The fourteenth week of training saw some significant changes in the way we trained and prepared for belt testing, so let's get started. Firstly, I was there early, as I came straight from school again. It's not that I have a problem with Robbie driving me to the dojang at all, its more that I prefer having the chance to stay at school late Thursday nights. I often do schoolwork in one of the empty classrooms, which not only allows me to get work done, but the quiet atmosphere helps me center myself so I arrive at Equa Do ready to learn. When I got to the school, nobody was really there yet except park district kids, and Master Eric was able to handle them without Sensei's assistance, so I got to spend some quality time with him. Our friend Aaron also came, having given Sensei a ride and I was pleased to learn that he will be beginning a study of Hapkido as well.
Once Master Eric had finished with the previous class, Sensei and Aaron set up mats in anticipation of us working with our crutches that night. Chad arrived moments later and we bowed into the training area, completing the formal start of class ritual with Master Eric. Chad had remembered both sets of crutches, so after 60 half jumping jacks and a few stretches we were told to get on the mat. Sensei helped me out of my chair and lowered me to the mat slowly, laying me on my back before doing the same with Chad.
He then showed us how the crutches could be used to strike upward and outward at an opponent standing over us, and ensured we could hit vulnerable spots such as the solar plexus, eyes, crotch, and throat. He also showed us that by thrusting both crutches outward in an x shape we could catch the opponent around the neck and cause serious issues for them if enough pressure was used. Once we were done on our backs, we rolled to either side and practiced striking out with one crutch at vulnerable spots like the ankle, shin and knee.
Master Eric came over to see what we were working on, surprised to find us out of our chairs. I explained that I had asked Sensei for instruction on how to fight if for some reason I needed to do so when my chair was not with me, or if my opponent got me out of my chair. So I showed him that Sensei had worked with me on my back, on my side, and kneeling. I also demonstrated how to get back up from the ground once I had my attacker either subdued or distracted enough to do so, and that once I had, my main objective would be to walk away from the encounter and get help, as always.
Master Eric worked with me on a few additional things, while Sensei helped Chad, who was struggling. Firstly he showed me that my crutch could be used the same way as the cane I typically train with if necessary. Then he took my crutches away from me altogether and had me go through blocks and strikes I have learned up til now in a kneeling position. He then had me do the same with Brush Trap Strike, and I am proud to say I was able to bring Master Eric to the mat multiple times with the force of my trap, and arm bar, remembering to launch additional strikes at the head, neck and spine once he was down.
For the rest of the lesson, Sensei had us brushing up on the fighting style he had just introduced us to. Then he let me get into my chair and do a short demo of "flow of combat" for Chad, who didn't seem able to grasp how techniques could be sequenced together in an actual fight. After we had been bowed out, Sensei called us over and gave us each a homework/reference sheet with the techniques he felt we should be working on at home.
Chad initially was gung ho (in front of Sensei) to do what was expected of him, however once we got home, it was a whole different story. That, however, is for another post. Before I sign off, let me show you the homework sheet we have been using!
There you have it!