Category: Training/Challenges (various) (Page 2 of 2)

DAY TWO of my journey second to nun…chuck

The summary of today’s efforts could be put into one word:  OUCH!!!

A brief look at my goals for today’s journey into nunchuckdom …

STRIKE 1 X 500 (Yes – upping the stakes a little) STRIKE 2 X 100

For the most part I was simply trying to draw on yesterday’s gleaned wisdom (which, as you can imagine, didn’t take too long …).  Let’s take today’s goals one by one:

Think ‘wrist’!  Yes, I definitely tried to do that and when I managed to do it there were glimmers of occasional hope! It works! It really does! Building on the consistency of glimmers could be a problem …

Look straight ahead, not down:  Yes, managed to execute this one.

Think ‘strike’, not ‘caress’! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Yes. I seem to remember this being linked with my idea to ‘commit’ to the strikes rather than attempting anything half-hearted. Well, I’m still going to stick with this strategy as it definitely helped. Somehow, you have to take the fear out of walloping yourself and aim it elsewhere! Doing this certainly helped with speed and, I think, accuracy. Needs work, but reasonably happy with this theory and how it’s progressing.

Focus! – Yes, well, erm … herein lies the key. I vaguely remember saying something about the benefits of wooden nunchucks because when you ‘miss’ something it’s going to hurt more than the rubber nunchucks. I can confirm that my ‘hurting more’ theory is correct. I’m taking back the bit about the benefits! For now, at least (she says, cradling a golf-ball sized squidgy bruise on her right elbow that, yes, also has two CUTS across it). Ouch and double bloody ouch and other unprintables! That really REALLY hurt (and jab-cross blasts at kickboxing tonight were NOT fun, as a result). It’s not even just a simple bruise – it’s a large bloomin’ lump – and I didn’t expect to get cut, but hey! That’s what this journey is all about, isn’t it? Live and learn! My only real complaint is that I got plenty of sympathetic ooo’s and ah’s from my family members and friends UNTIL I told them how I did it – when they proceeded to roll about the floor laughing their heads off! Some family! Hrrrrumph!

OK – so I appreciate that the vision of Granny here, playing with nunchucks in the corner of the park is probably a sight that could reduce many to tears of hysterical laughter …. but my elbow hurts!

Lack of focus – that’s what it was. Things were going so well ……… and I relaxed and started to feel a little chuffed with myself, and hey ho, I have a very clear reminder to carry around for a few days to NOT lose focus or get cocky.

Which reminds me ………. that bit about getting a little cocky? That doesn’t work, either. Not a good idea. I was about halfway through my planned practise when I decided that maybe I should throw in a few spins and catches. I was trying to spin about five times and then catch under the same arm. It was fine until for some reason as I was going for a catch I decided to move my wrist in the opposite direction (don’t ask …) and promptly ended up with a healthy clout on my head, the nunchucks went flying and …………… it was quite funny actually!

The rest of the session went quite well. Completed what I set out to do.


  • When things are seemingly going smoothly it’s vital to maintain focus and not relax!
  • Nunchucks don’t just bruise – they cut, too!
  • I seem to remember saying yesterday that the only ‘pain’ I felt was in my knuckles, when I missed the catches. I can now safely add ‘head’ and ‘oh yes elbow!’ to that list.
  • When you’re spinning nunchucks and getting ready for a catch, don’t bloody change direction, you idiot!
  • The chances of me getting to grips with this weapon in time for forthcoming karate grading is less and less likely
  • Strike 2 (over the shoulder and catch under – same arm) … is trickier than it appears – or is it? If you do it fairly slowly, then the nunchuck wraps under your arm (or tries to) when it’s over your shoulder – making it more difficult to bring back with enough momentum to catch it at the front. To avoid this, today I was trying to use lots of wrist action to start it coming forwards again before it ‘settled’ behind my shoulder. This kind of appeared to work – except that it has to be very fast and I’m not sure if this is necessary or if I’m wasting time trying to make something simple appear difficult! Will have to ask about that …


(a)    Focus!

(b)   Watch that elbow because another blow on the same place and my sessions are going to have to come to a halt for a couple of weeks!

