Sunday, October 17, 2010

Training Log: Day 44

I like karate, but I'm not a fanatic. With regards to the martial arts, I believe that while the principles and techniques of the traditional martial curricula are essential and comprehensive, I don't imagine that the old masters knew everything or that we should do everything that they did because they did it. They didn't have penicillin when these arts were made...should I treat my cuts with the same pummice of herbs and oils that they used? Everything has to make room for progress and innovation, no matter how great it is.

In that spirit of balancing old with new, I'm sad to say that I relegated the old Okinawan training methods of the Hojo Undo to the dustbin of history. I'd see old pictures of men kicking with geta, and swinging chishi and lifting nigiri jars and I'd say to myself: they didn't have ankle weights or cable machines or grippers back then so they used what they had. Doesn't mean I have to do the same things. Just have to work on the same weakpoints - my legs, my arms, my forearms.

And then I put my money where my mouth was and did some of the chishi exercises in Rooney's book with the sledgehammer yesterday. And got my ass absolutely kicked. My hand is still shaking as I type this, 12 hours later. Every exercise opened my eyes to the fact that, as weak as my triceps and back were, my grip is woeful, despite all the stuff I'm gripping. Four exercises in particular: side bends, the canoe paddle crunch, wrist levers, and the front raise were pushing me to my absolute limits.

I still can't hold something steady as yet. The instability of the weighted end of the hammer made every moment of the workout a struggle. If Ki as structural integrity of synergistic groups is only as strong as the weakest link - I never truly understood how much my grip was lacking until yesterday. And even more surprising: I may have underestimated just how much control those muscles have at their command.

I always thought I was reasonably strong. The old methods tell a different story.


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