Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Tiredness and training

I'm tired out today. It doesn't help that one of my children had a nightmare and I tended to her at about 2am. But I can't blame her, poor thing! The reason I'm physically tired is that I've had training sessions, non-stop for the past couple of days. Shorinji Kempo on Monday night, boxing for an hour and a half on Tuesday morning then Tang Soo Do on Tuesday evening.

I feel a bit run down but I like the tightness of the muscles and the feeling of having worked at something.

Shorinji Kempo gave me insight into the way I learn a martial art. The philosophy discussion was based on this and as a Zen art has some fairly regimented attitudes towards learning. What I found on Monday was humility works quite well at learning. Being there, present for training and willing to soak up knowledge goes a long way. It's sometimes very easy to become over-confident about one's own abilities if one is never challenged! You can potentially get an over inflated estimation of your own abilities. Of course confidence is a good thing and I believe martial arts training delivers this in bagfuls: not the confidence to beat someone up or defend yourself (which is achieved) but the confidence of knowing yourself, your limitations and your ability to train within a process or system.

Boxing was fun. I was completely tired out after it and all the younger scamps looked like they could have trained for another hour! Interestingly the teacher told us that the best way to box is to not get hit. Sounds like a no-brainer but there were a couple of big guys there trading slugs at each other and I think this was meant for their benefit. We looked at turning the body sideways to minimise the target area, laying back, parrying and countering rapidly. I was amazed at how these similar elements crop up in more traditional martial arts. I shouldn't be I suppose because fundamentally there can be only a limited number of strategies to striking another person in 'sparring'. Very good practice of laying or leaning back, out of range and then returning with counters. Very tiring!

Tang Soo Do started off quite up tempo as well with light sparring straight off to warm us up! I realised quickly that my body was tired and I wasn't recovering as quickly as I would like! When this happens I try to focus on core technique, slowing it down if I have to but maintaining good posture. It's easy to shoot out tired limbs to make the technique *look* ok but it's another do the technique well under stress. This was what I was trying to do but very often I ended up gasping...and sweating! Later I had the pleasure of working with a young woman for her hyung. This was made a pleasure as she was reacting very well to my coaching to the extent I saw a great difference between starting and finishing the session! We mostly looked at engaging the whole body from foot through hip rotation and ending up at the arms. It's a difficult thing for beginners to grasp but she did a great job! Younger practitioners tend to fling their arms and legs out without engaging their whole body and this, in some ways, is normal: they haven't seen or been shown the intricacy of the body mechanics involved. I find, however, that once the whole body is being used to generate power it becomes an entirely better experience! And you get more feedback from your body when you do this. Otherwise you just end up flapping your arms about...!

These guys seem to be trying REALLY hard to engage their entire bodies...
(oldie but goody!)

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