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battle scars

April 28, 2011

I’ve gone back to kickboxing twice since my last post a few weeks ago where I mentioned trying it out for the first time. So it seems like a good time for a recap!

Beyond the brief try at kicking a big bag near the end of my first session there has actually not been a whole lot of kick in my boxing.

We are still meeting at the Kabukicho kickboxing gym, though the last two times we met up for ‘class’ on Thursdays instead of Wednesday as we did the first time. It has been as much less crowded.

I’ve stayed for about an hour both times, but not a whole lot of that is actual active time. I still feel awkward and unsure of what I am doing, so I spend a lot of time standing around watching and waiting for instructions rather than taking initiative on my own.

Best images I could manage to capture at the gym: Jees with the bag, Kenta & Daisuke practicing

The basic structure seems to be: arrive at the gym and wait outside until all four of us show up so we can enter together. Once inside, change in the tiny particle board changing box next to the door. (Kenta and Daisuke strip off their pants and change into shorts on the gym floor, but I don’t think I want to be following their lead on that).

Once changed, we stretch and warm up in the corner, and then I commence the waiting around, broken up by bouts of pair practice with either Kenta or Daisuke in between their own practicing.

Practice is regulated by a digital clock high up on the wall. It counts down continuously, alternating between a 3 minute period and a 30 second period, with a loud beep marking the end of each. You’re supposed to train for each 3 minute period and then rest for 30 seconds.

Generally when we do pair work I go for about 2 or 3 rounds, depending on how I feel, then rest and watch Kenta and Daisuke take turns coaching each other until they get tired and ask if I want to go again. The last two classes I think I got in a total of 2 or 3 such practice bouts while there.

Here’s a video I took covertly of Kenta and Daisuke practicing during my second class. They both commented when they saw it that their kicks look weak. In person there is a lot more power going into them. It’s fairly intimidating.

During my second class I started with more shadow boxing on my own in the corner while the boys warmed up with the punching bags.

I was having a problem adjusting to the movement for the right punch, which requires turning from the hip with each thrust. To get the most power behind the punch, you’re supposed turn your right leg inward, pivoting on the ball of your foot, while reaching far forward with your right arm and pulling your left shoulder backwards. I had issues coordinating all those movements at the same time while keeping my right foot from lifting off the ground and maintaining balance.

Kenta picked up on all of this when he pulled me out to practice, of course. The first few rounds were the normal left jab right punch combo, but by the end of the evening he was going for entire 3 minute rounds having me do nothing but right punches over and over, all while goading me by saying things like “Motto tsuyoku.. tsuyoku.. chigau, motto” (come on stronger.. stronger.. no, MORE) and “don’t lift your foot.. keep your shoulder back.. put your hips into it.. longer movement” etc.

I did okay, and saw some improvement by the end, but it was spotty and hard to control.

I stopped when my wrist started feeling sore, and Jees (who was tired and mildly hung over) and I left early.

On the way home I noticed a nice patch of broken capillaries on my right knuckle. It made me feel kind of badass and hardcore, and I showed off my battle wounds to Eric proudly when I got home.

The next day the joints on my right hand were killing me, and it was pretty hard to make a fist and hold on to anything that required closing my hand.


I was concerned about gripping the bar in Group Power with my gimpy hand, but realized that the bar diameter was just large enough to not cause much pain, so I went to class as planned and just went slightly easy on the weights to make sure I didn’t drop my barbell and hurt myself any further.

It took a full week for the last of the soreness to go away… at which point I went back to kickboxing and managed to do the exact same thing again.


This time I did only 2 bouts of 3 rounds each. I was tired and couldn’t seem to put any real energy behind my punches for the first go around. Kenta actually said I’d done really well the week before and tried to use that to get me to put more into it, but no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to land any decent hits.

After those first few rounds I took a long break of about 20-30 minutes. I almost went home at 8:30, but Kenta asked if I wanted to go again right before I actually made up my mind, and I figured I might as well give it one more shot.

We used the newer of their two sets of pads this time, and I’m not sure if it was that or the rest, but I finally managed to get in some good, strong punches. Encouraged, I went for 3 rounds. This time he mixed it up some and did combos like left-right-right left-right-right, or left-right-right-right left-right to test my reactions.

Kenta asked if my hand was okay several times, but it didn’t feel bad at the time, so I kept going. Just like the week before I only noticed the bruising after I finished and took of my gloves.

But unlike the week before, this time I was prepared and iced my injury as soon as I got home.

The bruise once again faded within about a day or so, while my hand continued to be sore for most of the rest of the week. The damage seemed to be concentrated on a spot at the base of my right ring finger, but it was more of a dull ache connected to movement than an acute or constant pain.

I had to skip kickboxing this week since I seem to have come down with some kind of nasty upper respiratory illness, and next week is out, too, as we are booked with concerts over the Golden Week holiday. But I do think I will need to adjust and compensate for this if I’m going to continue kickboxing.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 3:39 am

    Ouch! Is there anything you might be able to do to better protect your hand? =\

    • May 4, 2011 5:41 pm

      I’m not sure. if I aim and land the punches more dead on it should help, and I’ve heard maybe taping my hands would add some protection, too. But I’m guessing it’s mostly just getting used to the movement through trial and error.

  2. Josh permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:40 am

    I miss you guys :( Now I really want to visit Tokyo again; one thing to try is focus on hitting the bag/mit with your first and middle knuckles, that should help align your forearm and wrist and generate a little more power, while also limiting the damage to your ring and pinky knuckles. Other than that, developing callouses, taping, and icing will help, just takes time. Awesome to see you’re doing kickboxing.

    • May 11, 2011 2:04 pm

      Come visit! Japan could use your tourist money :D

      I forgot you did kickboxing.. thanks for the tips! I haven’t been back since that last time due to scheduling conflicts, but I’m hoping to make it again sometime this week. I have a big problem actually making myself hit with the part if my fist that I want it to. I’m guessing that’s something that just comes with practice, though!

  3. Rene permalink
    May 22, 2011 4:23 am

    I just realized I could leave a comment! Just like Josh said, I really want to go back to Tokyo. Kickboxing sounds great! I hope that you stick with it because, yea, with the battle scars and everything, pretty damn badass. Love you much!! So excited I finally have some time to try out your recipes. Miss you!

    • September 4, 2011 12:25 pm

      and I just realized you left a comment.. like 3 months later. Awesome me, no? blame it on Tokyo summer! btw. We’ll be home in 3 weeks. <3

  4. Alex permalink
    August 11, 2011 4:25 am

    Any more updates on your kickboxing escapades?

    • September 4, 2011 12:28 pm

      Ack! nothing like finding new comments a month late. Talk about summer blog neglect..

      Sadly Kickboxing has not been happening any more because of a schedule change with my work schedule. I should really get back in touch with the guys, because I think they are still doing it without me, but I’ve been lazy. I do still do cardio kick twice a week at the gym, but it’s not as raw and intimidating as the real thing!

      btw, we’ll be home in 3 weeks for a visit. <3

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