This week was my first week of training where I had a full day of college coursework beforehand. Surprisingly, I was not too fatigued to train. I got to the dojang super early again, since the bus company had to give me an earlier ride over there than I usually have. I know I have beaten Master Eric there before, but this time, not only did I beat Master Eric, I beat Master Markus as well. The good news was that Anthony was back! I got to watch him warm up and prep for the beginning Tae Kwon Do class. Before long Master Markus and Master Eric arrived as well.
As has been the trend for the last few weeks, Master Eric brought along his chihuahua, Spike. Spike and I get along quite well and I really enjoy playing with him when I am not training. The only difference is that tonight, when Master Eric brought the last load of things into the dojang from his car, he handed me Spike's leash and asked me to watch him until it was time for class. To me, this was a huge vote of confidence in me, that I would be asked to watch something I know to be very precious to Master Eric and his family. Spike enjoyed running around Equa Do with me following as best I could, stopping to give everyone he saw puppy kisses, including Sensei and Brandon when they arrived.
Soon though, it was time for class. Anthony had me do a different warm up today while the others were working on jumping jacks. He told me to hold my hands in ready position, and picture the position of the twelve numbers on the face of a clock. He asked me to pick six of the twelve positions and strike out towards them in random sequence. This warmup was designed to help me in being ready for punches to come from any direction, not just in front of me. Then we did full body stretches, along with the usual wrist ones. I did shoulder stretches, elbow stretches, wheel reaches, and neck stretches.
While the others worked on a "point grip", Sensei worked with me on the unarmed deflection my warmup from Anthony was designed to teach. He struck at me with padded blockers on various areas of my body. My goal was to deflect all the strikes simply by brushing them away. While this was difficult at first I slowly got the hang of it. We went faster and faster, then switched over to drflrcting punches and I am now able to do so with significant speed. Then I learned the point grip as well. Basically a point grip means if someone points their finger at you in a threatening manner and you have reason to believe the encounter will escalate, you grab the hand and wrench the outstretched finger back while turning it inward.
Then we worked on takedowns. For the first one, assuming the opponent grabs you by the shirt and goes to throw a punch you brush it out of the way and transfer it to the other arm so both of the opponent's arms are locked down, then strike just above the elbow. The other starts out the same but rather than striking once you have evaded the punch you grab at the opponent's clothing and yank down and away, essentially throwing them.
By this time of the night class was almost over, so Sensei and I worked on deflection again.I began to feel pain and vertigo from a possible ear infection, Rather than just brush it off, Sensei used what he knows of traditional Chinese medicine to channel my qi, or energy, which was causing me pain, and remove it. He then performed a nerve strike so my body would relax and continued working with me.
End of class routine went as normal, except that we were reminded about belt testing on September 17th. Earlier in class, I had mentioned to Sensei and Brandon that I didn't think I would ever be able to perform well enough to earn my white belt. Sensei disagreed. Just to prove me wrong, he asked Anthony when he thought I might be ready to test. Anthony asked me whether I knew certain techniques white belts are tested on, and when I was able to demonstrate that I did, I was given permission to test as early as the 17th. This, along with showing Robbie and Master Eric what I learned, was the best part of my night.
Glad it ended on such a high note.
In celebration, I share with you a picture of me and Sensei, taken last week after training.