Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sweet Sparring, and Lemonade

Last night, I applied some hard-won lessons in sparring class, and enjoyed the change. With instruction in recent weeks from Sempai Hemans, an old-time karate-style classmate, I applied a key lesson to sparring:

Don't kick a counterpuncher.

I have pretty good roundkicks. They're very effective against many classmates. But whenever I use a round kick on Hemans, he comes back with at least three quick, hard punches or kicks. He's so fast that I'm still trying to regain my stance from my kick, and so I'm not really prepared for it.

So instead, I just used my reach advantage and I jabbed. And circled. And jabbed and circled and jabbed and circled. I kept my right hand right up at my head for protection while my left was flicking out.

Result: No big openings for him to attack me. No thudding blows to my body and head.

I did the same thing with Joshu DeLury, who also is a counterpuncher. After a couple of minutes, he actually started laughing because he could see what was happening--he had no counterpunching opportunities. He dropped his hands and stuck his chin out to tempt me to attack recklessly. I didn't bite.

It was, very simply, so much fun not getting pounded into the floor by those two black belts.

Meanwhile, Hack Shaft has graciously nominated me for the "When Life Hands You Lemons" award. I still need to post the image of the award and nominate someone else for it, which I'll get to later this weekend. Got to get ready for class now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lots of Training

Lots of training the past three days; Friday night, kickboxing at 9:15 PM, where I suddenly started to learn (with some help from him) about how to spar with a black belt who has bedeviled me for a long time. Saturday, two hours of classes, both of which became grappling classes (another learning session); and today, I went with a friend to a private trainer for some cross training.

Michele is right, it will be fun catching up in sparring. The lesson I learned Friday night was, when facing this counterpuncher with very fast hands, rely on my jab, keep circling, make him so frustrated that he will come in to attack (and be therefore vulnerable). Also to use my snapping front kick, which I've been hesitant to use--the jab of the legs.

On grappling, I'm learning when I have the opponent in my guard, I should just roll to the side and see what I can come up with--kimura, sweep, guillotine, all sorts of things can come if I just make that move.

I'm a little sore after all that training, and I have another class tomorrow night, but then a day off on Tuesday.

Good luck to everybody with their training, recovery, etc.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sparring Retread

I took my first sparring class in weeks. I had missed many due to schedule troubles, illness, and, for the most recent two weeks when I DID attend, a focus on footwork drills instead of actual sparring.

As a result, I was terrible. One of the more veteran black belts said he remembered when I used to hit hard and stick people with my front kick, and he was sure I would be doing that again. Since I hadn't asked for sympathy, this was totally voluntary on his part and showed how obvious my decline had been.

This is frustrating because sparring is my favorite part of my school's curriculum.

You learn how to ride a bike as a kid, and you always remember. You don't need a reminder about how to read.

But there are other types of skills, like sparring, like grappling, that need constant honing or you lose ground.

I know I'll regain it. With work.