It's halfway through Christmas break, and we're enjoying a beautiful snow day here. This is the perfect kind of day for a good Pandora station, a big pot of homemade Irish Potato soup (singlehandedly prepared by Little), and lounging around (or being photographed on the back porch) in karate pants.
Last night, I had a good night of sparring, followed by an equally good night of pizza and conversation with my karate mentors. I'm loving this phase of my training, when the academic part is beginning to mesh with the physical part in a more seamless way. My body is strong, my endurance continuing to improve noticeably each week. While the dojang has been operating on limited hours this week, I have spent more time at the gym, running and lifting. Thanks to an intensive daily effort at stretching and strengthening, my hip flexors are finally feeling like they should. I've been trying to squeeze some good yoga into my schedule, but haven't managed to be consistent with it. Planning to make another attempt at that soon.
In the meantime, I'm reading, reading, reading, and watching videos online to supplement what I'm reading. My new interest is in bunkai, the process of breaking down forms (kata, or poomsae in Korean) and analyzing their purpose and practical applications. Now that I have all of my color belt material committed to memory, I am beginning to work on moving beyond the "what" to the "why" of each action. I've also been practicing them with more power these last few weeks, surprised at how exhausted I am after completing each series of about 20-60 actions. I discussed this frustrating development with one of my mentors last night, and he pointed out that the stronger I become, the more power I will likely put into the form, leaving me feeling just as exhausted as I was before my endurance was as good. Not a bad thing, just a natural part of training at this level. Feeling exhausted at the end of a form means you're doing it right. It was reassuring to know that the younger and stronger men I train with have the same experience when they push hard.
Tonight, I plan to build a fire and read, or perhaps watch a movie with Savageman and the boyz. There's a lot that needs to be done around here, but tonight is for relaxing and enjoying the cozy house and the view of the pretty snow outside.
Grateful tonight for a warm home, good food, the time to study and practice, and for all who support and teach me.
And for the beautiful snow!