Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mommy with a mummy toe

Well.. my healing toe must be ahead of schedule. The whole nail has dropped off today. What a new start to a New Year! So.. I'm walking around with bandages on my left big toe.. therefore the title of this posting "Mommy with a mummy toe."

Hopefully the toe will be in full recovery ahead of schedule. Just goes to show that you can't believe everything that you read on the internet. I was informed that this kind of damage done to a toe nail would take up to 18 months to heal. I'm only on my second month now.. and things are healing quickly.

I've decided to heal another aspect of my life. Since I grew up in an alcoholic home, New Year's Eve has always been an awful day for me. Negative memories from my childhood creep out of the darkness of my subconscious and haunt me with awful depression. Up until now I have coped by hiding myself away in my bedroom and running away from any "festivities" claiming that I was sleepy or such. BUT this year, I claim my own right to enjoy myself. The past is just that.. it's past. I cannot change what my parents chose to do when I was a child, but I can darn well choose how I want THIS New Year to be, and I'm chosing to enjoy myself.

I'm claiming this holiday to be a time of renewal: a time of love, and support: and a time of hope, and joy.

My kids nearly fainted when they heard that I was going to "party" with them and stay up until midnight this year. They have never had that happen before in their lives. So this is a first for my family.

Ah... onwards and upwards. Only good things can come from this kind of thing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Karate night before Christmas

My husband Arnie, and I wrote this little Karate parody of the classic
poem "Twas the night before Christmas".

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the dojo
Not a student was training, they were holding their hands low
Their shoes were all lined up by the wall with care
Knowing that soon Sensei would be there.
With their Gi (s) on sharp, and their obi (s) on tight,
They had just settled their minds for an oncoming fight.
When from the changeroom there arose such a clatter,
I sprang up from seiza to see what was the matter.
Over the mats I ran like a flash,
ran past the kicking bags, knocking over the stacks.
The sound of the intake of breath, and the row
of the students rushing past each other to know.
When what my astonished eyes did see
but the bare-footed feet of our Sensei indeed.
Such a stong presence, so fierce and so quick
I knew in a moment that Sensei was “ticked”.
More rapid than shurikens his commands they came.
He Kiai’d, and pointed, and called out by name,
“Now, Green belts, Now Blue belts, Now Yellow, and stripes
On Blacks, On Browns, On Purples and whites!
One hundred Manmakers from wall to wall
Now Dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
Huffing and puffing like little freight trains
Sweat pouring off them like Hurricane rain
Back and forth the students went running
Sensei said “We’re not here for the sunning!”
Then in a twinkling I heard Sensei say
“Quit the prancing, and pawing. That’s it.... Yame!”
As I drew in deep breaths, the room spinning ‘round
With an “Osu” of response, Sensei said “To the ground!”
He was dressed all in white with black belt on his waist
He said “Let’s do push ups! Let’s pick up the pace!!!”
His eyes- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
But our cheeks were like roses, flushed red like cherries.
His face showed no visible sign of fatigue
While the students knew that they were way out of their league
Each push up he did with much grace and power
While his students looked more like fallen down towers.
He turned over and started to do Fifty crunches,
the students were moaning and groaning in bunches.
He was lean, and mean, a fighting machine,
and I knew in a twist he could tear out a spleen.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had more training to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
with his shinai, he helped students not shirk,
and laying a finger under their nose
he said “This is the technique, here’s how it goes..”
He called for line up, and gave the commands
and we bowed, and “Osu’d”, and then we shook hands.
I heard him exclaim ere he walked out of sight.
“Make sure you train hard each and every night.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas wrecks chaos on my training

I love the holidays. I really do not have a grinchy attitude towards them, but I have to admit that they do cause alot of troubles when it comes to keeping up my training.

I have so many school concerts to attend, why this week alone my Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night is dedicated towards my children's year end Holiday performances. So no training on those days, I'll be sitting in a crowd of parents and watching my little ones sing their hearts out. When you add in the fact that the dojo will be closed on Christmas day, and New Years day, plus all of the parties that I need to attend in the coming weeks.. There goes most of my training time. I'll only have 1 class this week, and hopefully 3 next week. For someone who is used to training almost every day.. this is quite a big withdrawal. Yes.. I could try to train at home.. but the seven foot Christmas tree in the center of my living room takes up even more of my limited space.

Now.. Some people may say "What? What's wrong with that? You should take a break from your karate. You are obsessing too much about training." They don't understand. My body doesn't understand about holidays. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments get stiff and sore when I do not train them at least once every second day. I just can't explain to them about school concerts, and such. I did meet a ballerina that understood what I meant by this.. she nodded her head wisely and agreed that it is difficult to meet the physical requirements of your body during the holidays.

Also, the feasting during the holidays is detrimental to my personal conviction to live by controlled food consumption. When you go to a party the host usually offers you more than what you can eat, and they encourage you to go for seconds. There is always an excuse for over-eating: Easter "Go ahead.. Easter only comes once a year." Summer holidays "Let loose, you'll burn it off anyway.. you're on vacation. Relax." Thanksgiving "It's Thanksgiving.. you are supposed to overeat." Christmas "Oh.. cookies have no calories on Christmas, come on.. just one more." New Year's " Start the year right... you can start your diet tomorrow."
Birthdays "Aw... it's your birthday.. that only happens once a year.. live it up!"

So... combine the fact that there are less opportunities to train, and more opportunities to eat.. and pressure to eat alot.. Oh boy.. not a good thing for someone like me that is working towards keeping her conditioning.

Am I alone in feeling this frustration during the holidays?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fighting without fighting

I've read that the ultimate karate is to be able to vanquish your enemy without fighting. I would like to share with you a true story of how my children achieved this phenomenal achievement just a few days ago.

My three youngest children were walking home from school. My 9, and 10 year old daughters were walking ahead of my son who dawdled by looking at the snow on the bushes, and skipping around happilly in the snow. My little 7 year old son bent over to pick up a snow block that was laying on the ground of the sidewalk. He didn't realize that he had done this directly in front of a sporadic school bully who happened to be non-chalantly swinging a stick at the time. The bully decided to strike my son on the small of the back.

My son stood up in shock and pain calling out "Hey! That hurts!" My 9 year old daughter, and 10 year old daughter stopped walking when they heard this, and turned around to see the bully say "Yah? that hurts? What about this?" as the bully swung the stick over and over striking my son over a dozen times.

At first, all 3 of my children froze at their first experience of such violence and brutality, but then my 10 year old daughter unfroze.. she rushed in yelling "Stop this! It's wrong!" and had the bully disarmed within seconds. She tossed the stick far away, and started pulling my son into a safer distance. The bully started striking at my 10 year old attempting to get to my son. My 9 year old daughter ( who trains more frequently in karate) came in between the bully and her siblings. She put on her fiercest face, and commanded the bully to "stop, and go away" in a very loud kiai voice. Now.. this bully was a good head and a half taller than my girl, but that made no difference to my daughter. The bully decided that my 9 year old would make as good a target as the others, and proceeded to try to strike her. My daughter went into defensive stance, and managed to block and thwart all of the bullies attempts to harm her. Quickly the bully became frustrated that the 10 year old was getting my son to safety, and that the 9 year old was successfully avoiding her strikes. The bully spit out swear words, and made a strong attempt to push my 9 year old daughter down onto the ground. My daughter set her stance even more strongly to absorb the shove.. and felt... nothing. The bully had put all of her strength into this attack, and my daughter was taken by surprise that there was no strength in it. Looking back in retrospect, my daughter admits that her next reaction was not the most appropriate, but she just couldn't help herself. She burst out laughing at how patheticly weak this bully's attack was for all the scary noise the bully was making. At this moment, my daughter realized that it would have been easy for her to hurt the bully quite badly if she wanted to... but then she remembered her Sensei teaching her that karate is to be respected for the damage that it can do, and that you should focus on getting away from a fight as soon as you can, if you can.

The bully stopped in shock at my daughter's laughter. She pulled away, retrieved her stick, and walked away sending some swear words into the air in futility.

The whole scene took less than a minute to happen. My daughters supported their younger brother with their arms around his shoulders as they walked him home. The winter parka, and ski pants had protected him from any bruises or injury.

I had taught my children that silence is the bully's helper, and if something bad happens to my children that they have to sound an alarm by telling an adult. When my children arrived home, they instantly told me all the details of what happened, and the names of some other children that witnessed the event. We contacted the school, and each one of my children went into the principal's office to give their account of the event. The school pulled in the bully, and handled the discipline quickly and efficiently.

I'm very proud of how my children had handled the whole situation.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Warning: this next posting has a gross factor

Ah.. the experiences of training in martial arts:

Throughout class, my young partner looked down at my left foot with compassion in his eyes and asked me if my dark toe was hurting me. I had to explain to him that I had injured the toe a few weeks ago during seminar, and although it looked pretty hurt, it didn't hurt me at all. I assured him that it just felt strange, like I had a second toe over the first one.. and that I would just need to be gentle with that foot.

Everything went normal during class, until it was time for kata. I surged into my cross-footed stance ( x stance/ Kosa dachi) at the kiai point, and I felt a pop down there on my big toe. I'm guessing that the force of the stance, and the position of the toes was too much for my injured big toenail, and it just burst like a blister. Instantly I looked down to see that there was blood, and water streaming out of my toe onto the floor leaving a fair sized puddle around my foot with my toenail standing straight up in the air. I collapsed into a seated position, and applied pressure onto the toenail to lower the amount of liquid seeping out, and I huddled around the mess so that no one would accidently move into it as they continued their kata. I did this silently... The black belts near me kept on doing their kata, but adjusted their position so that they gave me room. I could see them casting quick concerned glances in my direction to see if I was o.k.

