Tag Archive for sparring

On Busted Thumbs and Heart Attacks

Most of you have met Lenore.

Brick Road

How're YOU doin', beautiful?

I took her to get her chain tightened—and, as it turned out, replaced—today, just as the Illinois weather decided to make up for the early warm weather it gave us by dropping back into the 40s and 50s. Ah, well. That’s what leather and sweatshirts are  for.

Then I learned it’s damn near impossible to manipulate turn signals with a busted thumb. Last night while sparring in karate class, I somehow managed to block my opponent’s knee using only my thumb. My thumb lost, and now the first knuckle doesn’t want to bend and it’s swollen like a sausage on a too-hot grill. My scream of agony every time I manipulated the switch probably did a better job of catching surrounding motorists’ attention than my turn signal did. I thought about switching to hand signals, but these days I’m pretty sure there’s only one hand signal that most drivers recognize, and that one won’t do me any good.

Then I stared death in the face.

I left Lenore in the tender care of the mechanics at Grayboy in the Heights and asked them where I could get breakfast. A big dude runs the service desk, and he pointed out the window to a shabby gray structure two doors down from their main building.

“Go there,” he said. “If you like meat, they’ll give you plenty. You won’t even be able to finish it.”

Challenge accepted.

Understand, I’m standing in a spot two blocks from downtown Peoria Heights with its high-end eateries like French Toast and Noir, and its array of trendy little boutique shops. The Silver Dollar, on the other hand, is a dark little bar in the other direction. On the plus side, chances were it would be more affordable.

I walked in and a friendly woman behind the bar handed me a type-written menu. A quick scan turned up Mikey’s Special: a toasted biscuit topped with a sausage patty, three eggs over easy, and cheese, all smothered in sausage gravy.

It looks like this:

The Mikey Special. Holy shit.

Holy shit.

If my doctor were sitting with me, he’d have punched me square in the face and tripled my cholesterol meds for the next six months. That plate is bigger than my iPad. I took out  a fork and cut into this thing, and it bled bright, golden egg yolk. I could already feel my heart cringing against my spine and begging me not to eat it. My brain reminded me I’m running the Warrior Dash in three weeks, and this wouldn’t help the cause.

My belly said “Pump it in!”

As evil as this thing looks, it tasted even better. The sausage patty was thick like a quality hamburger, and juicy without being greasy. Few places get gravy right, but the Silver Dollar nailed it: thick and peppery without being gummy. And yes, I finished the whole thing. When I returned for Lenore, the service guy was astonished. He advised me to not fall asleep while riding this afternoon.

Now my blood runs like sludge in my veins.

It’s a good thing I have at least two workouts coming today. I’m going to need them.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Crackle Crackle!

That’s the sound my left knee makes. I’m assuming that’s not a good thing.

I worry it’s the result of a sparring match in karate class last week. I went in for a kick to my opponent’s ribs, and he raised his knee to block. The top of my shin, about an inch or so below the knee, connected hard with his knee and it’s been hurting ever since. The only external sign of injury is a small red mark, but I’m sure there’s a nice bruise deep inside and I’m wondering if that’s what’s lead to the problem in the knee. No pain (yet), just noise. I’m taking a break from the running as a result, as the last thing I need is to aggravate the problem.

Meantime, I’m going to try the One Hundred Push-Ups program. I’ve improved my push-ups quite a bit since starting karate, and the program suggests I start at Week 3. Cut the program from six weeks to four? I can deal with that. It’ll be fun to see if I can make the same gains.

I’ve learned push-ups are important to my karate as well. There’s a physical requirement to making black belt in my style, Shuri-ryu, and my school tests prospective black belts on six exercises: jump rope, push-ups, sit-ups, two dumbbell exercises, and front kicks. They want black belts to hit 45 consecutive push-ups.

I’m getting there, as I’m now able to hit at least 30 consistently. It’d be nice to blow that number out of the water, though. While a black belt does not have to hit 45 push-ups, my understanding is if you can’t, it counts against you in your overall score. This means your kata, techniques, written test, and so on, all have to be just that much better to make up for any physical deficiencies. My black belt test is at least a couple of years off, so it makes sense to start now.

Not to mention that it’s just good for me, period.

Then there’s sit-ups. Black belts are shooting for 75. I don’t do as bad at sit-ups as one might expect given my size, but I’m certainly not going to hit 75 any time soon. I wondered if there was a similar program for sit-ups, looked through the site’s links, and found Two Hundred Sit-Ups. Then I clicked the link and learned it’s actually two hundred crunches. Swell. Somehow I can actually execute more of what most people think of as a sit-up than I can a crunch; the middle of my abs gives out before my hips and lower abs so. And neither are comfortable as I near my limit.

I must be a masochist. But again, it’s good for me. If I keep at ’em, maybe this belly will be less in the way and I can execute them better.

The real question is whether to keep these programs separate or execute them together. I’ll have to give that some thought. Meanwhile, if anyone out there has tried them together, I’d love to hear about it. Official initial test will be this weekend. First workout will be Monday.

Incidentally, this summer when I get sick of working upper body, I can move on to Two Hundred Squats. Woo!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.