First things first.....no Gator football this weekend. I hate bye weeks.
Today was Pre-Check #2 for the December cycle Black Belt candidates. Pre-check #1 = forms and katas, Pre-check#2 = Bugo (sparring). We started class by running 4 laps of the dojo; trampoline high knees, side shuffles, backward running. Then we lined up and started stretching and worked our way into some ab work and boxing combo drills.
We then worked on our self-defense holds and grabs. We lined up with a partner; 1 person attacked the other person with 3 different Holds & Grabs and then we switched positions. We did this a second time, but with 5 holds and grabs each. Then it was time to perform. All the guys lined up on deck and performed their 5 holds and grabs then the ladies did the same thing.
I did much better with my H&G today than I did on Wednesday; I was "sharper". But on Wednesday I was able to tell my attackers which H&G I wanted so that I could pick the ones that were more "dramatic" and showed off my skills better. Today we were at the mercy of whatever H&G our partner chose. My partner (who is awesome!) chose H&G that were not my favorites, but that's the way the cookie crumbles!
After H&G, we put on our sparring gear, except for our headgear. We started out with light boxing moves and kicks for 2 rounds. Then, it was time to put on the headgear and to get into 3 person safety zones. Ma'am assigned me with Sensei Stephanie and Alex.
My 1st round was with Sensei. Now she could easily kick my a## because she is so talented/strong/skilled/you name it, she's it. But she's also a great partner and works with you. Overall, I was ok with my sparring against Sensei Steph; not great, but not bad. I took a number of kicks and punches from Sensei, but I was able to get in a few front kicks and punches of my own! After our round, Steph sparred with Alex and I got a short break. Then it was my turn to spar with Alex (high-red belt). Alex is considerably taller than me but I was able to get inside and throw some punches and kicks.
Then it was time to switch zones. And the zone from here on our were 2 person zones (which means no breaks!). Ma'am assigned me to spar with Ms. Melissa. Yes, Ms. Melissa who just competed in her 1st Muay Thai competition and kicked butt!!! Melissa had the height (and skill) advantage. She is an awesome partner. She could have easily powered against me, instead she worked with me. So, I did ok; not great, but not bad.
Next was Jennifer, the 3rd degree dynamo! The ONLY thing I had against Jen was a height advantage which I can take advantage of by throwing my jabs or front kicks. Jen tends to throw a lot of round kicks. For the most part, I will "take" the kick because blocking it takes away most of the force. I can then come in with a straight line counter.
After Jen, I sparred Olivia. She and I are about the same size. The last time I sparred Olivia, I did very well, keeping up against her. But today I was starting to get tired. I had sparred continuously against Alex, Melissa, Jen and now Olivia, without a break! I tried my best to concentrate on not letting my fatigue cause me to get sloppy with my skills.
After Olivia, I sparred Lori, a 1st degree from LHP. She had some good front kicks and she was really good throwing her jab over and over and over! . Finally......Ma'am had the candidates line up and Mel and I got to spar. I really don't remember too much of the round; I was so pooped by then. I just wanted the round to end. And it did. And I was done, yeah!!!!!
Several months ago I would have been so intimidated to have to spar Sensei Steph, Ms. Melissa, Melanie, and Jennifer. In my journey to 2nd degree, my bugo skills have improved, although there's still plenty of room for improvement! But, the area that I feel I've had the greatest improvement is in my confidence in sparring. I'm no longer "scared" to spar certain people. I don't "shell up" like I used to.
Morgan, who is going for his 3rd degree black belt, had to spar one last round. He had 3 opponents, each opponent got 1 minute against him. First it was Picasso who has awesome speed and kicks. Then it was Christian who kept throwing punches after punches. And finally, it was Gavin who is skilled beyond belief. Each of the opponents had gotten a "break" waiting for their turn. Morgan had to spar continuously. You could see the fatigue set in (and I'm sure that's what he was being tested for) and yet he was able to throw kicks and punches. Impressive!
Kyoshi ended class talking about managing emotions and then sent us off to get ready to run our timed 2 mile run.
So I had made it through the bugo part, whew! Now, all I had to do was run 2 miles and Black Belt Pre-Test #2 would be done! The weather was cooperating; it was in the low 80's with low humidity. Everything was great. Except for my right heel.
I have bursitis in my right heel. It's inflamed because of my running. So the only treatment choices are to stop running (not an option) or take anti-inflammatory medication. So I've been taking daily doses of Aleve. For many weeks. Last week, I think it was a combination of the pain wasn't noticeable (because the Aleve was working) and I was so busy that I forgot to take the Aleve (I'm a very forgetful medication taker). Well, today at the end of class, the pain reared it's ugly head.
But I had to run. For the first 2 laps, the pain was uncomfortable. The discomfort caused me to shift my weight to the left foot which shortened my stride and slowed my pace. But by lap 3, the stiffness worked itself out or my pain threshhold increased. Either way, I ended up finishing the 2 miles in 15:44, which is the exact same time I ran last week. I'm very consistent!!
And now I've completed Black Belt Pre-Check #1 and #2. I should get feedback this week from Ma'am about my Pre-Check #2 performance. And with luck, I will be a candidate for Power Week (which is the actual black belt "final exam") which starts right after I run my marathon............
And now to end a busy day.....good night