It was rank test day at the hapkido academy a few weeks ago and both the Other Woman and the Other Woman Who Loves Other Women were grading.
It was quite a big day for both for different reasons: the Other Woman was returning to the grading fray for the first time since breaking her arm in two places and needing extensive surgery to piece it back together; while the Other Woman Who Loves Other Women was grading for her black belt.
I wasn't grading so I spent the time being an opponent and generally being thrown around after having all manner of joint locks and strikes thrown at me, which was much more fun than it sounds.
When I wasn't getting flung around I sat and watched proceedings and the Other Woman and the Other Woman Who Loves Other Women were fab and generally impressed the hell out of everyone who was watching. Sadly the results take a few weeks to come through so they're now waiting to see if they passed...
The good thing about this lull in proceedings, however, is that for the fortnight between grading and results classes tend to be focused on reviewing old techniques and basic skills. This is something that is, of course, drilled into all students to do on a regular basis but sometimes in the rush to learn the new you can neglect the old.
I quite enjoy this revisiting old skills because it's a reminder that you sometimes don't know what you thought you did and how well you thought you did.
Fortunately I'm a bit ahead of the curve on this lesson and it was a realisation that my hand techniques needed work that took me to the boxing gym so I could focus entirely on hand strikes and punching. And even though I wouldn't ever profess expert status at boxing I can now run punch combinations off much easier and I'm much more confident at using my fists in sparring rather than just relying on my leg kicks.
Bruce Lee once said: ‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.’ I figure I've now probably thrown at least 10,000 jabs on a punchbag so I'm starting to understand how to utilise this strike much better.
I've now got to have the same discipline when it comes to the other strikes and kicks I use and ensure I'm as comfortable doing everything else as I am using my jab.
It's something to play with over Xmas. A cheap present to myself...