First Night in Advanced Class

March 10, 2011

After class tonight, Sifu invited me to stay for the advanced class, training with the upper belt students. After only one class, I can tell that this is where the good stuff is. Basic classes are awesome, don’t get me wrong. I need to drill and drill and drill the basics, I absolutely need to put in all the work I can put in. Advanced classes, though, are where we really start to apply the basics, and by that I mean we both hit harder and get hit harder. Everything comes faster, and everything is more real. Three times tonight my ears were ringing after dummying for a trick, plus I took a couple of good shots to the neck and one really good one to the jaw. Practicing tricks over and over is great, and like I said, I need all the practice I can get, but it really is a different animal when you’re really striking your dummy.  Dummying is another animal as well. If you are the dummy, you are going to get drilled. No better way to say it.

In Kajukenbo’s numbered tricks, every strike puts both your opponent and yourself into position for the next strike. A good dummy knows how to react to every strike and so they make that reaction even if you barely made contact with them. The goal in the advanced class is to make the dummy react because you just drilled him. For example, all of those kicks to the groin. If someone gets kicked hard in the nuts, they’re going to bend over, even if only enough to open them up for the follow-up. In advanced class, those kicks are real enough to bend you over. Whoever invented the Cup, thank you.

Not every strike is done with full force. We’re not trying to maim our fellow students, whose turn it will be next to do the exact same thing to you that you just did to them. For instance, knees and elbows are brutal, so we don’t throw those hard. A knee or elbow to the jaw is bone-to-bone no matter how much sensitivity you have, and you just can’t feel when it’s too much force, so those kinds of things are pulled. On the other hand, a punch to the gut, just below the solar plexus, is thrown pretty damn hard. There are two reasons that I learned for this. One is so we get used to actually throwing that solid punch, not holding back as in basic classes. If you’ve never really drilled someone, will you be able to really fucking drill someone when the time comes? Better to know the answer to that question beforehand. Two is so that we learn how to take that same punch and breathe through it without losing air or going into panic mode. Getting hit is the only way to learn how to take a hit. On that front, I’m really, really looking forward to getting hit a whole hell of a lot in the forseeable future.

First advanced class down; hopefully, the first of many, many, many more to come.

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