Kung Fu Sparring Time! Great class tonight! Us older students decided to slow things down a bit and focus on technique. This isn't to say we fought in slow motion. But rather, we throttled back the pace and focused on actually using moves from our style instead of falling back on what's comfortable. As Sifu reminded us the name of our style, Mizhong Luohan means "Lost Track Fist Way". Deception and feints are a hallmark of what we do. By slowing down the pace, we were able to try some of those moves we learned in class (I know...novel idea, huh?). It was a blast! All of us broke from our normal routines and used moves and techniques we normally don't. I found myself using a wider variety of kicks more. In one round, I was able to break an opponents guard with an Outside Crescent Kick! Went straight up the middle and batted his rear hand away! Unfortunately, this was Sihing Mike, one of the most seasoned fighters in the class. He effortlessly used the momentum of my kick to rotate his body and bop me with a back fist. But it also gave us a chance to be more cerebral in our fighting. We all used a lot more feints, fakes and jabs to open up our opponents and find our shots. One of my classmates said he actually felt he worked harder tonight, because we weren't just reacting with the usual moves. As a side note, think I finally found the key to not flinching! Corny as it sounds...it's all in the breathing. We did a wall drill where my partner just threw punches at me and all I could do was block. I found myself flinching initially. As I did, I noticed my shoulders were tensing up. The more tense they got, the more I flinched. Finally, I just breathed all the tension out. Suddenly, I felt like Neo in that last scene with Agent Smith, easily swatting away punches while my partner picked up speed. Notes: -Fitbit results from today: 580 calories, avg heart rate of 121 BPM, max heart rate of 173 BPM. -I was able to fake out my opponents by setting up a repetitive patterns and then breaking them. Sounds basic - and it is - but it's amazing how few of us in the class do it. -For instance, I do a thing where a throw a "jab kick" at someone's calf...just to annoy my opponent. After about the third time, when my opponent's expecting it, I'll throw a push kick, a roundhouse or step in with a punch. -Again, sounds basic...but it's easy to lose track of the strategy when we're all just wailing away at each other.