Monday, December 17, 2007

Pictures from my test, and New Years goals

Well.. I want to show you some pictures from my belt test. This time I have a few, however, I also want to respect a promise that I made myself to keep dojo happenings in the dojo. So.. Here is how I have balanced the two desires:

I decided to crop the pictures so that only I am in the scene. These pictures revealed alot of different things to me. Since I wasn't "posing" for a picture, and I was just training, I now can see what good habits, and bad habits I have acquired through these candid shots. Here is a picture of me in fighting stance during a sparring match. I'm happy to see that my knees are bent, feet pointing in the direction that I want them, and my body is angled to my opponent. ( That was one of my 2007 goals! It looks like I achieved it.) My right guard hand is a little lower than I'd like it. So I've decided to make improving how I hold my guard hands as one of my 2008 karate goals. I love how my weight is on the balls of my feet in a natural way. NICE! NICE! I've tended to fight flat-footed almost seeking for security from the floor. It looks like I'm a little more relaxed now.

This is a picture of me doing my 50 push ups. From the condition of my body, I believe that it was taken near the last 10 push ups of that set. I am so glad for this picture because it reveals how bowed down, and curved my body is. This is so wrong for good dynamics. There is nothing supporting my shoulders here, not my neck, back, or stomach muscles. NO wonder those last dozen push ups felt like only my arms were working, and were the most difficult ones to achieve. I'm far more aware of what was happening. During the test, I could feel that something was wrong, but I couldn't figure out why things were not working as well as usual. This picture told me in just one glance. Here is another 2008 karate goal: Improve my body posture during push ups to continually keep a straight strong body line.

Here is a picture of me performing moving basics. I get a great view of how I'm forming my fist. Not bad, but it could be improved. It seems that I'm putting more pressure on the thumb, and pinkie finger, but ignoring the three mid fingers of the right hand. Hmmmm... That would explain why I've been having troubles when I strike with my right on the punching bag. I've always wondered why my right fist seemed weaker than my left when I punched. I thought that it was from a previous injury that I received on my largest right knuckle, but now that I look at how I form my fist, I can see that I must be "favoring" that hand still. It's time that I can command that fist to get stronger, since that knuckle has healed ages ago. AHA! Another karate goal for 2008!!

Kicking.. not bad.. not bad. I'm keeping my hands up! YES! I used to throw my hands down with almost each kick. My hips are doing better, also. OH! and to my joy.. I'm keeping my supporting leg's knee bent on my roundhouse kicks. YES!!! I am pretty happy with the progress of my kicks.

Now.. my goals for 2007 were:

Kihon: I want to be more alert to hear the various messages that my
body is telling me of "yes.. I can do more.." or "Hold on.. any more of this,
and I'm going to break down on you, " or "the technique would flow more
naturally THIS way."

Kata: Turning.. I want to focus on understanding the turns within the
kata,to understand my balance, placement of feet, turning of my head, and

Kumite: Ah... back to basics here as I struggle to keep my belt knot
pointing the right way, my feet pointing the right way, and my hands
pointing the right way.

I feel that I have met quite a few of my goals. I have become far more secure on my turns, and I have become more comfortable with my sparring stance. As to listening to my body, I listened, but then I ordered it to do more than it thought it could.. um.. well.. that really wasn't my goal, but it's what worked.

This year, 2008, my goals have become:

Kihon: To work on my right fist so that it is more solid, and constant. To unite my body's effort when doing push ups so that I do not stress my shoulders.

Kata: To compete at a Tournament in Montreal this spring as a Kyokushin Adult in Kata competition.

Kumite: To work on keeping my guard hands up at in a better level when sparring so that they can be useful.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ahoy, matie.. just call me Peg leg..

OUCH! OW! Left leg was slammed pretty good during my test on Friday night, and now, sleeping is near impossible as I turn onto my left all of the time, wake up in pain, and then try to go back to sleep. It's been 2 days. It's not a joint pain, but more like a "nerve" pain. I can walk without issue, o.k... yes.. I do limp when I walk, but ask my thigh muscle to do anything other than rest, and I groan.

I saw the kick coming, but I was in an awkward position to avoid, and I was too tired to shift, or lift anything. I tried to absorb the kick, but I felt my leg overwhelmed by the power of it. Sigh..

