Last night I went to my second class at the Kyokushin Dojo in town, which, in the absence of the normal instructor, was this time taken by the boxing instructor, who uses the same hall. There were a lot of the same people and a couple of faces I didn't recognise, but again it was a great bunch of people with a good attitude and they were good to train with.
It was an intense cardiovascular work out, with some boxing exercises worked in. The instructor (who's name I forget) gave us a brief introduction to the stance and four basic puches - jab, cross, hook and upper-cut (which I shall henceforth refer to as a shuryuken - booya).
We started with 40 minutes of circuit training, with four bases: running up and down stairs, taking them 2 at a time up and 1 at a time down on a staircase with 20 steps; skipping; shadow boxing in the mirror, practicing staying on your toes, bobbing and weaving in between punches; and working on hanging punch bags. For the first 20 minutes I rotated between stairs and skipping, 2 minutes sets of each, the only break between which was for 30 seconds after the skipping. We also did either 20 press ups or 20 squats between each one. I did 3 sets of each of those then we all switched round and me and the other doing skipping and stairs went to the mirrors and the bags, which we also did 3 of, without any break between other than the squats or push ups. It was intense and really pushed my fitness so that by the last couple of sets I was having to really dig deep and pull out my reserves.
We then grabbed a quick drink before pairing up for some body-sparring (no head shots). At this point the instructor said, "this is not about knocking chunks out of each other, this is about practicing and instilling confidence in you and your partner, not just going to town on them"; might as well have said, "you are with a partner not an opponent" and I was really glad he was promoting that attitude. I had a two really good fights with a guy called Jee-Pee (short for James-Phillip, or James Phillips, I believe) who seemed like a cool guy and we had some rapport as sparring partners. I was then paired with one of the younger ones so I went pretty easy on him, but my last match was with Blair (which I think is his actual name and I was wrong before), the big guy I mentioned in my last post. This was tricky as he is both taller and a lot broader than me, so I had to really make the most of my speed and agility to get in round his guard, but don't you worry, I managed it. I used feints to get him to throw his stopping, defensive jab, which missed as I bounced briefly in, then out then back in again with a super fast with a jab of my own that almost always landed, so I was pleased with that. I also once dodged round his jab and landed a hook into his ribs as the punch he had thrown left him open. Obviously its not as though I didn't take a couple of hits, but because we weren't going all out it made for a very satisfying match after which no bruises were left.
After this we did a rotation between shadow-boxing in the mirrors while holding weights or while holding onto elasticated bands attached to the wall. The idea was to keep a steady rhythm of jab - cross - jab - cross going for the 1.5 minutes. The instructor was calling out, "if you're tired that's good, and you can slow down but don't stop, never stop completely" and I did my best to keep it up but by this point it was getting hard and I was digging deeper and deeper all the time to find more energy. When the buzzer went for the last 30 seconds, well put the weights down and just tried to keep punching as fast as we could for as much of that 30 seconds as we could. We did one set of that with the weights and one set with the ropes and then moved on.
After that the next port of call was "300s". We paired up, and one of the pair had to do 100 leg raises, lying flat on the floor (not lifting all the way up, but with about an 18" range of motion, with never putting them down on the floor). While they were doing that, the other partner had to run up and down the stairs, as before. Once partner A was done with the abs work out, partner B stopped running and you switched, so A ran while B did leg raises. We then did this with 100 crunches and for 50 side crunches on each side. This was kinda hard, but I'd like to think I have pretty good abdominal strength so I felt I could handle it. I was paired with JeePee again and we were motivating each other well between sets and this helped me keep going throughout.
We finished up with plank, doing 30 seconds of front, 30 seconds on each side, then 30 seconds more on front, which was really good and I was glad to get some core-strength exercises in.
Overall the class was tough, but really really good and I felt great at the end, plus there are no real aches or pains this morning which I think is a good sign. Overall, I had a better time with the boxing instructor than at the Kyokushin, plus there seems less chance of injury and more chance of pushing my fitness levels up. I think some sort of balance between the two would be ideal, as the cross-training with boxing would be really good. Also, at the weekends they have "head-sparring" matches, so if I wanted a bit more heavy contact I could probably find it there.
If we make it over to the hot springs today it should be a nice way to relax after the physical exertions of last night. Also all the drinking.