The kata ended quickly. I unfolded to reveal the mess on the floor. I'm telling you.. the warp speed response that I had from the other people. Within seconds I had 6 people offer me bandages, antiseptic cleanser, paper towels (wet and dry) I had made sure that I had wiped up the blood colored water off of the ground before I took care of my foot. One person brought me a full out first aid kit. My little compassionate young partner was at my side with deep concern in his eyes asking me if it hurt yet. Well.. of course that brought a smile to my lips, and I said "Oh no.. it isn't hurting, it just released some extra stuff so now it's clean, and even better.." O.K... so I stretched the truth a little. My toe was sharply stinging like it had been stung by a scorpion but my little friend didn't need to know that. The whole dojo surrounded me with caring concern. Although it was a nice feeling, I really needed the space to just take care of my foot. You know what? It's like they all felt that need, and now that they could see that I was o.k., they backed away, and went on with finishing class.

Within a few minutes I was sporting a nice white bandage on my toe, and I was lightly limping my way out of the dojo to go and get changed.

I'm going to lose the whole nail on that toe.. Will it stay gone? Am I going to have a "bald" big toe on my left foot?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Seminar, and Resting

Alright.. I listened to my body. I cut out all home training except a few minutes of Bo staff here and there. I even stopped volunteering at the outreach center for a good 2 weeks. I brought all of my training down to just the karate classes. I started seeing progress on my upper body. Instead of weakness, and shaking, my arms were stronger, and sharper in their techniques. I decided to "smooth" out my home practice so that it supports the progress. It will be a day to day thing depending on how difficult the karate classes were the previous night. IF my muscles need to rest, and stretch, then I will do so. If class was calm, and easy the night before, then I will put some extra demand on my body the next day at home.

So guess what happens at Seminar? I was doing some one step kumite ( sparring) with one of the brown belts testing for Shodan. I had just finished my head punch, and he was countering. He made a mistake, and stepped forwards improperly surging onto my back foot with his full weight onto my toes. It is a good thing that I have been trained to grasp the floor with my toes. I could feel the force of his momentum threatening to pull my toes back, and break them, but my toes fought that, and stayed on the ground. My left big toe took all of the damage. Instead of a toenail I had a huge black/blue/purple spot, and a constant sharp knifelike pain which made each time I put my body into any stance a new experience of how much torment one can feel from their feet. It HURT! From that moment on I limped through each day... It's been 4 days now, and I'm still wincing when I see something heading towards my feet. I was told that it will be weeks before I can use that toe normally again. It's really wierd to have 9 normal colored toes, and one black toe.

This incident brings me to a question: When you are doing one step, you are not supposed to move after your initial attack. You are expected to stand still and allow your partner to counter, trusting that they will not damage you. Now, when I stood there waiting for my partner's counter, and I saw the direction he was heading and the momentum he was surging with, I had this deep inner gut feeling that I should shift my foot out of the path of his energy. I quelched that inner desire, and forced myself to stay still. The result? 2 weeks of limping on my left foot. At this moment in time, I'm thinking that it would have been better for me if I had listened to my inner voice, and had moved that foot out of the way. Which is the better path? Being able to control your body, and not "jump at every inner reaction", or to listen to your gut feeling and err on the path of safety?

You know the student that I was helping prepare for their Shodan test? She passed. I was so proud of her performance. She put forth so much focus, and energy. To tell the truth, ALL of my dojo mates put forth so much good spirit during the Seminar. I just wanted to stand up and cheer for how much I saw them putting forth their best. Congratulations to every one of the students, and especially those who tested for Shodan. You can be truly proud of yourself for doing your best.

Oh.. I have a nice picture to offer you from this seminar of my husband, and I "posing" as if I am giving him corrections on his kata. Notice the smiles? ha ha ha... I don't think that we were very convincing in our pose.

Image Hosting by

Sunday, November 19, 2006


My body is teaching me that I can not force it to do more than it allows. My left arm, my hips, and my knees have been giving out on me this week. I'll be doing my push ups, or whatever, and suddenly that limb, or joint will lock, or give up totally letting gravity take my body to the ground.

To be honest, classes have been extra hard this past month.. In Shotokan we are preparing for the visit of our Master. Also, there has been demands on conditioning in Kyokushin.. things like 500 strikes, 500 blocks, and 500 kicks in a row interspersed with various exercises like push ups, sit ups, squats, etc. etc, and that is just the warm up.

This sudden total weakness of my body parts really bothers me. I've been able to push past the burning pain of my skin condition as I train, the sharp pain of the constant muscle cramping as I train, the dizziness, nauseau, and fainting spells through my determination, and will power, but I can't push past total "giving out" of the muscles. They won't go, and thinking strong thoughts won't MAKE them go. Suddenly there is no output in that arm/leg, and I collapse.

I tear up at the thought that I cannot work past this weakness. My body says "thus far, and no further.." and I cannot fight through that with will power. I have to adapt, slow down, even force myself to not train to allow those muscles, and joints to come back to what they were. And that drives me crazy.. because I had been gaining a little, and now I have to baby myself again.

I have stopped all extra home training ( except for Bo staff) for a whole week.. and I can't explain how much that bothers me. I'm not depressed, it is more of an anger, and frustration that boils within me. I spent most of my whole childhood laying in a bed coughing with bronchitis (an effect of my father's chain smoking) wishing that I could go out and play.

Now that I'm an adult, and I have the capacity to train, I'll be darned if I'll allow my body to dictate to me what it won't do.

I'm not stupid, though, I will not damage myself trying to force the joints to perform when obviously they are not doing well.. but I'm not going to throw in the towel and accept the limitations that is happening. I'll find a way to strengthen the muscles, and joints, whether by diet, exercise, or stretching. Sure.. sometimes when you are climbing a mountain, you might find yourself at a position where you cannot continue going upwards, and you have to backtrack a little to gain a better vantage point, and better handholds.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kata Query

I was performing the Bassai Dai kata, and suddenly it hit me that I need an answer to a certain movement.

This movement occurs in many kata: It is when you bring both feet together, stand up straight, and usually block WAY up high.. like two rising blocks in Bassai Dai, the augmented side head block in Jion, or when you place your fists on your hips in Heian Sandan.

As I was performing this move, I realized how all of my central vital points became open for attack. I also realized how vulnerable my feet were so close together. There is no stability to the Heisoku stance at all. I asked myself "Where in any self defense moment would I WANT to put my feet together, stand up, and lift my arms above my head exposing all of my vital points?"

And yet, you can see this type of position happen very often in Bassai Dai (Penetrating the fortress). at least 5 times. Why? Bassai Dai is a very strong kata that uses the hips.. why would we put our feet together, and stand up? That actually locks the feet, and hips in place.... sure.. we lift up our knee and continue into another movement.. but why stand up out of our lower stable stance, to get into a very 'tippy" high stance.

A few guesses that I had was that

a) we were trying to use the pull of gravity on our body to our advantage as we struck in the next movement.
b) we are trying to sucker in our opponent with the appearance of vulnerability.
c) we are looking for the right downward angle to achieve a vital attack.

However, all of the above guesses could be met by standing in Heiko Dachi ( Parallel stance), or from Shizentai ( Natural stance) where the feet are more stable, than in Heisoku Dachi ( closed together stance). At least in these stances, your hips are more free to do other movements if you need to.

Where in heaven's name is there any advantage to pulling your feet together, and standing straight up?

*Shakes head*

Well, just because I don't understand it yet, doesn't mean that I should throw it away. There's got to be a good reason since it is included in so many kata.

Hey, my dear Bo manipulating friends, Do you do a similar stance with your weapons? and does it help defend you or strenghten your attacks in some way?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In honor of Remembrance Day... Thank you Sifu

If you like my poem pass it on.
In the distance one can see the glimpse of freedom slipping away
Through terror, killing and fear everyday.

But in the hearts of those that scale freedom's wall,
they will never let those evils overtake us all.

They stand on posts, they guard the night,
and yes some give the ultimate sacrifice.

Their nights are short, their days are long
and they long to hear a child's song.

They long to touch their loved ones far away, but they know in their hearts, it's duty that day.

So, as you pass one of these guardians of peace of mind, remember their duty was and still is to protect those rights you have at this time.

As it has been stated before and by so many, Freedom isn't Free, and those that serve preserve it do it with Honor and Dignity.

Tim White
First Sergeant IGR

Monday, November 06, 2006

What can I say? I've been busy

When you add the fact that I've had visitors from out of town to the usual high demands of family, and karate, my life has been extra busy. Computer leisure time goes to the bottom of the "to do" list. Therefore, I've neglected so many internet things.. and I'm behind on my emails, forums.. you name it. Including my little blog.

So.. let me tell you what I'm working on in my karate:

It seems that my efforts to relax, and spar with less rigidity has teeter tootered into TOO much relaxation, and I've lost alot of technique. It is quite a tight line to walk when you need to be relaxed, and yet have just enough tension, and technique to make things work correctly.

I think that my kiai has become the key to how to clue my body into that necessary sudden tenseness that you need to strike, or defend, but to stay loose inbetween the action. Expansion, and contraction is such an important part of sparring.. but it is the inbetween moments of calmness that are the hardest to achieve for me. I found that the calmness is so important to being able to sustain an equilibrium to the effort. Too much tension all the time just burns me out.

