Promotion was Sunday. I haven’t been that stressed out over a martial arts performance since Mr. Park asked me to represent Parks Judo & Karate at Ohio/Pennsylvania/New York’s tri-state invitational tournament. (Gold in forms, got my but whooped by the guy I beat in forms for bronze in sparring.)
I literally cannot remember more than three or four cuts out of several hundred I did to promote. My head simply starts to spin when I try and sort details. I have a clear memory of the brick wall just over Master O’s head, which was the aiming point for my sword’s ready position, though..
So, I took Monday off to give the Gimp-Mobile (a 40-year-old crippled body) time to recover.
Tuesday was a light workout that focused on half a dozen of the things we were told, that all show up in Cut 1: Lower horse stance, stable lower body with a more fluid turn of the torso, a more stable grip on the hilt (I tend to have a saber fencer’s grip, with tight thumb and forefinger with the other fingers loose until the moment of cut), more refined cutting positions and ending positions, rounding the corners to go from end to end, and of course fixing ye olde rising tip.
For those tracking numbers:
Cut 1: 100x
Cut 2: 3x
Cut 3: 3x
Defense 1: 3x
I can do Cut 1 fast, I can do it Fluid, and I can do it Right (if Right is interpreted by a non-Michael-Bay rendition of Optimus Prime). I still don’t own Cut 1 and I won’t until I have several hundred more reps, of this I am now sure. Though I’m pretty sure I am making progress by the way my legs were trembling from standing in horse stance long enough to do those.
Think of Fluid, Fast, and Right as the triple suns from The Dark Crystal. In what will feel like a thousand years, they will come together for this technique, and the power will appear.
If I am ever to reach Master, I must own it all… The best feedback I got during promotion was when I spent about 100 reps of SSGB Il Bon and Master O said to Master K; It shows. So that is the new gold standard. To learn anything, make any real progress, 100 reps doing it right. This, incidentally, I learned not in martial arts but in gymnastics, and heard an Olympic diver or two echo the sentiment regarding muscle memory.