Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Formal Training Week Seven

I arrived at the dojang quite early, but at least I wasn't the only one there. Anthony was there, and Master Eric too. We talked about school for a few minutes while I watched Anthony warm up. I also confirmed with him that I have been doing the home regimen he and the others recommended to me. I let him know just how significantly my life has changed since I began training in Combat Hapkido. He was pleased to hear that I have been especially cognizant of my behavior towards others, as the concept of self discipline is essential to the martial arts. I then received a phone call, which I had to resolve before class began, so I barely noticed Sensei's arrival.

As soon as I was off the phone, I made sure to bow in. We once again did not do striking practice, but instead spent our warmup time doing light cardio (I did half-jumping jacks) and lots of stretching. I used a lot of the stretches I used to have to do to warm up for basketball and was able to make my stretching last almost as long as those who needed to stretch their legs. Then Anthony explained what everyone would be doing for the day.

While the others were practicing forward rolls, Anthony went and got a styrofoam ring out of the equipment area. He had me put my hands through the center of the ring so the ring was resting on my wrists. Then he had me rotate my wrists in a circular motion as though rolling a ball between my palms. This circular motion is essential for many Hapkido techniques.  Also, performing certain techniques with the ring on my wrists restricts my movement, and will help reinforce the idea that I should only be working in a small, central area, with arms close to my body. Master Eric had me also incorporate some shoulder rotation, which when combined with the circular motion and my opponent's momentum, will allow me to throw my opponent if necessary. The last thing I was asked to do with the ring was to incorporate a strike with the upper hand during each rotation.

Then we moved on to a technique similar to the arm bar but more abrupt. Once a punch is thrown and you catch the wrist, the hand not holding the wrist delivers a sharp strike to the elbow. Done with enough force this will either shock or break the joint. I was working with Brandon on these techniques and doing quite well. The next technique Anthony had us work on was an extension of the first. Once the wrist is grabbed and the elbow struck, some opponents may instinctively try to pull away. If this happens, an able bodied person would be taught to step into the opponent's body and strike at the head after locking the elbow and arm against their shoulder. In my case I would bring the arm holding my opponent over their arm, pulling them into my body and immobilizing them from the inside of the elbow before striking.

After that was done, Sensei switched places with Brandon and we worked for awhile on striking a moving limb. Once the incoming strike from an opponent is brushed away from the body, it is in many situations prudent to strike at the limb, either to shock or disable it. This can give you a chance to move onto other vulnerable areas if necessary.

The very last thing I did before the end of class was something I asked Anthony to address with me. I take a paratransit company to get around because I cannot drive. By law, they must put a shoulder strap on me to hold me in my chair, as a supplement to the seatbelt that's built into my chair and only goes across my lap. I usually can unbuckle this shoulder strap on my own as soon as the bus comes to a stop. However, many of the drivers don't pay attention and assume that I have not done this, and try to unbuckle the only seatbelt they see, which is the one across my lap. Having them touching my legs, especially so close to my private area, makes me very anxious, especially when they won't stop right away even when I tell them to. While it has never escalated into a sexually charged situation, I wanted to know what I could do if it ever did, whether it was one of my bus drivers or someone else.

Anthony said basically that should an opponent try to unbuckle my seatbelt and or touch me inappropriately I need to begin lashing out, kicking, striking, screaming, etc. He mimicked the behavior to see what I would do and I began striking everywhere I could reach, forcing him to stop attacking and protect his head especially. Eventually I was able to shove him backwards so he hit the ground, and then use my chair to run him over and pin him, preventing him from standing and attacking again. Sensei missed it, and so we repeated the sequence one more time at his request, only to have him fall over laughing. Moments later, we went through our end of class routine and the class was dismissed.


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