I've been working on my kiai, and experimenting. I've been kiai-ing at different parts of my strike; at the end, during the middle, even before I send it. Just to see the effect on my body.. and you know what? It DOES make a huge difference as to when you kiai. The body moves differently.. it's like there is a different focus, or philosophy behind the movement. If I wait until Kime is happening to kiai there is a sense of solidity, and finality.. similar to "THERE! Now that's done.. let's go do something else.." If I Kiai as soon as my fist leaves it's chambered position.. there is an excitement in the movement like "Yes! Send it NOW!". Then my breath breaths out with the strike and there is a feeling of continuation...... of flowing into the next moment.

I've noticed that sharp short breaths will change how you move compared to a long constant puffing of air ( like if you were swimming underwater)

I found this awesome article on breathing, and sparring on a Tae Kwon Do website:

I'm amazed at how many different ways we can breathe improperly, and actually inhibit our efforts to perform. I LOVE the description of "stillness" that is provided in this article:

"For martial artists, one of the most important principles of Yin and Yang is the relationship between stillness and motion. Stillness is the natural state before movement begins, and yet it is also the basis of all movement. A technique that begins from perfect stillness enables you to execute the movement in a coordinated and efficient manner that allows your body and mind to unite in a balanced harmony and helps you to release unnecessary tension and to relax more completely. From a  state of stillness, any movement is done with complete awareness and true intent. Your actions become the embodiment of quality and perfection. Once you have a feeling for perfect stillness you will be able to call on it whenever needed. In a pattern training,  you may only be still for a split second between moves, but if it is perfect stillness, then the transition between the moves becomes flawless.  "

Yes.. that is what I desire in my sparring, and my kata. I want to find that calmness or "stillness" inbetween the active phases of movement. Another ideal for me to shoot for... :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Not a good idea at all

Scheduling my upper body weight training the day before my biggest Kyokushin class was not a good idea at all!

When it came time to do my usual push ups.. my arms were noodles. No ability to lift anything! I laid there like a wet blanket.... well .. more like a struggling wet blanket. I had no energy in my arm muscles at all. In fact, at one point I attempted to do a head block to a quite strong opponent. No way.. I had no power in my arms, and I had to dodge my head to the side. It's Sunday already, and I'm supposed to be doing more weight lifting. No way.. my arms are still recuperating from Friday. I've got to revise my schedule.. oh yes!

I also have to reposition my Bo staff training. Right now I have it scheduled at moments when all the kids are home.. not good. My kids sit there staring at me as I work through my routine. I'm having issues with the tight quarters of training indoors ( due to the cold weather), and once in awhile my staff will thunk against a wall or door frame, and the group of children will erupt in giggles of delight. They are just waiting for that to happen. It really makes it difficult to focus on your technique. Training on Bo Staff while the kids are in bed isn't a good idea either. I could still hear them giggling at the "thunk" sounds when my staff would slightly tap a chair, or the floor. It keeps them awake. I tried switching to a shorter Jo staff for practice work, and that seems to make it a little easier to move around the room, but it doesn't spin the same way.. nor does it have the same weight. I tried training outside in my jacket... but the Bo staff work doesn't mix well with a thick winter coat.

Saturday my body was sore "all-where": feet, heels, legs, hips, stomach, arms.. you name it, I could barely move. Yet, I still had to go buy groceries, and carry the bags into the house with my husband. That doesn't sound like much exercise, but when you have to supply food for close to 10 people.. that is alot of weight to carry into the house. We spend close to $200 on groceries per week. That amounts to 10 pounds of apples, 5 pounds of oranges, 5 pounds of bananas, 15 pounds of ground beef, 8 quarts of milk.. etc. etc.

Oh.. and I forgot to add the Vital points hand strikes sequence that I need to practice into my list. I've got to add the Kihon Geiko technique practice more than once a week. Aargh. I need to practice my Bo staff twice a week, not once. How do I remedy this????

Hmm.. I've revised my schedule.. but I'm still not satisfied...

-2 hrs folding clothes
-2 hrs karate instruction
-50 + push ups
- Kihon geiko practice half hour ( basic techniques)

-3 hrs karate instruction
-Inversions/ Break fall practice
- *Focus on the legs here*

-2 hrs folding clothes
-3 hrs karate instruction
-Inversions/ break fall practice

-Vital point hand strikes sequences
-Kihon geiko practice half hour ( basic techniques)

-2 hrs folding clothes
-4 hrs karate instruction
- *Focus on the legs here*

-2 hrs karate instruction
-50 push ups extra

-Bo staff practice half hour
-Upper body weight training

Maybe this will work out better for me.. fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Balancing the demand on my arms.

Mr. X. gave me this comment on my last addition to my blog.

"You should at least a day of break in between each push-up sessions. At the rate you are going, you're not giving your muscles enough time to repair themselves. "

I've been thinking about that:

Each day I have been doing 50 push ups ( interspaced in time) I've also done a half hour of upper body weight training with 3 lb weights. In addition to this I've been doing Bo staff practice 3 times a week for a good half hour with a 6 foot hardwood Bo staff. Oh.. then there are the inversions that I have been doing.. that takes alot of shoulder, and tricep effort. AND then... 3 times a week I do about 2 hours of consequetive folding, and placing clothes on a shelf as a volunteer at the nearby family center. My arms get exhausted from that too.

Add the fact that I train for an average of 11 hours of instruction in karate during the week at the dojo.

Yes, Mr. X., I can see how my muscles do not get time to repair themselves.

So... I've decided to try to schedule the demand on my arms out more evenly. I won't add all of the leg work stuff, kata stuff, conditioning exercises, self defense stuff yet. I'll keep this list focused mostly on the needs of my arms.:

-2 hrs folding clothes
-2 hrs karate instruction
-50 + push ups
- Kihon geiko practice half hour ( basic techniques)

-3 hrs karate instruction
-Inversions/ Break fall practice
- *Focus on the legs here*

-2 hrs folding clothes
-3 hrs karate instruction
-Inversions/ break fall practice

-Bo staff practice half hour
-Upper body weight training

-2 hrs folding clothes
-4 hrs karate instruction
- *Focus on the legs here*

-2 hrs karate instruction
-50 push ups extra

-Bo staff practice half hour
-Upper body weight training

I'll see how this works for me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Learning about push ups

My body has been teaching me about how much the various joints dislike doing push ups with improper technique. I've been doing about 50 push ups in a row per day, and the result has been strong pain building up in my wrists, biceps, shoulders, neck, small of the back, and hips. On the advice of my Sensei, I gave my body a rest break for a week so that what damage I have done can repair itself.

I started looking at what I was doing right, and wrong as I did my push ups, and learned quite alot about them. I'd like to share my knowledge on this blog so that others need not suffer as I have.

a) Having a straight back means "tucking in your hips" even when you are in the push up position. I believe that my sore lower back muscles, and hip joint pain was happening because I was jack-knifing my body, and popping my bottom up too high. I've learned that proper posture ( hips tucked in, shoulders back, back straight) is needed in this exercise. Another way to look at it is to "squeeze your buttocks together".

b) I was going too close to the floor. The arms should not go past a 90 degree angle, because this puts too much stress on the shoulder muscles, and ligaments especially for women. We aren't built like men in our upper bodies. Also.. by going to close to the floor and touching.. the muscles will relax, and then send a surge to push back up again. This puts a sudden stress on all of the joints instead of keeping a constant weight pressure.

c) You do not want to lock your arms at the top of the push up either. The whole idea is to keep the muscles working, and to not release the pressure... this will bring out the maximum efficiency of the push up.

d) Doing push ups once your muscles are too fatigued will transfer the weight demand unto the joints, and ligaments. You do not want to do this, you want to build up muscle, and strength, not weaken, and damage your joints.

I found this website quite helpful at looking at how to do push ups:

If you'd like to know how your ability to do a push up rates against other people your age, just go to this website:

Even in my weakened state I still received a "good" rating. I'm shooting for excellent.. but I will have to let my muscles heal first.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Deceiving oneself

I've been contemplating many things during karate class lately. Perhaps that is just part of walking along with a black belt around your waist that you can stop for a second and assess what is happening around you.

I've noticed that many of us deceive ourselves as we train. For example, I've seen some students jump the instructor's count. They anticipate the upcoming number, and already send their strike before he/she actually counted. The result is that their strike is finished far before everyone else's. The sad thing is that this gives an inaccurate training result. First of all they will develop improper timing. Also, they are not training their fast twitch muscles to react quickly. It would be far more helpful to them if they waited for the sound of the count, and THEN reacted.. as if the sound was an actual attack.

I've really come to a full circle when it comes to how I tie my belt. There has been a silent struggle within my mind as to which height I should tie it. I would attempt to tie it down on my hips ( as has been tradition). The result would be either that the belt would pop up to my waist on it's own through movement, or it would fall down to the ground. Now I have come to the point of realization: a) It's MY belt, and my karate. I can chose as to where I wish to place my belt upon my body.. as long as it does it's job of holding my Gi closed. b) Practicality dictates that I place the belt just above the navel at the curve of my waist ( not below). Since I am a woman this area is the most curving and most condusive to having the belt out of the way of my kicks. c) If I ever had to defend myself, it will not matter as to where I placed my belt upon my body. My skills will be as they are.

Many of us like to deceive ourselves as to how hard we train in karate. It reminds me of how my children will bring home their homework, sit down for about 10 minutes, and write a paragraph of information. Then they will spend half an hour complaining to each other about how much WORK they had to do. I believe that we tend to exagerate that which we consider difficult. I have been quite guilty of this type of building up of experiences. Similar to how a fish that wasn't caught grows three sizes, I have sat there telling my friends of how I ran at least 25 laps around the gym last night, although in reality it wasn't that much.

