I’ve spent roughly twenty-two hours this week on homework. The good news? I’m about two weeks ahead on reading for my classes. Most of the readings have been enjoyable, and all of them have been thought-provoking and/or informative. So, the first week of this crazy term is going well. The two terms following should be a bit easier as far as workload is concerned.
The down-side is that I’m on a reduced kempo schedule. This makes me a little sad but it’s a short-term sacrifice and I have fantastic support from my dojo-family, though I miss them at the classes I can’t attend.
At present I’m on board a ferry to cross the Long Island Sound for the weekend. I’m writing this offline, so by the time you see it, I will be off the boat, but I figured now was a good time to write about what happened this afternoon.
Knowing I would be away for a few days, I scheduled a private lesson with my instructor at the dojo early this afternoon. We were about halfway through–and talking in part about how I need to start making more contact–when our grand master walked in.
To work with a master and a grand master on my latest combinations was fantastic. I have a lot of work to do, but I still have another 2 years and 4 months to get to where I need to be. Some shifts I need to start working on with my combinations include:
1. Hitting faster and off-rhythm, worrying less about smooth movements and more about short bursts of power.
2. Making more contact and adapting strikes so that I can hit safely. This has been a challenge for me for years–I can take a hit well enough, but giving them is a different story.
3. Working more with the animals–today we talked about how to move like the leopard with one of my combinations, and southern tiger in another combination.
Overall it was a fantastic lesson–I’m so glad I took the opportunity.
So I’ve been sort of…absent lately. There’s been a lot going on. I had a research paper due (I got a 97% so I was pretty pleased with the result), I’m in the process of moving (countdown to Friday), it’s JuNoWriMo, and the annual kempo demonstration was yesterday. I’ll post some stills from the video (and the trailer) when I get the video, but it’s still on the camera’s hard drive at the dojo. The demo went pretty well this year, I’d say. I felt a little bad that I couldn’t stick around to be on cleanup crew, but I did get many boxes packed last night, so that was productive.
I did make a mistake in the demo–I think. I was in the middle of doing my sword form, thinking about how I didn’t want to accidentally stab my friends when I knew they were going to “attack” me after I finished…and I forgot what came next. I did something to get to where I had to go…but I’m not really sure what I did. I don’t remember. I was really quite nervous I would accidentally hurt someone with the sword. I like sword, but my favorite weapon is still sai–they’re smaller and therefore feel more like an extension of myself than does a sword. I suppose that’s also because I’ve practiced more with the sai. But there’s one thing I’m sure of…
The black belts were sharp yesterday. We hit hard and on time. We had great synchronization, and I think it looked really great.
And now for my favorite week at the dojo…the week after the demo, when everything is so relaxed (although, really, I love all the weeks at the dojo).
With life calming down somewhat over the summer, I’m hoping to be present here a bit more. Sometimes a blog just has to warm on the back burner.
Grad school and kempo have kept me busy the last week and a half, as well as a visit from family. I’ve not had the chance to do the writing prompts, short as they are, though I will continue soon (and may have to pursue them as I have time to do so).
Tonight, in addition to many hours of reading, I did all of my kempo basics, 38 combos, and 18 forms. Now I’m going to go to sleep–I hope to have the chance to write a prompt up on Monday (I have a rough draft for one of my final research papers due Sunday night so it’s unlikely you’ll see something from me creative-writing wise before then).
With school underway, there is less time for me to practice kempo. As it happens, I have, naturally, been spending a lot of time practicing some of my newer forms. Already since my test in November, I have started learning two new forms. They’re fun, but also very demanding. I have come a long way, but there is still so much work to do. For my pre-black belt forms, there is plenty of time to review as I teach them during the week. The only forms that are a little neglected are my first degree forms—not because I don’t like them, because I do (although six kata was never one of my favorites). My sensei and I discovered this yesterday, when we did Two Man Fist Set A & B and I was…a little rusty. I can do them in the air just fine, but with a partner, occasionally I misstep—and that’s the wrong time to misstep. So the lesson is, I need to spend a little more time on my first degree forms so that they don’t fall by the wayside. I practiced some today, and I think if I just go through them a couple times each day along with my other forms—even if not at full power—that will help.