Friday, December 16, 2011

Formal Training Week 20

After Thanksgiving break, there were only two weeks left of classes in the Fall session, meaning of course that we were very close to belt testing. Walking into Equa Do following the long weekend I knew my training would be intensifying in order to prepare me for my test, but it did so in a way I had never expected.
Thanksgiving weekend had not been an easy one for me mentally, and the stress of being close to finals week at school meant I needed some time to just chill with Sensei and Erin when I got to Equa Do on Thursday.

 However, one of the instructors at the school had other ideas. While Sensei was caught up in looking at training tools in a catalog, and Master Eric, Master Markus and Anthony were too caught up in conversation to notice, Miss Linda came up behind me and caught me in a chokehold. Not expecting it, I responded slower than typical. She then proceeded to tighten the choke to the point where my chair was pulled past its center of gravity. This forced me to split my attention between repelling my attacker and avoiding injury. Instinct took over when Miss Linda tried to gain control of my head and I bit her hand when she got too close. Shortly after that was when I realized I would not win the sparring match and I yelled out to Sensei for help, but no one responded. I fought unsuccessfully for a few more minutes and then Miss Linda released me.
She was very sharp with me about two things: The fact that I bit, and the name that I had used to get my teacher's attention. In the style of martial arts Miss Linda teaches, she does not advocate biting an opponent because of the risk of illness. However, given my limited mobility, Sensei and Master Eric and Anthony have advocated biting as a last resort for if someone is close to taking control of my head or cutting off my airsupply. Biting creates enough distraction that an opponent will let go, giving me a chance to retake control of the situation. And as for the term I use to refer to my instructor, Sensei is a Japanese term, and Hapkido is not Japanese but Korean. This is why Miss Linda became so upset. However the Korean term for teacher is long and complicated so SENSEI is the one who told me to call him that. When I told Miss Linda that she got Sensei's attention and began to chew him out for improper teaching.

Hearing Sensei disciplined like that was awful and the anxiety it created combined with the stress of what Miss Linda had done to produce a full fledged panic attack. My mother used chokeholds at least twice that I can remember to discipline me when she felt I had spoken out of turn. I went into a flashback of those experiences as a result. It took Sensei quite a while to calm me down, and even when I had calmed down I was so shaken I refused to train.

When I finally did calm down, we warmed up with jumping jacks and our usual stretches, practicing strike reps on a few soft targets stacked one on top of the other. Once I had finished my strikes I was asked to assist Erin in learning the ones Sensei had not covered yet. We didn't go for perfection, moving on once she had the basic idea behind each strike. Sensei also had me get out my weapon at that time, and work on the eight point strike sequence I had recently mastered. I showed this to Anthony, who was very pleased, and also demonstrated my modified Brush Trap Strike for him as well. While demonstrating this, I followed up Brush-Trap-Strike with a hammer strike out of instinct, sending Anthony sprawling to the mat, and amusing Sensei.

The new material for the night included two new strikes, Panther's Paw (essentially a knuckle strike) and the thumb gouge which is exactly what it sounds like. Both are meant for soft targets. Then Sensei went and got two training knives and tossed me one. The revelation that I was ready to begin blade work excited me, especially because I was beginning to work on it about six months or so ahead of schedule. He reviewed proper technique for disarming an opponent wielding a knife, as well as knife safety, before showing me the eight point cut sequence for knife work. This is essentially the same thing as the one for my cane except each cut is actually a double slash to ensure penetration. The sequence also concludes with a jab to the soft target just under the ribcage.

We did a bit of sparring with the knife, so that I could learn to avoid slicing myself with my own weapon. Also covered were where to slice on an opponent to render them ineffective and how to allow the opponents momentum to make cuts for you. (Place blade along inside of arm as opponent punches.)

At this point it was time to end class for the evening, as the panic attack I suffered ate into class time, so we bowed out and left.

More soon,


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