Saturday, January 31, 2009

You will be seeing a picture of me wearing my favorite color soon

Hello dear friends,

As promised to you 2 weeks ago, I am happy, proud, and honored to announce that I have earned the rank of 2nd kyu, Brown belt in Kyokushin Karate.

(I will insert a picture here as soon as I am able)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Inspiring gift of Kata

Sensei Michael Larkin provided me with this wondrous video of a team of Russian Kyokushin Women doing the Seiunchin Kata. I am so inspired by the power, beauty, and complexity of this performance, and I want to share it with you.

Thank you Sensei Larkin for this gift.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 2008, and I feel proud of me

I just finished my Brown belt test. It extended over 3 days, and lasted approximately 8 hours long in total. Regardless of the results, I am proud of my effort.

I CAN CROW IN TRIUMPH! Why? I succeeded in holding a HANDSTAND for 2 minutes. (With my wonderful Sensei's support, and guidance!) Those who have followed my path through my blog these past years will know what a wondrous victory that was over my childhood past, over my inner terrors, and over myself.

I'm sorry that I do not have any pictures to provide to you of this event. I only have my memories of the experience, and I am going to gently treasure these quietly for awhile in the same manner that I have placed mementos of my children in a box in the basement.

I will share with you how my belt test affected me:

I walked around like a "Night of the Living Dead" zombie for 3 days at work, and at home. I even had the slow limping shuffle, and the empty non-responsive eyes. People would watch me walking to the cafeteria with a big grin on their faces. I gather that I looked humorous.. I don't know, I was pretty much out of it. I had no energy to worry about my pride, and what people were thinking. But now, I wonder, what WERE they thinking? My co-workers would have to call my name more than once to get my attention, and when I did respond it felt like I was dragging my mind out of a field of cotton. I found myself double checking, and triple checking my work to make sure that I did it correctly. Tasks that used to be automatic became slow, and careful. I kept my quality up, but it was SUCH a demand on every ounce of will power that I had. Were they thinking "Man! She's come to work stoned!!!"? Ha ha ha...

I fell asleep on the bus ride home, I fell asleep when I got home, I fell asleep again when it was bedtime. I woke up only long enough to respond to a question, and then I'd be back into a half asleep/half awake state.

My husband, and children have been lovingly nursing me with hugs, and little actions of caring. One made me my favorite tea, while the other placed a warm cover on me, and another brought me a bag of ice for my injuries. I was uplifted by their love, and the pride that shone in their eyes.

I'm more myself now... and I look back with awe at what I have become, and how far I have progressed. Was that me doing that? It must have been, it's "me" that is still feeling the pain from it.

Yes, I'm hurt in more than one place: Right hand/wrist, left/right outer thighs, and mostly left ankle. Those are the "Louder" pain areas that drown out the lesser painful areas over my body. Somehow, when I was throwing a lower roundhouse in my last sparring match, I didn't stretch out my instep properly, and managed to hyper extend that ankle some near the end of that time period. That moment was such a revelation of how important to adjust to the angle of my opponent's body when I send an attack, and to adjust to how the target moves to avoid it. Pain is SUCH a good teacher. My ankle's healing quickly, and I should be fine by the end of this week.

I can almost feel the question coming from the readers of "Did you pass?"

The answer that I can give you is that in MY eyes, I was victorious! I gave my best, I gave my all, and I had no more within me to put forth. Now, I cannot guarantee that this effort is going to meet the requirements of that level. BUT I know that I am not going to stop training. So, if I didn't pass, I will still show up at the dojo, and work towards improvement because I LOVE Karate. It will not lessen the pride that I feel at how I tested this week. It will mean that my next attempt to reach this level of rank will be easier because I will be even stronger, faster, and experienced.

If I did pass, I will place an announcement on this blog for you to read. Be patient, though. Test results are not always given quickly in my dojo.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Year.. New opportunities

I tell myself "Wake up!" as often my mind wants to wander among the negative experiences of the past, and to fear, or to look ahead with anxiety at the possibilities of the future.

But this does not need to be..

I know that I am more than a culmination of past mistakes.

Yes, I need to take responsibility for what I have done and not run away from them, but I can see them as moments to improve.

I can choose to see things in a positive way, and to use each experience in the same manner.

I can grow.

Our minds and bodies have been designed to meet challenges, and become stronger. Our spirit can do so also.

A tree seed can grow on the side of cliff, hanging out of that crack in the wall of rock defying gravity, and teaching us that there is no environment too harsh to stop life from continuing.

Nothing can stop a determined spirit from achieving.