Many years ago when I did the transfer from Nippon Shorin Ken to Uechi Ryu, I didn't have a clue that I'd ever become a fan of "Uechi pointy things." I loved my fist, I loved my vanilla shomen geri, and I had a pretty wicked high roundhouse and a half decent yoko geri. Why would I ever want to be messing with shokens and sokusens?
But if you teach a style, you teach a style. And if you follow process, outcomes happen. After messing around with a proxy for the Okinawan jar training, a paradigm shift happened. I first started seeing my hirakens as clenched boshikens. And then I started seeing places to poke my shokens and grab onto flesh in the most uncomfortable places. And then it became convenient to use a nukite to poke in this, that, and the other little nook and cranny to get at nerves and such. Next thing I knew, I was growing round shoulders and using my Uechi hands like I was born with them.
The sokusens came along as well. It took a year at first just to clench my toes the right way. And then it took a while for me to take my weak feet (from years of abuse in cross country racing) and turn them into tiger's teeth. But what do you know, they started coming around.
Starting this summer I found a way to tax my sokusens in a way that made them progress like I never have. At first it was pretty amazing. I was doing sokusen leg presses on the hip sled. When I discovered that it was easier on the tip of the big toe when I fastened a yoga mat onto the hip sled surface, the amount of weight I was able to push doubled.
And then it happened. At first I didn't know what it was. But then it came on with a vengeance. Next thing I know, I can't jump any more.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the plantar fascia - the band that connects the bones in the ball of your foot to the bones in your heel. And when you injure that, you get plantar fasciitis.
If you're like me, you're constantly walking on the edge of insanity to make yourself better. And when you don't quite know were that line is... or you skip your warm-ups in the gym a few times... next thing you know, an injury has crept up on you - like them Fruit of the Loom shorts.
Injuries happen. And then you learn. And then you learn therapy.