Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Sleep deprived no more!

I finally got a good night's sleep last night. The previous 3 nights I really hadn't slept well at all, and what sleep I had managed was little more than a doze. I'm not sure what made me so restless; perhaps a combination of heat and other stresses.

Sleep deprivation is not a good thing. The world starts to look like a very strange place when you are mentally knackered. If I'd had the energy yesterday I would probably have been quite grumpy!

I wanted to train on Monday night but I knew I was too tired to concentrate, or even drive there. I didn't even feel like picking up a kettlebell :=(

Last night I though s0d this for a game of soldiers, necked enough valerian to floor a cow and went out like a light. So I'm back and fighting fit this morning. Today I intend to get through the work I was just shoving round my desk yesterday!

Successful weekend

As I write this the rain is 'fair stotting' down - bit of a change from the stunning summer weather over the weekend! It was fab to see such great weather but it was perhaps not entirely ideal for the Edinburgh marathon on Sunday. Sadly one relay runner collapsed and died and lots more were unable to finish. A colleague was running his first marathon and although he finished with what I reckon was an excellent time, he missed his targetted finish time due to keeling over with cramp at mile 24.

On the positive side, T'Other Half PB'd his 5k at the Edinburgh Park Run despite the heat on Saturday morning. This time he came in at a very respectable 27 min 20 sec.

At 6ft 2in (and most of that being leg lol) he should be a good runner!

His Park Run meant there was a bit of a queue for the car on Saturday morning! Basically as soon as he got out, I jumped in and zoomed off to the Combat Ready gym for the mop-up krav maga grading.

I confess that I actually dithered about even going along for the grading right the way up until I got in the car! I was reasonably confident about the material but I wasn't so sure if my overall fitness levels were up to the demands of the 3 hour session, especially in the heat. Because of the other things going on in my life just now, I feel my training has been much more sporadic than is usual for me. I was also not sure whether or not the hurty bits were going to let me down. Once I got there and we got going with a bit of skipping, my brain flipped over into Let's get it ON mode and I was fine.

Once we'd warmed up (oh the irony ....) and stretched off we headed straight into the seminar part of the session, reviewing the material we were going to need later.

We covered:

  • getting up from the ground
  • striking combinations on the pads
  • releases from front, side and rear chokes, headlocks and chokes on the ground

We also looked at:

  • front 'stomp' kicks
  • back kicks

Once we covered the relevant material we took a short break to re-hydrate then it was into the grading proper. We started off with the fitness test, which covered a combination of kettlebell and bodyweight drills.

We were then tested on a variety of padwork combinations and 'situationals'. Of those, one of the toughest had to be repping out 10 burpees to your partner's count. When you came back up from the tenth you had to defend a slashing knife attack! That was slightly challenging for the old cardio-vascular system!

We then spent some time 'slow fighting' and working all of striking and defensive tools. I actually really enjoyed this bit, although it was a challenge not to speed up! Clearly I still really love to fight lol.

We finished off with getting up from the ground quickly and safely, then they totally finished us off with one last physical test! The gym floor is covered with alternately colooured jigsaw mats. 10 of these were measured out and you had to jump into the first and do 1 press up, into th second and do 2 press ups etc, all the way up to 10. On the way back it was jump and 1 squat, all the way up to 10.

Then we were done! Literally :=) Quite honestly, my tshirt could have walked home on its own ....

But we all passed! Which was fab. We all worked so hard, and I think it's something we all really earned. Hope it's not so hot next time.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Kung fu

Was the only student at chi kung and kung fu class last night. It's a small class anyway, and the other students are currently tied up with either holidays, work or exams and studies. It makes for a shorter but more intense class!

We rattled through the usual chi kung stuff, had a short break then went on to kung fu. The structure of the class has changed a bit so that we now start with footwork, practising stances and movement. Last night we covered using the drag and glide steps to move in the bow and arrow stance. We also covered open step and pivoting, working both solo and partner methods. Finally we covered some defensive movements.

From footwork we went onto striking, practicing front and rear palm strikes and front snap kick from the natural poise. We worked these on the pads as well, looking to ensure that foot, waist and arm all move at the same time. It may take a wee bit more time to get that whole kinetic chain working smoothly!

We finished off with some more chi kung practice.

