Tuesday (class 6) had me and Sama being taught by Eric
Continuing with the trend of painfully hard warmup exercises, after the standard warmup, we did a circle exercise where everybody in the group got to pick an exercise to do for about a minute each with a minute of random tiger claw strikes in between. After 15 minutes of that, I was just about spent. We did crane punch #1, random kicks, straight punch, floor scissor/bicycle kicks, high kicks and a few others that I don't remember or hadn't really learned yet and just faked it.
I worked on my form with triangle stance and triangle punch transitions. We did more kicking exercises. I was officially introduced to the roundhouse kick. We practiced the art of waiting until the last moment before deflecting/dodging using the C step. This is particularly difficult for me, as I tend to see things coming a mile ahead and don't feel comfortable waiting on a strike or kick to almost hit me. Alas, I will need to get comfortable with this and learn to trust that I'll deflect or get out of the way in time. We did ducking and jumping exercises, which are always a thigh burning treat. We did other things that I don't remember at this point.
We closed with meditation. I sat cross-legged and my "white boy" ass doesn't keep my propped up enough to sit like that comfortably for 15 minutes without fidgeting. I kept coming to my senses realizing that I was completely slouched over.
Thursday (class 7) taught by Sama
After another invigorating warmup, we did a line of people facing each other throwing random tiger claw punches and took turns walking up the middle dodging and deflecting everybody's attacks. This was the most thought I've had to put into defense so far in this class.
She took me through the cross step and sneaking step as well as more review of triangle step (with and without punches). I should probably practice triangle step on a daily basis until I have my form down. It's not a very natural position to be in, though it makes sense why we do it. I just need to get the muscle memory developed and "train my legs" to do it on their own without conscious thought. The sneaking step is the typical kung fu/ninja move where one foot goes way behind and across the other one with a spin once the foot is planted. The cross step is pretty much the same move but going the other way. These will require some practice, but my body thinks that they make sense because it just "feels right" when I do it correctly (unlike triangle step, which never really "feels right").
After learning the various steps, I was briefly introduced to the ridge hand punch. This is like slapping somebody with the forefinger edge of your hand with the thumb tucked under and wrist straight and tense. I suppose this is good for distance strikes or when trying to get to the back of somebody's neck (with elbow slightly bent).
We closed with meditation. I sat on my feet Japanese style to see if it would be easier on my back. It was great for my back, but 3 minutes into it, my knees and ankles started aching so much that I really couldn't meditate. Instead of interrupting others' meditation, I stuck it out and just lifted my butt off my ankles a little bit by tensing my thigh muscles. Lifting myself for a minute at a time every so often would offset the knee/ankle and bloodflow issues enough that I could last the 15 minutes without getting up. It took a minute before the blood was properly flowing back into my feet. Maybe if I put a rolled up towel on my heels, that would help. I'll try that next time.