. A minute later, I looked down to see that blood was about to drip on the floor. I grabbed a paper towel and dabbed it away, then went back to continue the drill. Before we started, I checked my toe again. More blood. Another paper towel, and then I went to bandage my toe up since it couldn't behave on its own. After that, we continued with the drill with no problems.
Mr. Mc and I finished before the rest, so I suggested that we do some leg kicks. I wanted to get used to those kinds of shots to the leg for the semi-knockdown tournament, so we ended up doing about eight or ten roundhouse kicks to the back of the thigh. Oh. My. Gosh. Those kicks hurt! It wasn't just "tap" kind of kick either. It was a "wham!" kind of kick. It went something like this:
*Thinking* That did not feel good....
"Okay, that's enough!"
After we finished, Mr. G decided that it would be a good idea to work on.... you guessed it - leg kicks! Thankfully, I was paired up with one of the 11-12 y/o green belts, so the contact was turned down.
Mr. G told us that we would be going home sore and bruised. He was right. I now have a nice purple bruise just above my belly button. Don't get me wrong. I like bruises. They are fun to look at and poke at (Yes, I am weird). The only thing was that when I went to bed, every time I turned, that bruise, and the smaller ones on my arms reminded me that they were there. Also, the cut on my foot is driving me insane. It's a little thing, but it's a pain! Even with the band-aid on to keep the flap of skin from catching on the floor, it still hurts every time I put weight on that foot. I'm walking around gingerly now, willing it to go ahead and close up right now. I need to be able to kick things (and people) with that foot and slide smoothly when I do my forms. Ugh.
Complaining aside, Tuesday night was fun! I still want to work more on conditioning and hope we do more partner drills like this in class.