Today, I have learned that karate is just part of life. We train our bodies for our continued health. Everyone needs to exercise to maintain strength, flexibility, cardio, etc. Our bodies are designed to move, and it sickens when it is kept laying still. So.. I have chosen to move my body in the form of kata, kihon, and kumite while someone else may enjoy tennis, swimming, or other physical expressions of themselves. Now that I think in that way, the few laps around the gym are not much in compared to a marathon runner, the few push ups that I've done are nothing compared to what some military soldier needed to do today. I'm not saying that I should belittle my achievements, but more that I have learned to see them in perspective. This is the path that I have chosen to live.. I train each class to be the best that I can be at that moment.. so if I can only do 5 laps around the gym due to my state of health.. then good for me. If I can run 150 laps.. good for me. It is nothing to be exalted about, nor to push aside. It just exists as part of my life.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My blog taught me some things about me..

I was reading some of my past postings on this blog, and I learned a couple of things about myself:

a) My skin condition seems to have a pattern as to when it flares up into pain. It usually happens during the first strong snow fall of the season. This is probably when the air is most dry. There just was a snowfall for two days now, and my skin was painfully telling me about this change in the weather. AHA!

b) I have developed in my understanding of, and expectations in my martial arts. I am able to look at things differently, and even see the bigger picture since last year. I can see my limitations as challenges, and my strengths as opportunities.

c) My gratitude towards those Sensei who have guided me on my path has not diminished. It is wonderful to think that I have had the chance to meet, interact, and learn from these kind people. I can foresee many more opportunities to meet, and explore the depths of my art in the future.

d) I can greatly appreciate those fellow karate students who come to class with a healthy, encouraging, and energetic attitude. They make the training environment such a pleasant place to be. I really admire their dedication, and effort. I hope that I am giving them the same impression.

e) I have learned to appreciate my Kyokushin training for the unique, all encompassing, and experiencial art that it is, and to appreciate my Shotokan training for the strength contained within it. My energies at this point of my path have been balanced more towards Kyokushin because I'm still climbing the ladder in that art. My Shotokan training has calmed down to focusing on my basics, and truly centering my basic kata into my spirit.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Martial arts mothering

I chose a different path as a mother today. I leaned on all of my martial arts training, and I chose to control my opponents rather than to do violence to myself.

I placed my kids on the couch, and calmly put forward my expectations towards chores around the house. I gave them a good amount of awareness of where there is disharmony, and where I want to see improvements. I did not raise my voice ( as was my habit in the past ).

I controled my anger at the awful mess that they had created. Sure.. I was upset, but I placed that as a low priority. Instead, I focused on solving the problem by getting the children motivated to do what I wanted them to do.

I thought of how various manner of pain is used on your opponent to give them incentive to go in the direction that you want them to go. I then provided the children with very good motivation. I assured them that our family will be fasting until the house is in good order. I informed them that I have successfully fasted on just fruit juice for 4 days straight, so I will have no problem fasting for as long as it takes them to clean up their mess. Since I view fasting as a positive energy building, and healing moment for the body, I didn't mind putting my children on such a fast.

I also informed them that I will not touch anything, nor clean anything because at this point, they are to be responsible for the mess that THEY created. None of the mess was from my actions.. therefore I chose not to clean it.

We will see how quickly the house will get clean through the efforts of my children. It has to be clean at MY specifications. Already the dining room, entryway, and living room have been brought to that level. Only 6 more rooms to go.

Me? I am calm, relaxed, and enjoying adding this entry to my blog.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wonderful quotes

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." Harry Truman

"The years teach much which the days never know." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Education is hanging on until you've caught on." Robert Frost

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty." Henry Ford

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." Alfred Lord Tennyson

"The man who keeps everything locked up in his heart will know far less than he who compares notes with his fellows." Theodore Gordon

"I can learn from anyone, but I do not stop at that. I go on trying to learn from myself." Zane Grey

"It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." Confucius

"Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself." St. Frances of Sales

"Character is that which can do without success." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Deviation from nature is deviation from happiness." Samuel Johnson

"Humility neither falls far, nor heavilly" Publilius Syrus

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts; therefore guard accordingly." Marcus Aurelius

"Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so." William Shakespear

"Happiness and misery depend as much on temperament as on fortune." La Rochefoucauld

"It is not the fish we catch that counts, for they can be had for mere silver. It is the break of the waves, the joyous rush of the brook, and the contemplation of the eternal rush of the stream." Herbert Hoover.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The latest and greatest news

Well.. my cold is still holding on, but not strongly. I've been keeping up with the housework, training, and other needs of my position as Mom, and Black belt making sure that I drank lots of various liquids, and ate as much Vitamin C as I can to help support my immune system. One thing that I learned is that my body has no desire whatsover to invert into the upside down position when it has a cold.. no way. It doesn't feel nice at all. So.. I have relaxed on my headstands. I've also stopped putting mental pressure on me to try for a handstand. I just decided that I have succeeded on my first goal, and that I need to give myself a break before I start working towards a handstand. Handstands always bring up that inner "terror" reaction within me at this moment. I think that it would be best to let that demand relax a little, and keep practicing headstands until I'm so comfortable with them that I can do them in a heartbeat.

...And what does my little 7 year son come running up to me to state with joy, and declaration? "Mom! Watch me! I can do a one handed handstand, and hold position. OH.. and look at this Mom.. I can walk forwards on my hands while I'm in a handstand.. see???"

It appears that my little boy has been training on his handstands with even more gusto now that he has seen me doing my little headstands everyday. It's a good thing that we are competing. That little one is advancing beyond me in leaps and bounds when it concerns "going upside down".

I've been focusing my home practice on doing my basic kata starting from the opposite side. I am striving to make it so that I can do my kata starting from the right with the same comfort level as if I started from the left. This is far harder to do than to say. At first I would hold position, and my body would yell out that it's supposed to turn left at this part of the kata, but since I'm moving in the opposite direction, I knew that I had to turn right.. BUT... How? Which leg does what? It was quite a challenge at first.

I've also been adding time to my Bo Staff practice. Winter is coming soon, and I will have limited ability to swing a 6 foot Bo around my head. The wasps are all hibernating now, and the weather is just warm, and cool enough to allow me to go outside and take advantage of the space. My neighbour looked over the fence, and saw me practicing my Bo staff kata, and he yelled out "Go get him! That opponent is DEAD the way that you swing that thing!" in the middle of my kata. I was quite proud with the fact that I held concentration, finished the kata, and then responded to his encouragement with gratitude.

I've also been working on moving forwards with a 360 degree spin in front stance. I've been fighting to keep balance, use the placement of my feet properly, and control my eyes/ head so that it supports the movement.

Also.... I've been doing extra "tutoring" of a couple of students of my club that may be testing for Shodan in the near future. I've been giving them extra attention, guidance, and suggestions to help them feel prepared for the challenge mentally, physically, and spiritually by showing up very early, and giving them as much as almost an hour of extra training before normal class. I've seen alot of progress in their skills, and I am confident that they will do well on their rank test.

I learned an important life lesson during one of the children's classes during which I assist. We were doing "frog hops" across the floor. In an attempt to gain in distance of the hops, I leaned forwards rather than keeping my back in proper straight alignment. I knew that I was risking injury as I did this, but I was willing to face the risk in a gamble that I could cover more ground. I did 3 hops like that.. and felt a sudden sharp pain erupt from my large gluteal muscles ( my posterior/ my butt) From that moment I felt pain. I couldn't sit, stand, lay, crouch.. nothing.. everything hurt. Oh dear.. oh dear.. I was at a loss. It took me a good half hour of stretching of the leg/ back/ and butt muscles just to be able to lift my leg again.
I learned a REALLY good karate lesson: Keep good posture when executing movements/ and technique unless you want to feel a very bad OUCHY in embarrassing spots. Also I learned the life lesson of: Proper posture can help prevent headaches, back aches, even digestion problems. So! Shoulders back, hips in, and back straight people.. if you want to stay healthy.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Training with a cold

Yes.. I have caught a seasonal cold.. either from my children bringing it home from school, my fellow dojo mates, or just from walking around in the world.

Ah.. but this cold has taught me alot of karate lessons.

a) You can achieve far more than you think that you can.

b) Attitude is everything.

c) Never let your issues stop you.

d) Admit to reality, but strive for perfection.

and finally..

e) Always be prepared for the unexpected.

I've found that my karate mind set has taken this cold as a challenge rather than as an obstacle. I've increased my intake of vitamin C, gave my body plenty of rest, but also called forth an effort to train everyday. Why train? because the exercise brings up my body temperature and creates an artificial "fever" that helps my immune system. Also, I found that the circulation increase, and the deep breathing in training actually helped me combat my coughing. I have had really restful night sleeps after my training. I didn't spend the whole night away drinking hot chocolate, and having a dry cough.

Sure.. when I woke up.. I'd have an early morning clearing of the lungs coughing fit.. but so far.. so good on this cold. I feel pretty normal. Sure.. there is a slight threat of a headache at the back of my mind, but other than that and a couple of "barks" that escape now and then... I feel great.

Pretty cool that karate can help you with the mundane challenge of a common cold.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Roadtrip with Supergroup7 Day 5, 6, and 7

My trip wasn't over. It was time to head home. Another 2 days of travel awaited us, and we were tired.

We left Dallas, and headed for Kansas City where Sensei Charley awaited our arrival. He had informed us to get into the city, and phone him as soon as we made it in, he'd come meet us, and escort us to his house. He insisted on hosting us. What a wonderful, and gracious welcome we received from him, and his family! They made us feel like family.

My husband and I were so exhausted when we arrived, we just sat in their living room not moving very much at first. We ended up falling asleep, and dreaming the first afternoon away.