I do like the kung fu class. It's very traditional, emphasising the slow building of skill rather than a headlong rush to acquire 'techniques'. I do sometimes have a brainfart in the middle, defaulting to movements hardwired from other systems. I've noticed that particularly with the front snap kick. In Shaolin kung fu this is delivered as a real flick from a high chambered knee with the toes pointing down. Other styles I have studied would tend to use a low pushing style of kick which would impact with the ball of the foot. I'm still really having to think about this kick!

Sifu is very gentle in the way that he corrects your mistakes, which is nice. He has trained other styles as well so understands where a lot of these are coming from. I find it a very positive experience. It's surprisingly demanding physically though, even though it's a very different training emphasis from say krav maga or MMA.


Got to work this morning to find my ID badge and its holder bent, like seriously bent. It was fine when I took it off at home last night.

Needless to say it didn't work this morning! Our ID badges are also 'smartcards' which have building access control, print management, cashless purchasing, car park and gym access built in. It being broken certainly made life a wee bit challenging this morning. Security printed a new card for me but I'm still not sure if I've got all my accesses back yet ....

So what happened to my card between taking it off last night and putting it on again this morning? This is the question ....

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Got woken up about 0400 this morning by a foot in the bum!! Swiftly followed by another. It's not the first time my Other Half was booted me in his sleep. Most times I just move out the way, this morning he was *annoying* me, and in the absence of plates, I delivered a swift back kick to make him turn over. Was just dropping back off to sleep when his feet really started going. Honest to whatevers, it was like lying beside a prancing leprechaun! Another quick back kick - harder this time - and he was over onto his other side. No wonder the cat was on my side of the bed last night!

So I asked him this morning what that was all about. The first time apparently he was dreaming about fighting someone, the 2nd time he was running away .... Allegedly.

Balancing things up

My quads had a fair bit to say after the spin and a half earlier, so I thought I might balance things out a bit and hit my arms and shoulders. So I broke out the kettlebells for a quick clean and press session. 100 double presses with the 8kbs, broken into sets of course.

The 16s were calling to me, but common sense prevailed. I suspect my downstairs neighbour would be less than pleased if I dropped one ....

Spin. And a half

So it was lunchtime spin today. 3 regulars plus A N Other. Lot of resistance work to start, which was quite frankly interesting thanks to my *still* hurty calf. I'm not so keen on the standy-up bits at the moment, but I toughed it out.

Then it got really interesting. The last four tracks were designated as sprints (WTF? We'd already had at least 2 sets of sprints by this time) - but to make it more interesting we each got the stopwatch and a chance to call the shots. Recipe for disaster if ever there was one, to be honest lol.

Anyway, first track was 3 sets of sprints - 20 secs on, 20 secs recovery. 2nd track was increased resistance, and 3 sets of 30 secs on and 30 secs recovery. Then it was my turn. Nae faffing with resistance, just 20 secs on and 20 secs off all the way through. Then it was The Rush's turn. OMG - whoever thought giving him a stopwatch was a good idea! 10 secs on and 5 secs recovery all the way through! Burst just doesn't even come into it!! Even the instructor was an interesting colour by the end of the track - but it serves him right.

The guys all laughed at me when I got back to my desk cos my face was about as red as my hair!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Gym fail!

Fail no 1
I turned up for spin class at lunchtime today but no-one else did, so it was cancelled:=(

Fail no 2
Thought I would go to the gym instead. Nice idea. Now, at various times I have forgotten my t-shirt, shorts, socks, towel etc. This time I forgot my sodding *SHOES*! I'm happy enough to train barefoot, but Health & Safety, hygiene etc means that the Sports staff wouldn't be that thrilled by that.

So no gym for me.

To quote one of the Sports guys: "What a donkey!" (mind you, he said it with a colourful adjective in front lol)

Ninja fail

I clearly need to work on my ninja throwing skills.

I confess to having had something of a domestic rage incident a couple of weeks ago. I'm generally pretty laid back, but the Other Half was winding me up something chronic. Upshot was I ended up chucking a plate at him (it was what I had in my hand at the time - one time it was the cat). Unfortunately the s0d ducked and the plate smashed to smithereens! On the plus side, it was the plate that already had a chip out of it. Also on the plus side, it's the fastest KatieKat has moved in some considerable time lol.

Numpties that I work with are threatening to club together and buy me a set of plastic plates out of IKEA!

Living in 'interesting times'

May you live in interesting times is often attributed as a Chinese curse; others argue for more recent and Western origins. Irrespective of the source, it's certainly held true for me in recent months!

