The first quarter of 2016 is in the books so it's a good time to check on my progress against the New Year resolutions I set out.
So far I've avoided injury, or at least I had until Sunday when I hurt my back lifting weights at the gym. It doesn't feel too bad but it might derail me for a few days as my lower back has stiffened up. Prior to this, I've been feeling good and my body conditioning has improved considerably since the start of the year.
2015 saw me suffer a number of groin strains so I have been paying some extra attention to stretching this area after warm up and at the end of practice. As mentioned before, my other great interest is ice hockey and I have been borrowing some hockey stretching routines that have helped here. The compression shorts help as well and you will be relieved to know I am not going to post any pictures of me wearing those . . .
Training has been regular, hitting two sessions at our club every week as well as running and time in the gym. As a result, my fitness and stamina has shown good improvements. I am always concerned about my stamina in intense training as I have asthma, and although not particularly chronic it can sometimes cause breathlessness. Thus far, this has not been an issue and over the last couple of weeks we have been finishing off training with three and four rounds of the break fall kata. I still hate the break fall kata but getting through repetitions of it is a great way to measure fitness improvements
Finally the quality of training has been good. Hugh has been working on a series of close contact defence over the quarter, using sticky hands to parry attacks and then adding kicks, distractions, locks and traps into the mix. As mentioned before this is a lot to process but again definitely it feels like progress has been made. In practicing with black belts John and Eric, I'm finding the speed of my parrying and movement improving whilst it feels that I am relaxing more whilst doing it. I have always found sticky hands difficult to after several years, it feels good to make progress!
So am I anywhere nearer to the elusive black belt? It feels like it is (slowly) getting closer which is very encouraging. The hard work continues...
Scott has been training in Shoto Budo since 2007 and is a 1st Dan Black Belt. He is working towards his 2nd Dan grading.