In Motion

My uniform is on.

Belt is tied.

The room is full of people busy performing different Karate kata, punching and kicking, kiai! Shouts fill the room.

I work through my kata once.

Twice.

Three times.

Over and over again.

With each repetition I pick up speed and use more power. I torque my hips and use my stances to create more and more power.

My body is full of adrenaline.

Each kiai comes from deep down inside and echos through my body and the room.

Sweat is dripping off my brow. My breathing heavy but steady. Again and again I repeat the same movements. The same kata.

The kiai comes again and again and I feel the power course through my body.

I stop to catch my breath.

I can’t stop for too long or the momentum will slowly fade – I start again.

The next repetition I’m going to focus on making each movement aiming at perfect technique.

The same kata, the same movements over and over again. I’ve been practicing this kata for over 20 years. The kata is not perfect and never will be but I continue to practice.

The next repetition of this kata I’m focusing on fluidity, I want to move like a drop of dew falling from a petal of a flower…and then it happens.

The world around me fades away.

I hear the noises of Karate around me but they seem distant…but not apart from me. Like I’m submerged into warm water.

Everything is muffled but connected.

My movements through the kata are strong and fluid.

I feel buzzy or high, but not ill or overheated, just that the repetitions of the kata are making me one.Hildegard_von_Bingen_Liber_Divinorum_Operum

One with everything.

One.

For a few brief moments I experience the essential oneness of life, a fullness without thought or division. I don’t know exactly how to describe the experience, kensho, an epiphany or henosis?

For a fleeting moment reality all becomes one. My breathing, body and movements all sync and I forget “self.” I’m not looking for this experience but it finds me and fills me.

The slow death of purposeless walking

I walk with a purpose, to get to work and home again. While I walk my mind often wanders. I pray, take photos, listen to sermons, lectures, books…sometimes I just walk while I’m walking. The following articles takes a look at “The slow death of purposeless walking.”

Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I’m far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and ‘thinking’.

Enjoy.

Twins Special

About 6 months ago my son asked for a new pair of boxing gloves so I started looking around to see which brands offered the most bang for my buck. I was looking for a 14oz. glove (I like 14oz, to each their own, I won’t argue) that would protect the hand while being used as an all purpose glove. This means they have to stand up to bag work and some light sparring. I really like the look of the old school brown from Lonsdale but price is a factor. My brother has a club account with an MMA supplier so I asked him to see what he could find and he recommended the Twins Special leather boxing gloves for $50 bucks. At the time online retailers had them at around $85 bucks so I bought a pair for each of us. glove

Tonight I had the chance to try them out. Right off the bat I noticed a lot of extra padding on the back of wrist. This padding forces the knuckles forward offering a little extra protection from kicks. I’m not on the outside too often preferring to be inside mixing it up but this is a plus for someone into kickboxing or Muay Thai. I wrapped my hands amateur style, not between the fingers and did 15 x 2 minute rounds with 1 minute rests. My son and I were a little worried the gloves would be too stiff on the wrists for boxing but by round 3 or 4 the padding on the back of the wrist began to break in and feel much more comfortable. The padding across knuckles was sufficient, the leather held up nicely and the logo didn’t show signs of wear. I’ve been involved in martial arts for 22 years, used different style gloves, different brands etc. The Twins Special are a good, affordable glove worth $85 bucks and now I see them online for $50. Other gloves in that price range, that I’ve used, will not hold up as well as the Twins. I recommend them for beginners or someone who wants a decent pair of gloves for all purpose training.

That’s all folks.

jm

PS: My personal preference and the glove I recommend for boxing as a self defence art…Mexican style bag gloves, especially those made by Rival. I’m not interested in pure boxing, but like boxing for self defense, fun and fitness. With a background in Shotokan karate I like the open thumb which allows me to make a more natural feeling fist. It also allows me to grab, paw and clinch easier than a traditional boxing glove.

Wind, Speed and Consistency

From my copy of Earle Liederman’s The Science of Wrestling and the Art of Jiu-jitsu (1930):

liedermanWind

“A great deal of importance should be attached to the nature of the exercises indulged in when training. Avoid exercises that develop slow muscles. Running and rope-skipping are very good for building up endurance. Running is a natural exercise for expanding and developing the lungs, while rope-skipping will make you light and quick on your feet.”

“I advise you to do your running in the cool of the morning, for then the air is pure. A two or three-mile trot early each morning on the open roads breathing in the pure fresh air, will produce a beneficial effect on your system and build up your nerves, and eventually bring you the endurance necessary to become a successful wrestler.”

Speed

“Skipping the rope will build up endurance in your leg muscles and also add to your wind. When skipping, I suggest you go through the performance as quickly as possible, for doing it in this manner will quicken the leg muscles. Speed is absolutely essential in wrestling and I want to impress upon your minds that unless you are quick you will stand but little chance in the wrestling world.”

Consistency

“Stick to your daily exercising and let nothing stop you, regardless of circumstances, unless a serious injury should happen to you, for once you neglect your training you will find it more difficult to start over again. Remember, a tool always in use never becomes rusty. Do not be satisfied with one form of exercising. Vary the movements and change your program occasionally, so as to prevent it from becoming monotonous.”

Jump Rope

Six weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my back from not properly warming up before running my usual 5k. The Doc guesses I hurt my back because I’m landing too often on my heels. In an effort to ease back into running I started to look for other ways to get my cardio in, something like running, but without the landing on my heels.

JUMP ROPE!

I’ve been involved in martial arts for 20 years and I hated jumping rope but I needed to do something so I dug through my boxing gear gym bag and pulled out my old speed rope. It’s not as bad as I remembered…in fact, I kind of like it. I’ve done one and half hours this week with some light kettlebell swings and rather enjoyed the workout and would recommend it to anyone. After sitting out for a four and a half weeks I’m starting to feel a little lighter in step. jack

Just in case you doubt skipping or think its not cool or you believe its girly, a quote from former heavy weight boxing champ Jack Dempsey:

ROPE-SKIPPING develops stamina, coordination and leg-spring.

At a sports-goods store you can buy a skipping rope (not one of those toy ropes that kids use). Or, you can make a rope by soaking a piece of clothesline overnight in a can of light lubricating oil. Hang up the rope and let it dry out for a day. Then, fold the ends of the rope back and tape them into “handles” with bicycle tape. The skipping rope should be fairly heavy but not too thick. That’s why you give it the oil treatment.
dempsey01
In skipping, you do not jump with both feet at the same time; nor do you skip with a hippity-hop, like a school girl. Instead, you bounce off one foot and then off the other (Figure 83A and B). That will seem awkward at first; but soon you’ll be skipping with an effortless grace that will surprise you and your friends. To make skipping interesting, you can learn to do it backward. You can learn to cross the rope forward (Figure 83C) and backward, and to make the rope go around you twice while you are in the air once. You’ll have a lot of fun with the rope. You’ll be able to do footwork while skipping, and perhaps you’ll even be able to dance a jig while the rope is whirling about you. Naturally, the skipping is done in a gymnasium or in whatever you are using for a gym. Do at least two rounds of skipping at each workout. (Dempsey, Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense. 1950)

Still want more? Mayweather Jr. doing his thing: