Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Training Without a Sifu

This week's training schedule was a little screwy thanks to all of our work schedules and this left us on two of our scheduled training days without a Sifu  (and without two of our other members, as well). David and I decided not to let this hinder our training and got together anyway.

We started out by working on the Around the World drill, where you move around your opponent's body, striking as you move. It's just plain fun but we quickly realized that neither of us is familiar enough with the drill to continue without supervision.

One of the biggest issues we identified was the possibility of reinforcing bad habits by repeatedly performing the wrong footwork and strike placement/techniques without someone there to correct our mistakes. Because of this we agreed to limit our training to working on the basics we're more familiar with and trying to refine those techniques.

Since David just earned his yellow belt and I'm still a white belt we focused on the yellow belt techniques; Trick 1, Trick 2, Trick 2a, Trick 3, Grab Art 1, Grab Art 2, and Grab Art 3.

We took turns running through these in order, each of us performing all seven techniques before switching. We ran through this pattern four times each before taking a "break" by doing the Scarecrow drill twice each. We then returned to the previous pattern and repeated this until we ran out of time. By doing these back to back with no real breaks, we were able to turn this into a bit of a cardio workout as well.

Just for fun, we also decided to work on our Kiais by taking turns punching each other in the stomach HARD a few times. What a great stress reducer that is! We both had big grins on our faces by the time we were done.

Of course, this week would have been better with Sifu Grant there, but all said, I think we made good use of our time and were able to get some valuable training time in anyway. It's something to keep in mind the next time unforeseen circumstances mess with your regular schedule. Just don't make the mistake of working on techniques you're not familiar with and reinforcing bad habits.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Leg Workout

We did a horrendous leg workout yesterday. I don't know what it was called but it involved a bunch of up and down movement and kicks. Here's a video of the technique. Maybe you can help identify it.


* Thanks for finding this video, Peter. It made me laugh until my side hurt (Or is that just residuals from the roundhouse I took yesterday?)

Stick Fighting

Getting hit by a stick sucks.
That is all. Carry on.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fanning the Flames

Today we did some great work using the fan block as a base. I really like the fan block for a few reasons.

First, it forces you to get both your hands up to a defensive/offensive position. For a beginner like me, this is extremely helpful as I have a tendency to drop the off hand. Other blocks that utilize a single arm require you to bring your off hand up on your own and that's easy (for me, at least) to forget. I'm sure with practice this becomes second-nature, but the fan block -because it incorporates both hands- makes this automatic. When the fan block is employed properly, both hands are up near your face ready to either strike or block a followup strike from your attacker.

Second, when accompanied with movement on one of the eight basic directions, the fan block sets up some amazing follow up strikes. Move sideways or to a rear 45, and you've placed yourself at range to deliver a kick to several targets; groin, abdomen, inside of thigh, and knee. Move to the inside on a 45 and you're in range and perfectly setup to deliver blindingly fast and devastating hand strikes to the jaw, chin, and throat.

One thing to watch out for is locking yourself into a static stance like the horse. This reduces your ability to follow up and flow with the attacker. I did this several times, primarily because I was moving in on a substantially shorter attacker (Sorry, Tim, but you're short) and the horse got me low enough for an uppercut. Unfortunately, it also kept me from properly shifting my hips/weight into the followup strikes making them far less effective. Instead, stick to a comfortable fighting stance or cat depending on the situation and you'll be able to react quickly and deliver effective strikes.

The next time you need to move in close OR need to get a little distance, try fanning the strike and look at the myriad targets you just made available.