Just yesterday I endured a 12 hour martial arts class with my fellow black belts. The event was more of a test of one’s mind instead of a test of one’s physical endurance, but I still ended the day exhausted. I am thankful for every second I spent practicing martial arts yesterday and I am extremely grateful to Master Pearson and Sensei Gardner for organizing the class.
I’ll be writing about the last four hours of the class, which means I will begin around dinnertime.
Unlike my good martial arts companions, food to pack for a dinner was not to be found in my house this weekend! So during the 40 minute break for dinner I ran over to the Wegmans 100 feet away (very convenient) to buy a bunch of fruit and a quick meal (pizza). Shortly after I returned we watched a very informative film about the martial art Aikido until the classes began once again.
Each class lasted roughly one hour and thirty minutes with only ten minutes of rest in between. Luckily we were all well nourished immediately after dinner, but very soon into the next class you could begin to see signs of weariness. Well, with the exception of Ms. Cheung. She arrived after 5pm so she was as peppy as ever, much to everyone’s dismay!
We did a variety of different things in the next two classes immediately after dinner. Out of everything, I remember pressure points and weapons kata the most. Master Pearson spent a good chunk of time teaching everyone the very basics of pressure points and Chi. He spoke about the six Meridians in your body and how pressure points were initially discovered during a time without modern medical tools or acupuncture. And, perhaps the best part, he instructed everyone to practice with a partner. We did quite a few pressure points with them and it was very interesting, the healing aspect of the pressure points in particular. One can only wonder how talented the first individuals who discovered these points and their effects must have been. Who could have possibly guessed that a pressure point near your thumb could possibly help to relieve a headache. Discoveries like that are almost too fascinating to believe.
Some time after the pressure points we began some basic weapons kata. The weapon we used during the steps is known as a jo. We did various motions, including a figure eight, to warm up and then we began. I believe most of the students went through two separate kata during our lesson and I have to say that jo kata are very different from the typical taekwondo forms. Never practicing with a jo certainly threw me off a bit in the beginning… All I know how to do is spin one (not actually use one), after all… But I got the hang of it after a while. I’m hoping yesterday will not be the last time I use one!
To end the night Master Pearson did his trademark visual imagery/relaxation hypnosis. Even if you do not get hypnotized or fall asleep, just laying down with your eyes closed is very relaxing. The semi-soft carpet mat felt like a cloud after 11 hours of classes. Once the visual imagery was over we helped Sensei Gardner clean, thanked him and Master Pearson for the class, and we went on our merry way.
This was my first 12 hour class and I don’t think it will be my last. Regardless, I will certainly never forget my experience Saturday night and I am very proud to say that I completed the full 12 hours. Thank you again Master Pearson and Sensei Gardner!