Sunday, November 14, 2010

Installment number 10 20,249

I know that I am a little behind, 3 or 4 days actually, but I am trying really hard to catch up. Thanks again for your encouragement and patience. This is not turning out to be the 'great american novel' but it is turning out to be kinda fun lol

Jennie’s parents had taken the time to stop over and see Amy’s mom and dad. They wanted to explain to them how they felt about this course of study they were encouraging Jennie to get Amy involved in. Mr and Mrs Johnson were skeptical to begin with, but were willing to do just about anything if it would get Amy out of the house and back into the world. It took a little talking on the part of the Newtons to convince Bob and Wanda that Fighting would be the way out for their daughter. Violence had, after all, been the precipitating factor in her troubles. But when they explained how and why this would help her, they agreed to support her any way she needed. They were extremely grateful to Edna and Richard for their interest in the well being of their precious Amy, and they did not hesitate to tell them so. Edna said “If it had been Jennie that was in this sort of funk I would hope that her best friend, Amy, would take the trouble to try and make it better, and I know that you two would do anything you could to help her. It’s the least we can do since she IS the best friend of our only daughter!” Edna and Rich both laughed then and finally relaxed a little, as they had not been positive that the Johnson’s were going to go along with this, and they really thought it was the best course for Amy to take to start healing.

Jennie loaned Amy a gi and the next day she took her down to the dojo and introduced her to Brad. Amy was very skittish at first, but once Jennie showed her around and let her get the feel of the place, she seemed to settle down quite a bit. She didn’t know what Jennie and Brad wanted her to do, so she just stood there waiting. It was easier that way.

“Amy” Brad started “what Jennie and I are trying to do is create a self defense course that will work for women.” She nodded her head and waited for him to go on. “Karate and Judo and most other systems are geared primarily to men, with their upper body strength and body mass these moves work really well for them.” Again he paused, making sure that she was paying attention. “Women are built differently” Amy snorted, she couldn’t help herself. “Yes, I know, that sounds silly, but in the end it makes a lot of difference.” Amy tilted her head to the side inquireringly “Do you have any brothers?” he asked her. “No” she replied “I’m an only child. Why?” “Well, have you ever arm wrestled with a guy?” “Yea, a long time ago.” “Did you win?” Amy laughed, “No, not even close, almost as soon as we started he smacked my arm down. It was almost funny it was so fast.” “there – that is exactly what I am talking about Amy. The reason that he could do that is that he had more upper body strength then you did. If he had been wrestling a male then it probably would have lasted longer and been a bit harder for him to win, if her won at all.” Brad stated. “When we are talking about fighting, we are really talking about mostly punches and blocks, which are all upper body. Of course we do teach the guys to put their body behind their strikes, but with women it seems to work differently.” “strikes?” Amy asked. “Strikes are just another term for punches or hits.” He said. “You will get the terminology down soon enough, I can see you are smart and I expect that you are a fast learner.” Again Amy laughed “and how can you tell that?” “I can see it in your eyes, you have brains in there, and we just need to get to them and utilize them. This is not all about your body or how you fight, but also about your input. Your opinions about different moves and how they feel will be invaluable to this project.” She nodded her head and said “I will do my best Brad, this is starting to look like it could be interesting.”

Behind her Jennie clenched her fist and pumped it into the air. She was SO relieved that Amy was going to become active in this that she almost shouted her joy. She was grinning from ear to ear and had to turn away before Amy saw her and started asking questions. The answers might throw her right back into her funk and that was something that Jennie didn’t want to ever happen again.

The first thing that Brad taught Amy was how to stretch properly. “No matter what discipline you are participating in, you must stretch before and after every session.” Brad said. “If you don’t then you will end up with muscle and joint injuries that could be prevented. The most important thing here in the dojo is your safety. After that is learning the correct method for anything that we teach.” Amy saw the wisdom in this and nodded her head. So Brad and Jennie began by showing Amy some basic warm ups. A head roll was first. “Just slowly lean your head to the left and then to the back, on to the right then the front and once again to the left” Brad said “do this a few times in one direction, then reverse and go the other.” “Ok, now what I want you to do is relax your posture and start by shrugging your shoulders, then roll them to the back and down, then to the front and up. Continue this for about 5 or 6 rotations, the reverse the order.” Brad was very patient and an excellent teacher. Amy was not at all nervous about learning from him. He seemed like a really nice guy and like he really wanted this to work. After a while she even sorta stopped thinking about him as a male, and only thought of him as a teacher. For some reason that made it even easier. Amy didn’t want to dwell on that thought, she didn’t really want to pursue why she felt things, that was dangerous ground.

Next there were leg stretches and back stretches and arms and shoulders. It seemed to Amy as if Brad had a stretch for eery inch of the body. And by the time they were done, she could Feel every inch of her body. She was not as limber as she had been when she was on the swim team, but she was no slouch either.

Brad explained to Amy that he was going to start her off with some basic moves, a few blocks and a parry or two, just to make sure she had a good grounding in the art before he got too fancy.

This went on for a couple of weeks. Brad started drilling Amy on the moves that he had taught her. When he was sure that she had them down pat, he told her “Ok, tomorrow we will start to learn the ‘proper’ way to punch.” “Proper way?” she asked. “yup” he said “the way that Jennie and I worked out to maximize a woman’s physique” he nodded his head decisively. “You are an excellent student and you are leaning really fast, so we are ready to move on.”

By now Amy was so used to working with Brad that she was super relaxed around him and was really enjoying this new part of her life. Jennie was pretty much staying in the background during this initial phase of the training as Brad had suggested that he needed to concentrate on Amy in a way that was non threatening but close. Jennie had been keeping a pretty close eye on Amy, watching for any sign that this was too much or going to fast or anything negative, and aside from some stumbles at the very beginning, she seemed to be taking it all in stride. This made Jennie very happy. She could see already how good this was for her friend, and only hoped that it would get even better.

The next day, after her stretches, Amy found herself putting on sparring gloves and getting into a modified boxing stance in front of the heavy bag. She had never heard of a ‘heavy bag’ before coming in here, but after she saw it it made perfect sense. A heavy bag is a form of punching bag. It is about four feet high and as big around as you could hug and is usually suspended from the ceiling. It is ‘heavy’ so that when it is hit it gives some resistance to the person punching and has a bit more realistic feeling to it. So what Brad wanted to do with her now, was try out this new technique that he and Jennie had worked out.

He started her out just punching however it felt most natural. She discovered that it wasn’t as easy as they made it look in the movies. First off, she didn’t know you had to hold your thumb in a particular place or you would hurt yourself. Brad very gently took her hand and positioned her thumb firmly up against her fingers parallel to her knuckles and told her to always make sure that she did this or she could break her thumb. Next he explained about keeping your wrist straight. “Pretend you have an imaginary stick tied to your arm from your elbow down to your knuckles.” He told her “Make sure that it is tied on there tight and that you cannot bend your wrist at all.” He explained that if you put enough power into a punch and you let your wrist go limp then you risk breaking it or at least getting a serious strain. And when you are talking about using a particular discipline as a method of self defense then you certainly don’t want to defeat yourself before you even get going by breaking or straining parts of your body you can protect this easily. “I never would have thought of either of those things” Amy told him “I am so glad that Jennie talked me into this, I am learning so much and you make it so easy to learn” Brad ducked his head and Jennie could have sworn she saw a tinge of red creeping up his neck. “Oh ho!” Jennie thought “Is he falling for our pretty little broken birdie?” She hid her grin and went back to practicing her punches on her side of the room.

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