Tuesday, 15th, November, 2011.
Another day off. I Skype with my parents in the morning then spent the rest of the day reading comic books. I am getting inspired to draw a short simple comic. I have an idea in mind and soon I will give it a go. Thai boxing in the afternoon then home again and I finished off updating all my blogs. I am so relieved that I have done it all now.
I can finally focus on the fun part of writing. I am going to write a few short stories’s this week and begin practising drawing again.
Isaac asked if I wanted to entre a Thai boxing competition in a few months and although I know a competition would raise my skills much higher and I am very interested I am hesitant because there are other more important things I want to focus on over the next few months. Like writing and soon I will start to do my scuba diving course. I will think about competing but I think I will leave it for at least a while.
Monday, 14th, November, 2011.
Another day off. Sarah and I went to the library and opened an account. We can take 30 items out of the library at one time. I have been very impressed with library’s in NZ and at how full of people they are most of the time. Nelson library has a wide selection and many computers with old newspapers and historic videos. I got a selection of comic books and a few books about China and a book on how to draw and another on how to write. I felt well equipped and excited about all this new stuff I had to learn.
Thai boxing again in the afternoon. Sparring was a bit more amped up today. I sparred with another beginner. A tall man from northern England. Although his technique was not good he was scared even though I was hardly hitting him and he launched back trying to hit me. I easily blocked his punches but a few of his kick somehow managed to land knee on knee, two times in a row. It was a little painful for me and he winced and looked worried. Isaac had gone out and another man was taking the class, he looked concerned with this new man and took him to one side and taught him some technique’s instead.
Sarah and I had seas food hot pot in the evening. We sat around the hob and put shrimps, squid, mussels and tofu and vegetables into the boiling spicy soup until they cooked and we ate over a long period of time.
Sunday, 13th, November, 2011.
A slow day, our day off. I managed to sleep in too late and didn’t manage to call my parents on Skype. I spent most of the day reading ‘’Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe’’ About Okonkawu a proud African warrior with a fiery temper. It tells the story of how he became great and then had to deal with the English slowly invading his village. The way the English are described is chilling. How they come slowly and with friendship and then they divide the clans and turn friends against each other until their village is stole from under their noses
‘’the white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart’’ (page166)
Divide and conquer is very effective.
Friday, 11th, November, 2011.
David, Kim, Emily and Nina are leaving tomorrow. They have been waiting for weeks for their fish factory job to start. It never did. They rang the company and even went to their offices to ask what was going to happen but they were always greeted with annoyance and given no information so they waited and now they will leave Nelson to go to Mouteka where they will try and get a job pruning kiwi fruit trees.
Tonight we planned to play some drinking games. We went to a large alcohol ware house called ‘’the mill’’ A huge cavernous building full of poison.
We bought a few boxes of beer and a big bottle of tequila and went back to their hostel. We started with a few new Zealand drinking games and an English one then went onto a few Korean games I have never played before. They were incredibly hard, involving maths, and tricking the next person into adding up your numbers so they would have to say some of the loaded numbers and drink.
We all got drunk very fast, soon all the beer was gone so Kim and I went into town and got some more, had a quick stop off at the 24 hour burger king then went back to the hostel where we kept on drinking. Poor Nina had far too much to drink and threw up then went to bed and cried loudly. That was when the party wound down. Sarah came to pick me up and I gave Nina a long hung and left.
I was far too drunk to sleep so after Sarah had taken me home I walked straight back into town and spend a few hours staggering around to wear off the spins. A police car went past and then seeing me reversed and gave me an eye balling. I took my hood off and offered a thumbs up and a smile and they took off again. I was surprised at how friendly the streets where and how even the other drunk people where not lairy or fighting. There was no menace in the air. When I felt a bit better I walked back home through the church and went to sleep after having a quiet controlled sick in the loo.
Thursday, 10th, November, 2011.
I was helping Peter take of some rotten wooden slats on the outside of Fairfield house today. Peter was hammering away when a bald man silently wafted out from the meditation house and with a meek smile and a smooth step glided towards us. ‘’Would you mind not hammering for half an hour we are trying to meditate’’ The man asked Peter in a quiet voice. It was so quiet and consciously controlled and false. Peter agreed looking confused, hammer still in hand half-cocked for a hit.
‘’How about my painting?’’ I said as I gave the trellis a luxurious long stroke with my brush ‘’ will that disturbed you?’’. The man brought his eye brows together looking like someone had just asked him to solve an embarrassing math problem. ‘’No that’s fine thank you’’ He said in his velvet voice and he levitated back to the meditation room.
