No karate this week. Too much holiday stuff to take care of. I did get myself a christmas present, though..

just try and break my arm!! (i got the pink ones :)

Happy Holidays everyone!


Whats next?

Its kind of funny to me that after I achieved Shodan many people (including other karate students) ask me "whats next?" Like thats the end of the road or something. I guess it is for some people. I do know of students who after they got their black belts considered their goal accomplished and quit karate. It makes you wonder why they even began taking it to begin with. It seems like an awful lot of wasted time to go through all that just to quit.


This week

Well, I went to 2 classes this week. It felt good to get back into a normal karate routine. We've been working on Pinan Shodan bunkai-which is different than Pinan Shodan OYO bunkai which most of the students are used to. I've noticed that they seem to be raising the bar on what the students should know and I think its great. I love learning new things. I had done this bunkai a few times so I was a bit more familiar with it than some of the other students.
We have a new training room in our dojo- there used to be an art studio in the back of the building but they moved to a newer bigger location so Renshi opened up a Pilates and Yoga room and has hired an instructor to be in charge of that area. Its a beautiful room too- nice mahogany wood floors. How Cool! I have wanted to take pilates but the local place that offers pilates and yoga is very crunchy/granola au natural which is fine for some people but I don't really enjoy the B.O. and armpit hair that goes along with that clientelle (sp?) its great for some people...not for me. So...now I have the opportunity to try it. It seems like Karate takes care of toning every part of my body except for my jello stomach so it will be a nice addition to my work out. Although I have my doubts that it will ever become as toned as I would like it to be.
My arm is doing pretty well, still a little pain where it was broken (along with a big lump) and my wrist and elbow are still stiff and sore, but its progressing.


the day after Thanksgiving

so I learned kusanku dai. pretty cool kata except that there is a lot of turning and spinning. We worked on it at QQS. After the 3 mile run I went with the other students who weren't sparring while everyone else sparred. So I learned it there on the track, and later we all did every kata and then went into groups and worked on our new kata. And we did it over and over and over anad over. I have problems with spinning...somersaults, spinning kicks, motion of any kind, really. So I really didn't feel too great, but it wasn't so bad that I would stop. So then finally we were done with kata and worked on weapons. I hadn't done them for a while because of the arm so I was working on the 1st 2 bo kata. there is also spinning in those. Luckily it was almost time to go home but the damage was done. So my son and I got into the car to go home. As soon as I sat down in the drivers seat I got this AWFUL foot cramp in my right foot. THe kind that are really painful and everything tightens up in the arch. And I'm on the verge of puking. My son is in fear that I'm gonna hurl on him, I'm in fear that I'm gonna hurl on my nice white gi (and it would have been those orange colored cheese crackers with peanut butter inside)
I was even driving with my fingers clamped over my mouth. But amazingly, I did not throw up. I did, however go straight to bed when I got home and it took a long time before I felt well enough to eat something.
But other than that QQS was a lot of fun.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving and I ate a lot. But Renshi was kind enough to hold a 6AM Special Thanksgiving Cardio Kickboxing class which I went to (on Thanksgiving morning) He said we could all have extra pie if we went. Now today, I am sore. everywhere. I had a hard time getting out of bed. I can barely walk to the fridge to get the extra pie that i earned. He has this 6am class every thursday, but its usually only a half hour and there's only 6-8 people., but yesterday's class there were 37 people and it lasted a little over an hour. it was awesome. I think I'll go every thursday.