Sensei Charley brought us to his dojo:

(Insert picture here)

What an awesome experience it was to train under him! He challenged every aspect of my knowledge, and filled in alot of questions that I had concerning certain movements of kata. He is very practical in his art, and makes sure that what he teaches is usable to his students. I was impressed by how he teaches in such a relaxed, and yet controlled manner. What a Sensei! There are alot of great Sensei out there, but few that I have found that I can feel comfortable learning under... I have to say that Sensei Charley is one of these Sensei that bring out the best in me.

The next day we were able to visit the Kansas City Zoo. I took some lovely pictures of that:

Insert pictures here

I saw a Red panda for the first time in my life. What a curious creature! I still am amazed at the mob of Kangaroos that I saw just relaxing on the field beside the path.

We headed home, refreshed, and ready for the last leg of our journey. Our last day spent in anticipation of seeing our backyard again, and entering our familliar mess of a house. Our trip was over, but our memories last for the rest of our lives.

Thank you to all of you that crossed my path during the past weeks for giving me such good memories to cherish.

Road trip with Supergroup7 Day 4

I woke up thrilled about what was waiting for me today.. I nearly bounced out of my room with my Bo staff in hand, and my gear in the other. You couldn't have tied me down.

We met at the University, and I was ready. Sensei Colin had warned me that I would be guiding the class this morning, and I had prepared myself. I knew that there wasn't much that I could offer these Martial artists that had over 20 years of experience to my few years that they hadn't already seen, but I KNEW that they haven't seen it from me.. so I rose to the challenge. With a smile, I entered the dojo. My smile instantly fled, and I nearly fell back into Sensei Colin ( who was walking behind me) The room was FULL of other martial artists. There was about 24 people in there already. I instantly thought "Oh no! I have to teach them too???" but my spirit rose to the occasion, and I answered my question "Sure I do, and I can.. 2 people or 20? What's the difference?"

So I turned to Sensei Colin and said "So... I am teaching these people also?"

He laughed and said "No.. no.. this is an Aikido class.. There is the Sensei.. over there.. He is teaching.. I was just testing you.."

I was both relieved, and in a way, disappointed.. ha ha ha. I looked forwards to the Aikido class. My first one.. ever. What an experience! Again, it was my Kyokushin training that pulled me through. I recognized some of the ideas that were presented to me, and I muddled through as best as I could. The students were so welcoming. They all knew what they were doing, and how to help me achieve similar results. I gained a deep respect for how intricate, and detailed the art of Aikido is.. how just a little shift in one direction can cause such an intense reaction in your opponent. I appreciated the way that the Sensei could make his demonstration partner go back, forwards, sideways, even upside down, and look like he wasn't DOING anything at all. I started understanding where the pain should be in my arm when performing the exercise, and where I wanted to send my opponent.

Sifu Tim, and Sensei Colin were indispensible to me.. they'd quickly explain the concept in terms that I was familiar with like "just do something like an inside block, with back stance".. and Boom.. I was in the proper frame of movement.. I just had to adjust this or that a little.

Here are some pictures of Sensei Colin, Sifu Tim, my husband, and myself at the end of our time together:

After Aikido class, Sifu Tim, my husband, and I went out for lunch together again, and quickly went over to the next event.

What an unbelievably fantastic facility we attended! It was astounding to see all of the resources that the students of this dojo had access to! The Sensei was warm, and welcoming.. He gave us a tour of the dojo, and shared stories of the past, and goals of the future. It warmed my heart to see how so many people flooded Sensei Colin with joyful greetings. The Sensei kindly allowed my husband, and I to train with his class. He gave us permission to bow, and pull out of class should we get tired. I gratefully accepted this gift, but deep within my heart I thought " I am Kyokushin! I have the Spirit of "Osu".. there is nothing that you can send my way that I haven't already experienced, and surpassed. Do your worst!"

Class started, and I followed every exercise with full power, and stance.. as is my habit. The only time that I had difficulty was when we did a strange kicking combination that I had never experienced before. Somehow my kicking foot would end up as the lead leg instead of as the back leg, and when I finished the combination I'd have the wrong foot forwards. I kept struggling to do the combination properly, and it took quite alot of repetitions before I smoothly GOT it. When I got it, I was happilly sailing through the air with my jumping double kick.

Then, something unusual happened. Sensei sent the lower kyus to go get water while the rest of us stood still in line. I quietly thought to myself "Ah .. yes.. of course.. they aren't as used to training.. this is good." I did some deep breathing to calm my body, and I set myself for more effort. Sensei sent the higher kyus to go get some water. I thought "Hmm.... that's different.. Will Black belts be next? What do I do? We've only started training.. I'm not used to drinking water at this point. Ah well.. when in Rome.."

Yes.. the Black belts were next to get water. I ran to the fountain, took a few sips, and then ran back into place.. ready for more training. It was announced that we would do Kata! I couldn't help but sparkle. Oh YES! Kata! I know.. I know.. I'm certifiably silly about kata.

The main problem was that this dojo does slightly different kata than what I know. My husband and I were encouraged to do our own versions. We did our kata, and seemed to always end before everyone else in the dojo... except for my Hangetsu. It took me double the time than them to perform my Hangetsu.

We were instructed to get our weapons, and line up. Everyone else had 4 different weapons.. I only had my little Canadian Maple Bo staff. We were called up to do our kata. I did the only one that I know: Chion kata. Over and over again, as the others did their different kata, I kept to my simple basic kata, and performed it. It was all that I had to offer, and it was the best that I had. What more can one ask?

Then it was time for sparring. I watched the students putting on layer after layer of protection on their bodies, and I was daunted by this. It was so foreign to me... and unusual. Foot pads, shin pads, knee pads, chest pads, forearm pads, gloves, head gear, and mouth guards. I asked the Sensei what the rules were for sparring, and for some reason, they seemed quite complicated to me. Now.. I know that in Kyokushin I train my heart, and body for a firm unshaken spirit, but suddenly everything seemed too overwhelming for me. My spirit was shaken, and I backed away from the challenge of sparring with this club. I sat on the sidelines with my husband, and watched the kyu level students fight, and I was totally taken aback. None of the sparring movements seemed familiar to me.. until I saw the black belts fight. Suddenly things looked normal again. I grabbed Sifu Tim's sleeve, tugged it and said "THERE! That's what I'm used to.. that is what sparring looks like to me.." Now, I was disappointed in myself. I had been wanting to spar with Sensei Colin for a long time, and here was my opportunity, and I had chickened out.

After the class ended, and the other students came in for the next class, I went up to Sensei Colin with shining eyes, and said "It looks like I will not be able to spar with you before we leave.." He gave me one of those "One minute" hand gestures, and went to talk with others for awhile. He returned, and then gracefully motioned for me to go before him.. like how a man gestures to a lady for a dance.

"Right here? Right now?" I asked him totally shocked. We were surrounded by students getting ready for class.

He smiled, and bowed at me. I bowed back, and got into fighting stance.. the whole time I thought.. "Oh boy.. oh boy.. oh boy.. oh boy... I'm in trouble... calm down.. you can handle this.. Oh boy.. oh boy.. "

Sensei Colin came at me like a Cyclone with booster rockets. I instantly went into my ALL-where feeling, and just reacted. I couldn't tell you exactly what I did, or what he did, but one of the things that I remember was hearing a gasp of sound come from the crowd of students, and a comment of something like "WOAH! Slow down... you are going to crash into someone.." I could barely see Sensei Colin's feet, and hands coming at me. I knew that he had sent a kick my way, but it wasn't until it had already hit, and was gone before I realized that I was struck. Normally, in Kyokushin, I would stop my forward attack movement in respect to the fact that I was just struck, and that the Sempai/ Sensei had used control. I remembered my glasses being struck. Since I wear a strap on my glasses the force of the blow just sent them to the side. I just grabbed the glasses, put them back into place, and kept fighting. Yes, I realize that they are a hazzard, but they are what I wear all the time, everyday.. they are like prosthetic limbs, and I need to work with them. If ever I have to fight to defend myself, these glasses will be on my face (like it or not).

At one point, Sensei Colin sent a punch to my face, and just held it there. I reacted quite strongly to the punch by holding it and saying "You can't punch to the head, it's not allowed!" Looking back at that moment, I laugh at how silly I was being: Here was a Shodan telling a Yondan that he isn't allowed to punch to her face in his home dojo. It was my Kyokushin training that had kicked in.. we aren't supposed to do any hand strikes to the head, only kicks. It wasn't until later on that I realized what I had done, and had said to him. To Sensei Colin's honor, and credit, he apologized to me.. can you believe that? He apologized to me, and refrained from hand strikes to the head after that.

The sparring session ended quickly. I was so happy. I had sparred Sensei Colin, and I could go home feeling satisfied that I did my best.

We were able to meet Sensei Keith Yates, and have our picture taken with him.

Afterwards we all met at a restaurant for supper, drinks, and farewells. I was so positive that I was going to end up in streams of tears when we said goodbye. I kept telling myself that it isn't over yet.. we are still waiting for our supper. It isn't over yet, we are still sharing stories. It isn't over yet. The tears didn't fall. Sifu Tim went home with his friend, and I told myself that it wasn't over yet. But as things go, it finally was over, and I stood outside in the parking lot looking at Sensei Colin's smiling face, and knowing that he was heading to the total opposite side of the earth, and that this is a very big globe. I didn't want to cry. Martial artists aren't supposed to cry.. right?

I saw in Sensei Colin's eyes the secure promise that one day we will meet again, and I believed him. The threat of tears stopped within me. I found myself looking forwards to our next encounter. I will have had more training experience on my belt, and maybe.. just maybe.. I might be more of a challenge to him when we spar.

