Thursday, July 24, 2008

day 161: punch and kick drills

  • tournament prep-sparring
  • tournament prep-jian shu
we had a long Sunday, with Alex back and wanting to get in practice time for referees. we ended up dividing things equally between sparring and jian shu, starting at around 9 and ending around 1:30.

tournament prep-sparring

sparring work today consisted primarily of punch and kick drills, with the goal of acclimating people to free-form offense and defense. Sifu had us work in pairs, with each pair doing several rounds of each drill before switching partners with another pair. in addition, to help us adjust to tournament rules, he had us work in full gear, with helmets, gloves, and pads. he cautioned that since this was meant to acclimate people to full-speed actions that we should hold off on full contact power and focus on just adjusting to timing and velocity.

the drills were as follows:
  • punching drill--this involved 1 partner attacking and the other partner defending. the attacking partner was supposed to attack with any type and combinations of punches, with the defending partner defending himself. both partners are free (and expected) to move around each other as if it were a real fight, either trying to get around one another or opening or closing distance from each other.
  • kicking drill--this is the same as the punching drill, but with the partners both using their kicks. the defender, however, could use hands to defend against kicks (using go and gua), although the primary defense was supposed to be the feet.
Sifu made a number of points:
  • for us, high kicks are considered dangerous, and so normally in a street fight setting we'd stick to low or medium kicks. however, we employed them in practice to learn how to defend against them.
  • on defense, don't try to watch the punch or kick. it can be too fast to observe or react in time, and often can be used as just a diversion. it's better to simply focus on the overall body of the attacker, and read their actions based on their body movement. this allows more time to respond.
  • you're going to get hit. you can't always successfully defend against every punch or kick. the goal, however, can still be to minimize the damage.
  • keep the chin down, eyes up. this can be hard when you're constantly moving, which is why you have to train for it.
  • keep the hands up. this can be hard when you get tired, which again is why you have to train for it.
tournament prep-jian shu

we finished the day with jian shu tournament prep, holding mock rounds to help the judges train to either be referees or to work as line judges. we also worked on some tournament formalities that Alex wanted to institutionalize into the sport.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

day 160: evaluation day

  • bagua 64 palms
this Saturday began with a run-down of who was going to the tournament and some talk as to group transportation. the plan--at least for now--seems to be getting 2 vans to drive out to the Vegas on August 29 (friday) and returning August 31 (sunday). this is subject to change, since there seems to be some curiousity about getting a charter bus (which unfortunately needs more than the 15 of us to be made cost-effective), using a train (not sure if this is possible), or flying.

bagua 64 palms

Sifu had this be an evaluation day. he gave everyone time to practice 64 palms, and then had each of us perform the form individually in front of the class for evaluation. this time, however, in contrast to last week, he showed us opening and closing movements from bagua forest palm that he wanted added to the form.

originally, he just wanted us to do 64 palms side A, but i asked to do both side A and B as a personal challenge. i went ahead and got John Eagles to record me doing it, since i wanted to get a sense of where i'm at in the form. i tried to address my issues from the last time, concentrating on extending into the actions and moving more smoothly between techniques, but still found some sticking points.

you can see the video of me at the following:

Sifu's comments on my performance was as follows:
  • palms 1, 2, 3, and 7 are coming along
  • palms 4, 5, 6, and 8 need some more work in terms of making the techniques more clear and having the yi (intent) behind them expressed more clearly
in addition, looking at the video, i can see that i'm still all angles and lines, and that i'm still not moving in fluid, free-flowing circles. in addition, i'm not moving with power at the times i should be, or shifting into softness when i should be. that, and i think i still express a lot of tension in my musculature and bone structure, and so don't really seem to have really gotten a sense of yin.

after we finished, Sifu then did the same thing with the baji students. we finished the day with this and went to lunch.

