Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

210 Punches!

210 Front Kicks!

21 Yantsu Kata to bring in the New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Managing to train during the Holidays.. but minimally

Well.. What a test of inner resolve these past days have been!

I have managed to do some training in amongst the various Holiday happenings. I've had to be satisfied with little moments of training snatched between other things.

50 Back kicks, then time spent with my youngest son helping him with his new toy.

50 Front kicks, then time spent with my oldest son talking about relationships.

Tsuki ( Punching) sequence, then time spent doing the dishes.

Kata has been near impossible to perform due to the limited space caused by more people, and more activity in the house.

Even those short workouts have had various interruptions as the phone would ring, or someone would want to walk past me to get to the next room.

I have to admit that the only type of training that I've been able to do consistently has been my shin/arm/hand conditioning.

I've allowed myself to eat various treats during the holidays, so I hope that I haven't gained too much weight.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What does Black Belt mean to me? Revisited

On October 5th, 2005 I wrote down a post of what Black Belt meant to me, I wrote:

"What does black belt mean to me? It means that I physically, verbally, and mentally express the attitudes of seeking, learning, being open to correction, humility, patience, perseverance, courage, obedience, justice, respect, courtesy, faithfulness, self-control, aggressiveness tempered with peacefulness, self-respect, respect for others, gratefulness, honesty, responsibility, willingness to teach, and share knowledge, and calmness when needed not only when one does karate in the dojo, but also when they live outside of the dojo. Attaining a black belt means that my Sensei sees that kind of quality in me. I've met a lot of black belts who do not live up to what I have seen in my First Shotokan Sensei, and what I believe a black belt represents.. but that is not important.. because the meaning of black belt has become what it is for me.. and THAT is what counts. "

It is 5 years later, and I am facing the same question, but now from a position of experience, and knowledge. I have achieved Black Belt status in one Art, and have had it revoked from me more quickly than it took to gain it. I have learned much from this experience.

My answer today is as follows:

"Black Belt" quality does not always exist in the minds, hearts, and spirits of those who are wearing this color around their waist. It is not just the ability to put forth one's skills that makes one a Black Belt, it is the reason that they do what they do that makes each action honorable, respectable, and admirable.

A student can have the inner strength, and foundation for Black Belt right from the first time that they cross the threshold of the Dojo door, but it is through their effort, their victory over their challenges, and the accumulation of experiences that they can reveal this reality to the world.

Other Black Belts can recognize the "right stuff" in each other, and we respond by rejoicing, and admiring the goodness that is present. Therefore, in my opinion, the worthiness of a Black Belt lies in the eyes of the one who presented it to you.

My Shotokan Black Belt was awarded to me by an Honored 8th Dan Master ( I am not allowed to speak the name of him, nor of the organization). However, I will treasure that recognition, because of that Master. He did not really know me as a student, as he had come from another city, and had to judge me solely by the effort I placed in that test. I am proud of that achievement.

Since then, I have been recognized by various honorable, wise, and experienced Martial Artists. It is a joy to hear their words of support, encouragement, and praise. I feel that I have represented my Kyokushin Sensei adequately for the time being.

My future Kyokushin Black Belt will be awarded to me by Sensei that have known me for many years. They know my strengths, my weaknesses, and have seen every step of my journey. I can guarantee that I will be tested to the limits of what I believe I can achieve, but I know for certain that if I earn the rank of Shodan, this recognition will not be taken from me.....ever.

I AM a Black Belt.. I only need to bring this fact to fruition.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wonderful Sikaran Weekend Testing/Party

My Instructor friend, Guru Paul, invited me to join his Sikaran School for their Belt rank test this weekend.

What a wonderful, joyfilled, and positive experience!

Truly, I was allowed the honor, and benefit of watching experienced, talented, and skillful Sikaran Martial Artists as they demonstrated their patterns, and revealed the speed, and beauty of their Art. What ENERGY, and ability was displayed before me!

"Sikaran is a form of Filipino martial arts whose history dates back to the early 1500s before the Spaniards came. It is the art of foot-fighting where the farmers use their legs to drive the partners outside the designated line (pitak) which was drawn in rice fields about 25 square feet (2.3 m2).....

Sikaran utilizes only the feet as a rule for sport and for combat/self-defense, and this is what makes it distinct, the hands are never availed of in Sikaran. If they are utilized at all, it's only for defense. The player uses his legs 90% of the time and his hands 10%, and only for blocking or parrying blows. Violation of this injunction, especially in tournaments, is ground for disqualification."
taken from

If you have a chance to catch a Sikaran tournament, I would highly recommend attending it! You will be able to appreciate how versatile, and creative a Martial Artist can be at using their kicks. The only way that I could even come close to describing this Art would be to picture the skill of Tae Kwon Do mixed with the fluidity of Capoeira. I saw it as a whirlwind of kicks; like two Tornadoes fighting for the same spot in a field.

Thank you to Guru Paul for inviting me. I truly enjoyed every moment, including the refreshments, and gift.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Completed 1st Kyu Brown Belt/Black Stripe Rank Test for Kyokushin

It took me two days to recuperate, but now I can post legibly.

On Friday night, Dec 11th, I completed my 1st Kyu Brown Belt/ Black Stripe Rank Test for Kyokushin.

Lessons that I learned:

a) These tests are exhausting. No matter how hard to train to be able to handle the test, you will still be brought to the point of no return. It just seems to take longer to get there if you train hard before the test. In a way, this revealed to me how far I have progressed in my path. When I tested for my White belt test, I could barely handle the first 30 minutes of the test. I was able to handle much, much more now that I have experience, and training.

b) Lots of practice may not always make you perfect, but it sure does help you keep on track when you are placed in a testing situation. I'm so glad that I had practiced at home as much as I had!

c) Visualization helps so much. Each night, before I fell asleep, I would visualize myself testing, and completing the test with confidence, and stamina. When it came time to perform, all seemed so familiar.

d) Nervousness doesn't seem to fade when you care about the results. However, you start to learn how to recognize the nerves, and get past it more easily.