Monday, July 5, 2010

Music, two days without pain, etc.

What a miracle! Two days ago, I was still having a dull ache in my elbows. I awoke yesterday, and my elbows were entirely pain-free! This morning, too... I overdid it, playing guitar yesterday, and playing piano, this morning, so my right elbow has started buzzing a little, but with more stretches and holding pressure points and stretching, the pain quickly vanished. This is unbelievable, and I am just thrilled...

I play piano, guitar, bass, drums, and I sing, too. (I'm self-conscious about my voice...) Anyway, a lot of the musical stuff has been on hold for the past year and a half, while my elbows have been in pain, so it feels good to finally be back to doing the things that I love. I just have to rein myself in, so I don't overdo it, for now.

Here's the URL to my music. I play all of the instruments, track by track, layering them via Cakewalk Sonar, which is a multi-tracking and mixing program for PC. Most of this stuff is experimental, as I've been fooling around and trying to learn the ins and outs of the software, mixing, and trying out different sounds, musically. :-) Feel free to rate the songs, download them if you like, and/or leave comments.

I've been working harder on stretching my tight and stubborn hamstrings. What a chore... It's the one thing that I am dissatisfied with, as far as my flexibility goes. I have resolved to stretch them several times a day, every day, until they finally loosen up, and they will; I'm just very impatient.

Now that I've been studying Isshinryu for six months, several things are beginning to really fall into place. My balance was the first thing that I noticed. It is vastly improved. My flexibility has been slower, but it's coming along. What I've really noticed, is that my kicks, punches, stances, and quickness have all taken a quantum leap, lately. Of course, it's because of the constant work that I've been doing, but over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a real snap to my techniques, a real jump in speed as I've worked on keeping the muscles loose and pliable and keeping my hands nice and loose until the point of impact, and my stances have really become very natural and easy. I'm no longer feeling uncoordinated, awkward, and oafish. There's a new grace, speed, and power to things, and it feels miraculous!

Sensei gave me notice that I would be testing for orange belt around the middle of the month, so I'm redoubling my efforts, particularly with the basic charts, and with the Seiuchin kata.

As with anything, I guess it's like pushing a truck: It starts so slow and difficult and nearly impossible at first, and then, it begins to pick up its own momentum and becomes nearly effortless. And still, there is the striving and bettering, and a constant return to the basics, to perfect and master even the smallest thing, bringing a fresh new focus, rather than thinking, Oh, I've done this a hundred times... A hundred, five hundred, a thousand... I've read that a black belt is someone who has mastered the basics.

The wonderful thing about mastering anything, whether it be martial arts, spiritual growth, or any other pursuit, is that there's never a point where one can say, "Okay! That's it! I've learned all there is to know! I've arrived!" There is always one more step... Ego jumps up and says, "WHAT??!! That SUCKS!!!" Hahaha... Deep down, greater and quieter than ego, our spirits exclaim, "YES!!!" *BEAMING!*


  1. My cousin, who has been a martial artist since before I was born and currently teaches Uechi-ryu, told me once that he felt a technique was truly mastered when he had practiced it - correctly - 60,000 times. At that point, doing the technique correctly had become reflexive.

  2. That's wonderful! I love that there's always room to improve and progress. :-)

  3. Hi Frank, I glad you're training is going so well - it's a great feeling when you feel you've made a giant leap forward. However, great leaps are often followed by long plateaus - so don't be disappointed if this happens (it happens to us all).

    God, I sound like such a doom and gloom merchant - sorry! Just enjoy the training. By the way I'm testing mid-month as well - for 1st kyu (that's brown belt with 3 tabs in our system). Good luck with yours :-)

  4. No.... It doesn't sound like gloom and doom, Sue. It's just the truth of things, and I thank you for reminding me of that.

    Congratulations on your upcoming belt test! How exciting! Good luck! :-)