So I've only had this black belt for 3 weeks and I have to go thru a new test. I haven't even been to class because of the arm. But today, is QQS-which is black belt testing. Since the black belts don't go thru regular belt promotions like the underbelts they have this event which takes place a few times /year. It is a 3-4 hour test, very similar to my black belt practical test (except I won't be breaking anything today because I still cannot do any contact karate) It will start out with the old 3 mile run, then sparring, kata, weapons etc. My son has been to this many times. I am kind of looking forward to it. (he is not) I haven't been to class in 2 weeks which seems like forever and I'm going thru withdrawal. Today's QQS is going to be outside. It is usually at either the dojo or at the HS gym. But today, we couldn't get the gym. So we are doing it all outside at the HS track (where I ran weekly not too long ago). I haven't run in a couple months. I'm going to hurt tomorrow. I am hoping, though, that I will get to start learning my next kata. I think it is either Kusanku Dai or Goju Shiho (sp?). YAY- i love kata.
Its going to be sunny and in the 60's this afternoon-perfect for outdoor karate. My arm is still pretty weak, but its been getting stronger daily-it hurts like hell in the process, though. It seems like every muscle in my arm atrophied during the 3 weeks in a cast. I have to train them all over again-very weird and very painful. A couple weeks ago I couldn't even hold my arm out in a punching position. I couldn't even lift my arm off my desk to move it from the mouse to the keyboard. Really freaky and scary. My doctor said not to worry, and that in a couple weeks I would not have these problems. He was right- go figure... He also said that i probably won't need PT because the karate is therapy enough. COOL. Now, I have a lot of mobility back in that arm, except I still can't do a high block. I can do inside block, outside block, punch, low block, kagite, shuto but no high block. Can't get my arm up and over my head without excruciating pain. I guess i need to be patient and keep working at it. And also- my wrist and my elbow are so stiff and painful its pissing me off. I didn't break those-why do they hurt??
oh- and what does QQS stand for? I keep forgetting, but I think it is Quality, Quantity(or Quarterly) , and Spirit testing. I think. I'll ask again.


the Black Belt Spectacular

Just a brief word about my graduation. Although I had to do everything with a big honkin cast on my arm, I had a blast. We were all ready for this night. We had to be at the gym at 2pm that day (the show wasn't going on until 7) but we all were there either practicing or helping to set up or keeping the little kids in check so they wouldn't annoy Renshi. They were WIRED. and i don't blame them. It was a long, tough testing cycle and that night we finally got our black belts. I got so many flowers. All the girls did. Apparantly, it is tradition for the women who are already black belts to give the women and girls who are promoting to shodan flowers. I did not know this. I was inundated with flowers. I also got some from my cousin and my friends-Beth, Michelle and Sheila who came to see me graduate. These are some of my closest friends from high school, jr high and grade school. I've known beth the longest-we go back to the first grade. It was so cool of them to come. My sister came and took many many pictures-(which I will post some of when I get them formatted correctly) My parents came, so did my husband and daughter. My son was with me all day- He is on the STORM team (student team of role models) and was there also to help set up. He also got his certificate for Nidan which he graduated to last May. There is a 6 month probation period before you get your certificate. So at the next Black belt spectacular (next may) I will get my shodan certificate-they are really nice beautiful framed certificates.
One thing went wrong. (thankfully it was not involving me). While we were practicing, and trying to keep the little kids focused, B (an adult-a lawyer- getting his shodan) made it a point to say that what the audience remembers most will be the very beginning and the finale so make it look sharp. we kept drilling this into these kids to keep them on track. So what happens? In our intro- where they announce us individually, we run out from behind the curtain-spotlight on us-do something cool (i did a jumpfront kick) then take our place on the mats-one knee position- for our first group demo. So all the kids go first, then me, then B. B. wipes. out. ON HIS INTRODUCTION!! After he drills it into the kids that the audience always remembers the very beginning and the very end....and I couldn't laugh. Thats very hard for me- usually, someone falls down and I'm in hysterics (even when I fall down I laugh uncontrollably!) But I had to just face forward and bite my lip and get thru the rest of the night. Several days later it hit me and I had a good laugh by myself. I'm so glad it wasn't me. SO GLAD!


