Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Funtime's Over! Enough Rest! Back to Work!

I spent last weekend visiting with my sister and her husband, who came in from El Lay to visit their Florida home. It was also and excuse for her to go trick or treating with Vitaly.

In addition, I spent the time giving my knee a chance to recover. That old karate injury from 1984 has been acting up on me. In addition to everything else I over-consumed this past weekend, I've been eating Ibuprofen like they were M & M's.

Come Monday, we started getting some of that nice, cool Florida fall, with noontime temperatures in the upper 70's.* It made for a couple of good workouts.

Monday's session began with a good full-body stretch followed by some circuit work with forms. Because of my knee, I was reluctant to do any forms that involved the knee drop. I didn't avoid them. I just saved them to the end.

Otherwise, my circuit consisted of five runs of the Yau Kung Mun set, Gao Bo Toi (Nine Step Push) and three runs of Mung Fu Chuit Lum (Fierce Tiger Crashes from Forest). Between each set, I did a few reps with the ab wheel and a pyramid with the claw pushups, going from all five fingers, down to four, three, two and finally with just the thumbs. I am proud of the fact that I did at least five reps of each pushup in a fully-extended position with the exception of the the sets on the thumbs.

From there, I broke out my sam jie guan (three-sectioned staff) and worked on the fourth trip from the YKM sam jie guan set. It was a lot harder than it looked. Going forward, you hold one end of the staff and do figure eights with the other two sections. At the end of the figure eight, you swing the staff under your armpit, like the hidden sword draw from the sabre set.

The trouble is, if you don't really twist your upper body hard and fast when drawing out the staff, the end section will hit you in the head. Another problem with the three-sectional is that you can't practice it in slow motion. If you go too slow, you hit yourself. If you go too fast, you hit yourself, too.

I closed that workout with some bag catches and a run of the Mook Yan Johng Kuen (Wing Chun Wooden Dummy set).

Today, feeling stronger in my knee, I decided to work some stance training. Contrary to popular belief, stance training is less about building strength than with developing good body mechanics and alignment. Doing Bagua with Bret last month really showed me how much I've been neglecting that kind of practice.

Since I was in a Wing Chun kinda mood, I worked my Wing Chun empty hand sets and basics. Afterward, I went to the front yard and went throught he first four trips of the sam jie guan. As I said before, it is a simple, uncomplicated set. Taking out the repeaters, there are probably less than a dozen moves in the whole form.

But it is still physically demanding. It takes a lot of strength and concentration. What's more, there are a number of spinning moves, as well as the roll-outs, which can really leave a practitioner dazed and confused if he's not careful.

I closed again with some bag catches and a run of the wooden dummy set.

*Okay, I can't resist throwing that in. One of the fun things about living in Florida is that you get to torment all your Yankee friends and relatives by reminding them that they are freezing their asses off.