I'm limping everywhere, and in everything that I do. Motherly duties do not cease just because Mom is sore everywhere. I've gone grocery shopping.. very slowly. I've done the dishes. I've cleaned house. Sure.. my husband, and kids are giggling at the little whining tones that I let out each time that they offer to give me a hug.

It's too soon to inform anyone as to whether or not I passed the test, but I can say that I did my best, and that I survived quite well. I've come a LONG way, baby! I managed to train hard for 5 hours, and still be able to walk away in one piece.

I was very satisfied with my kata. I was able to perform it the way that I wanted to.. nice.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Testing day, and gratitude

Today I test for 3rd Kyu in Kyokushin. My heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of Karate in my life. I am testing for a Brown stripe.. Wow. Just WOW!


Let me do a reality check again.. yep.. it's going to be me up there testing for a BROWN stripe in Kyokushin karate. I'd better check again to see if this is real.

I am really grateful for all that I have achieved in the past 4 years. Oh man.. it's been such a daydream! To think that I laughed at the words of my friend Sensei Paul when he suggested that I'd successfully make it past yellow belt in Shotokan. Look what I'm facing today.. Wow!

Pass or fail my heart is happy that I have a dojo to train in, a good Sensei to train under, and the good health to attend classes.

People will not see me doing things such kicks as this. That is beyond the reach of my body, but not beyond my heart, and mind. My karate is my own, and no one elses. I will do my best with what I have, and I will walk away feeling proud of my effort regardless to the result.

I am so grateful that I can even attempt to meet the demands of this test. I will live up to the virtues, spirit, and goals within me. There is so much strength, and goodness around me, and within me that I can lean on to hold me up through the demands of such a difficult test. I appreciate that I can experience this in my life. Here is a joyful prayer of unity, and mutual joy for all those who are facing a belt rank test in this month.

"We will train our hearts, and bodies for a firm unshaken spirit.
We will pursue the true meaning of the Martial Way so that in time our senses may be alert.
With true vigor, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self denial.
We will observe the rules of courtesy, respect our superiors, and refrain from violence.
We will follow our religious principles, and never forget the true virtue of humility.
We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.
All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin Way."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Make sure that you return your rented videos on time

Make sure that you return your rented videos on time, or you'd better train harder in your chosen Martial arts because it looks like the Video Rental companies are getting tougher on late returns.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Memories: Training in a deep freeze

For some reason, my mind, spirit, and heart is revisiting some memories of training at my old Shotokan dojo. I guess it's because I came across a "Leisure Guide" when I was volunteering today, and I noticed that the dojo that I used to teach at is not listed anymore. .. sigh... I guess that the class was cancelled due to renovations of the facility. I wonder what my students are doing now.

I still remember training in a deep freeze in winter boots, and a parka. That was one of the strangest karate moments in my life:

When I had arrived at the main dojo one day, one of my fellow students opened the door to the room, and out blasted freezing cold air as if she had opened the door of a freezer. It seems that the main furnace to that room had broken down over the weekend, and that we were the first people to enter it in 2 days. All of the students stood in the hallway with a look of dismay on their faces as comments like "Wow! That's COLD in there! I'm not going in there! You can't train in that!!!"

I looked into the room, and thought to myself "Hmm.. this isn't that much bigger than my Kyokushin Sensei's garage, and I've trained in there in the cold fall evenings to the point where I was able to warm it up to a comfortable level. Let's see.. If I go jog around in this room, I should be able to warm it up a little."

I walked calmly into the cold, and set my mind, and heart into thinking about warmth as I started jogging around the dojo. I remembered how my Kyokushin Sensei had been teaching us how to mentally place ourselves to handle stressful environments. Sure, I could feel the cold wind passing by my face as I jogged, and the cold cement floor stinging my feet. I added some punching combinations to the jogging to get my arms moving, and then I had to giggle because I was reminding myself of all of those "Rocky" movies where he is training in a fridge. Then I focused, I ran and felt the cold air coming in my nose, and going out warm out of my mouth, and I thought "Wow!!! I'm a portable moving heater!"

Ten minutes went by, and I just kept running in a moderate pace around and around the dojo. I learned which parts of the room were warmer than others. I could already feel a difference in the air that was going into my lungs. It felt slightly less tinged with cold. Or maybe it was my imagination keeping me hopeful.. I'm not sure.

After awhile the room did warm up, and we were able to continue class in our normal gi attire. What a memory!