I almost did not get to go to training this week, as Chad was not feeling well and I was unsure whether his mom would still be willing to pick me up. However, she agreed to do so. I have been really struggling with my depression lately to the point of being suicidal, and I was sort of looking forward to having a one on one session with Sensei, but Erin was there and at first I felt significant resentment. I was, unfortunately, very short with her and with Sensei. Sensei finally got me calmed down and I turned in my homework sheet to him. I also gave Master Eric a paper I wrote last semester about the problem of bullying in America's schools, my solution to which is the implementation of a martial arts unit in physical education classes.&#160; He had asked to read the thesis after I emailed it to Sensei, who had thought it was worth passing along. By the time we did that and I apologized to Erin it was time for class.
Warmups this week were very different than what I was used to previously. We still did our usual stretches, but after that the routine got changed up. I was restless and asked Sensei for permission to get out of my chair and do something. Imagine my surprise when he had me get on the floor and do pushups. But not just any pushups. Sensei had me doing full, military count, pushups. I managed to get through two sets of five before my body was too exhausted to continue. In order to compensate for the physical strain he had asked of me, Sensei then asked Erin and I to make ourselves comfortable on the floor and led us through a five minute meditation. With his permission I envisioned the Forest of Spirits. Once that was done it was time to move on.
Sensei started Erin working with vertical and horizontal punches, and took me through all my strikes and blocks just to ensure continued progress. Then he had me work a little bit more on the eight point strike sequence he began teaching me the week before. He was pleased with my efforts when training at home and said it was time for me to learn something new.
Before we got started on that however, Sensei excused himself to go to the washroom, leaving me with Erin. She had been struggling with throwing solid punches, and as I have been told I am more than competent with basic strikes I asked to see what she had been doing in hopes that I could offer some assistance. She threw a couple of punches and immediately I saw the problems. Firstly, she was not turning her foot into her punch, which meant the energy lacked a smooth conduit and she was limiting her strike. Secondly, she was drawing back her arm before punching (or chambering) this is incredibly dangerous because it essentially warns your opponent what you are going to do and gives them a chance to retaliate, perhaps before you have even struck. I called Anthony over to have him help me demonstrate why and how the issues needed to be corrected, and was pleased when the demonstration helped Erin to improve. As I finished up working with her, Sensei returned.
We spent the rest of the night working with an ordinary dish towel. I was taught how to throw it and distract an attacker, and also to use it by forcing tension through it and therefore deflecting blows. By the time class was over I had become sufficiently proficient at using the dish towel, making Sensei very proud. Then we bowed out for the night.