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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:33 am 
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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.

Image

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.

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:59 am 
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Rest and anti-inflammatories is generally the first order of events here. Always rest a fresh injury.

But feet have to be used. And if the condition isn't too bad, it can be managed. I'll be having to manage my bad foot through camp where I'm expected to teach the very long Fuzhou Suparinpei. Oh well... Better than a knee problem for sure.

The typical calf stretch is a good stretch for the planatar fascia. It's the "wall push" that runners are familiar with.

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I have some warm-ups for the sokusen I do that also help. Had I only followed my typical karate routines... But I was in a new town, not teaching karate, and doing nothing but the resistance training. I should have known...

That said, the exercise goes like this. You stand with heels and balls of the feet on the floor. While keeping balls of feet touching the floor, you point the toes up to heaven. While in that position, flex the toes at the most distal joint. The final foot position looks something like this.

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Believe it or not, the lesson is right in Sanchin. You know that part where you thrust with two hands? Well most folks will grab the hands into fists quickly, chamber, and thrust out again. NO, NO, NO!!!!!!

Grrr....

I bite my tongue at camp. But really now... There's a time to move quickly and a time to move slowly. The fist grabs should be done slowly and with dynamic tension. IF YOU TRAIN WITH UECHI JARS... you will get it. Your finger joints and tendons will be sore. This slow, dynamic tension flexing is medicine for hands recovering from jar training.

Same with the toes. They need to be flexed just like the hands. This kind of training in-between the resistance training days is medicine for healing tendons.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:06 am 
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This is a foot massage device I found online.

Image

It hurts soooooooo good - kind of like a good kotekitae session for the forearms.

I found one at a local drugs store that's a hollow tube with these spikes. You can fill the tube either with ice cubes and water, or with hot water. That way you can do either cold massage (to massage and reduce inflammation) or hot massage (to promote healing). Good stuff.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Good information Bill. Sorry for the injury. The sokusens and nukite's were a couple of the things that drew me to Uechi in the beginning, along with the body conditioning. Thanks for the insight into the foot.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Hey, Steve!

You have to understand that I'm not built like an Okinawan. I have been told by women (e.g. Vicki) that my hands are more beautiful than the hands of most women. When I saw the Okinawans they'd roll out at camps (e.g. the week-long one circa 1983 on Thompson's Island) who were the stars of our style, I'd see folks like Nakahodo with his Popeye forearms and Yonamine with his shins that broke Louisville Slugger bats. It never occurred to me that someone of my body type (less Mack Truck and more lithe and temperamental sports car) would ever be able to do this stuff.

But I was wrong. (Yea, that happens! :lol:) The training works. That is, the training that most Uechika don't do on the side (like jar training) to put the caffeine in their Uechi coffee.

And then I remember meeting Tomoyose Ryuko at that same 1983 camp. And he was such a proponent of "the big three" and (secretly) showed such contempt for all the fluffy add-ons. And Mr. Tomoyose is such a fine-boned man. But boy could he make his toes, thumbs, and fingers do nasty stuff. The story he would often tell is of being a child where kids would be fighting. As long as the kids were punching, the parents would just let kids be kids. But when the Uechi pointy stuff started bearing its fangs, that's when the parents quickly separated their unruly lads.

Yes, it works. But I'm a born skeptic, and have to be convinced. And now I am, and I'm having fun being a prototype for the fine-boned white guy who shouldn't be able to do this stuff, but... ;)

I hear white men can sometimes jump as well.

Image

Genetics matter, but training matters more. Without training, we'll never realize the human potential. Instead we'll be bound by conventional wisdom and folklore.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:51 pm 
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Back to the feet...

Do you ever see something in your life, forget you saw it, and then realize it was filed away for future use? That's what happened to me with this injury.

My second Uechi instructor (David Finkelstein from New York city) had a man crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov. When I went up to New York to train, he'd have one of the New York Ballet members there working on our Sanchin posture. They subsequently would then run off to the ballet to watch Baryshnikov in his full splendor.

