Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keeping my resolutions, one day and one week at a time

I resolved on Sunday that I would not fail to work out each weekday this week.

It's Thursday and so far, I've kept that resolution.

Yesterday, I got my workout off to a late start. The Tsarevich had an early dismissal from school that day, so instead of training on my lunch break,
I had to pick him up, assist with his homework, etc. I didn't want to workout when he was home because he had gymnastics that night. I knew from experience that if he followed me outside, that he would get himself exhausted and not do well in gymnastics.

Instead, I planned my workout for while he was in class. That only left me an hour to squeeze in as much as I could.

After dropping him off at Wayne C. Papy Dance and Gymnastics Center, I went to find a quiet place at Lowry Park. I didn't have my tiger fork, but I did bring along 10 iron rings. The rings are used for conditioning and building arm strength.

Hung Gar Kung Fu master, Chiu Chi Ling, demonstrating the use of the iron rings in the movie, "Kung Fu Hustle." The rings are used both as a form of weight training and as weapons.

But during that workout, I came to the conclusion that they develop another attribute - flow. By concentrating on my center, and moving from my waist, I didn't get anywhere nearly as tired as I expected. Even today, I hardly feel sore despite four runs of the Gung Gee Fuk Fu Kuen (Taming the Tiger form) from Hung Gar.

I also remembered that I had a small Chinese cutlass (dao) in my trunk. I closed with four runs of the Yau Kung Mun Dan Dao (single sword) set. Surprisingly, my knee didn't bother me from the knee drops that are part of that form. In fact, the only problem was that the serrations in the back of the blade caught on my sweatshirt several times.

I was also amazed that I completed the whole session in little more than a half-hour, giving me plenty of time to pick up the little Tsarevich.

Gordon Liu demonstrating the use of the iron rings as a training aid.

Today, I noticed that my hard workouts are already having one effect on me. I'm in that phase where I'm hungry all the time, especially for carbs. It's a sure sign that my metabolism is speeding up and I'm burning calories.

Which brings me to today's workout. I suited up and joined the Tsarevich in his karate class. I followed along as best as I could, though I have to admit I'm not a fan of the way Bob Hughes Sensei does his side kick. It just uses too much knee for me.

Still, the class is a workout since, as I said in a previous post, I'm using muscles and nerves to do techniques that I haven't practiced in years. In addition, since my son is in that class, I'm not about to wuss out.

I might wuss out in front of classmates, sparring partners or instructors, but never in front of my son.

I also brought along some of might fighting gear to help the kids with sparring. My days of hard fighting are behind me. I'm not 19 anymore. But it was fun to introduce these kids to sparring. I remember how fun that was for young kids and teenagers. My old Tang Soo Do instructor, Phil Suffredini, would withhold sparring practice as a punishment if the class, or someone in it, screwed up.

That punishment worked since everyone loved to spar so much.

Of course, I also had to go a round with a 17-year-old apprentice black belt. That made me nervous. In more than 30 years in the martial arts, I've learned that the second most dangerous sparring partner is a teenage, male brown belt. They've got a lot to prove.

The first most dangerous is an adolescent female brown belt. They've really got something to prove and I've had some of my worst injuries sparring women.

Given a choice between a male 6'4", 5th degree black belt with prison sculpted muscles and a rap sheet that includes aggravated battery, or a college-age female brown belt, I'll spar with the former any day of the week.

But, I held my own despite the fact it's been almost five years since I did any hard sparring.

I guess this old boy still has a few tricks in him.

Update, Friday Feb. 5

I meant to add that I heard back from Nick Scrima, the promoter of The International Chinese Martial Arts Championship circuit. He told me that there would be no grand championship divisions in the Orlando tournament. As a result, if I do enter that tournament, I'll simply do three events: chi sao (sticky hands); senior (over 35 years-old) traditional hand sets; senior traditional weapons.

For Scrima's internal tournament planned for July, I will do push hands, and some Xingyiquan and/or Yang Taijiquan sets.


  1. What ever happened to phil sufferdini? I remember him from the days we competed central vs. southern.
    Mike Bogdanski

  2. He stopped teaching his class at SCSU in 1985.

    The last time I spoke to him was in 1988. I was taking a trip to Connecticut and I wanted to see if I could get him to teach me Rohai.

    He wasn't available, so we never got together. I haven't heard from him since.