Got there about five minutes late, but was the first one there. I changed quickly and started running around the dojo. Eventually, Instructors Riki and Jasmine arrived.
We did *not* do the 24 movements today. Instead, we did special stretches. We started with a split on heels. To split on heels, which is one of the normal 24 movements, one squats down and then jumps, landing on one's heels with one's legs spread far apart, from side to side as opposed to fore and aft, supporting oneself by one's hands, bending forward. When I started doing these, I was told to just be on my knees. Now I stand with my feet flat on the ground, and sometimes I can lift my heels. On the one hand, that's a tremendous change from when I started. On the other hand, I'm still not flexible enough to go very low.
We did the first split with no stretches before hand. We then did the proper stretches - three of the 24 movements - movement to stretch the thighs (what we used to call a lunge - standing legs shoulder width apart, then bending one knee while facing in that direction. Do four times, twice in each direction, alternating.), "down on one knee like hugging a tree" - same movement, but face the straight leg, arms out as if, well, hugging a tree, and "natural step." Turn to the left, and bring chest to knee four times. Repeat on the right side. These are excercises before a split. We did them and split again. This time I got on my heels, and Instructor Dominique went around and nudged our feet so we went wider. We stood straight and then split again, this time stretching the torso by turning first left, putting our hands on either side of our left leg, holding for five seconds and then turning right.
I was unable to turn that far.
We then sat with our feet in front of us, locked our hands under our ankles and held that for five seconds. We did that three times.
I had to put my hands under my knees. I hate being this stiff. I really do.
Then we did a leg stretch. The technique was to pair off. One partner stood against a wall, and took the other's hand. The other then did a side kick as high as she could, with her foot either on her partner's shoulder or in her hand. This was for balance and stretch.
My side kick made it to Instructor Dominique's waist. It's probably better than it was a year ago.
(Yes, I'm having killer cramps today, but that shouldn't affect my flexibility.)
We went back to the front of the dojo. First we lay down and pretended to be candlesticks. The idea was to throw our legs in the air and support our bodies by our necks, shoulders and arms, with our hands holding up our backs. Then the legs were straight in the air, then opened wide, then straight, then bent in, and then down.
I didn't make it to the shoulders, but I could do the leg exercises okay.
We then did another stretching technique, placing one hand behind our necks and pushing that elbow down with the other. We did that once per hand.
Then we paired up and got into push up position, While there, we had to cause our partner to fall down. *That* was fun.
Finally, we did a kicking technique. One step fighting again, but this time we kicked outside in to the head instead of a punch. The other was to duck under our foot and then kick back. I could do the technique just fine, but my kick was very low. Then we did it against an inside out to head kick - a duck in the other direction followed by a kick behind the opponent. Finally, we did the same kick, but we blocked and did a scissor kick.
Scissor kick is stand on one leg, kick the other, land on the kicking foot and kick with other foot.
Then we did a single set of shadow movements.