Friday, July 18, 2008

day 159: partner drills & sparring

  • partner drills
  • sparring
this turned into a Sunday, since Alex was back and Sifu wanted to work on both sparring and jian shu preparations. we began around 9:30 but didn't finish until around 1:30.

partner drills

we warmed up with some of the footwork line drills from last week, and then Sifu took us through a series of partner drills. the partner drills this week involved partners moving in circles, with multiple sets of partners going at the same time. Sifu told us to switch off partners randomly during each of the drills, so as to have us acclimate to constantly changing partners and movements. the partner drills today can be broken down in the following:
  • moving forward, small step-big step--each partner faces each other, with guard hands in contact, and stepping in a circle so that both move around the center. both partners step forward, and if they want to change direction (e.g., go from clockwise to counter-clockwise), they have to pivot and change guard hands. either partner is allowed to change direction at any time, with the other partner required to match. Sifu said to mix up the steps, with either small steps or little steps.
  • moving backward, small step-big step--this is the same as above, except that the partners move backwards.
  • moving forward or backwards, small step-big step--this combines everything above, with either partner allowed to change direction as well as moving forwards or backwards using small steps or big steps, and the other partner required to match.

after the drills, Sifu had us begin sparring, with the plan being to go in 2 rounds of 2 minutes each for each person. i ended up being paired with Randy.

this ended up being an educational experience. to be frank, it was a disaster from my end. as much as i tried to apply the principles i knew, i ended up just getting beat down. Randy is larger and more experienced than me, so this shouldn't be much of a surprise. but it was frustrating nonetheless to not be able to avoid his punches or land any of my own, despite my best efforts to do either.

from an educational perspective, this is the kind of experience i need to advance in learning martial arts. to date, i've done light sparring, but it's not the same as going full-speed and full-contact, and it is definitely a challenge to adjust. in order for me to really understand kung fu--or martial arts in general--i know that i have to be able to use it effectively (key word: effectively) in a realistic setting. but in order to do this, i have to get experience to know just what i need to do to protect myself and just how principles are supposed to be used.

my effort was bad enough that i ended up working with Jay for the remainder of the session on my sparring skills, even after everyone else had done their rounds and had moved onto to jian shu training. Jay was willing to share his experience with me, and had me work on learning how to take punches and kicks, holding a guard, as well as working on movement. there were a few things he told me that i thought were pretty useful:
  • don't focus on incoming strikes. they move to fast to react to, and you can respond quicker by just focusing on the opponent's body and face, which often relays signals as to their movement
  • don't chase incoming strikes. meaning don't reach out to intercept strikes. opponents usually want you to do this, since it often places you in positions vulnerable to the opponent's follow-up attacks. good fighters actually try to lure you to chase strikes to set you up for their big hits.
  • eyes down, hands up. i apparently don't do this right.
  • move. always move. opponents will try to force you to move in certain directions to set you up for their strikes. they also try to close off your routes to deny you attacking angles. you have to keep moving to deny them a stationary target and to seek out opportunities.
of course, the big issue for me again is experience. i don't have enough experience to recognize what is a "good" opportunity (versus a "bad" opportunity) to strike, to read an opponent's body language to know what they plan to do, or to know when a strike is a ruse or a real attempt to hit.

later over lunch i told Sifu i think i need to be doing this on a more regular basis during the course of the year, just to develop the above skills and get a better sense of just how a fight situation really works. he said that this is something we should setup as students on our own, and something he definitely encourages.

that was it for the day. definitely a wake-up call.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

day 158: evaluating forms

  • short and long
  • continuity
  • bagua 64 palms
this Saturday proved to be an evaluation day. Sifu spent some time at the start discussing his intentions regarding the sifu/disciple ceremony (which is apparently a pretty big deal, and is planned for the Labor Day after the Las Vegas tournament), as well as his plans to formalize Wutan Los Angeles as an institution (so that it exists as an institution even in his absence). following this, he reminded us that we were making a group trip to get martial arts equipment (for today, it was going to be to Golden Tiger Martial Arts, which has a store in Koreatown).

bagua 64 palms

we warmed up by reviewing 64 palms, sides A and B. following this, Sifu asked to see each of us doing 64 palms solo in front of the group, so that he could evaluate and make comments.

i won't go into detail about all the comments he made for everyone, but i'll note what he said about me:
  • short. apparently my movements are too short, and i need to go long in terms of extending into turns and reaching with the arms and legs.
  • continuity. my progression through the form still functions like a series of steps going from one checkpoint to another. Sifu said this is okay at a beginner level, but that i should progress in the form by becoming more continuous in my movements.
we weren't the only ones being evaluated. after we had finished, Sifu gathered the baji students together and had them present their forms solo in front of the class as well.

