Hitting People with Sticks
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Frustration dance – eskrima

I had my own internal frustration dance going on in my head last night during class – specifically, the sparring session.  It’s like an angry little gnome doing a trampoline routine on my brain, and while I understand the reasons I get so annoyed, it’s also getting in the way of increasing my sparring ability.

From the feedback I received after my bout, I have plenty to work on.  And getting constructive criticism is a *good* thing – I can’t improve if I don’t have objective reviews.  But you know that point (in any project or performance or job or whatever) where you start realizing you’re doing the same wrong things you did the last time you tried this, and the gnome starts tap-dancing on your head and your eyes bug out and your fists clench?  Sadly, this *does not* help.  It *makes it worse*.

Thus the comments that said I did a good job for the first 15 seconds and went downhill from there, seeming to gas out and stiffen up.  I need to fire the damn gnome and find a way to recover from my mistakes.  Realizing mistakes are happening *as they happen* is a gift – it gives me a chance to take a deep breath and consciously do something different.  I let my temper take control of me, and I lose that gift.

There.  Now that that’s out of my system, notes from last night.

Telegraphing strikes. I continue to swing wide and express other physical cues that make it easy for my opponent to see what I’m about to do.  Tighten it up and think – integrate body with mind.

Blocking. I am doing somewhat better with blocking incoming strikes, but considering the bruises on my legs, I could do better.  Think both defense and offense, and be able to switch from one to the other on the fly.  Keep guard up and tight.

Don’t fall into attack patterns. Far too many of my combos are the same pattern, over and over, both in the angles used and order of those angles.  Think more, strategize more.

Striking form. Lean into your strikes, not away from them.  Your robbing yourself of both reach and power.  Be aggressive and confident.

Think under pressure. I tense up when pressured by my opponent, whether it’s in the largo, medio or quarto ranges.  Be confident.

I’d discuss the empty hands drills we worked before sparring, but I have to fire a gnome.  Perhaps later.

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