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bunyip
5/29/2004 4:00am,
Today we got to the good stuff. I arrived early, so Mr. X quickly showed me a chambered front snap kick and a reverse punch and sent me into a practice room to work on those and my kata from last time. I also had a brief conversation that went like this:

"Is that your bike out there?"

"Yes," I said.

"So, do you bike everywhere?"

"Yup."

"Do you own your own car?"

"Nope."

Today's hour-long lesson began with another lecture, but this one was much shorter. Mr. X showed me the picture frame on the wall with all the instructors' photos, pointed out the instructor who had started the school, his assistant instructors, who trained under who, etc., etc. Then he explained how the school is like a family, and if his sensei ever needed him at 2 am, he'd be there for him no matter what, and vice versa, and he hoped we'd have that same relationship someday. I started to feel a little guilty then, but I have a suspicion that once someone finally tells me how much the school costs I'll feel better.

We began the lesson by reviewing the kata from yesterday. I feel confident that if I am ever attacked from the left by a right-handed man slowly swinging a pole at shoulder height, I will be able to kick his ass, assuming that he doesn't resist and that I make my horse stance deeper.

The instructors are very big on the horse stance. We drop into a low horse stance with our feet parallel and pointing forwards, and our hands chambered in our armpits. The horse stance is to maintain stability when we're fighting, and the hands in the armpits are so that when we forget and drop our hands when we're fighting, they'll hopefully stay around our ribs. Other schools, who chamber their hands at their ribs, forget and drop their hands to their sides. Personally, I think I'd rather have my hands by my head, but that's probably just because I'm unwilling to empty my cup.

After reviewing the kata, I learned the inward block. My instructor explained that that most schools teach defenses against haymakers, which no one actually throws. He was a boxer, so he knew that punches are usually much tighter, like this, he said as he threw the biggest haymaker I've ever seen in my life. The procedure for blocking it is to raise my right arm to the side, with the elbow bent at 90 degrees, hand pointed up, then pivot backwards (to my left) into a deep horse stance as I strike my attacker's forearm with my ulna, thereby causing nerve damage and rendering his arm useless.

Of course, with his right arm temporarily paralyzed, the attacker is likely to follow up with a jab (I swear I am not making this up), so I learned the defense for that next. Jabs are faster, so there is no time to chamber this block. Therefore, we must use something faster, which turned out to be just the usual pivot forward into a deep horse stance as I bring my right forearm up into an outward block.

With defenses covered, we moved on to offense. We of course began with the reverse punch, kia! I do a good job of rotating my fist when I punch. It is important to twist your fist at the last second in order to tear your opponent's skin. My kia needs work, though. Mr. X explained that some martial arts spend years just working on their kias. Eventually they get to the point where they can knock a man out just by yelling! (Yellow Bamboo, anyone?) He then showed me the fighting stance, which is as follows:

Step into a deep horse stance with your feet parallel and your left side towards your opponent. So on a clock, with your opponent on the 12, your toes point toward the 3. Your chest also faces the 3, with your feet staggered just enough so that your left toes line up with your right heel. This is the "very stable heel-toe position". Extend your left arm toward your opponent so your arm has a 135 degree bend at the elbow. Your right arm covers your ribs and belly as though you have a terrible stomachache. Once I was able to throw reverse punches from this position, we trained the chambered front snap kick. Not much to say about this, except that Mr. S pointed out that more "sport" oriented schools teach you to kick with the top of your foot, whereas they teach to strike with the ball, which is more powerful and gives you longer range.

At this point, Mr. X had to leave to give a potential student a tour (it was all I could do to keep from screaming, "RUN AWAY! QUICKLY!") so another instructor came over to teach me the upwards block (defense against clubs) and downwards block (defense against kicks). Ouch.

Pretty soon, though, she had to go work with one of her students, so the head instructor whom I met on the first day, Ms. S, came over to work with me. She drilled what was supposed to be an escape from a rear hammerlock/chickenwing, but no one seemed to know how to put it on, so it was more like a defense from a rear wrist grab. Defense is as follows:

If attacker grabs your right wrist from behind with his right hand, regrab his wrist and pull forward as you pivot to your left, into a deep horse stance (of course). Elbow to the head, then pivot to your right 180 degrees into a deep horse stance, locking your attacker's arm so they bend forward at the waist. Snap kick to the head, then forearm to the attacker's elbow for the break, then knee to the head.

Throughout this, I was repeatedly chastised for not having my horse stance deep enough, and forgetting to keep my feet parallel. My front foot kept pointing toward my opponent. Ms. S said as she demonstrated, "That's good enough for TKD, but that's not really a fighting art. We keep our feet parallel so that we have a base like a rock. What if you've got some huge brute running at you? You need to be stable!" I was so sure she was going to follow that statement up with, "In this stance I am invulnerable to T3H GRAPPL3!" but it was not to be.