all this took the bulk of class time, although we finished slightly early so as to make the trip to Koreatown for lunch and then going to get equipment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

day 157: more leg drills & mock jian shu

  • footwork
  • tournament prep--leg drills
  • tournament prep--jian shu
today build on the drills from last Sunday. we had a new person today, Randy, who had been in Sifu's Long Beach sword class, and is preparing to go the Baltimore tournament. Alex was back today as well, to help practice running the jian shu tournament rounds. we warmed up with a repetitions of the Chen tai chi long form, although a few people filtered in after we had started.

leg drills

we began by repeating most of the solo leg drills from last week (reference: day 155), then went into some new drills:
  • crossover step, solo--this followed the same pattern as the step and shuffle drills from last week, except this time we used a crossover step, with the rear foot stepping in front of the front foot to advance forward, and the front foot stepping in front of the rear foot to move backwards. Sifu said this was important, since it reduced the chance of tripping the feet.
  • triangle step, stationary, solo--basically, you visualize an imaginary equilateral triangle on the ground, with each side matching your typical stance width and 1 vertex aiming at an imaginary opponent. you place 1 foot on the front vertex and the other foot on either one of the rear vertices. this will place you in a way that has 1 side of your body aiming at an angle in the general direction of the opponent. you then begin shifting your feet, so that you change which side of your body faces the enemy (e.g., if you began with your left foot on the front vertex and your right foot on the left rear vertex, you then move both feet so that your right foot is on the front vertex and your left foot is on the right rear vertex). Sifu said emphasized: DO NOT JUMP, but instead try to move in a way that has 1 foot taking the place of the other on the front vertex (i.e., shift the foot that is on the front vertex). we did this for several rounds of 16 repetitions.
  • triangle step, moving, solo--this is the same as the above, except that with each shift in side you either move forward or backwards. we did several rounds of 16 repetitions, with each round either advancing forward or backward.
  • triangle step, partner--here, Sifu had 1 partner be the attacker, holding a sword. the other partner was the defender. the attacker's role was to poke with the sword (ideally, it's a fake sword w a dull point, or just a plain stick) straight at the defender's chest. the defender's role was to then use the triangle step to shift out of the way. both partners would do 1 round moving forward, and then 1 round moving backwards. we did several rounds, again with 16 repetitions, and then switching roles.
  • mix step, partner--this integrated all the footwork drills from last week. the drill is identical to the triangle step with a partner, except that the defender has to match the attacker's footwork, with the attacker choosing to either step, shuffle, or crossover while poking the defender with the sword. the defender's job is to retreat away from the sword. in this drill, the defender always retreats, and never advances.

after we did these drills, Sifu broke us into separate groups, with Simon and Richard going to give Randy sparring practice, and with me, Phunsak, Ching-Chieh, John, and Alex going to run some mock jian shu tournament rounds to practice judging.

jian shu

Sifu decided that we should have Ching-Chieh get some practice being a line judge, since she was going to act as a time-keeper for the jian shu tournament and might possibly have to fill in as a line-judge in case someone got sick or was unable to make the tournament. so we held several jian shu rounds, with everyone rotating in and out as line judges. Alex and i took turns being head referee.

this consumed the remainder of class time, and we kept going until the time Ching-Chieh had to leave (she's going away for 6 weeks for field research, which was why she's been trying to get in so much practice time recently). everyone had things to do and so had to skip lunch, leaving me and Phunsak to go eat.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

day 156: practice and review

  • tantui
  • bagua 64 palms (A & B)
class started a little late today, with people filtering in slowly. i suspect this was because it was the July 4th weekend, and July 4 had been Friday, meaning that many people had been celebrating the night before and so were finding it a struggle to wake up Saturday morning.

we started class with more discussion about the tournament. Sifu had brought the entry forms and tournament pamphlet for both participants and judges, and wanted everyone to go through the documents. the entry forms included the tournament schedule and event rules, as well as information about hotel accommodations. i ended up joining Phunsak, Jonathan, and John Eagles for a 4-bed hotel suite.

there was some slight consternation in terms of rules and schedule, since the tournament pamphlet lists sparring and jian shu as being the same day, and a number of us are planning to do both. there was also some alarm at the sparring rules, which appear to be light contact with very short (30-second rounds)--which is not what we've been training for. Sifu didn't seem too alarmed with either issue, saying that the times could be changed to avoid conflict, and that he was going to talk to Tony Yang about the sparring rules.

