Sunday, August 26, 2007

Green belt, part 2

It was an honor and a privilege to be able to participate this weekend in USSD events during the Shaolin Monk's visit to the USA. The Head Abbot of the Shaolin Temple came and spoke to us, and as I explain to friends, this is sort of equivalent to a visit from the Pope (or other head of any major religion.) It was pretty exciting.

The first half of Saturday was the USSD studen'ts workshops, were we were able to work with the monks themselves. It is AMAZING to watch these guys and their abilities - they make everything look easy, but that ease is earned through years and years of hard physical training. I can only hope to someday get that low in my stances :)

Saturday afternoon was part 2 of my belt test, and let me tell you, when they said the second half would be the easy one, I think I was misled :D Anyway, I made it through, with my knee grinding and my Achilles screaming, and didn't suck too badly I hope. I couldn't hear a word any of the instructors were saying at the front of the room, 'cause it was incredibly noisy, so I always seemed to be half a beat behind on whatever was being barked out. I was not the only one. At the end of the day I was grateful to be awarded my green belt - for this one, I've worked hard.

Sunday, we had a promotion ceremony - our new ranks recognized by Professor Matterra and Headmaster DeMasco, and our photo taken with the Head Abbot, monks, and ranking USSD instructors. This took awhile because we were brought to the stage in large groups. The green belts alone had over ninety people. Then, Sunday afternoon, we saw the Shaolin Monks in performance, where they do their martial arts demonstrations. It is a VERY cool show and if you ever get a chance to see it, you definitely need to go :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

2200 Miles For A Steak

It started on a kind of dare, but turned into an event: a couple of the east coast gals met a couple of the west coast gals for dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo.

I took Friday and Monday off work, and basically rode two days to get to Texas (catching up with Joker at the end of the first day in Gallup) and two days to get back home. Now that's my idea of a good RTE! (ride to eat)

Temps were beastly, but then again when aren't they in August. We prepare as best we can (I had my coolvest, of course) and ride early and drink gallons of water. I think the easterners had the worst of it; their temps were as high as ours but they aren't used to handling it. Plus, heavy rains closed I-40 and routed them out of Tennessee, stretching the return trip an extra day. Ai.

I have a new entry on the List Of Weird Foods I Have Tried: rattlesnake is on the menu at the Big Texan. It's a food I would order once but not twice ... it's mostly bones & not nearly worth all the effort. :D

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Green belt, part 1

The Shaolin Monks are coming to America, a special event for USSD, and I will be testing for my next belt that weekend. However, in order to participate in the "monk test", students are being submitted to a pre-test, which is where you are really put through your paces.

So, today I drove down to a different dojo (this pre-test was held in Rolling Hills) and gritted my teeth though the thing. I know, I know, I complain that kempo gets harder and harder with every level (and it's supposed to) but JEEZ today's test just about killed me. Since there were so many people there, and such a limited amount of space, they moved us all outside and we ran around outside and did drills in the parking lot. Let me repeat that. We RAN. OUTSIDE. ON CONCRETE. IN THE BLAZING SUN. By rank, groups were called indoors at the end of their tests; we were brought in after about three hours.

I can not even begin to describe how much pain my knee has after running and jumping on hard surfaces in dojo shoes for three hours. I have taken my last, precious Vicodin which has cut down on the groaning and weeping a bit, thankfully.

At least I get two weeks recovery time before part two of the test.