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Friday, February 02, 2007

"MY LESSONS WITH THE MASTERS..." Ari Kandel's personal training blog. #10

My Third Tim Tune-up, Part 1...
A note about these lesson recaps:
My normal procedure after a lesson is to jot down some notes on the computer as soon as possible after I get home, before any important details leave my memory. (Of course, sometimes this must come after the execution of important husbandly duties, such a paying bills and making dinner plans.) I jot down the notes in the order in which I recall them, usually starting with the details of the lesson that made the greatest impression on me. The result is that once I'm done with the notes, most of the details have been captured, but the exact order of events has been lost and must be pieced back together. Therefore, please excuse any liberties taken with the order of events in these narratives. I'm doing the best that my memory allows.

I had my third lesson with Tim. While perhaps less action-packed than the first two, it was nonetheless extremely educational--and not just from a Guided Chaos perspective.

The lesson started out very relaxed and jovial. Tim vented good-naturedly about some of the tribulations of his photo business. In contact flow, he initially applied hardly any strikes at all, but continuously locked up my arms and chuckled at my misfortune as I cracked jokes about not wanting to get caught in a particular type of lock more than a dozen times this time. Not sure whether I was successful in this (lost count amidst several other types of locks), but I tried. After a few minutes of this cat-and-mouse fun, Tim started applying some light strikes to the body. I tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to stay out of the way. I felt like all my movements were just a split-second too late. The jovial atmosphere continued until after I failed to get out of the way of several light shots in a row. Tim cut off my laughter by grabbing the back of my head and slamming a palm strike to my face (not injurious or painful--but it got my attention) as he said, "Just a reality check."

I took the hint, buckling down to get more serious about trying to stay out of the way. I asked Tim after a few minutes if I was stiffer than usual, as I felt . . . not right, like I was exerting lots of pressure against his arms even while trying not to. Tim said not to worry, to just do what I wanted. I continued to try to move properly, turning the body to stay out of the way while sticking with the arms in advantageous positions. He started giving occasional pushes and pulls to my arms and elbows, from my perspective coaxing me to react properly by letting the body turn loosely in response to his inputs and bring my weapons on line. However, it didn't feel right. My reactions felt jerky and uneven, and unconnected--like my arm would move in response to his push, then the body would try to catch up.

Tim commented that I wasn't myself today. I'd seemed pretty relaxed for the first two lessons, but today was different. He asked if I'd had a bad day, or a rough week, or if something was on my mind. He added that he didn't need to know what it was, but whatever it was, I had to separate it and leave it outside. He asked what I drank, and I told him mostly water and orange juice. He suggested I start drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and cigars! I mentioned that I'd eaten an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting earlier in the week, and he approved. He then related his philosophy on nutrition: "They say 'you are what you eat,' right? And you want to live a long time, right? Well, how long do fruits and vegetables last? What's their shelf life? A few days! Now, what's the shelf life of potato chips and processed foods? Maybe 25 years??? Which would YOU rather be???" Now THAT's a different take on things! He did concede that his doctor had a reasonable rebuttal to this theory.

In an effort to get me back to my usual self, Tim slowed things down, had me hang my arms loosely from his, then he held my arm against his while slowly moving to strike. I suddenly felt how truly "easy" it should be to get out of the way of strikes, and at that moment, my movement completely changed. Everything suddenly felt effortless and nonchalant. I had no idea where my arms were going, but I wasn't getting hit and my body did not feel separated from my arms. Tim said, "Ah, HERE we go!" A minute later he added with a smile, "Ah, and now you're hitting me!" This actually surprised me, and I looked to see my chops and elbows slowly and lazily floating past his chest and neck. Go figure.

Now that I was "back," we got back to business. Tim said, "Okay, now fix your feet." This I did, refining my L-stance. We continued to flow for only a few minutes before a customer came in with a photo restoration project. Tim said that I could hang out until he was done with the customer. He said he would suggest that I go out for a coffee break, but I don't drink it! I hung around and learned something about photo restoration. Interesting stuff. Tim must have a LOT of patience!

After the customer left, we got back to the lesson. To be continued...

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