Sifu said we'd need to figure out a way to get some school t-shirts made, since they're required by the tournament rules. he also said we would make a class trip for sparring equipment next week, since the rules specify what kind of equipment we're supposed to use. he reminded us to fill out the forms soon, since the entry and hotel discounts expire July 31, and to use his current address as the school address.

instruction today was largely all tournament prep, with review of 64 palms, both sides A & B. this was Ching-Chieh's last weekend until the tournament, and so Sifu wanted to make sure she and Phunsak got practice in with the form.


we warmed up with tantui. we haven't done this as a class in awhile, so it was good to do it as a group. i had reviewed it with John when he came back from his wedding trip, but hadn't done a very good job (turns out we both got lost in line 8, and needed some help remembering the left-hand part of it). not everyone in the class has learned tantui, and so a few were unable to join the rest of us, but the majority knew it, and so it served as as good group exercise.

bagua 64 palms (A & B)

we spent the remainder of class with 64 palms, first doing several repetitions of side A in a circle and then doing several repetitions of side B. during our break, i worked with John Eagles to review some of the palms, while Phunsak worked with Ching-Chieh on the 2-person form.

their 2-person form is becoming more refined. the tournament rules, however, required them to make some changes today, since they state a maximum 2-minute time limit for each form in the forms competition. as Phunsak and Ching-Chieh had been doing it, the 2-person form was taking around 5 minutes, which is too long. they ended up taking some time to excise parts of it so as to reduce it to under 2 minutes.

i ended up making a recording of one of their attempts at the tournament version of the form. you can check it out:

we finished around 12:30 and took our customary post-class lunch.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

day 155: tournament prep - leg drills & mock jian shu

  • footwork
  • tournament prep
i'm writing a short post for this Sunday, since it was largely straightforward, with Sifu having us go through drills to prep for the tournament. we had a pretty sizable turnout today, since John Eagles was back, adding another participant for jian shu. this seemed to make a difference in terms of running the mock jian shu rounds, even though Alex was absent today.

Sifu broke us into different groups to warm up. he had Ching-Chieh and Phunsak do several repetitions of their 2-person 64 palms form, Simon repeat several baji routines, Jonathan go through his mantis work, and John Eagles, Richard, and me perform several iterations of the chen tai chi long form.

tournament prep

once we'd gone through the warm-up, Sifu had us spend the day focusing on footwork drills. he said this was the paramount element in fighting (not just for tournaments, but also for real-life self-defense), since it drives your ability to move and position yourself with respect to a hostile enemy, and also acts to generate power in your attacks.

for today, Sifu had us focus on the following drills:
  • basic step forward and back, solo--this is just the basic step (front foot stepping forward, with rear foot following) in the ready stance, with the purpose being to move back and forth along a line while staying in the ready stance (so as to keep the gates closed and the body ready to act) and keeping the feet flat and light (so as to not provide an opening for the opponent to trip the feet). we went 10 steps forward and 10 steps back several times.
  • basic shuffle forward and back, solo--this is the shuffle (rear foot moving forward close to front foot, with front foot then moving forward) in the ready stance, with the purpose again being to back and forth along the line while in the ready stance with flat feet. we went 10 steps forward and 10 steps back several times.
  • basic step forward and back, partner--same as the solo drill, but facing a partner. the added goal is to maintain distance with the partner that is just close enough to be near to hand range, but still outside effective kick range. Sifu stressed that we focus on being to sense the partner's actions, and that we do so without fixating on a single point of the opponent (i.e., we maintain soft focus). we did this 16 steps forward and 16 steps back several times.
  • basic shuffle forward and back, partner--same as the solo drill, but facing a partner. the distance is the same as above. we did this 16 steps forward and 16 steps back several times.
  • random footwork drill, linear, partner--this is something Phunsak had learned from his fencing class, and it combines all of the above, with 2 partners facing each other, and 1 partner designated as the leader and the other partner being the follower. the leading partner can move forward or back in any combination of step or shuffle in any number. the other partner has to respond by staying with the leader (i.e., step when the leader steps, shuffle when the leader shuffles). we did this in several rounds of several minutes, doing it slow at first and then doing it faster.
after we finished going through the footwork drills, Sifu had us run through several mock jian shu rounds, so that 1) he could get a feel for the jian shu fighting, 2) he could see how the refereeing and rules worked, and 3) get in practice time for participants and referees. Sifu also wanted to take some time to figure out logistics, particularly in terms of who we could get to serve as referees, as well as lines-people, time-keepers, scorers, and administrative support. Richard, John, and Phunsak took turns as competitors, and i and Phunsak switched off being the referee. we discussed a number of different scenarios and their possible solutions, but we'll have to bring them up with Alex before finalizing things.

