Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still Kicking

We had my FIL visiting this last two weeks (over the anniversary of Mom W's death), which put a severe damper on my on-line activity. The major activity of the moment is prepping for NaNo, which is going to be a severe squeeze to make work this year. 50,000 words in thirty days is always a tight squeeze, but due to scheduling considerations, it's more like 50,000 words in 20 days for me this year. Yikes!

A more detailed breakdown of why things will be so tight can be found at my LJ account, which is where I'm putting the more technical writing stuff.

Lennox Legacy is this coming Saturday! I head out with my great ambition of not finishing dead last in kata, unlike my previous three appearences there (I have had much better luck in kumite and weapons). I'd feel more secure if I had actually had much practice time in the last week, but not only is that not true, but five of my usual practice times got nixed, due to a day at the car shop, a day at the emergency room with my FIL (he's fine, bad bronchitis), and a day icing my back, which chose to remind me that it does not like extended sitting - such as happens in ER and dealership waiting rooms. Seriously, I sprained my back eleven months ago, isn't it about time it stopped being sensitive about such things?

Oh well, all I can do is practice my little heart out this week and pray that it, plus the prep before this last week will be sufficient. The major problem I seem to have may not be practice affected that much anyway - I don't appear to sell myself well while doing kata, no flair. My technique is good, but it wasn't bad before (so says my sensei and two other black belts after viewing the video), I just don't seem to have that charisma in the ring that arrests the judges' attention. And I'm not sure how to practice that. All I know how to do is to try to make my kata more intense, snappier, more perfect in technique.

So I guess I do that and hope for the best. Sigh.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yes or No

Copped from Becky, who got it from Robin.

Only yes or no answers allowed, no explanation unless asked. And away we go!

Over 18? Yes
Danced in front of your mirror naked? Yes
Ever told a lie? Yes
Been arrested? No
Kissed a picture? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? Yes
Held an actual snake? Yes
Ever run a red light? No
Ever drink and drive? No
Been suspended from school? No
Ever been fired from a job? No
Totaled a car/motorbike in an accident? No
Sang karaoke? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? No
Ever laughed until you wet yourself? No
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Kissed in the rain? Yes
Sang in the shower? Yes
Sat on a rooftop? Yes
Thought about your past with regret? Yes
Been pushed in the pool with your clothes on? Yes
Shaved your head? No
Blacked out from drinking? No
Had a gym membership? Yes
Been in a band? No
Shot a gun? No
Liked someone with nobody else knowing about it? Yes
Played strip poker? No
Been to a strip joint? No
Donated Blood? Yes
Liked someone you shouldn’t? Yes
Have a tattoo? No
Have or had any piercings besides ears? No
Made out with a complete stranger? No
Caught someone cheating on you? Yes
Skinny dipped? No
Regret any of your ex’s? Yes
Been to a rodeo? No
Been to a NASCAR race? No
Been in Love? Yes

Monday, October 06, 2008

Regressing to the Front

We've had three sessions with Tokemine no Kun working with backwards shaping now. I think we'll be doing this again in the future, as sensei is tickled with the results (as am I). There are three of us learning the kata (two first timers, one re-learner). Of the three of us, I'm picking it up fastest, most likely because I'm already comfortable with backwards shaping from piano. I'm loving it. I'm much more secure in each new segment, and can demonstrate it without hesitation within three or four repititions when learning - and I've yet to forget or exclude any sections while practicing at home (which happens with some regularity learning forwards). At the rate I'm moving, I have hopes (slim, but hopes) that I can get Tokemine no Kun down in time for the Lennox Legacy tournament Nov. 1. I wouldn't be likely to place (now that would be a coup for backwards shaping!), but I've done Tsu Yoi Bo to death, and I'd rather do something else, as long as it's not embarrassingly bad.

T, our new brown, is also learning noticeably faster with backwards shaping than forwards. He's not terribly comfortable with it, and tends to stutter at the junctions between new segments and old segments more than with forward learning - yet you can see him getting more confident as he progresses towards the segments he knows better, and even if he doesn't see it, he's definitely got more kata down more securely than he usually does in a week and a half. I would suspect that as he gets used to the weird new learning method, he'll get more adept at adding on, since it's not something that bothers him the other direction.

Sensei D is our re-learner, and also the one with the most trouble with the learning method. I'm not sure if it's interference from already knowing the kata in slightly different form, somewhere buried deep in his hindbrain, or if it's generalized discomfort with the learning pattern, but he doesn't like it much. He is still learning it though, and not noteably slower than he has relearned his other katas.

It's a little hard to tell how much of the difference in speed of learning here is due to comfort with the method, and how much to our more general learning speeds, but all-in-all, this little experiment has been well worth our while thus far.