(c)    KEY GOAL FOR TOMORROW: I am going to try a slightly new tactic and attempt to forge some kind of friendship with my nunchucks, rather than fighting them, as I seemed to be doing today. It’s a tricky one – because no matter how friendly, somehow I still need to convince them to play by my rules – and being the boss AND a best friend seldom works. Will be working on this.

That’s it for now. Where’s the arnica?

Philosophical end to Day Two:  Feel sorry for the Director of the North American Nunchuck Association – would you really want to be head of NANA? I wonder how many calls he gets enquiring about babysitting?  Mind you – guess it’s a positive that it’s not the British And North American Nunchuck Association!

DAY ONE of my journey second to nun…chuck

The plan:  Rise at dawn, two hours solid nunchuck training before breakfast, one hour training midday, two hours before bed.

Don’t be ridiculous! That’s next week – when I’m doing aerials!

Five or ten minutes a day should make some kind of difference, shouldn’t it? (Shouldn’t it?) – Considering I’m going from NO minutes a day? Well – ask me in seven days and I’ll answer that myself! But for complete no-hopers like myself, I think any kind of consistency must be good.

Let’s begin.

Simple! 250 basic strikes with alternating hand catches. You guessed it. I made that up – but only because I have NO idea how to describe the moves and I certainly don’t know the Japanese terms (if, in fact, there are any)! Did you know that nobody seems to even know where nunchucks originated? The most popular theory is that they came from peasants – but martial arts were only practised by the aristocracy, so ………….. Yep! Clear as mud! (Note to self: do more research!)

So for the purpose of the next 7 days I’m going to be talking about Strike 1 and Strike 2!

Strike 1: Strike with left hand holding, swing over left shoulder, catch under left arm with right hand and repeat …….

Strike 2: Right hand holding, upward strike, swing over right shoulder, immediate downward strike and catch under right arm.

Glad that’s cleared up, then.

So …………… 250 x Strike 1 and 100 x Strike 2

The lessons learned/Questions to ask:

  • Everyone jokes about black eyes, bruised heads, etc. etc. The danger (at this level) has nothing to do with heads, eyes, faces in general. The only pain was in my fingers – from missing the catches.
  • How the hell do you stop that chain from ‘wriggling’ mid-swing, making an annoying noise, not to mention making everything look really sloppy (which, of course, it was!)? Need to work that out …
  • Well …. If you straighten your arm and actually do a full type of ‘swing’ for the strike, the chain doesn’t wriggle so much BUT this can’t be right, since it’s slow and ineffective, therefore hardly of any use in combat, right? So …
  • Wrist! The trick has to be in the wrist action ……….
  • Rubber nunchucks or wooden ones for beginners? Ho hum! In spite of the ouch factor, the wooden ones appear to be less unruly in my inexperienced care and …. that ouch factor is a serious incentive to get the catch right!
  • It’s very easy to get drawn into ‘going through the motions’ simply because the moves are so basic but I still can’t do them. The strikes improved dramatically when I was really focussed on what I was doing – rather than simply thinking ‘strike catch strike catch’!
  • Thinking aggressively (not a natural instinct for me) was a surprising help!
  • Focussing my eyes somewhere on the ground ahead of me while I was ‘thinking’ about what I was doing seemed to be ‘natural’ response – however, the strikes were stronger and better (I use the term loosely!) when I looked straight ahead at an imaginary opponent! Logical, I know – and I guess the whole purpose of the exercise – but not something that came unconsciously!
  • Strike 2 in a tee-shirt is quite unpleasant at my inexistent level of experience. A gi or at least a sweatshirt required!


(a)    Think ‘wrist’

(b)   Look straight ahead and not down

(c)    Think ‘strike’, not ‘caress’!!!! lol

(d)   Focus!

(e)   I think the key behind these nunchucks is to treat them a little like life:  pussy-foot around it and you’ll end up on the wrong side; go for it, commit, enjoy the challenge and at least you should have some fun! That’s the philosophy I’m taking into tomorrow’s efforts!