If you haven't a clue, here is a sequence from the 1985 film White Nights.

Dance scene from White Nights

Yea, I can do that! :roll:

Well the movie is actually a true story within a fictitious plot. Baryshnikov was an escapee of the former Soviet Union. His plane has to make an emergency landing in Russia, and he's stuck there. Eventually he meets up with a black dancer (Gregory Hines) who fled the US during the Vietnam war. The two develop an unusual partnership.

Early in the movie, Baryshnikov is fresh off of one of his classic performances. He goes back stage to his dressing room and is greeted with champagne in an ice bucket. He promptly opens the champagne, pours himself a glass, puts the ice bucket on the floor, and plunges his foot in it.

You sort of get it. But not really... until YOUR foot does what his foot must have been doing.

Yea, I had my foot in a bucket of ice water last night. Hurt like sh!t getting used to the cold.... and then it felt good.... and now it feels better this morning.

RICE is the acronym to remember for most injuries (Rest, Ice, compression, Elevation). Ice is my super-secret eastern medicinal technique that I got from someone on China who has been passing this secret therapy down for thousands of years. It gets my chi in order and all.

Just for grins... here's a second scene from White Nights.

Baryshnikov and Hines messing around

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:56 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:

Just for grins... here's a second scene from White Nights.

Baryshnikov and Hines messing around

Being the choreographer of my own kicking form for my students... Did anyone notice that both Hines and Baryshnikov have no thrust in their martial movements? It's all angular momentum and no linear trajectory. I find this often when I inherit the "mess" that is Main Street taequondo. It's the same mess you see in "karate aerobics" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) which is why (for now) I won't participate in that cash cow.

But I can fix all that. ;) If only Baryshnikov would come to his senses and come see me. Sigh... I have that on the same wish list as J Lo leaving that loser Marc Anthony and rushing here to have my children. I mean really... What does this Anthony dude have (other than youth, fame, fortune, and perhaps better looks)???

I still covet Bary's abilities. That motherfuker is so good it's just wrong.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:11 pm 
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I spent my share of time with my foot in an ice bath (and in warm water, sometimes alternating) when I was having retrocalcaneal bursitis and toe issues. In my case, of course, all was caused by gout, which unfortunately meant that it was all only marginally helpful. Ah, the memories. If only I'd had it diagnosed years earlier, maybe I could hope to do a sokusen. My big toes bend upwards maybe 40 degrees at most.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:49 pm 
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mhosea wrote:

In my case, of course, all was caused by

Did I mention that I am not a physician and I don't play one on TV?

I'm happy to share my knowledge. But at the end of the day, even Dr. Ian will tell you to see your MD face to face for all medical issues - until you know what's going on. They won't always tell you the right thing to do - PARTICULARLY if they aren't athletes and you are. (Don't get me started...)* But in diagnosing your horse, they perform a very important role in ruling out the zebras and unicorns. Let them do their jobs first. Then you take ownership of your health and well-being.

- Bill

* My standard recommendation for Uechi martial artists (and other athletes as well) is to find themselves a PCP who either is an athlete or once was one. "Stop doing that" isn't on the menu for me when "doing that" is the reason why I'm an old fart and not on ANY long-term medication other than OTC allergy meds (because I'm that healthy). I just need a good medical partner to make sure I don't do anything stupid - which I am want to do whenever I want to get better faster than my body is willing. And I want him/her to make sure I catch bad things early so I won't have perfectly good body parts removed (or worse) before it's time.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:03 pm 
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More from White Nights. Gregory Hines deserves equal time in his specialty.

White Nights Tap Clip

That is a lost art... :(

Where is Raffi when I need him? Footwork is the bomb not just because it looks good, but because it's evidence-based fighting. One of the precepts of Okinawan kobudo (and should be for empty hand as well) is that "blocks" shouldn't be used to redirect force when instead they can be used to check the line of aggression as you're getting off the line of force.