Road trip with Supergroup7 Day 3

The day started off well.. we arrived at the University nice and early, found a place to park, and found the building that we needed to be in. There were computers in the entryway for students to access the Internet for free. I sent some emails to my children with a big smile on my face.

Sensei Colin walked in, and for me it was like seeing a long lost big brother. I knew him so well from all of those years of connecting through emails, and working together on his manual. My heart soared with the knowledge that for the next 2 days my husband and I will be spending time training with him.

Sifu Tim joined us a few minutes later. My first impression of him was of a quiet mountainside. I know.. that sounds strange doesn't it? But that is what I felt.. there is a rugged, powerful, and beautiful silence on the top of a mountain, and that was the feeling that I got from Sifu Tim.

We went into a special matted room designed for JuJitsu training. I playfully danced on the mats feeling them sink with my every step. I found that kata was difficult to perform on those mats because the floor sinks under your feet as you change weight in stance, and it throws your balance off.

Sensei Colin led the warm up. I enjoyed every challenge of it. He combined thinking with moving, and it was FUN! We stretched out some.. Sifu Tim took a picture of us doing the splits... Ha ha.. I can't help but chuckle as I see Sensei Colin all low near the floor, and our butts way up in the air.

Sensei Colin then introduced us to some new concepts about blind spots, and how to use them in our sparring. We learned to "see with the hip", and to improve how we use our kicks. It wasn't like he was "teaching".. it was more like a musician comparing how they attack certain parts of a song with other musicians. We were all learning together, and yet there was always a guide. It was fantabulous!

Sifu Tim introduced us to break falling. I shall never forget this experience. He started off simple, and advanced the challenge until at one point we were challenged to break some pretty interesting falls. I remember feeling my body stop moving, but all the organs within me shifted as if they were trying to continue going through the floor. I don't think that I've ever seen the wall spin past me so fast before.

We switched to some self defense maneuvers, and I became Sifu Tim's demonstration partner.

My Kyokushin training pulled me through here.. The things that we worked on were familiar, and I was able to understand what was expected from me, and apply it pretty confidently.

It was lunch time, and Sensei Colin had to go be with his family. Sifu Tim stayed with my husband, and I to join us for lunch. We had a couple of hours before we were expected at the next dojo, so I suggested that we go shopping at a mall. I found a little Spanish mall mentioned in the map that they provide for tourists to Dallas, and we decided to try to find this one.

We got lost. Mostly due to the fact that we didn't have a true map of Dallas. The ones that we could purchase at a reasonable price only showed the main highways, and left all of the smaller streets out of the picture. We wandered around for a good hour until we found the Spanish Mall... only to find that there only existed two active businesses in the Mall.. and that all the other ones were for lease. To Sifu Tim's credit, and proof of his patience, he wandered through the book store, and the furniture store with us happilly. Ha ha ha.. We had fun just walking together and talking. It didn't matter how fancy the surroundings were. We headed over to Sensei Brad Webb's dojo a little early. I was a little concerned because it was rush hour in Dallas, and we didn't exactly know where the dojo was.. I wanted to give ourselves time to spare. But with Sifu Tim's aide, we were at the dojo a whole hour ahead of time. Sifu Tim knows his way around busy cities, and he made each street choice make sense.

What a nice experience it was to train with Sensei Brad! If felt like our home dojo. It was close, intimate, and filled with suggestions of how to improve. I really was impressed by the students that I trained with.. they were so polite to us, and willing to apply themselves. Sensei Brad's little girls melted my husband's heart with their big adorable eyes, and expressive personalities. I, however, was immune to their charms.. (Yeah.. sure...) We focused on kata. After class, Sifu Tim asked me how many forms did I think that we did in that hour.. I tried to count them in my head.. I think that it was about 30 of them.. but my husband insists that it was only 22 of them. Either way, I think that we did quite a few of them.. and that put me in my happy spot. I LOVE kata.

Sifu Tim drove us home to our hotel, and we invited him to come up and have some fresh coffee, and snacks with us. Sensei Colin joined us for a couple of hours, also. My husband pulled out his guitar and we sang together, and listened to Sifu Tim play music. I didn't want the night to end, but the truth was that there was a full day of training waiting for me the next day, and already my eyelids were falling down. We parted ways with the promise that we would see each other soon.

Road trip with Supergroup7 Day 2

You didn't think that I would just jump to the Martial arts part of my trip, did you? I had to survive over 20 hours of driving down highways, so I think that it's only fair that you will get a couple of postings about that part of my journey.

I couldn't sleep. I honestly tried. I was SO tired from the highway travel we had done, but I laid there in bed staring at the darkened wall opposite me thinking about what is going to happen. I tried every trick that I could to settle my mind, and relax.. but none of them helped. At around 5 am, my husband sat up in bed, and I greeted him. With a big smile he agreed that we could leave early, and travel since we could always just pull over to the side of the road and nap if we felt the need.

We ended up at St. Joseph's for breakfast in time to greet the sunrise.

We experienced a Tolled Highway for the first time, and arrived in Oklahoma City during the late afternoon Rush hours. I have to state how much I learned to admire the driving skills of my husband. He handled the challenge of construction, constant boiling and changing traffic, and signs pointing this way and that ( you can consider it chaos) with calmness, confidence, and grace. Nothing shook him. He followed his path through the city, and continued onto the highway leading to Dallas.

As the sun set, and the darkness set in, we headed into the most harrowing part of our trip. The interstate highway was getting larger, and more complicated. There seemed to be a swarm of red taillights before us, and a swarm of white headlights behind us on this main artery of movement. Everything was going by so fast, we knew that we needed a certain exit, but we didn't know when to expect it. My husband stayed near the left hand side of this multilayered freeway. Suddenly, before he had a chance to change lanes, we found ourselves on an early exit. My husband tried to get back onto the main road, but the cars were far too tightly packed. He chose to follow the exit, and my instant comment was "Honey.. this isn't good.."

He responded tightly "I know.. but we are commited to this.."

We got off of that highway as soon as possible, and tried to find a way to return to our original highway. My husband asked me "What does the map say?"

I had no answers for him. I didn't have an extensive map.. it only showed me those roads that we needed to take, not ALL of the roads. We drove on a little, and ended up in the parking lot of a closed down amusement park. We were lost. I felt saddened because I knew that my friends Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim were waiting for us at a dojo to join them. My husband and I took a few seconds to calm our nerves, and then tried to return to the Main Highway. We wandered around looking for our highway.. but none of the signs pointed to a number, they all said names like "Lyndon B. Johnson Highway" or "George W. Bush Freeway". I needed a number! That is how I recognized where we had to go. I felt so lost. I was the navigator, but here I was totally lost... until I saw a little sign set deeply among the pillars of the various levels of highway with the number that we needed. I could guide my husband again. Back up onto the Highway we went.. back into the nightmare.

We survived another 20 minutes of trying to continue on through the twists, turns, and constant movement of lights with no idea of where we were supposed to exit.

At one point I just decided to tell my husband to get off the highway, and we would go ask for directions. We tried to exit the highway, but there were booths that asked for forty cents exact change. Forty cents! To get OFF of a highway? I could understand paying to get on.. but to have to pay to get OFF? I didn't know that we had to pay to get off a highway. I frantically searched my purse for change. Luckilly I had the money. We pulled off of the highway, went into the closest parking lot of a mall, and sat there with white eyes, and terrified shallow breathing. Both of us agreed that we did NOT want to go back onto that Freeway again tonight. No way. We'd sleep in the car first.

We received awesome help from the staff at Circuit City. They mapquested directions to our hotel, and printed it up for us. My husband and I were pretty close to our destination. We gratefully took their gift, and followed the guidance. We made it to the corner where our hotel was supposed to be, and looked diligently for it. In the dark we couldn't see anything that resembled a hotel on that corner. At first, I nearly broke down into tears right there. We were FAR too late to go meet Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim. We were lost in a strange city, and we had no idea if we were in the bad part of it or not. We were so tired, and drained. Here we were only blocks away from our goal, and we didn't know where to go. However, a calmness came over my heart. I remembered my Sensei telling me that it is in the difficult times in our life that our hard training will pull us through. We will think about how we survived that belt test, and faced that challenge victoriously, and that this present little problem is nothing in comparison. Yes.. that was true enough. I needed to focus on solutions, not on problems. My mind frame instantly changed into strategy. I saw a Jack in the Box restaurant that was open 24 hours, and I suggested to my husband that we stop there, take a breath, and a snack, perhaps we could get directions. As we walked towards the door of the restaurant, my husband pointed across the street to a little knee high sign. "HEY!" he said "Isn't that the name of our hotel???"

It was! We were across the street from our hotel. The hotel was UNDER the freeway... right under all of the multilayers of cement that criss crossed.. no wonder we had such a rough time finding it. The next morning I took a picture of that knot of horror that my husband and I survived.

Later on I found out that Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim were also lost on the other side of Dallas. They had spent an hour and a half travelling in circles trying to find the dojo wherein we were supposed to meet.

The drought is over, now for the downpour!

Dear friends.. I have neglected this blog for the past half month due to my vacation, but I return with a downpour of stories, and pictures. I am a person who loves to tell stories, so prepare for long, exhaustive postings. If you'd like to read a very concise, and well explained version of my adventures in Dallas, I would recommend you to Sifu Tim White's report here:

Now.. gather your provisions, and prepare for "Road trip with supergroup7":

Day 1:

I had said my goodbyes to the children the day before. I had confidence that they were going to do well. We had provided them with all the necessities, and I knew that my daughter was going to handle the challenge of running the house with competence. It was going to be tough sailing on the first day, however, because Mom and Dad were leaving on the very first day of school. My daughter had taken the day off from work to be there all day for her siblings when they came home bursting with who their teacher was, and which friends were in their classroom, and what papers needed signing.

