Friday, April 8, 2011

My Sensei, The Dojo Monster

Sensei is a monster. It's true. I wish I could be like her though. Here she stands, 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighs about 135 soaking wet and has all the respect and awe of grown men and teenage boys alike for her fighting abilities, stamina and strength. They look up to her and hang on every piece of well thought out advise, so do I.

Every month she spends the weekend with the US branch chief of our organization. Every month she some back with a new torture drill for us.

Last time she went, we did back kicks for at least a half hour. At first we stood with our hands against the wall. We were to bring our knee up to our chests and opening our hips bringing our leg out and behind us. We then brought them back the exact same route. Our knees were not allowed to go down past hip level. She went to each of us individually and for the first 2 count of every set, manipulated our legs into the correct position.

I thought my leg was up high enough. I thought I was doing them correctly, NOPE. She jammed my knee right into my chest and when she brought my leg around, I thought I was going to cry. I said, "Sensei, my hips don't do that". She said, "Today they do". So i did them, and it hurt. Soon though, it stopped hurting and I started to improve my kick.

That is how it is with sensei. She somehow knows that my limits are above where I think they are. She actually pushes me past my limits. Forcing me to better my spirit as well as my fighting.

Those limits were definatly pushed on Wednesday. Sensei took over kata classes and the full contact class. I was the only one who stayed for it. She asked me if there was anything I want to work on specifically. Well I have so very many shortfalls, but couldn't think of any at the moment. She wanted to do high round house kicks. She thinks her weakness is her legs. (they aren't, I have seen her knock a girl out with a well timed kick) So I am thinking no problem.

A few weeks ago we did high round house kicks but we had two orange belts with us. We worked as partners. For example, I would hold the long muay thai bag so it didn't wander and on every count the person on the right would kick, then the left. After ten they would switch places so they could do another set of ten on a fresh leg.

Almost the same thing but this time instead of writing 10 sets of 20's on the mirror, she wrote 40's.I didn't say it but thought, "WTF?" when she kept putting 40's down. When she explained what we were doing, I thought we were going to do 200, 5 sets. NOPE.  There they were, ten 40's all in blue written on the mirror. One of us would hold the bag while the other was kicking. 20 high round house each side, then we switch places. She said that she didn't want the boys to do that many because being orange belts they are still new.

Our time target was 45 minutes.

I found myself doing some self critiques. Pivoting better, adding snap to the kick, getting it up higher, and trying to remember all of that when I got tired. There were a couple of times I got dizzy and lost my footing. A few times I just plain lost balance. Twice when the number got called by kicking leg would refuse to cooperate. I would turn my hips and shoulders, but the leg didn't move. Sensei would yell the number out in her scariest voice, pushing my limits once again. I reset as fast as I could, and kick. I get so afraid of disappointing her.

I was so tired. She suggested that if I kiai at every kick, I would breath better. She was right. A loud kiai force me to breathe out more completely, which in turn forced me to breathe in more completely, getting more oxygen. (if you don't kiai loud and get tired easy, try it loud)

Almost done, 7 sets of 40 were put to bed by a line through the number on the mirror. Sensei then lit up just before she started her next set. Why don't we do 30 kicks instead of 20 on the last set, just to see if we could. Oh Boy!

That last set was not pretty, not pretty at ALL, but it got done. 420 kicks and we beat our target. It took 38 minutes to complete. I really thought I wasn't going to be able to do it. By the fourth set, I thought I was going to have to quit. Sensei knew though, like she always does, that my limits go way past what I think I can do. She left the numbers up on the mirror to remind me of what I accomplished.

Sensei actually could have done more I think, like I said, she is a monster.