But most people digress to Rockem Sockem Robots fighting. Sigh... It's what everyone digresses to when they don't have the training and they are victim of (rather than master of) the Survival Stress Reflex.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Here is the toy that I got at the local pharmacy.

ACU-LIFE Foot Massager

You can even order it online at Amazon. Go figure... And it's pretty cheap. I'll probably put one in the suitcase.

My biggest complaint with it is that the plastic doesn't allow for sufficient conduction of heat or cold. When I couldn't get it cold enough even with crushed ice and water, I put it in the freezer for a bit. Not recommended, as it will eventually break as the water expands to ice (if you know your molecular chemistry). And they recommend against putting BOILING water in it.

If you want cold, do what Baryshnikov and I did. In addition to putting ice water in this rollie thingie, put your foot in a bucket of ice water. A champagne container impresses the chicks, mind you... But I found a simple pot in my kitchen which served the purpose. In the spirit of Okinawan karate, use what you have.

For what it's worth... I tried ice bags. Doesn't work... Can't penetrate to where the owie is. Just don't be a weenie, put you foot in the ice water (you can remove it a few times until you get used to it), and get it done.

But...

The massage is great. I alternated in-between putting my foot in the ice water and rolling it on this thingie. For you endorphin freaks out there (and people suffering), it turns bad pain to good pain. And it's just what the doctor ordered.

Warm water and massage are the 2nd stage of therapy. I'd recommend that before going to the gym to do classic heel raises on the leg press machine. Or you can do this on any stairway - perhaps one leg at a time. Always, always, always train an old injury and make it stronger than it was before you last hurt it.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:46 pm 
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Eleven pirouettes, eleven rubles.

Did he do it???

Eat that, taequondo! ;)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:04 pm 
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My problem with gout was that I didn't have any known family history of it, and I just wasn't familiar with the disorder until 15 years after it started affecting me. I followed the typical male pattern--something hurts, wait for awhile and see if it gets better, only go to the doctor if it doesn't.

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Last edited by mhosea on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:10 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
That is a lost art...

My mom's dad was a professional dancer/entertainer in the 1930s, including briefly being part of a vaudeville-style duo during the waning years of that form of entertainment. He sought out top teachers to help him learn his craft, even traveling to New York to take some lessons from Bill Robinson ("Mr. Bojangles") to refine his tap dancing skills. By the late 1930s he had tired of the traveling life of entertainment and settled down back in his hometown of Louisville to teach dance full time and raise a family. He and grandma ran a dance studio until the 1960s I believe, but he was teaching tap at a senior center up until the year he died (1991 at age 80) and was a firm believer that the physical activity from dance had helped him age more gracefully. I remember in the 1980s when Hines created a bit of renewed interest in tap, how grandpa enjoyed seeing his tap and commented that it was nice to see it was not a completely lost art. Grandma enjoys watching Dancing with the Stars, having been a dance instructor she appreciates it from a different perspective then the rest of us, and we think grandpa would have enjoyed it as well. No tap there though.

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Last edited by Glenn on Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:16 pm 
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Bill I can relate to a point. When I started in Uechi it was in the early 80's. I found (and he's never completely rid himself of me) my sensei Rick Potrekus. Rick sensei is NOT thin and wiry. His forearms and shins are thick and his toe looks like a small tree trunk. I probably weighed in at 145 and was 6'1". Thin and wiry. So it was quite a mental battle to believe my thin bones and structure could accomplish those feats. I always invisioned my arm or shin snapping when struck by a board or striking boards. Not till I overcame the mental battle and Rick sensei convinced me that I just needed to trust the training did I find out the conditioning worked when done properly. I still haven't been able to attempt striking a board with my sokusen yet and that's my next goal so I was interested in your posting. I haven't found jars yet but have found that filling large coffee containers sort of fits my boshekin grip. Thanks for the information.

PS: Interestingly I have a picture of Master Ken Nakamatsu standing next to me and I remember thinking he was relatively thin (but not skinny or whimpy looking).


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