Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bo: Why I Suck (and What I'm Doing About It)

So yes, I'm still studying bo.

Nope, no pic of me in a white gi yet.

As a refresher (read more here, here and here), I'm in a two-and-a-half year program studying Kobudo weapons with A-KATO that started in January 2015.  Once a month, I put on a white gi, drive an hour over to the Dallas side of town (a major sacrifice for this Fort Worth-er), and train with some awesome and very skilled people.  Assuming I'm allowed to keep training, theoretically, at the end of this program, I'll earn a black belt in kobudo. If I pass the test.

I also attend a kobudo class with my regular martial arts teacher weekly on the other Saturdays (when we have class or I'm not as a seminar or something).

I've been so busy with work, getting MCA off the ground, seminars, and travel, that for the last two months, to be honest, I haven't been practicing as I really should be.  Not having the regular class more often than not has made it a lot worse.

And man, it shows.  I suck.  I suck hard.

So, I'm taking this week's martial arts value for Mid-Cities Arnis - Discipline,especially when it comes to PRACTICE -  and applying it to my bo studies.

Starting this past Monday, I will study my Kobudo class weapons daily for a minimum of 1/2 hour.

Between work, Mid-Cities Arnis, Arnis classes and seminars, running around with children, the business of daily living, and sleeping (wait, is there any food in there?)... finding 1/2 hour daily wasn't exactly easy.

Well, right now all I have is bo, which makes it a little less difficult. I have found 1/2 hour in which I will practice forms on Monday and Tuesday nights while my daughter is studying fencing.

I use the stick in the middle (shown below) to practice with in the parking lot (as toting a six foot bo is a little weird and a bit alarming to passers by when I practice in the parking lot).

Left - regular Arnis stick.  Middle - HUGE Arnis stick . Right - my Bo.

I can at least review all of the basic movements, the grip, the stances, and the patterns of the forms, so I can just do them, versus having to engage my brain as hard as I do now.

Wednesday night is my Arnis class, so I'll do a run-through of forms when I get home from class.

On Thursday, I'm going to use my 1/2 hour practice to hit the bag with the bo as well as run through the forms a few times.  Ditto Friday.

Saturdays I usually have Kobudo class - either 1 hour in my home school, or 2 hours over in Dallas, so that day is covered.  If I am in a seminar that day, it will be difficult to get in quality practice, but I don't see why I can't run through the motions with my arnis stick (I get in practice here and there exactly that way now).

Sundays are going to be like Thursdays and Fridays - I'm going to hit the bag with my actual bo. Hard.

So I'm going to add a minimum of 3 hours a week to my practice of kobudo weapons.  That will bring up my practice time from an ideal 5 hours a month to 17 hours a month, minimum.

Additionally, when I'm just riding in the car (not driving), no reason why I can't run through it mentally a few times, right?  Or how about when I'm doing chores or working in the kitchen?

Okay wait, spin parry thrust... ?

Maybe I'll start sucking less if I keep to that schedule.

Oh, did I mention I'm going to run through the bo forms and techniques both right handed AND left handed?

I need to know how to do it left handed - we are expected to know this - and much to my chagrin, I am finding it incredibly difficult. I don't know why, but I've never been able to do the mirror image.  The thing is, I can do Arnis anyos left handed, and I use my left hand all the darn time in Arnis.

But for some reason I have a huge mental block with the bo, and I'm going to break that block, come hell or high water.

Of course, this daily practice of the bo won't stop when the class moves on to tonfa.  What that will mean is when that begins, I add another 1/2 hour or so for tonfa.

And then another 1/2 hour for sai, then another 1/2 hour for nunchaku, when I get to those weapons.

Because I have to know bo just as well in two years as I do now.  When the time comes for the additional weapons, I will have to find another 1/2 hour somewhere to practice it.  And honestly, I want to keep my skills up.

It doesn't seem like a lot of time objectively, but it's how I can fit it in without giving up other necessary things.

So how do you fit in practice time in a busy life?  I'd love to know how you do it!