New Year and New Opportunities

With this being my first post for 2012, I'll update what's been going on in my martial arts' world since the last time I wrote in this blog.

Tae Kwon Do is going well. We had our last class of the year and Christmas party on December 13th. The kids' class and adult class were combined, and we spent around two and a half hours breaking boards, eating snacks, and watching the black belts put on demonstrations. For the board breaking portion, J.M., (one of the blue belts in the adult class) and I assisted the kids with setting up axe kicks and hammerfists for their board breaks. We also did several breaks in between. Of the five breaks I attempted, I broke three. One with a left hand hammerfist, one with an axe kick, and one with a front snap kick. The two that I could not get to work were a two board hammerfist break and an inverted punch. Both, I were told, were because I did not commit fully to the technique and slowed down before I hit the boards.

The black belts also did several demonstrations. There was a self defense demo, a Tai Chi for self defense demo, an escrima stick demo, and then I was asked to do a demonstration of my 8 self defense techniques that I had to have for my red belt test, and will also have to do for my black belt test in March. I was slightly caught of guard with this as no one had forewarned me, but somehow I just knew that I was going to be called upon that night. I stepped on the mats and was told to choose a partner for my demo. I chose Mr. G because I've worked with him the most on my self defense techniques and I was more comfortable working with him on a last minute, not much preparation situation. Anyway, my demo went well and the kids in particular loved watching me toss my instructor around.

Our last class of the year was the 13th. We didn't start up classes again until January 10th. That was way too long for me. I start getting anxious when class is called off or we have an extended break, so I was more than ready to start back when we did on the 10th.

I'm getting ahead of myself though. On January 7th, several of our black belts, blue belt J.M., and I went up to another Tae Kwon Do school and did a five hour long seminar on a variety of topics. I know we covered sparring, groundfighting, hapkido, joint manipulation, and kicks. I was so excited to be able to go and be a part of the seminar. Ms. J.S. worked with me on some techniques on the ground, and it was great to work with new people in a different style of Tae Kwon Do. From my observations, I saw that they are more sport oriented than I am used to, they don't hit to the head (something that we allow), they wear more sparring gear (we wear only foot pads, hand pads, and sometimes a mouth piece), and they have quite a few kid black belts. I'm not exactly a fan of that, but whatever. . .

In other news, my black belt test is still scheduled for March 10th.  I'm ridiculously nervous and a touch anxious about it. It seems to me that there is so much that I need to work on in so little time. So very little time. My countdown clock reminds me of that fact.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At this point, I've only been to three classes, but I'm loving what I've learned so far. We took a few weeks off for Christmas, I had a test one day, our Tae Kwon Do seminar fell on another class day, and things like that have kept me from having more classes under my belt.

Speaking of belt, I just bought a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uniform. I'll have to take a picture of it, but it's a blue Fuji Single Weave and it fits perfectly right out of the bag. Oh my word! That thing is heavy! I put it on when I got it and then when I put on my Tae Kwon Do gi tonight, it felt like nothing. I have an 8.5 oz gi, and it's like wearing a pillowcase compared to the BJJ gi. Another small thing that I've been giddy about is the color. After....what is it now? 9ish years of wearing all white to Tae Kwon Do, just being able to wear something colored makes me ridiculously happy.

Judo.'s the new opportunity I mentioned in the title of this post. I had the chance when I was working out my schedule for college to sign up for a Intro to Judo course. I thought it would be a good compliment to my existing base of Tae Kwon Do, since throws aren't our specialty. We do know some throws, but judo has so many more. I'm a week and a half into it, and I'm liking it so far. My muscles are not enjoying it though. We started out with breakfalls and rolls the first week. That wasn't a problem, other than the fact that I'm having trouble with rolling backward. There's just something about throwing your feet over your head that just doesn't click with me. Forward? Yes. Backward? No... I feel that something along the lines of this is going to happen and I'm going to crack my head or my neck on the mats.

On Monday we started throwing each other, and that's the culprit to my soreness. I went to an additional class offered at night and we spent almost an hour and a half throwing each other. There were mats involved and a thick springy floor, but landing awkwardly several times didn't help matters. Afterward, I counted up how many times I had been thrown that night, and it was right at about fifty. Needless to say, I. Am. Sore. Everything hurts. From my knee which I tweaked during one of my not-so-good landings, to my neck, and everywhere in between.

The majority of the others students in the class are guys. They outnumber us about 20 to 8. Martial arts don't attract many girls to begin with, so that wasn't a surprise in itself, but this brings up a couple of points. The first is that I discovered that the guys have a hard time throwing me because of my height. On several occasions I stepped onto the mats only to hear something along the lines of "Oh no. The first person I throw is the hardest person in class to throw...." Never before now (that I can think of) has Shortness + martial arts = beneficial. It's not helpful in sparring when your opponent has a foot of reach on you, and it's certainly not an advantage when working in pairs and you're having to stand on your tiptoes to get the arm around your tall partner's neck for a choke. With this "I'm hard to throw" thing, it's a refreshing and very amusing (to me) change.

Something else that I've noticed in class is that it just so happens that I'm partnered up with another girl. That doesn't bother me. I actually wish that we had more women come to Tae Kwon Do, but that's another tangent that I won't get off on right now. The issue that I had today was that I was all, "Okay! Let's throw each other!" and my mindset was "Getting slammed on the ground is fun! Throw me again! Harder!" This was not the mindset of the two people I was working with today. They were more apprehensive and standoffish, and many times, I had to say "Do you want to try it now?" before they would step up and throw me / I throw them. Behind me, the guys were just jumping right into it as soon as the instructor finished demonstrating the throw. I know, everyone's new at this and most don't have prior martial arts training, but it was a little frustrating. I found myself wishing that I could partner with one of the guys. That's who most of my training partners are in both Tae Kwon Do and BJJ, so I guess I'm more used to the "Okay, let's do this!" attitude.

I have to learn a good chunk of Japanese vocabulary words for the class and by the end of the semester, be able to demonstrate 8 throwing techniques and 5 ground techniques. I've checked out a book from the library on Judo and have been leafing through it, finding the throws that we'll be working on and studying them.


Felicia said...

Sounds like you are having a blast, Ariel!

Mark Tery said...

MMA is so cool, and people who fight in it are very intense and can be considered modern-day warriors.
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