this consumed a fair amount of time, and we ended up going until about 1pm. we eventually wrapped things up, and everyone went to lunch--although i had to skip this because of some research i have to do.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

day 154: refinement, side B

  • turning (yin into yang)
  • moving with contact (using energy)
  • rotation footwork (setting up rotation)
  • sinking
  • 64 palms, palms 1-4, side B
  • tournament prep
Sifu returned this week from Hawaii, and class resumed with the full complement of students.

we began the day with a full discussion regarding several administrative items:
  • the tournament. Sifu wanted to get a tally of everyone who is going to the tournament, and which events they are going to do. he wants as many people to go as possible, and to have us involved in more than 1 event. he says the Las Vegas tournament is going to be a major Wutan event, and so wants to make sure that we contribute to making it a success.
  • class for the rest of the summer. as he said before he left for vacation, he will hold class both Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the summer up until the tournament, so as to get everyone prepared.
  • equipment. for the tournament, we need 1) t-shirt maker (Sifu says if we know anyone who can silkscreen t-shirts, get a hold of them and contact him), and 2) sparring equipment (everyone involved has to get their own--a helmet, gloves, rib protector, cup, and mouthguard).
  • hotel. a hotel has been chosen, and the link to it is at Tony Yang's website. we're supposed to be getting a discount on rooms, since the tournament is being held there.
  • bus. Sifu wants to rent a charter tour bus to go to and from the tournament. this is to save money on gas, help people rest, and carry all our equipment. but it's also necessary as we will be having a much larger party of people returning from the tournament than going to (see below).
  • sifu/disciple ceremony. Sifu says that a number of people will be returning from the Las Vegas tournament with us to help him hold the sifu/disciple ceremony on that Monday (Labor Day). apparently, this is a big thing, since he hasn't done this before for various reasons. he said he wants everyone to come and observe, so as to see the process, since it's fairly formal but also meant to be a celebration.
64 palms, palms 1-4, side B

after finishing the discussion, Sifu had us continue working on 64 palms, side B. for today, he said to review palms 1-4. after working with the baji students for awhile, he returned to observe us, and then made the following observations:
  • turning (yin into yang)--this point was made in reference to palm 1, but it also applies to the other palms (particularly palms 1-6, sides A & B). the form ends going from leaf covers summer flower into the closing stance (which is the starting stance). Sifu says there should be a turn into leaf covers summer flower as well as a turn going out of it. the turn into the technique is going away from the direction of the opponent, meaning yin, and the turn going out of it is in the direction of the opponent, meaning yang. this should be a reflection that the initiation of the technique in the opening/closing stance should be done with a slight yin energy (i.e., slight yielding) to receive and read the opponent before proceeding into a yang state to attack to the opponent.
  • moving with contact (using energy)--this was in reference to palm 2b, although it's a basic principle in internal martial arts. in palm 2b, there is a sequence of 4 movements: black tiger steals the heart, cloud crosses, mountain road, white snake spits its tongue, and effortlessly support the silver water jar. Sifu said we were doing each of these by recoiling first. he said this is actually wrong, since it means breaking the sequence into 4 separate techniques, and hence breaking contact with the opponent. the sequence of movements is supposed to represent a series of actions flowing continuously from one to another, so that the practitioner is moving while maintaining constant contact with the opponent. but more than this, you are actually moving using the contact: Sifu noted the central idea is that you are using the opponent's body as a source of energy to drive your own movements--in effect, you are using the opponent's body and momentum as a springboard to drive your actions, such that you are using the opponent's energy to add to yours.
  • rotation footwork (setting up rotation)--this was raised in describing alternative applications out of palm 3b's white snake coils in its den. this technique employs the dragon stance. Sifu said the dragon stance can be interpreted as setting up a turn--not just into the direction of the leading foot (as done in palm 3b, which goes from white snake coils in its den to green dragon turns its body), but also away. in essence, the dragon stance can be seen as the opening step creating potential energy for rotation, with the footwork creating the position from which the practitioner can unwind in a direction away from the opponent's body. this means that the dragon stance is not a delimiter in the direction of rotation, as so offers options in terms of what can be done--Sifu demonstrated a throw, very similar to classic aikido throws.
  • sinking--this applied for all the palms today. Sifu stressed that many of the techniques should be done with a slight sinking into their closing stances, with the sinking being into the kua (or hip and pelvic cradle). this creates a yin component to help draw the opponent's yang attack, and so helps to receive and control their movements.
we practiced these palms, as well as some of the applications Sifu showed us, which were comprised largely of throws to take attackers down. this took the bulk of class time, and filled out the remainder of the day.

