We bought ourselves a shiny new camera on our honeymoon last year. I just loaded up the card with photos from Monday’s class in it and noticed that we’d rolled over the numbers on the camera. We just passed the ten thousand photos mark. Considering most of those photos have been taken at classes since January, that is one whole heck of a lot of fencing photos. Not counting the sixty Gb’s of video footage.

Small class last night. Everyone is either on vacation or doing special event things. I do like my small classes. It’s nice to get a chance to work deeply on a few things. Last night we pushed the gymnastics workout to a new level. We hit the much harder exercises. No one could really do them. That’s not a thing you want to do with a large group of people. It’s a bit demoralizing. With a small group, it’s a challenge and a new goal.

Go to work on developing kicks a bit more as well. Got the pads out and worked on ankle mobility for power generation. Started out with straight kicks, and then added in the same motion with a spin kick. I got to have the pleasure of working with someone big enough for me to relax my kicks and unload a little more than I’m used to. Felt pretty good. I still really miss having a solid heavy bag. We finished the kicking off with working some tricky off and on side kicks to the liver, digging back into the Shotokan trick bag for a  little old-school fun.

Sword work was to be a familiarization session with the new terminology. I figured to explain the basics and have everyone move through them with a partner, step by step. We wound up doing that, but it quickly turned into what will be a new drills. It was somewhat like the 5×5 drill in pacing, if not technique. Too bad 4×9 is such an awkward name. In any case, the terminology lends itself to a very simple and clear understanding of expectations. It’s a clear enough understanding that some lingering misconceptions were cleaned up. I think the mere performance of the basic movements wound up having a good effect on us.

Forcing myself to work through positions and actions that were out of my habit range was good for me. Holes in my game were immediately obvious. The next trick for me is a to build a nice new memory palace of the new terminology. Doing so will allow me to run through the new drill once and have accurate recall of all the flaws that I want to improve. I should be able to punch in techniques as well, and make teaching classes a lot easier.

Wrapped with sparring. I have to say I’m having far more fun sparring than I have in years. I’m reaching a new level in my fighting, and it’s coming so easy. All I needed was a slightly new mindset and a way to get into easily and habitually, and I’ve found that. On an off night the students clean the floor with me. On a good night I can hold my own. On a night when it clicks, I feel untouchable, and I mostly am. I still have a ton of skill work to do to improve my game, but it’s much clearer in my mind what I need to do now.

Getting older aint all that bad…