Personal circumstances (and hurty bits) have meant that I have't trained as much as I might have liked to. I've certainly been to classes and I've gone running and I've chucked kettlebells around, I just haven't written about it much. However, I had a complaint last night that my lack of posting was leading to a lack of entertainment and could I please fix that asap. So here I am lol.

Last night was krav. Lee is back in harness after his time away, and boy did we get to know about it! We started with our usual wam up run. I took it really easy, trying to respect the hurty bits. We then moved into sprints and it took prob about the first set for my achilles / calf thing to seriously make its presence felt until I was basically chasing Saturday's £40 osteopath bill up and down the hall. Och well, I guess these things will get worse until they get better really. On the positive side though, my wrist really had nothing to say about the incline pressups.

After the pressup / situp combos we moved straight into padwork, working jab-cross-jab-elbow. We then added a 'wrenching' move to unbalance our partner, followed by a swift knee and finishing them with a cheeky wee back kick to the back of the knee.

From this we moved on to train turning / roundhouse kicks on the big shields. I bet the rugby club don't really leave their tackle shields lying around for us to use this way! Mind you, I used to watch club rugby in Edinburgh and I've seen the abuse those shields take - trust me, our kicks are *nothing* compared to what those guys do to them lol.

After some practice chambering the knee high and flicking the kick out, we moved onto some knife defence. I'm sure it's not supposed to end up as some kind of bizarre spiral dance, but that seems to be how UTP and I often end up! A couple of the guys had to leave unexpectedly early, so we turned it into multiple attackers with knives instead.

Lee picked us up on "intent" - what he meant was training like you mean it, so that the skills are hardwired in and there should you ever be unfortunate enough to need it. He was quite right in what he said, but I think that it can often be difficult for women to go in 'hard' against a partner. There's lots of reasons for this, most of them around socialisation and expectation. Men often think that it's because women are delicate and fear being hurt themselves. I'm sure that's probably true for some women but it's definitely not the case for all. I think the biggest issue is actually around not wanting to be responsible for hurting others. I know I've certainly spent an awful lot of time apologising to other people for clattering them during training, and I'm always conscious of holding back a bit esp if I'm partnering another woman. It's not necessarily always great for my training, but it's easy sometimes to misjudge the power you can put into techniques. I certainly don't want the reputation my pal had for unnecessary brutality - even the guys were scared of her.

On the flipside, I had one of the guys make a comment to me last week about how myself and his female pal always "really go for it" when we train with the guys. The way he said it, it felt like criticism in the sense that it wasn't natural or feminine or some other such thing. And that comes back to the socialisation / expectation thing. No wonder women get confused!

Ok - not quite sure how the soapbox managed to sneak in there.

It was lovely to see another friend that I used to train with at the women's class last night. I think she's planning to come along regularly which will be good. Hope her turned ankle is nothing serious though.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

It's been a while

In spite of the hurty bits (several - see below), I toddled off to krav class last night. You have NO idea how glad I was that only 3 of us turned up so that we focused on skills rather than fitness lol. We had our obligatory warmup of a run round the hall. In my case this was much more of a lopsided lurch and I got lapped at least once.

Was delighted to see UTP (Usual Training Partner) back after her Beltane adventures. I miss her chat and giggles during training. For those who might frown on laughter during training - I do actually take class quite seriously, but for me fun is a v important part of learning.

Lee is apparently away just now, so poor Michael had the pleasure of our company. He took us through some basic skills such as stances, footwork and strikes. Ideal for myself and UTP, since we've both been away a while. We also did some shadow boxing, working a variety of punches, elbows and knees. After some padwork, we moved onto 360 defence against hooking attacks from high, mid and low level followed by parrying against a straight attack. Then just for fun we threw a knife attack into the mix.

The hour passed quickly and it was nice to be back.

Shall probably have the achilles / ankle / heel / whatever thing prodded by the osteopath tomorrow.

Monday, 3 May 2010

note to self ....

.... do not stay away from Circuits class for so long next time. It won't hurt as much if you go regularly :=)

Current list of sore bits (only some of may be related to the foregoing):

  • Toes on left foot (still twinge a bit occasionally) - Self-inflicted
  • Back of right ankle / heel (hope it's not an achilles problem) - Thank you hindu squats!
  • Right wrist - No idea, but it was obviously a doozy
  • Lower back - Sleeping at a v funny angle, so I blame the cat for this one

I would like to go to krav class tonight but it's going to depend on sore bit no 2 above. I went for a run yesterday (Sensible? Moi? As if!) and it hurt like a really hurty thing afterwards.