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Despite completing my first V5 last week, there was a V2 in the other room I couldn’t finish. Try as I might, I could not figure out how to hang on to reach the penultimate move. I’ve watched many others try and fail at the same for weeks.

This morning, Evan my Balance and Technique instructor was bouldering when I arrived. He was working on a V6 that he said felt more like a V7 to him, and I made an offhand comment about how I couldn’t even finish a V2. He asked which one, so I pointed to it, then described the move I was stuck on.

“I just skip the move before that. Why use a bad hand hold?”

I hadn’t considered skipping the move before that. It felt like a long vertical reach without it.

Still, I wasn’t making any progress the previous way, so I climbed up to the move before the bad hand hold and looked up.

“Don’t turn your hips like that.”

Oh, right. Plastering my frontside to the wall wasn’t going to help me stick the next move. I turned my right foot to stick my right hip to the wall, sprung for the hold I couldn’t reach, and grabbed it with my right hand. Solid.

So solid.

“Whaaat??!?”

I finished the problem.

“HOLY CRAP EVAN!!!”

Evan grinned.

I did too. It felt good to check that problem off the list.

O-Daiko

I’ve known this for a few weeks, but because I was sooo excited about it and never imagined I’d get to do it, I didn’t want to talk about it until it became reality.

Now it’s reality: I was invited to join the o-daiko class this year. Tonight was my first class.

That doesn’t sound like sooo excited, but maybe that’s because I’ve been excited beyond words.

So how did it go?

I knew going into it that this would be hard, but this class was HARD. The stance (right hip flexor and right foot), the back arch, the arms up in the air the entire time. I used my water bottle to roll out my hip flexor during the break. And my left shoulder? Very obviously not as strong as the right.

There is going to be a lot of rolling and massage in my future.

Because the class was mostly returning students, we went pretty fast. Sensei spent the first half hour tweaking our form, and after that we launched right into segments of one of our main pieces. We even did showy arms and foot adjustments and opposite stance tonight.

I guess he thinks we can handle it.

I guess I think he’s right. We’ve got this.

Before I go, one more first: I broke my first bachi! An o-daiko bachi at my first o-daiko class. I felt it split in my hand as I hit. I looked at the pieces in my hand, then showed sensei. He gave a big smile, which I interpreted as, “Heck yeah!!”

I don’t know why I’m so thrilled about this. Probably because I’m little and don’t manage to hulk smash things very often. It took me years to break my first hockey stick.

I got to keep the bachi as a souvenir, so I decided to document it. For posterity!

Update: 2019-03-11 @ 9:37 AM

Some notes on technique, so I don’t forget.

– Stance is something like a diagonal warrior.
– Front foot is close to the base of the daiko stand.
– Upper body leaned back.
– Chin down. Look at the bottom of the daiko, not the middle.
– Straight arm up, bachi behind back, extend to strike.
– Never drop elbow.
– Sink down on the strikes, drive into the face of the daiko.

Juggling Season

We had just enough of a break in the rain after dim sum today for a stroll through Central Park. Jerry the Juggler was there! I hadn’t see him in months, because winter.

He asked how my juggling was going. I haven’t been juggling much, so we reviewed my 4-ball toss and Mills Mess. I came away with a few things to practice.

For 4-ball:

(1) A “3.5” ball pattern in the middle, at the same height as 4-ball, to practice consistency. Its kind of like a centralized 423 or W.

(2) A high reverse cascade, at the same height as 4-ball, also to practice consistency.

For Mills Mess, we fixed my oddly shaped 1-2-3 throw. My homework is to do it left-to-right, then right-to-left. Back and forth, back and forth. When that feels good, add the 4th throw, then another, and another.

Spring is coming. I’m excited for juggling season to begin!

Parallel Parallel Parallel

After doing some left vs. right air drumming in front of a mirror last week, my other-side-of-the-daiko derpy arms were less derpy last night. Deliberate practice FTW!

I also have a new mantra when drumming really fast, from either side: Parallel-parallel-parallel-parallel-parallel!!! I want my bachi moving parallel to each other, and in line with the angle of the daiko.

Unrelated to arms, a stance breakthrough! I finally realized that getting my feet wide wasn’t enough; I need to consider the angle of my ankles, knees, and hips as well. (Or, if you prefer, my shin and my thighs.) I finally realized that sensei’s stance during our warmup stretches is how he stands when he demos during class. I tried this out during the class and it made a huge difference in being able to maintain a wide, low stance with my upper body straight.

I’m happy I have bandwidth for fine tuning now.

Massively Useful

I had an amusing realization when I left the house this morning.

Some background:

– I don’t like clutter.
– My car holds only essentials.
– There is only one item visible in my trunk when I’m not transporting something.

That item is a towel.

Sound Waves

Today’s group meditation finished with our usual two dings of the “bell” (from an iPhone), except for me it was anything but usual, because I somehow experienced said bell not just as a sound, but as waves passing through the core of my body.

This meditation thing is getting kinda trippy.

Flip it Good

In today’s installment of, “We’re learning WHAT??!?” we played the chu-daiko from the other side. Same form as from our usual side, except its mirror image.

It felt fine, right up until we had to play at speed. Holy Derpy Arms!! Gonna have to practice this one at home.

Master Lock Adoption Agency

I’ve rescued and cracked yet another generic Master Combination Lock. This one took me 1 hour, 2/3 as much time as the previous lock, and only because I was lazy.

Does anyone want one or several of these? They’re not great for securing your treasure, but fairly functional for keeping honest people out, and more annoying to crack than a keyed lock is to pick.

genericMasterComboLocks++