More Thai boxing at 5 today. I found a few major similarity’s with Thai boxing and Tai chi today. We were using focus mits instead of the heavy bags today and Isaac was with one of the students teaching him a long right cross. He got the student to perform it slowly while breathing out as he punched, Isaac made some fine adjustments, getting the student to step his left leg out to the left a little as he stepped forwards, making him bring his back heel up a little more to allow his hip to twist further and keeping the shoulders down and arms in a straight line. ‘’keep doing it again and again’’ Isaac told the student as he went away.
Slow movement, breathing technique, using the legs and hips to generate power. Exactly the same as Taiji. The next similarity I saw was when two of the best fighters where in the ring together without gloves on and where working on their elbows and clinch work. They would move towards each other and one would block the others elbow attaches; they would clinch and twist and push and pull to unbalance their opponent while trying to slip in an elbow to the face.
The exercise was like tai chi push hands where you are fighting so close that you are able to sense your opponent’s movements because your arms are touching each other.
There similarity’s while interesting are not a surprising or new discovery. There are only so many ways to move the body and any martial art which is worth its salt uses the whole body’s movement to generate power and also uses soft training like slow controlled shadow boxing alongside hard training like weights, heavy bags and full power sparring.
Wednesday, 9th, November, 2011.
We cleared up after the wedding. After the ceremony it had just turned into a royal piss up and there where sticky wine and beer stained floors and huge boat like bins full of empty bottles from the night before. We worked until 1 o clock and Sarah and I went to the library. I got on the internet and began the daunting task of spell checking and editing the 40 or so blogs which I had not yet got up on the internet yet. It took a long time and after 3 hours I had only done 8.
At 5 I went to Thai boxing, feeling the burn again from two days training. More of the same today. I love more of the same. The secret to successful martial arts training is repetition. There is no use knowing the 238 hundred applications of a Kata or Tai chi form if you never practise them, and how can you practise them all?
‘’Thai boixing is a very natural martial art’’ I remember Nigel Sutton saying and I agree, there is the round house kick, the front kick and knees, and all the boxing punches and elbows. It’s a small arsenal compared to the vast amount of kicks tae kwon do has but when you focus on a few things you become a master at them. And by no means is Thai boxing a simple art. Natural yes but in no way is it simple or basic. You could spend your whole life studying Thai boxing and still not know it all, just like any martial art.
Tuesday, 8th, November, 2011.
Thankfully I wasn’t back on the trellis today as the painters who were doing the outside of the house had arrived and they were occupying most of the space. Catherine had had a mini controlled explosion ranting about how the painters said they were meant to have finished 2 weeks ago and that recently they just never turned up ‘’ I am finding it very hard not to take it personally’’ Catherine said fiery, I was shocked, this was the first time I had seen her angry.
We helped moving cut wood and tools from the balcony and we set up chairs for the wedding which was going to happen that night.
Catherine and I got talking and it turned out that she had been to Forest Row the village I am from in the UK. She had studied Steiner education in Emerson College. What a small world. She told me about her family history, how they had come from Ireland in the 1800s when they were unable to own land because of some English law and how they came here and became quiet prosperous farming and raising race horses. I wonder if the English are the most hated country in the world? I would not be surprised. There cannot be many country’s we haven’t tried to enslave or conquer.
Back to Thai boxing at 5. My legs where a bit sore from yesterday’s training but once warmed up I felt energetic and awake. It was the same routine as before. Skipping, shuttle runs squats and knee ups, then hitting the heavy bags and then sparring. I tried out a few punch combinations which worked quiet well during the sparring. Mainly the body, head, body combo. It works well because your opponent finds it more difficult to defend their two areas at the same time and often while defending the head they will leave their body open or visa versa. I also found that the less skilled student where in fact much harder to spar with.
The experienced fighters made crisp quick controlled kicks and punches which hurt a little but as we were only sparring at about 50 % power a punch to the stomach or a kick to the ribs doesn’t hurt much but with a new person they get so scared and over react and throw wild uncontrolled hay makers.
I was sparring with a woman who has only been training for a few months and I threw out some light jabs to the face and she was wide eyed and dashed in throwing a heavy low kick. I raised my shin to defend my thigh and sides but the kick somehow managed to hook around and hit me on the left button and it even managed to clip my testicals. I felt sick and was about to call a time out when she kept rushing in and sent an arcing left punch which connected with my nose. This woke me up and distracted from my tenders.
But it’s all good training, getting used to people actually trying to hit you, learning not to over react and knowing that you will sometimes get hit and it’s not the end of the world.