Last night was my promotion to first brown belt in Sanchin-Ryu. This is the last of the kyu ranks, meaning next up is black belt. (At which point I shall finally learn the much-feared “Boot to the Head” technique.)
Naturally, this was the night my uniform was still in the laundry, so I did my promotion while wearing a Superman T-shirt. I kind of like that, actually.
Sanchin-Ryu is different from other styles I’ve done in that there’s no formal test. Or, as Master Cataline puts it, your test is going on every time you come to class. When he decides you’re ready, you get the paper form for the next rank. I received that last week, sent it in, and then last night was promotion time.
By “promotion” I mean Jim gets out in front of the class and performs various forms while several of the black belts demonstrate another advanced technique known as “messing with me.” I did the wrong CBA[1. Combination Basic Advanced.] at one point … but better to do something than to stand there doing nothing while you try to figure it out. Then came the fun part, where I got to square off against three higher ranking black belts at once.
How did that go? Well, I’m still alive. They say when you kumite[2. Controlled practice fight, essentially.], you regress three ranks. I can testify to this. But all things considered, I’m satisfied with how I did. Though this is the second promotion in a row where I’ve used a quick groin kick against one particular master … I suspect if I try that move on him a third time, he’s going to take my foot off 🙂
The next time I’m in class, I want to ask whether they have any suggestions for handling adrenaline. During the three-on-one, I ended up striking one master in the face with more force than I intended. That started the adrenaline pumping, like speed injected directly into the veins. This … is not helpful.
(If you’re curious about the punch, I spoke to the master afterwards to apologize for my lack of control. He said it was his responsibility too. He had been told to attack one particular part of my body, and was focusing on that, so ended up stepping into my punch.)
Overall, I feel pretty good about it. I’ve still got an awful lot to learn … in fact, now that I’ve reached this rank, I feel like I’m finally starting to realize just how much I have to learn. (Once again, Sanchin-Ryu reminds me a lot of writing…)
But I enjoy learning, and while it’s not all bunnies and rainbows, I’m having fun and feeling good about my study. And the best part of my style? According to Sensei Jonathon, all promotions must be celebrated with ice cream.
August 3, 2010 @ 9:55 am
Congrats on the new rank! It is always nice when hard work is recognized.
Now that you have the one master trained to expect a groin kick you can fake him out and clock him in the head when he bends over to catch it next time. 🙂
As for adrenaline in the ring. When I was doing Judo I discovered that you can have one of two reactions to it, distraction or increased focus. Working on increasing your focus was reasonably difficult, and normally means picking out one detail of the opponents to keep an eye on. In groundwork it was the head or sternum (you can hold someone down quite effectively with a gentle hand on the forehead as long as you prevent twisting), in stand up it was the shoulders. I imagine there is probably equivalent tells in your martial art system.
Jim C. Hines
August 3, 2010 @ 10:29 am
Thanks! And I like this strategy 🙂
Working on focus makes sense, and it’s something I should be trying to improve anyway.
August 3, 2010 @ 7:24 pm
Sounds awesome. This is on my list of things to do one day . . . probably when I’m about 50, because I can’t see it happening in the next few years. Maybe I can enroll my daughter and we can do it together!
Jim C. Hines
August 3, 2010 @ 8:01 pm
That’s how I got into it. Enrolled my daughter, and they kept inviting me to join in and work out with them, so after about a month I said what the heck and gave it a try.
Daughter will be getting her third brown soon 🙂
August 3, 2010 @ 9:46 pm
Congrats, Jim. Most excellent. And if you were able to perform the same attack and get through twice in a row, the problem isn’t you, it’s the master hasn’t learned. Depending on the black belt in question, I would be careful of seeing an opening next time. It could be a natural opening, or he could be suckering you in.
Also, as I remember, striking those more advanced than you with more force than you intended isn’t a cardinal sin (as long as you don’t make a habit of it). Doing the same for those who are below you in rank, however, is a different matter.
As for dealing with adrenaline, you get use to it. Actually, you may look forward to it happening and miss it when it doesn’t. As first it revs everything up. Next it helps to keep you focused (as it also bring a hyper vigilance with it). And then you come to use it as a way of assisting you. Then again, everybody is different. However the more it happens, the more you’ll get used to it. It does, however, take it’s toll after a while.
Jim C. Hines
August 4, 2010 @ 9:04 am
“Also, as I remember, striking those more advanced than you with more force than you intended isn’t a cardinal sin (as long as you don’t make a habit of it). Doing the same for those who are below you in rank, however, is a different matter.”
That makes sense. Nobody has said this explicitly, but it fits with what I’ve seen. Though as you get higher rank, some of the black belts do start to pound on you a little — but that’s a deliberate thing, in part to help you understand how these strikes will feel, and to teach you how to take a hit.