Saturday, July 12, 2014

My 2014 Goals - UPDATE

Towards the end of last year, I wrote a post about what I want to accomplish in 2014 in the Martial Arts.  I thought I'd do a little update to report progress.

I know, you've been waiting.

1) I will dramatically increase my skill in tapi-tapi and espada y daga, not only in smooth action but in overall body of knowledge.

I've made some progress in tapi-tapi - not as much as I'd like (due to reasons) but some, and I anticipate more in the fall after one particular seminar I'm attending in August.  Espada y daga, I've made just a tiny bit of progress, but in fact, I may not work on espada y daga much this year.

2) I will decrease my pants size by two sizes - and get a new uniform as a result!

No progress to this point.  Mainly because I was not able to make any progress with getting more in shape due to financial constraints, schedules, and other concerns.  However, this has been resolved, and this is my new weekly schedule:

  • Sunday - gym day and home dojo arnis practice.  We also work with our youngest daughter on the martial arts on Sundays.
  • Monday - Arnis class (we teach, usually)
  • Tuesday - rest day
  • Wednesday - Arnis class (again, teaching) and gym (shorter session)
  • Thursday - group fitness class (I'm taking BodyPump)
  • Friday - New Goju-Shorei weapons class and gym day
  • Saturday - Arnis (learning), Arnis (teaching), and Kodubo/weapons class (jo class)

I don't know if I'll make "decrease pants size by two sizes" by the end of the year, but it's still possible, I think.

Of course, I could always get one of these.

3) I will increase my upper body strength by a factor of two - that is, I will, by the end of the year, be able to lift twice as much weight as I can now and apply twice as much force.

No progress (see point 2 above) - however, since I've returned to the gym, I've found I'm stronger than I suspected I was when I made this goal (my strength did not decrease as dramatically as I'd feared with a two year absence from the gym).  I don't think I'll make this goal this year, although with the schedule above I think I will absolutely see a big improvement.

4) I will attend at least two martial arts seminars.

I'm actually going to attend at least four, maybe five. I attended one in May, the next two (and maybe a third, depending on finances) are in August.  I anticipate one more in the fall/winter. So, this will be exceeded.

5) I will improve my footwork - angle stepping, judging the appropriate distance, getting to the outside, with smooth, natural motion.

I think I have improved with this a lot, as a result of teaching our Arnis students.  I find I don't have to think about it when I do it myself as hard any more.

6) I will learn the Jo.

Underway.  I've learned three Jo forms, and we've been working on practical application of bunkai.  I really enjoy jo, as it also forces you to think about the katana, which legend says this weapon was specifically designed to fight against and somewhat mimics, especially in grip.  So in some ways, I feel like I'm learning katana too.

7) I will compete in one tournament.

This would be the A-KATO Tournament in the fall.  Still planning on it. I have to work on a new competition anyo (I have one sketched out using my bahi sticks vs. using a blade) and get it locked down.  I am still debating whether I will do an empty hand anyo, as our anyos are so exotic compared to what they are used to, I'm not sure I could possibly win (and thus, I can spend more time on the weapons anyo instead).

8) I will continuously improve my teaching skills, including studying more about how to effectively communicate information to students.

I've made a lot of progress here, as we've had some students I've had to research and try different teaching tactics in order to help them.

Because of this, I've started to break down the mechanics of our strikes and pokes (the Arnis #1 strike, for example, vs. the #3 strike vs. the #6 strike vs. the #9 strike) so I can explain them a little better while coaching new students.  Once I've gotten it written up, I'll share that as a future geeky post that I'm sure only my friend Brian Johns at +Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts Centre Ltd  will be interested in!


I've started the Goju-Shorei weapons system, in order to add more weapons to my repertoire.  I will continue jo but I may end up starting another Okinawan weapon in the fall or winter, depending on what the kobudo class at our school does.  I'm hoping for tonfa or sai, but I bet it'll be bo, due to the composition of kids coming into the kobudo class later this year.  I'm not a huge fan of the bo, but it'd be good for me to learn it.

I am seeking out a tai chi teacher to teach me some forms I can practice on my own.  I definitely plan to pursue tai chi, as I like how it positively affects my Arnis.

My daughter will be testing for her Tae Kwon Do black belt NEXT WEEK (!!!!) and she's interested in taking up fencing - Olympic-style fencing.  We have a school near us, so we're going to check it out.  I don't think I'll take the class with her, but... you know I'm going to go to her classes, watch, and learn!

Works for me.
It may not happen this year - damn, I'm busy - but I also have interest in finding a class to help me train "transition" from standing to ground and back again.  It's a weak spot in my strategy that I'd like to address but I might not get there this year.

So - did you make any 2014 goals?  What's your progress been?  What's changed?  I'd love to know!