My husband and I were on the road far before the sun decided to come up into the sky. We talked excitedly about all that has brought us this far, all of our anticipations, and all of the various things that we need to do to prepare for the day. The first hours on the road went by quickly. We approached the U.S./ Canada border with the newness of total beginners.. we weren't even sure which path we were supposed to follow, or what to expect. I've heard of horror stories where people were detained for hours as their vehicles, and luggage were thoroughly checked.. this is not a good thought to have when you are facing the customs officer.

I remembered Sosai Oyama's words "A confident and grateful heart reaps many rewards for a Martial artist." So I placed my mind in that positive zone, and answered all the questions calmly, and pleasantly. There was a deep glow of inner pride when I informed him that I was a martial artist, and that I was travelling to Dallas to attend an event. I've always had that knowledge within me, but to speak it out loud to someone seems to make it MORE of a reality. Yes... I am a Martial artist.

We entered the States without any delay, and started the long ride. My husband and I noticed something unusual during our hours on the highway. At first, we saw the remnants of a blown tire strewn on the side of the road. We reacted with "Wow.. look at that!". Then we went under a bridge, and saw some radio towers in the distance. This doesn't sound too interesting, does it? It BECAME interesting, because it became a pattern. When we'd approach a bridge, we'd see broken tires, and a radio tower. I swear.. it felt like we were driving on a treadmill. My husband commented jokingly "Hey! Didn't we pass that broken tire, bridge, radio tower just a while back? Are we driving in circles?" We started looking for the combination. We'd point to each item and say "Check.. check... oh oh.. no radio tower.. I guess that the highway decoration commitee ran out of funds on this section." If I estimated how many times we saw that combination, I'd say it was at least 60 times that day. The next time we drive down that highway, I'm going to keep count.

We stopped at Wahpeton for lunch, and filled ourselves with fast food. Our bodies were not too happy about sitting still in a car for hours, and hours. I suddenly developed a deep appreciation, and gratitude for what truckers go through everytime they hit the road. I had a deep realization of just how many trucks we saw on the highway as we travelled, and how many people dedicate their energy towards getting food, clothes, and other items to and from the various places. Wow!

I knew that I had just started this road trip, and that I needed to set my mind to the fact that we will be in that vehicle travelling the roads far more than we will be doing anything else.

We headed farther stopping at various rest stops to give my husband's legs a chance to stop cramping. We would loosen our muscles by doing some kicks, basics, and a little bit of kata. My husband assured me that we will invest into cruise control should we ever consider this kind of trip again.

Back on the road, and looking forwards to stopping for the next meal, and to find a hotel/ motel for the night. We arrived at the city in nighttime. I pointed out a sign that said "Food, Lodging next exit" Let me just say for the record "They blatantly misdirected us with that sign." We turned off the highway, and found nothing more than a little gas station that offered hot dogs, and pizza. Grrrr..... Well.. I GUESS that you can call that "food", but that wasn't what passed through my mind when I read the sign. As for the lodging.. I never did find anything in that area that remotely resembled something that we could rest in.

We went back onto the highway, and tried the next exit. This one didn't have a "Food/ Lodging" sign, but I thought to myself that I'd have the same chance of finding something on this road as the last road. We found a Days Inn. As for supper, I looked around for what was close to our hotel. There was a Pizza Hut express, and a Hardees. I LOVE vegetarian pizza, so my husband went to get us some pizza.. but we became aware that this outlet does not serve salad.

I went to the Hardees looking for salad. I stood there for a long time searching through the list of things that they serve, and I couldn't find any such thing as a side salad. Finally I approached the teller, and asked them. Do you know what her response was? She said "Lady, you know that you are in a Hardee's right?"
Ha ha ha ha ha.... I just grinned ear to ear at the irony.
I answered her "I'm a vegetarian ( Well.. not really... I'm actually a Food combiner but it's too complicated to explain all that so I just call myself a vegetarian to keep things simple) Do you not have any salad at all?"

"Well.." She thought to herself "We do have this Taco salad special that is running this month.. but it has meat."

"Can I not order it without the meat? I don't mind paying full price." I said. ( Now... between you and I, I didn't think that this would be something big... just leave out the meat.. and give me the salad. Simple, right? N'uh uh.)

You should have seen the reaction I got: People were peering from behind the kitchen borders at me? Questions were racing through the kitchen "No meat? What? She wants it with no meat? But ...", "Well.. just add extra beans then.." "Oh.. then add extra salsa.."

What the heck did I just start by asking for no meat? This is my best guess.. I believe that the Taco Salad is supposed to weigh a certain weight when they serve it to you, and due to the fact that I had asked for no meat they had to adjust other things to match the weight. I just gave these poor people a complex math equation. HA HA HA!!!! I didn't look into the bag that was handed to me with the salad, I just brought everything back to my hotel room.

Pleased as punch, I sat down to my pizza, and salad. I opened the bag, and pulled out this MEGA salad.. It was humongous!!!! It was worth 3 normal salad sizes.. HA HA HA.... My husband declined my offer to help me eat it. So.. That's what you get when you order no meat on your taco salad.. ha ha ha.. I learned to make other choices on my trip.

Monday, September 04, 2006

On vacation

Supergroup7 isn't in right now. She is gone on vacation to the south to experience what it is like to be thrown around by a rather large selection of very experienced, and wise Martial artists. Hopefully she will return in one piece, and will not have too many broken bones. It would be nice if her fingers were still intact so that she can type down her experiences on this weblog for you.

Do not expect any additions to this weblog for a good 2 weeks.. but as soon as she is back there will be much to share. She hopes to find her house still standing when she returns.. Her teenagers are going to be in charge of the household for those days. Heaven help us!

Until she returns, she wishes good training, and healthfilled progress to you all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Karate training came in quite helpful

Let me tell you a true story of what happened to my family, and how my karate training helped.

My younger set of children were bored, it was a beautiful day, so Mom gave them the permission to take a little half hour walk to the local Mall to shop together. My 15 year old son, and 13 year old daughter escorted their 3 siblings ( 10 years, 9 years, and 7 years) to go window shop for the afternoon.

My husband went to pick up our 17 year old daughter from work, and on their way back home, they saw a huge black funnel cloud of a tornado in the northern sky of our city. He came running into the house asking "Where are the kids? are they still shopping?"

"Yes, why?" I responded to his intensity every motherly instinct now on alert. He told me about the funnel cloud, and asked me if I had any idea as to whether the kids were already on their way back home, or where they would be in the Mall. I had no clue. My husband turned on his heels, and threw these words over his shoulder as he rushed out the door "I'm going to find them.."

Meanwhile, my young set of children were thinking of coming home, but they had noticed the dark clouds and lighting. My 13 year old daughter's instincts told her that there was something wrong with the weather, that it wasn't just a normal storm. She hesitated to tell the others that they should head for home. She trusted her inner hunch, and phoned home.

The cordless phone rang as my husband was rushing to the car. I lifted the phone to my ear, heard my daughter's voice, and reacted by saying "Hang on!" to her. (*This is where my karate training kicks in.*)

I was out of our back door, jumped our back steps in one smooth movement, ran out the backyard, and sprinted down the backlane. I could see my husband's car was quickly heading away to turn.. I put forth the strongest KIAI that I had within me! The car stopped on a dime. My husband talked to my daughter, found out exactly where the kids were in the mall and went to pick them up, and bring them to safety. He told me that my kiai RANG in the car even though his windows were all closed, and he said "Wow! That was LOUD!!!"

Here is the news report about the tornado:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shotokan seminars, and Kyokushin belt rank tests don't mix well

I just want to inform you all that attending a 3 day seminar with a Master at the same time as taking the physically grueling Kyokushin belt rank tests is a really bad combination for one's body.

This week I have attended a total of 18 hours of demanding training in only 5 days. Sure.. I enjoyed myself, but near the end of this week, my body was really not doing well.. threatening to faint more than once, and cramping in the legs all of Saturday.

Now I'm so tired that I barely can type properly. Yes.. I know.. shame on me.. double shame. OH but I had fun!!! I broke boards for my belt test with a variety of strikes while someone held the boards. It was kind of disappointing how quickly that moment came, and went. Yes.. I passed my test, and I am now a Yellow belt (6th kyu) in my Kyokushin art. Picture will be posted soon.

The seminar was really exciting as I was able to train with people that I haven't seen for a whole year. Children that were so short at one time towered over my head.. What ARE they feeding kids these days?

I always enjoy training under Yaguchi Sensei. It never fails that I will learn something important about my foundation, and how to move my body more smoothly, and efficiently. His instructions are so gentle, warm, and constant. His demonstrations astoundingly inspiring. All he did was show us a downblock, and you could FEEL the power of that move vibrate through the room. Although there are hundreds of us students in the room, somehow we all feel a connection with him as he walks through the dojo guiding us.

It was an AWESOME week of training! However, I am paying the piper as I type.. my legs humm with exhaustion, and my body is warning me to rest on Sunday or it's going to run away from me.. Ha ha ha.

