Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting on with it...

Last night, I pulled on my dogi and headed to the basement. I warmed up on the treadmill, stretched and stretched, then hung upside down on the inversion table, and then stretched some more. I ran through the Seisan Kata a few times. (more on this, in a minute) Then I began working the heavy bag. I hit the bag fifty times, paying attention to my breathing and technique, striking it like a makiwara. Then I began working on kicks.

I was envisioning sparring, and began working on a combination kick, where I was in a left or right seisan, and with the front leg, making a front snap-kick, and then with the back leg, whipping it around in a side-kick. Then I went into a front snap-kick and before setting the front foot down, bringing the rear foot around in the side-kick. It's a technique that I think would be totally unexpected, and I think that rather than fully throwing the front snap-kick, I could feint it and then really rip off the side-kick. I practiced this with both left and right, and following it up with punches. I don't know if this tactic will be effective or not, but if it is, I feel it will be pretty devastating.

With the Seisan Kata, I'm having to really focus on my stance, when I shift directions, because if I step out too far or my stance is too narrow, then I can't rotate on my heels. More refining of my technique and trying to do it enough that it becomes something that I do automatically. I've had to work on my open side-block too. My natural tendency is to angle my hand upward, rather than keeping the wrist straight. I'm not sure where I picked up that habit from, but I'm working to correct it. Right now, I get it right about 3/4 of the time...

Lots of lower back stretches... My back is still really stiff and so are my hamstrings. I sat on the floor with my legs spread out straight, as wide as I could get my legs, leaned forward, and grabbed the frame of the treadmill again, stretching, stretching, stretching... I think this is something that I'm going to have to do everyday, and really stay on top of it. Eventually, my back and hamstrings will loosen up, but those are some big muscles, so it may take longer than I wished it would. It's okay... I'm patient. Dogi soaked with sweat again... :-) In bed by 2200, meditated for about fifteen minutes, and then dropped right off to sleep.

Up at 0530 this morning, went out, grabbed the dog, and took him for a two-mile walk. The morning walks are always peaceful. The world is silent and there are no cars on the road. The Bear just trots along beside me, and only sound is the click-click-click of his nails on the street and my own footfalls. Once we returned, I filled his food dish, watered him, and then went back to the basement. More time on the inversion table, more stretching, and then a couple of run-throughs of the Seisan Kata. It's improving, and yet, there is still so much room for improvement...

After a couple of weeks of hard, steady training, I've lost at least half an inch off of my waist. I've always been in pretty good shape, but now I'm seeing my abs beginning to peek through. Very gratifying, and an unexpected bonus. :-)


  1. Right on, Frank. :) Sounds like you're putting in some solid training!

    Not to get all "personal trainer" on you but I was HORRIBLY inflexible when I started. I'm a tall guy and was never flexible at all. What ramped up my flexibility fastest was kicks, kicks, kicks. Every day that I felt like I was up for it.

    I also started doing PNF stretching after some workouts, and I believe this is helping a lot too. Here's an example for how to do your hamstrings this way:

    Anyways, just an idea.

  2. WOW Frank, I feel I already worked out just by reading your story!!! You are doing some serious work out!! Too bad you are so far, I could work on your muscles to help you stretch, I'm a therapist, and you could train me!!! The stretches that your friend shared are the same techniques that I use, try them and you'll get great results! PNF stretching is very successful (just an idea, like your friend says) HUGS!!!

  3. Thank you, James and Irma! The PNF streching looks very good! Thank you again. :-)

  4. Why do you wear a gi when working out alone? The combination you mentioned is interesting, another one I like is mae-geri (real or fake) with the back leg, put the right foot down at about 45° and kick with ushiro-geri (left foot). Works with and without punches but to my experience a jab-cross (kizami -gyaku tsuki in Japanese) followed by the front & back kick combo is most effective.

    I used to be very inflexible too and I still need to work on it but I found doing your kicks very slowly in the old 4 count form does wonders for flexibility & control. I like this method far better than doing regular stretching since you're actually working on your technique and stance at the same time.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely try that. I've been doing my kicks in 3-second stages, and a lot my exercises consist of chambering the knee, or balancing on one foot while lifting the knee higher than my obi.

    I wear my gi when I'm working out, because I guess it never occurred to me to NOT wear it. Haha... Maybe I'll go with sweats and a T-shirt from now on. (Duh...) LOL!