Archive for May, 2013

I Screamed

by on Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Training day nine. I’m making progress fast, it feels like, though my feet are still too slow. I’m beginning to see the basic kihon in some of the more advanced moves.

Since my last post, I’ve been to three more classes. My seventh class was just with the two Josh’s. “Little” Josh led at “Tall” Josh’s insistence. They are both black belts, “Little” Josh is more advance, and “Tall” is level two. I seriously wish I knew their last names, then I wouldn’t have to use these ridiculous identifying titles. So we practiced many different punches, hits and kicks on mats leaned against the wall. Josh led us through all of the fists, or hand positions, then of course we practiced the basic kihon again. I know I have the first one down now, but would like to work on the next two with Mike this week.

At my eighth class, Mark and “Little” Josh worked with me and another woman, Stephanie, who I assumed was a white belt too. Again, we trained the basic kihon, and just when class was going to get interesting, I had to leave early to prepare for a recital. I had been craving trying something different, and Mark even suggested that we try to keep it interesting…good idea. Not that I’m getting bored, this art is far from boring! I have memorized five of the sanshin and this week I worked on my kicks. I’d been having trouble in the sanshin keeping my balance after a kick and returning my kicking leg to ichimonji stance behind me again. Tuesday this week, I worked on that alone for a half hour…I have it now. I hope to impress my instructors with my progress.

Monday night the Kamath’s canceled again and I was able to go to my 9th class. The week night classes tend to have more students, and they are practicing harder combinations. I can’t wait till summer when I can free up Wed. night and attend those more often. The Saturday classes tend to be smaller, and since I am the lowest common denominator the black belts focus on my training. It’s good personal attention, and helps me see basic structure that I need to improve on.

This Monday night there were 8 or nine, a big group, and when I arrived, they were working on deflecting knife attacks. I felt like I was able to figure out the moves a little faster, though my feet still aren’t keeping up with my hands. Erik pointed this out to me several times, and much to my dismay, I wasn’t able to improve during class. A few of the moves involved ukemi, and I was proud of myself for being able to roll away and get to my feet quickly.

At the end of class, Bill was rating up a level in Green belt. He had to deflect attacks from each of us. We sat in a circle and one by one threw random attacks at him. I was last.  Erik asked if I wanted to, and someone, probably “Tall” Josh told me to go ahead, the encouragement was that Bill was obviously tired from deflecting 8 attacks in a row. So I stood and kicked my best boxing kick at him. He grabbed my foot, but neither my kick nor his response were very pretty, the class encouraged us to try again. This time I came at him with more force, I thought it was a pretty good kick. Bill caught my foot and quickly rotated my leg, actually flipping me. It happened so fast that I landed on my back. And I screamed. No it wasn’t a little yelp or a meager whimper, an actual full force, high pitched, girly scream emanated from my vocal chords. Bill passed his test.

I have been thinking about that moment, and what followed all week and can’t get it out of my head.  I felt ridiculous. I guess I was embarrassed too. My goal for the next class is to Not look so foolish. It’s a small goal, but I’m not even sure it’s going to be easily accomplished. This weekend is the all day teaching exchange. There will be 8 instructors teaching from 10 to 4pm, it will be good instruction for me, but they are all very advanced black belts. I guess I will look foolish no matter what. Hopefully I can learn something to take home.

In the mean time, I have set a goal for myself to go for a black belt too…First I want to get a Green belt by the time I’m 50. Black by age 55.  I feel like it’s do-able. Age is no restriction. Embarrassment should not be a factor, just no more screaming like a girl.

Hooks?

by on Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Spring has sprung, and life is good. Have been so busy lately that it feels like my life is moving in 3 different directions at once. Which I suppose it is. Career life, personal life and writing life…”Is this the real life? Or is it fantasy? Caught in a land slide, no escape from reality.”

I got a rejection letter from the Agent who gave me the most  trouble. Meaning that he caused me to really raise the stakes of my writing…and of course that is good. I need that kind of feedback and pressure.  Good news was that he read my stuff quickly and got back to me in one week. No suffering or gray hair over that one. It still bothered me though. I mean, I got caught up in the fact that this agent who asked for very few works at the conference did, actually, want to see mine.  And his letter was very cold offering no hope for feedback or reasons why. He only said that he didn’t feel like it “hooked” him as much as he had “hoped”.

Explain the meaning of “hook”. I understand the concept, but what is it really? Is it definable? Do I know how to add that concept to the book? or does it already have a “hook” and it just isn’t that agent’s thing? Dictionary.com gives these definitions for hook (and the other obvious ones too)

* anything that catches; snare; trap.
* something that attracts attention or serves as an enticement: The product is good but we need a sales hook to get people to buy it.
I firmly believe that some hooks work for some people, and others don’t. Of course, a really good hook will grab just about anyone. I’m not discouraged, I have two more agents still looking at my writing. Though I am prepared for 2 more rejections, that won’t keep me from writing. Besides, after that, I’ll just have to send out my manuscript to 4 more agents; etc. etc. And, keep writing…