Back when I was learning about medieval European fencing style we learned an important technical fact. Which was, never to block with the edge of the sword. It dulled the edge, and could lead to cracking in the blade, ultimately destroying your weapon. We had a drill that was meant to teach us how to work footwork into our combat. The arm, from the elbow to the fingertips would act as our sword, and we had to use our footwork to gain an advantage. This was also meant to emphasize proper blocking technique, as blocking with the “edge” of our arm (where the bone is closest to the surface) would soon teach us not to do so.
Because it hurts.
Let me tell you what also hurts. Improper blocking in karate. Mostly this includes blocking with your forearm, rather than your fist. Towards the end of this morning’s training session I was really feeling my mistakes, as I’d been blocking almost exclusively with my forearm. Not only that, but I wasn’t even really blocking, so much as striking at my sparring partner’s arm. I quickly, probably not quickly enough, learned that I needed to pay special close attention, and focus my blocking on my hand, not my arm.
Pain is a great teacher. Which is what I think one of my sparring partners was trying to get at. He’d come at me, not full force, but with enough to show me he meant business. If I messed up, chances were I’d get a fist in my gut. At first this annoyed me, but then I realized it was the best way to speed up my progression, especially if I wanted to be worthy of the green belt I was wearing (my other belts got lost again).
I realized that I needed to spend some more time outside of training internalizing what I was being taught. One of the new techniques we were taught is “passing,” which is basically exactly what it sounds like, a way of passing right past your opponent’s fist. I think I need to spend some more time getting the leg work and upper body movement right for that one.
Anyway, I’m still a little tired, even though I came home and took a nap when we were done. Right now I’m just finishing off some lunch. I’m still not sure what I want the format of these to be, whether I want them to just be a beat by beat description of what I did at training, or if I want to add in a few jokes. Guess it just depends on my mood.