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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Lessons With the Masters (and Fatherhood) Part 1

Mega blog post to make up for not posting for so long. (Thanks for taking up the slack, Matt! Happy healings!)

I was going to write an extensive post about Guided Chaos-related things I've learned from my new daughter, but a) there's just too much, b) I've only just begun the learning, and c) it seems a bit personal for this blog. Suffice to say that fatherhood is AWESOME and worth missing tons of class time for (although it would be best if I could do both!). Thanks very much for the congrats and good wishes.

That being said, the few classes and private lessons I've been able to make it to have been jam-packed with powerful stuff!

From a class with John:

--I'm "thinking about getting loose" while I flow. BAD!!! I must use my looseness to immediately bring weapons online, not to "be loose!" Reactive looseness vs. wimpy/sloppy looseness.

--In some cases, the arms should be less loose than I think they should be, in order to penetrate and move the guy. Very cool thing: how to curve the penetration in and downwards with different parts of the palm in order to make the penetration inescapable, while internally dropping.

From a private lesson with Al:

--I'm actually looser than Al. The difference is in how we each use our looseness.

--I must use my looseness as an offensive weapon, not as a defensive measure.

--Sensitivity: I can feel everything faster than you can move. Every minute change I feel, I should move to end it. This can be practiced in Washing the Body.

--If I can feel everything like that, I must assume the other guy can as well. Therefore, I need to completely ghost my movement, isolating with no pressure. I must be able to step in and tool replace to my chest, drawing my arm out to strike from close range, without giving any pressure or apparent change. [Do NOT ask Al to "walk like an Egyptian" to illustrate this point. Trust me, you DON'T wanna see it!]

Stay Tuned for more super secret training tips from John and Al in Part 2...........

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shoulder Surgery Rehabiltation and Training Update

It seems there's a lot of us 40 and 50 year old aging warriors with shoulder problems because I've been getting asked lots of questions about the surgery, pain and rehab, so I thought I'd give monthly updates about what to expect (of course everyone's different but according to my physical therapist I'm slightly above average in my recovery).

There's no getting around it: the first week just sucks. The pain is relentless and you need vicodin, percoset and motrin simultaneously just maintain your sanity. You have to sleep upright in a chair or propped in bed with pillows because lying down is excrucitaing. After about a week, the vicodin begins to make you feel sick so you stop taking it and the percoset and survive on motrin (don't take more than 2400 mg of motrin a day or you'll be going back to surgery to have your liver taken out). If you have a good surgeon, he'll be getting you out of the sling after just a few days because the most important thing is to gently get back your range of motion (which isn't much cause you can't raise your arm more than 2 inches.)

After 2 weeks the pain subsides a bit but it's still there constantly at about a 3 or 4 level out of 10, going up to a 6 at night (just in time for bed). That's when you take your pain pills.

The good news is that I'm now at the 1 month mark and now the pain is down to about a constant 1-2 and it no longer goes up much at night. I can finally sleep in a bed again (but you have to watch your positions.) Rehab helps significantly (twice a week) and I can now just barely comb my own hair without propping my arm up on the mantlepiece.

It was driving me insane not to be able to do contact flow, not to mention missing the UK seminar. But I've finally started one-armed contact flow in class and that seems to (not surprisingly) help the other arm heal quicker. I'm trying to take advantage of the situation by improving my tool replacement skills (hand to forearm to tricep to shoulder) against partners using both arms. This is critical, as you will all notice how John can basically feel, defend and attack you with just one arm against your 2 easily, leaving the other hand in reserve to put your lights out. Al has also been working this with me. I'm also using my feet like a soccer player, trying to develop foot sensitivity and using all working weapons simultaneously and as creatively as I can.

Well that's it for now, hopefully new-daddy Ari gets a break long enough to pen his thoughts on mixing fatherhood with class time (Al has been kind enough to pummel him in private lessons however so I'm sure there's fodder there!)