Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kung Fu - My First Class

Well, guess what Michelle and I started tonight? We attended our first Kung Fu class at Magic Fist Kung Fu in Huntington, WV. Mike and Jenn are attending as well, and have actually been going for about a month. And so, just like that, we are off on our quest for awesomeness. My thoughts after the first night are positive. I really enjoyed the class, and the instructor is attentive and knowledgeable, and seems to be a really nice guy to boot. I have to tell you that I have never, and I mean never, stretched that thoroughly in my life. We stretch standing, seated, against the wall and in all manner of directions. The funny thing about it is that before class tonight, I'd have sworn that I could not touch the bottoms of my feet if they were out in front of me with my legs straightened, but after the stretching I could. My hamstrings were quivering and my thighs were burning, but you know it was a good pain. :) As I sit here, I'm still sore and I can only imagine how sore I'm going to be tomorrow and the next day. So, we started learning a lot of things tonight. He spent a little time on several basic techniques. If I recall everything it was a basic kick, a sidestep, dodging a punch, disarming a knife at your throat, deflecting and disarming a knife attack at the body, and part of our first form, which he explained was not so much for striking and blocking, but more for teaching your body how to move to strike and block. All of it was at half speeds and basic, but that's fine by me. I'm going to need slow and basic for a few months. :) I'm considering the addition of a 2009 Goal, but I don't know yet. I need to attend a little more and see, but I might just add "Attain a White Sash in Kung Fu" to my list. That's usually the color earned when you know the very basic stuff and can demonstrate it. I've done some looking into it, and it looks as though it takes an average of 4-6 months to reach that rank (for the average person, working at it and practicing), but I really know next to nothing about it at the moment. We'll see. :) Anyway, good time tonight. Excellent workout. Very sore. Definitely going back. :) -J

Monday, April 6, 2009

True Realm (Spoilers Within)

How about a quick blog about what Michelle, Mike, Jenn and I did this weekend! We took off Thursday night and headed to Marion, IL for an event called "True Realm". We had a fantastic time. Literally. :) True Realm, you see, is a fantasy adventure. It is produced by the people who have been doing "True Dungeon" at Gencon Indianapolis since 2003. It takes table-top fantasy role playing to a new level. Basically, what we did was go to a 40,000 square foot warehouse that had been set up with a full tavern (Totally dry BTW. No alcohol admitted), two full 7 room dungeons, and 2 smaller ones. We did a 4 room and the main 7 room while we were there. The rooms of these dungeons are intricately decorated, full size, and feature combats, puzzles and traps. Each room had a volunteer GM or Game Master, who assisted the 8 member parties in combat and answered questions. There were some truly spectacular animatronic critters, and some excellent live actors. In the first room we were all addressed by a none too polite Drow who essentially gave us our quest. Well, she told us what NOT to do and we did it anyway. :) The puzzles and challenges were both mental and physical, from arranging a series of numbered cards in a proper order based on information printed on plaques all over the room, to arranging a series of pieces into a cube the size of a small car while unable to speak to your teammates. There was also a challenge where you had to shoot a button on the wall across the room with a crossbow. (Which I succeeded in doing thank you very much!) Anyway, I could go on and on about all the things we had to do to make it through our dungeons, but it would be too hard to explain. Let's just say that it was a whole lot of fun. We had four people in our party that we'd never met. Two veterans, and two young newbies. We, ourselves were new, but everyone was very friendly and helpful as far as explaining how things worked and getting us equipped to play. Equipment, by the way is done with tokens. They come with all kinds of equipment printed on them. They represent your weapons, armor, rope, potions, or anything else that may be useful inside. You get 10 with your ticket, but more are available for purchase. There are some people who collect them of course, and they were all about with their suitcases of tokens. I ended up using an "Orcish Flail" token as my weapon, FYI. So that's what we did this past weekend. I would post pictures of the event, but not only was photography inside somewhat discouraged, but the inside was very dark. I could go into the specifics of how combat works, and all of that, but I'll just post a link to the True Dungeon website, and let you peruse there if you like, at your leisure. Perhaps, if you're feeling crazy, you can even drive up to Indy this August, attend Gencon, and run the dungeon yourself! Hopefully they'll have another one next year in Marion as well! Take it from me, this was great time! :) -J