tournament prep

we finished the day with an impromptu sparring round--actually, it was just me and Simon trying to fit in some sparring as everyone left. Simon had acquired the full regalia of equipment and so had everything to go. i had everything except the helmet, so we just agreed to not attack my head.

i decided to focus today on throws, since we'd been practicing this in class today, and i wanted to try and actually learn how to throw an opponent within a full-speed setting. to be quite honest, this is still a complete mystery to me, and i'm still sorting out just what is involved in trying to use take-down throws in a free-form full-contact scenario--it's one thing to understand theory and know applications, but it's another thing entirely to actually have a good enough grasp of things to actually employ them in self-defense.

Simon got the better of me today, in the sense that he was able to do more using punches and kicks than i was using throws. i noticed that i could receive and direct his strikes, but i couldn't engage a throw--at least, not often enough to have any confidence in the techniques. if it had been a tournament setting, or even a real self-defense situation, i would have definitely been in trouble. there was a number of things i learned:
  • in employing throws, the priority is to break the opponent's centerline (i.e., their structure). if you don't destabilize the opponent, they will have a base from which they can resist you, turning the throw into a basic lock-up of both fighters, creating a classic force-on-force confrontation (Sifu's conception of a "bull fight")--with the stronger opponent being the victor. breaking the opponent's structure denies the opponent a base from which they can resist, allowing you to exert force without opposition. from a theoretical perspective, i can describe it this way: a stable structure is wuji, or a state of solid energy or nothing, meaning there is nothing to work with in terms of your yin and yang actions; in contrast, an unstable structure is a division into yin and yang, meaning there is something for you to work with and manipulate with your own yin and yang movements.
  • you don't break the centerline focusing on hands and feet, or arms and legs. you break the centerline by positioning of your body. the limbs are just vehicles to position your body. once they set the position, your body then acts as a single entity to break the enemy's structure. this is because your limbs individually are not always strong enough to push or pull an opponent--especially a strong one, a stable one, or resisting one, especially if they know how to use physics. you have to generate more power using your entire body (limbs and torso) as a single integrated mass, and do so in a way that everything works in unison to apply the requisite physics...something not always easy in a full-speed full-contact environment.
  • a throw is about the setup. again: it is about the setup. this means getting into the opponent's gate (by finding an opening in a gate, or luring them into opening a gate), positioning yourself, and breaking their structure. the take-down is just the reward that comes from the closing movements. this, of course, is pretty much the same for all of martial arts--punches, kicks, joint locks, etc. the infliction of damage to the opponent is just a byproduct of the setup...and this is really nothing more than the steps that we've talked about in class: ting, hwa, na, and fa jing, with the setup being ting, hwa, and na jing. the lesson is that the goal isn't the final step--the projection of power, or the infliction of injury, or the punch, or kick, or joint lock, or throw; the goal is really the setup. because the setup sets the stage for what will's almost biblical: the setup determines the finish, the beginning is the end, the alpha is the omega, the cycle is without end.
  • there is a certain window of opportunity in which to execute the throw. if it doesn't happen within that time, you have to get out or change techniques, otherwise you've left yourself stationary, and thus in a precarious position. by being caught in a stationary position, you're making it easier for the opponent to recognize and react to your actions. and the better the opponent, the better they can recognize and react, and thus the smaller the window of opportunity. as a result, once the window closes, you have to escape and move on to something else.
  • it's one thing to know what to do, it's another thing to actually do it. it's easier said than done, and easier visualized than done. and it's only through actual experience that you realize what issues are specific to you as a person (i.e., what may be a problem for one person may not be the same as a problem for another person), and what issues you need to focus on fixing. i'm going to have to keep working on my throws. they just are counter-intuitive to my instincts, which are to hit the opponent. throws, much like grappling (which, incidentally, leads me to think grappling is going to be another problem area for me), involve a different mindset of receiving the opponent--and by receiving i mean engaging close to the opponent (closer than you do with close-range punches) and then manipulating the opponent, which entails sustained contact rather than the staccato contact of punches.
by this time people were leaving, so we called things to a close and went as a group to the post-class lunch.