Introduction to my Nunchaku journey

Oh yes! Barmy as it may seem – and things could get even wackier, I warn you – I am determined to somehow get to grips with my new friend Nunchaku before said friend reduces me to the depths of utmost humiliation in front of a small but highly critical audience as I attempt to conquer the basic techniques required for my next karate grading. In preparation for said forthcoming event – and after a truly pathetic effort on my behalf to persuade this pair of uncommunicative and decidedly uncooperative sticks to give the impression of harmony for a required 90 seconds give or take … I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m to have any hope at all of getting to even the equivalent of a potty training stage with these two unruly toddlers, some serious parenting needs to be put into place. Unfortunately, my parenting skills could also do with some improvement – but perhaps we can come to some kind of mutual agreement and everyone will be happy, yes?

Good, then. Now … where to begin …

Let’s put this into perspective, just so we don’t get too carried away. With all due respect to the many masters of nunchaku out there, when I personally speak of ‘mastering’ these nunchaku, I have no intention of lighting cigarettes with them á la Bruce Lee – or indeed of presupposing that for me to achieve my menial goal I would need to have been conceived by nunchuck-carrying sperm and started training in my mother’s womb! Nope! I just want to pass this bloomin’ grading, since in all probability it’s likely to be my last! (Note: this is less to do with my extreme crapness and more to do with future gradings requiring one to have one’s memory intact!! – a whole other story).

So, with this in mind, I’m simply going to embark on a very short, seven-day nunchuck journey in the weird world of ‘me’. Why seven days? Because for crying out loud if I can’t see the tiniest of improvements in my control of these two aliens in seven days then there is little hope!

And finally – why am I writing this at all? Well, because by writing down things I’ve learned, things I’d rather forget, etc. etc. etc. it helps keep things clearer in my weird head, helps me learn and helps me focus on where I’m going …

And so ……….. introductions over! Let us pray begin! Or … jeez, let’s pray as well! I need all the help I can get!

Rowers – every prison should have one!

Rowing machines – Yay! I’ve been introduced to them recently – by a friend. At least, I thought she was a friend, but then who can you trust these days, eh? Think about it! Do you torture your friends? Do you suggest they do unthinkable things? Do you encourage them to try killing themselves – albeit at the gym? Well, do you?

You really need to rethink your idea of friendship.

Rowing! Jeez! It’s not sport. How can it possibly be sport? It’s more like a kind of voluntary corporal punishment. It should be banned. And you know what? It’s addictive, too (another reason it should be banned).

Oh, all right, then. Maybe that’s a little bit harsh, but it’s completely insane. It’s a completely miserable experience – but with the most amazing effects – both physical and psychological.

Argh! I can feel myself getting pulled in … pulled in …

Yep! Probably hooked.

And I’m rubbish! It takes me no time at all to be completely useless, brain turned to mush for the rest of the day. Every prison should have one, I say. Criminals should be forced to row for an hour every day (or two hours – depending on who they’ve murdered (some PMs could carry a sentence of just 20 minutes????)). See, then they simply wouldn’t have the energy to even think about committing another crime for the rest of the day.

Yep! I think it might work.

Oh, so cruel

This training lark. It’s just so unforgiving, isn’t it? No respite – not even for an oldie-going-mouldy like me. I mean, you’d think you’d get a little bit of compassion, wouldn’t you? But no! I take a couple of weeks off after finishing the third and final triathlon of my first season and, well, do you think I’m just a little bit behind? Have just a bit of catching up to do to get back to my fitness level of three weeks ago? Oh, no! All the way back to bloomin’ Square One! What a nightmare – and so unfair!

It took me forever to get there. It took me months of working out at increasingly hard levels. And in just three weeks it’s all been sucked out of me. Like an excited child hurriedly sucking up the end of his milkshake through a straw because he doesn’t want to be last in line for a go on the new trampoline. Yep! That’s how quickly my efforts have been drained away.

But hey ho! No time to keep whining and moaning endlessly about what’s not going to happen, eh? Just got to get out there and start again. I’m quite pleased, I suppose, that I realised the pointlessness this morning in saying ‘I’ll start Monday’. I mean, why Monday? Why not right now? Yes, I think that’s definitely one point for me! It’s a start at least, isn’t i?

I’m on my way! 40 minutes on the stepper and … well … I was planning on 20 mins of core afterwards but I felt so rubbish I thought I was going to throw up. Pathetic! But …

I’m on my way. Tomorrow will be better. It will. I know it will. Really! Honest!

(If I keep saying it, I might even begin to believe it or, even better, it might even be true?)

I’ll let you know.

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