Archive for March, 2010

Back into the swing of things, for the most part. Been pretty busy with work, or rather, the travel back and forth to work, getting a new truck, etc. But the itch to move is strong, and must be obeyed eventually.

One of the nice things I got into last week was making a desk-top sized trebuchet. I can only be desk-bound so long before I get a little crazy. To alleviate that, I gathered a couple of friends for a lunch-hour of actual manual engineering/assembly of a trebuchet kit from Maker SHED. It was simple, it was fun; it only took us a lunch hour to put most of it together, and most importantly it involved working with hands and eyes in 3D space.

Also in 3D space, I got back to the University for some more fencing on Wednesday. I think it had literally months since I was there in sport fencing gear (as opposed to the more historical stuff we’ve been giving seminars on), and I could tell my form was off. Pretty good workout, and got pretty worked by several of the students. I had the endurance, lung-and-leg wise, but in sabre in particular, I didn’t have my fine motor control down. Sport fencing is incredibly ballistic, and with sabre you have to move the sword through space both rapidly and on target. And when I mean rapidly, I mean it happens so fast that often neither the spectators nor the fencers can actually see the end of the blade move. You have to defend AND then attack, and I wasn’t doing a good job a lot of the time. The specific muscle group I could tell I hadn’t used in that way for a long time was the inner forearm and my back foot. Sounds weird, but there you go. That and my right wrist were a bit stiff the next day. My left foot, the foot that I launch from, was particularly stiff and sore.

I had done a quick kettlebell workout right before heading over there. Just a couple sets of jerks with the 24 kg bell. I’m glad I did–good warm-up.

Saturday was my roommate’s birthday, so he hosted several of his (our) friends, most of whom also happen to be fencers of one sort or another. This was a “Cutting Party,” which involves using actual sharps to cut various objects such as plastic bottles, cardboard, and dowels with wet newspaper wrapped around them. The newspaper and dowel gag somewhat approximates the effects of cutting through an arm, bone and all.

Cutting with sharps is important. As important as practicing moves, drills, and sparring are, you don’t get the correct feel for how to actually cut with a weapon unless you actually cut with a weapon. It may seem simple, but getting the edge aligned properly is less intuitive than most people think. It’s not difficult, and can be learned quickly, but still–it takes training, and just doing it.

And it’s fun! 🙂 So we do it for all these reasons. The Cutting Party, the meal afterward, and then the return to the house to cap off the day with refreshments made for an excellent day with some good physical and martial art training thrown in for good measure.

Today was another fencing day. Again, to warm up, I hit the bells. I did simple two-handed swings, using a Tabata protocol, where I programmed the GYMBOSS to 20 second work intervals with 10 second rest intervals. I wanted some breathing, but not a total knockout, so I only set it for eight rounds.

The first round I used the 16 kg bell, and from then on, the 24 kg bell. Got the breathing going pretty good, warmed up the legs and shoulders. Ahhh!

Then went over to the University and proceeded to épée and sabre. Some good stuff. Again, legs and lungs to spare. I do pay attention to breathing when the going gets a little hard, and I initiated a little pattern that seemed to re-energize whilst bouting. Still a huge sweat and breathing fest. But I don’t feel stiff or sore in the feet or forearm this time. Thank you recovery! 😀

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