Friday, June 27, 2008

A new branch on my path

I have been given a set of foam nunchuks like the ones pictured above...

I have one word for this:


I'm not sure how much I will enjoy learning to swing the nunchuks around my head like that.. I remember how the Bo and I had our special painful moments of learning how to work together. I feel like I'm still a baby at manipulating the Bo.. and here I have a set of nunchuks?? I must be one of those few people who watched people spin the nunchuks around, and be thinking "Oh thank goodness that's not me in that swirl of motion!"

But it doesn't hurt to try.. I cannot dedicate too much time to working with the nunchuks. I really have to apply myself to my Belt rank requirements, to my kata, to my conditioning, and to my Bo... but it doesn't hurt once in awhile to swing a nunchuk.. :-) especially if something like THIS should happen to me...

Ha ha ha.. and this COULD happen to me!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wouldn't you know it! A blast from my past

Oh.. yes.. on a lark I decided to search up my name on the internet. I found the usual things, but then surprisingly to my joy, I found a list of competitors, and medal winners from a tournament that I had attended in 2004.

I'm listed in there as the silver medal winner of my rank division. My girls are listed there also as Gold, silver, and bronze winners.

This was my family's very first tournament. We had gone to others after this one. The medals from our experiences are many, and fill up the bottom of my dresser drawer. But, as I was taught by my first Sensei, it isn't the medals that I cherish, but the experiences, and lessons that I learned during the Tournament.

My little girls had challenged the Team Kata division. At the ages of 9,7, and 6, these little white belts went up and performed against the other Team kata of black belt level (Adults included). They didn't place at all, which I had expected would happen, but I couldn't help but admire their courage, determination, and willingness to try.

Sure.. all through their team kata performance, I could see one or two of my girls looking more at the judges, and crowds around them rather than focusing on their performance, but who could blame them? Everything was new to us at the time, and standing in that ring was quite daunting for any beginner.

Here are some pictures that were taken of the event:

Heian Yondan ( during competition)

The girls practicing before the event.

Wearing their medals

There is me at purple belt level.. Wow.. I didn't realize how much I would appreciate looking back at the past like this. I wish that I had taken pictures, and videos of my kata when I was a white belt. It's nice to look and see where I was, and how I have maintained, and improved over the years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Training in Quebec

Osu to all who visit my blog,

I just spent 5 days in the beautiful Montreal, Quebec, Canada region, and I am thrilled to share some memories, and pictures with you.

Thursday night, I was thrilled to be informed that I would be training at Sensei Jean Frenette's Dojo in Boucherville. I had given up the hope that this would be possible as my family event schedule was rather tight for the time that I was in Quebec. Here is a picture of me standing in front of the dojo door. Yes I am wearing a white belt. This is through my own choice. I felt that I had no knowledge of Goju Ryu, and that I wanted to express my respect for this dojo by entering it as a white belt.:

When I first arrived there, I was not too sure if there would even be a class as the door was locked, and I didn't know if I was even in the right place. Soon, the karate students arrived, and warmly welcomed me. It was a joy to spend a couple of hours sharing the dojo floor with them. I learned more about the history of Goju Ryu, and how it has influence my chosen style of Kyokushin. I was able to partake in many new experiences through the wonderful guidance of the sempai there. Sensei Frenette was so kind, attentive, and supportive. I almost wanted to pinch myself every few minutes to see if I was dreaming.

Friday contained my first disappointment: I had scheduled a wonderful night of training under Sensei Dominic Morin's Kanreikai Dojo. Through our correspondence, I developed quite an appreciation for the personality of Sensei Morin, and I was happily anticipating meeting him face to face. However, family events, and conflicting schedules made transport to the dojo near impossible. Instead, I was "stranded" in the Sorel-Tracy area. I could watch the ferry heading towards Joliette, and Sensei Morin's dojo, but I could not travel on it. Instead, I walked around, and took some lovely pictures.

Saturday was a great treat: I joined Mat in the Chito Ryu Dojo led by Sensei Eric Lefebvre. Sensei Eric called forth a special class held on an island in a park. I was surrounded by the beauty, and sound of waterfalls as I tried to focus on my karate. I have to admit that more than once I lost concentration as I turned, and stopped in awe at how lovely it was around me. The grass had the early morning rain still dripping from it, and it felt lovely, and cool on my feet. The sun broke through the clouds to warm my shoulders, and to bring the colors around me into even greater life. It was a fabulous morning experience, and I saw drank in the joy of our Art. Mat and I were able to practice our self defense sequences on each other, and our gi became striped brown, and green with the mud, and grass stains to match the colors of our belts. I met such a group of inspirational, and dedicated karate ka that day, and I am so grateful for that experience.

Sunday was dedicated to family visits, as I have a large family. Monday night, I was given the great opportunity to train at the West Island Kyokushin Dojo under Sensei John Kalaidopoulos. I was too excited about training here because I forgot to bring my camera with my dogi when I left my brother's car so I do not have any pictures to offer. I entered the dojo with both timidity, and excitement. I had been looking forwards to this moment for months, yet I wondered how my performance would compare to others who train in my own Art. I feared that I would embarrass my Sensei, and yet, I knew that if I put forth my best, he would be proud of me. I could do no more than this... yet.. how does one quiet the little voices in the back of one's heart? I was told that I could train with each of the classes starting with the young children's class, up to the advanced adult. This was 4 hours of training, and although a piece of me wondered if I could maintain the effort, there was a solid foundation within my spirit that nothing would discourage me from attempting this challenge. Sensei John was so gracious, and hospitable to me. I felt like a lost child that has found a home. He provided for my every need, even giving me permission to rest if I felt faint, and dizzy. This gave me a breath of peace as I knew that I could just train as hard as my body would allow. I was thrilled to find that I kept up throughout the majority of the demand. There was only one moment, by the end of the third hour when I was doing another kicking kata, where I suddenly felt the room spin, and my balance disappeared. With a few minutes of rest, and a good amount of water, I was able to come back into the class, and continue. It was quite an educational experience for me as I was treated to various new movements, sequences, exercises, and even Bo training to expand my experience.

I am so grateful to all of the Sensei who provided me with such a good vacation, and great training. Osu