She did explain that I really had to focus on the basics, like the horse stance, because that's what I'll remember during the stress of a fight. She gave the example of Mr. X's two amateur boxing fights. He KO'd his first opponent, but lost his second fight because he forgot the basics. Of course, she added, he'd only been boxing for 6 months, and his opponent had been training for 2 years. While that may be true, Mr. X had also mentioned the previous day that he'd been training at West Wind for 14 years. I don't care how little boxing experience you've got, if you've been doing martial arts for 14 years and you get beat by someone who's been training for 2, you've got problems.

Anyway, that was where the lesson ended. I've got my third free lesson in a couple days, during which Mr. X will prepare me for the demanding white belt test. I do hope I pass!

elfin vampire
5/29/2004 4:11am,
Oh this is great! And also a wonderful opportunity. Invite them over to stay over at your house for the weekend. EVERY lesson.
Follow them around after class. Scratch uncontrollably when they notice you.
Bring them half eaten peaches before class, open your eyes wide and say, "PEACHES..."
Ask them several questions about their children. Grandchildren? Great *swallow* grandchildren?
Especially, every time money is mentioned sort of go into a half-tremor. Flicker your eyes and sort of shake a bit, then cough twice, clap and twirl around once. Do this each time they mention money but act like you didn't notice what you were doing.

Any one or all of these "twitches" will do. Ask them if their art contains any meditative elements designed to quieten the mind. Ask them if their emphasis on discipline quietens naughty minds.

Then ask them if they feel they know enough intimate details about you yet.

DuckofDeath
5/29/2004 4:27am,
No hairy grandmaster? Then it's not genuine Shaolin-do!

GAB corp.
5/29/2004 4:49am,
Ohh, interesting...

Zeddy
5/29/2004 4:53am,
Originally posted by bunyip
"Is that your bike out there?"

"Yes," I said.

"So, do you bike everywhere?"

"Yup."

"Do you own your own car?"

"Nope."

I had a conversation like this once. It was during my application for a credit card, I think they wanted to see if I had anything they could repossess should I go against the contract. :D

Zeddy
5/29/2004 4:55am,
Originally posted by bunyip
After reviewing the kata, I learned the inward block. My instructor explained that that most schools teach defenses against haymakers, which no one actually throws. He was a boxer, so he knew that punches are usually much tighter, like this, he said as he threw the biggest haymaker I've ever seen in my life.

Bwaahahahha omg I'm dying, please stop! :D

Phrost
5/29/2004 4:58am,
You have more dedication than I do. I'd have been out the door about 5 minutes into your ordeal.

Ippatsu182
5/29/2004 6:15am,
It's amazing that you're doing this, bunyip. Don't let anyone ever accuse you for not trying something new. I just wish you'd use different initials for the people (e.g. Mr. X, Ms. Y, Mr. Z, etc). It'd be easier to follow.

MMA_Phil
5/29/2004 7:42am,
Are you going through all of this just to find out how much it costs? Why?

Te No Kage!
5/29/2004 8:35am,
he's got another free night of comedy, why stop now? Wow, horse stances and chambered fists at the ribs, I didn't think they actually taught that anymore. Do they ever fight full contact and try that crap? They actually stand totally perpendicular to their opponent with their feet pointed away? This has to be the worst crap I've ever heard.

FledglingTengu
5/29/2004 9:30am,
I'm sure if THEY fought each other in that stance, they'd find it superior because they are unable to reach each others vital areas or effectively attack. Therefore, it is perfect stance.


I also have a rock which cures all disease. I mean, I'm not sick, am I?

patfromlogan
5/29/2004 9:46am,
Originally posted by Chuan
Do you get a decoder ring when you sign up?

LOL!

This place makes Ikken Hisatsu's Am Kempo school look like the UFC.

Zeddy
5/29/2004 9:57am,
Originally posted by Te No Kage!
he's got another free night of comedy, why stop now? Wow, horse stances and chambered fists at the ribs, I didn't think they actually taught that anymore. Do they ever fight full contact and try that crap? They actually stand totally perpendicular to their opponent with their feet pointed away? This has to be the worst crap I've ever heard.

I suppose there's the added benefit of being able to blindside each other a lot. ;)

liuzg150181
5/29/2004 10:07am,
Originally posted by Te No Kage!
he's got another free night of comedy, why stop now? Wow, horse stances and chambered fists at the ribs, I didn't think they actually taught that anymore. Do they ever fight full contact and try that crap? They actually stand totally perpendicular to their opponent with their feet pointed away? This has to be the worst crap I've ever heard.
btw it is also known as the "Charlie-Chaplin" stance~~~

Chuan
5/29/2004 10:25am,
This thread just keeps getting better. Its like some kind of reality T.V.

Watch as the intrepid Bunyip infiltrates this highly secretive clan of martial artists. See his progress as he delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the White Tiger Breaks Wind Karate Dojo. HIs life is danger at all times!!!!

STAY TUNED.

bunyip
5/29/2004 12:14pm,
Taking your advice, Ippatsu. Our cast of characters is now:
Ms. S, the head instructor at the Berkeley school
Mr. X (previously Mr. S), my private instructor for the introductory lessons