I posted about Maui Saito’s Ninjitsu on the Phoenix Area Real Estate Blog today. That post describes a bit about what Master Maui’s trying to teach and how it differs from many of the martial arts programs that are out there.
But, you haven’t heard anything about what I’m actually doing. I’m loving the martial arts training there. Right now I’m a yellow belt, along with Hayley and Emily. I’m getting somewhat close to trying for my orange belt. I just wish I could attend more of the open session Friday afternoon classes. On Fridays, Maui and I are able to look over the test and see what I don’t yet know, and then I can practice those items in more depth. I really love being there on Friday, but because his Friday session is 3pm-6pm, it’s not always possible for me to get in there that early.
As an example of the kind of “fun” we are having, on Monday we actually hit each other for the first time. We practiced our most powerful punch struck into each other’s stomach. First we’d strike just to brush their gi, and then we’d strike to make a 1″ penetration of their stomach. Master Maui hit me as hard as he can, with almost 1″ penetration (I think he held back a tiny bit), and since it was my stomach, it really didn’t hurt. I could feel his power, but no pain at all. Then we all practiced that on each other, and honestly, it was fun. At least, it was fun for me to hit someone without the intent NOT to hurt them. 1″ into a fleshy area, like your stomach won’t hurt. 1″ penetration into a rib, could actually break a rib, and that was the purpose of the practice: get used to punches with an intent not to damage, but still demonstrate our proficiency with the move.
Along with punching, we practice blocking (typically more time is spent here), wrist grabs (the most painful thing we practice), tumbling so that you don’t get hurt, and sword play (like a samurai). The sword work is very interesting, and while I never thought of myself as any type of gymnast, I’m reasonably good at tumbling now.
One thing we’ve done very little of is practice kicking. We’ll get to it I know, but it’s not something that we need at this point in our understanding of the art.
I started doing Ninjitsu as a chance to do something with Hayley and Emily, together as a family. However, Emily has shown that she doesn’t like being with all of the adults that are now in the class at our 6pm timeslot on Monday/Wednesday. So, we are moving her to an earlier timeslot where she can practice with a couple of other kids her size and age. Master Maui says Emily is among his best young students. In the current class, she basically refuses to practice with Hayley or an any other adult besides Maui and I. So she’s often sitting around unhappy. Hopefully she’ll feel more comfortable around the younger crowd, and even challenged to do as well as Maui’s other good young students.
Hayley is staying with me at 6pm. She’s in Study Squad with Oxford after school, which helps get her homework done, so I don’t want to mess that up.