Okay, now that I have some sleep in my head and I’m reasonably recovered, it’s time for an update.

I have been fighting with my Oakleys for about 3 weeks. Much like the One Ring, my Oakleys have apparently tired of their tenure with me and have been trying to escape my clutches to return to their true master. A few weeks ago they disappeared, and I eventually found them in a very unlikely place in my car. Skip to night before last, driving 10 hours in a van with little sleep. I took them out of my pocket to keep them from getting crushed while I tried to sleep. I put them in a cup holder. When we got back to Phoenix, and I was gathering my stuff, it was dark out, and I didn’t think twice at their absence. The next morning I wondered where they were though. I called around, and nobody has seen them. I wonder if they accidentally ended up in someone’s bag, or if they have finally escaped this time. I’m sure they are angry with me considering that only days after buying them (and breaking them) I had serious thoughts about a pair of Maui Jims that look much the same, but have far more robust frames.

Training was really good this weekend, with a lot of things I’ve been thinking about and experimenting with falling into place.

When trying new techniques, I tend to do them slowly out of consideration for my uke, and for my own education about body placement and execution. Often times my ukes will take advantage of this pace and try to throw in a punch or kick or grab or whatever in there to “show me” inadequacies in my techniques or how I’m leaving myself open. In the past I have been pretty tolerant of this behavior with the belief that they genuinely are interested in helping me out. But it’s always gotten a bit under my skin. Lots of opportunities for retaliatory strikes disappear at full speed with full power. So this weekend when a couple of people tried to do just this, I decided not to be so nice. With one of them, who earlier had decided to punch through my arms at the apex of a take down, I sped things up to about half speed in a controlled way, and dumped them quickly on the ground. I then pulled their arm out while kicking out a supporting leg and put them face down on the ground. There was no more fooling around afterwards from this uke.

In some ways it sucks to have to do this kind of thing, but at the same time, I do train differently from many of the people I know. I can catch most of the gross motor skills stuff just from watching the demonstration by the teacher. I can do rough wrist locks, arm bars and submissions now without too much trouble. When I’m playing with this stuff now, I’m looking at how different people respond to different pressure, why some people move the way they do. Most of the time I do this slowly with not too much pressure, as to play nice-nice with my uke so they will want to train with me in the future. But every once in a while I get this out of nowhere “I could hit you while you try that” kinda thing. I know. I’m going slow out of consideration for your body, and so I can learn something here other than the gross motor skills of the movement.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate people pointing out shortcomings to techniques, but many times I’m not really trying out techniques so much as positioning, momentum, timing, control, targeting or whatever else gets into my head. I may later combine these into a technique that I would be concerned about not taking too much contact in while executing, but these days most of the time I’m not.

So the nutshell here is, I don’t feel bad about doing the technique to you in a way you can’t fight back from if that’s what you’re looking for. For a while I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, and now I realize that’s apparently what some people want.

Two weekends down, with Colorado coming up this weekend. After that I get one weekend off to myself, then I head out to Idaho. One more weekend off then it’s off to Ohio for more ninja training. Not much longer after that, it’s the DCD concert in LA. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to October, and things cooling down a little bit in my life.

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