So... *evil glint in my eyes* I'll take it easy...... I'll only do some shin/arm conditioning tomorrow, my inversions, some weight lifting, and maybe a little Bo staff training.. in addition to all of the housework that I need to do...... HA HA HA.... that's resting???? HA HA HA Well.. in my schedule.. . yep.. that's resting.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A warning to future people wishing to comment on my kata

I just received this post from Anonymous on my Hangetsu kata video:

"That was awful. Sloppy. No power. Weak stance. ugh. You have a lot of work to do. "

I embrace correction. I will be the first to tell you that my karate is far from being what I aspire to become. I realize that I am only a hobbiest in the Martial arts, and not a full time artist. I can only dedicate a small portion of my time and energy towards this new lifestyle that I have interwoven with all of my other demands, and responsibilities. When I look at the reality of "who" I am, I can say honestly that I'm only a Mom who loves kata. Bruce Lee, and Jet Li have no competition here. Ha ha ha But you know what? I'm doing pretty darn good for a 42 year old who just started training 3 years ago, and I plan to be doing better than this when I reach my golden years.

Honestly, when a little grey=haired overweight mommy like me actually manages to get through the moves of Hangetsu without falling over, or forgetting any of them.. that's pretty awesome! Especially when I remember how it took me 6 months just to perform a knife hand strike properly, and even then, I wasn't doing it at the proper level. And did you SEE how fast that front snap kick was?? Holy Cow! It blurred in the camera.. it's BLURRED1 I can't even check on my technique because it's too fast a kick. Boo Ya! OSU! (*Does a happy dance*)

So.. if you wish to tell me that my kata sucks, That's fine. It's no surprise to me. However, in the future, you will have to make these comments with your identity available. I am warning all posters of comments that any "anonymous" comments will be deleted regardless of the content. So even if you praise my glorious hairstyle, If you do it anonymously, I will delete it.

I would rather that you support my efforts to train in martial arts, by offering an explanation as to how I can improve. Sure, tell me that my kata was awful.. What was awful about it? It was sloppy? Which part? All of it? How? What can I do to improve the sloppiness? Weak stance? Strange, it felt strong to me.. where is it weak? Where must I focus my energy to create a stronger stance? I have my feet turned inwards, and my knees in the right place, my butt is tucked in... it FEELS right. Help me to understand what it is that I can change to make that stance less weak. You took the time to comment on my kata, and I appreciate that.. please offer me a tidbit of knowledge as to improving it rather than trying to discourage me from continuing on my path ( discouraging me? Not possible! I've been through too much to be discouraged from climbing this Shotokan mountain.. get in the line up of people who have attempted to discourage me.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A full Hangetsu

Now.. for your viewing pleasure, or hopefully enjoyment, I present to you my awkward attempt at the kata Hangetsu:

I'm going to comment on it first.. because that is what I like doing.. heh heh:

Now you see me in my Shotokan dojo with my black belt on.

I found out that even if you place brand new batteries in that camera.. there is only so much video time that it can capture. I had to speed up my kata movements to be able to complete the whole kata within the time alloted. Sheesh... I like those opening movements to be more slow, and pronounced... But you saw that in the other thread I have on this blog called "Half a Hangetsu". So now you see my kata done more quickly.. It has a slightly different feel to it. Not as much as a building thunderstorm anymore.. but that's o.k. I still have that feeling in my mind.

Look for my black belt coming totally undone at the first front kick, down block, reverse punch, high block combination. Tee hee hee.. I'm glad that it didn't come floating down to my feet there, and trip me. I didn't notice the belt loosen as I was performing the kata. It wasn't until it was all done, that I looked down and saw no more knot.

I'm going to be the first to admit that I am not sure whether the stance on that second last movement of a low punch is supposed to be in Hangetsu, or front stance. It looks like I'm struggling for a front stance in the kata.

Oh man.. I pulled in my legs as much as I thought that I could on that Neko Ashi dachi (Cat stance) at the final movement.. but it looks like I could drive a truck through the opening there. MUCH work to be done, I see.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mommy's little girl

I was hearing the usual amount of screaming, and loud noises coming from the living room that happens whenever my husband starts playfighting with the kids.

My husband comes into the kitchen with a purposeful step, and says to me excitedly "Do you know what she just did???"

My little 10 year old daughter was trailing him with her smile as wide as her face.

My husband explained to me that he and his daughter were play fighting for the remote control to the T.V. He had it in his left hand and was playing "keep away" from her. He grasped her left wrist with his right hand, and held on as tight as possible because she was doing everything she could to get the remote. To his surprise, she did a perfect hand release motion, flipped herself free of his strong grasp, and jumped at the remote catching him in that stunned motionlessness. She ran off giggling at her success.

"Where did you learn THAT?" he burst out in shock. She explained that she had seen me practicing my break holds quite frequently, and when her Daddy had her pinned, she remembered what she had seen me do, and decided to try and see if it would work.

So there were my husband with a look of pride, and joy in his eyes at what his little girl achieved, and my daughter beaming with self confidence. I didn't know that my home practice would create such an effect. Wow!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Calling out for advice.. any opinion acceptable..

One of my good internet friends is looking for thoughts, suggestions, and advice to help her in this situation:

I am struggling to re-motivate myself in karate after a long break. I am wondering what to do to re-enter my beloved world of martial arts. It's now several weeks since I motivated myself into turning up at a lesson - partly because the last thing I feel like doing after 14 hours with a 4 year old and a 1 year old is to go out and exert myself - but I'm sure that's not the main reason.
What can I do??

I am tempted to start afresh and try a local Taikwondo class (not sure that I can even spell it, let alone attempt to learn it)... this would be a complete change and would present me with new challenges etc.
You probably need to know more about why I feel I can't get back into karate after 5 years away (I stopped to have children) - difficult to answer - it's partly because I wear a black belt and yet have forgotten a lot of what I once knew - e.g. katas - and struggle to energise myself into re-learning them. The pace of a lesson is so slow when you don't wuite remember your moves. It's also because my former club is no more and I'm training with a new sensei and new karate-ka.... and it's not quite as physically challenging as it was in my old club - I need more to aim for.

Any views on taikwondo? (There's a 'good' local club that I could try out)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday best and Bo staff practice don't mix

Ah.. I was so HAPPY with myself. In my ongoing effort to be able to train with my Bo staff at home, I decided to wait until it was past dusk to work on it in my backyard. I figured that the coolness of the oncoming night would make all those pesky wasps absent. The worst that I'd have to worry about is a few mosquitos, and I can handle those.

My husband came out to sit on the back step and keep an eye on his wife.

I happilly pulled out my staff, and started my warm up. YES! No wasps.. I was correct about my prediction. I was able to go through most of my basics, kata, stances, etc. with no hassles at all.

However, I did misjudge my own clothing attire. I had not changed into my karate Gi, instead I was wearing a flowing long skirt, and shirt combination. It was Sunday, and I had dressed up that day for my religious service, and had not changed out of the outfit.

As I was doing one of those wonderful spinning defenses with my bo, the end of the staff snagged into the bottom of my skirt. The material of the skirt flowed up beautifully in an arc like a spanish flamenco dancer changing the normal spin of the bo staff which then gracefully, and powerfully "THUMPED" into the side of my head. I stood there seeing stars for a few seconds wondering how THAT happened... It took a couple more thumps in the head before I realized what was going on. This provided no end of entertainment for my husband who sat on the back step chuckling to himself.

So.. I learned a valuable karate life lesson: Sunday best, and Bo staff practice, don't mix.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Half a Hangetsu

And there you have it folks!

Let me give you some details about the video:

It is shot at the back of my Kyokushin dojo.. which would explain why I'm wearing my Kyokushin Gi, and Blue belt with yellow stripes instead of my Shotokan Black belt.

We had arrived early for my Kyokushin class, and I remembered that I had brought my camera. I asked my sweet husband to catch my Hangetsu for me so that I could place it on my weblog. My hubby doesn't do alot of video capturing so he's still learning about how to keep the filming smooth. It's an artform. This would explain why the camera is moving, and shifting alot as I perform.

It was a VERY windy day. This would explain the sudden insertion of the camera strap flying before the camera just before the video ends... Look for the blue flip!

I didn't know that my husband had already started videotaping as I stood there waiting patiently for him to tell me to start... ha ha ha.. so there is quite a long pause at the beginning showing me just standing there. I'm actually asking him "Is it ready?" and he is saying "I'm already doing it.." Ha ha ha.

The batteries ran out of energy. This would explain why the video stops right after the first kiai.. shucks! I was totally shocked. I had put in brand new batteries last Friday, and I had not used the camera. I assumed that the batteries would still have full energy. Why are they depleted??? A friend of mine told me that you have to remove the batteries from the camera when it is not in use or it willl suck the power regardless of it's on or off. AARGH! That knowledge doesn't come with the user's manual of the camera.. does it?

O.K. Now onto my comments of my kata:

This is the first time that I've seen myself doing this kata, and I'm not too disappointed. I like how my knees are bent properly, and you can see me switching my weight to center as it should be. Sure.. It looks like the stance is a little wider than a more experienced karate-ka, but that is one of the developing aspects of body knowledge. At least my feet are pointing in the right direction. It was pretty hard to slide my feet along the grass keeping contact because the grass was all bumpy, and distracting as compared to a smooth wooden floor. I'm swaying a little as I exchange weight.. ah! That needs correcting.

Hand techniques: Oh oh... my timing needs work. Foot and hand together.. I'm almost there. I'm chambering rather high for Shotokan.. it is supposed to be at belt level, but my Kyokushin "accent" is lifting it up to about mid chest. My target is good.. right smack dab center, and my blocks are not going out past my body line. YAY! I've been working on that for 2 years.

Do you see that little "squish" movement at the end of technique? I believe that I need to strengthen that, and HOLD it more so that it doesn't look so much like a "blip" but more like a concentrated "OMPH". Ha ha ha.

I hope that you enjoyed this. I'm going to attempt to video the whole thing at my shotokan dojo.