I'll post pictures soon!! I'm having computer troubles at the moment.



today is my last day as a 1st kyu. tonite I will get my beautiful blue gi with my name embroidered on the back and my cool new belt-also with my name embroidered on it along with the kanji of our style of karate . all the demos i will be in will be one-armed. despite the fact that I now have a removable splint on my arm, i will have to wear it because my arm is too weak without it. oh well, nothing i can do about it at this point. I came close to not doing an individual demo, when i broke my arm i was having such a hard time trying to come up with something new. so they suggested I just do a kata that I know to music. cool. that works for me. so I'm doing kusanku sho which I had to learn to pass my pretest earlier this summer. one armed kusanku sho. eh, whatever. I hope I don't break anything when I go for my Nidan.
I'll post some pictures-and I'll be changing my blog template as well. No more 8am track on saturdays, no more practices, no more teaching...i am SO looking forward to getting back on a normal karate schedule.


warning- self pity below

we had another practice friday night for our graduation. my group of co-candidates gave me a great get well soon card. so cool of them. big apologies from the 16 yr old arm breaker.

our demos are coming along nicely-although its hard w/o my rt arm. the 3 adults moving to 1st dan are doing chinto as a group for one of the demos. for any of you who know this kata-try it w/your rt arm immobilized. NOT PRETTY.

not much else to say- i'm kind of still feeling sorry for myself, but i go to class and sit and watch and see my friends and thats good. i couldnt even get around in february when my foot got crushed and its a lot less painful too. so i guess i'm a luck girl...NOT. i have a black cast from my wrist to my shoulder-(black to match my soon to be black belt and the cloud over my head:) in 2 weeks i get this one off, some more x rays done , and hopefully they will only have to put on a short/forearm cast. and then 5 days after that is the "black belt spectacular". it is held at a local high school in the gym. i just can't wait till its done and the pressure is off.


self control

i'm gonna keep this short because i'm typing with my left hand. my arm was broken last night by a student with no self control. i wasn't more than 5-10 minutes into sparring when i was kicked full force in my arm. (and it wasn't even a good technique) so i yelled an obsenity in front of small children and left the floor. we put ice on it, but i eventually was taken to the hospital and x ray'd. i am now splinted from wrist to shoulder and i will have to get a cast put on next week. my ulna is broken. the er doc who also is a fellow karate student told me it is called a nightstick fracture. this is so unfair. i passed my test at least- renshi says its an automatic pass if you end up at the hospital.

my sparring partner-who is 15 yrs was taught a lesson about self control after that. he's gotta be hurting today because he was SCHOOLED last night. heh heh heh..


A poem from my sister

I'm wishing lots of luck tonight
When you go to your big class.
I know you'll do your kata well
And really kick some ass.
You've worked so hard
You've come so far
You're a tough and feisty lass
So tie your belt
And yell KIAI -
I know that you will pass.


I guess I AM a little stressed...

I had a nightmare about my practical test. I couldn't get to my dojo. I had the wrong socks for the run (one of them was a knee sock). my nose was stuffy and I had no decongestant. it was 8 o'clock and I was an hour late. It was halloween-there were freaks everywhere. (like people with no legs and oddly shaped heads falling onto my porch-kind of like a zombie movie) There were people trying to get into my house (which wasn't my real house). they were all getting in my way. i was getting more and more upset. I was trying to call my husband for a ride, my cell phone was not working, he didn't really care-didn't think it was a big deal that I was an hour late. I also couldn't find my script. (???) so Sheila copied hers for me but i knew none of my lines. what?? WAKE UP!!

Now- it is not abnormal for me to have dreams about being late for karate class-I have them all the time, but this is ridiculous. I'm already exhausted and its only 6:30am.


the clock is ticking

We had our first official candidate practice last night. One of the sensei's who is helping to organize the graduation ceremony/show got us all together to kind of give us an idea how it will all happen in October. Our school puts on a big show the night the candidates receive their black belts-lots of demos by the demo team, storm team and candidates. Its really an awesome show. So we started going over the demos we would be working on as a group and also broken down into smaller groups. It was fun-they don't make the demos too complicated because first of all, we have enough to memorize (including our own individual musical demos) and most importantly, they want us to look good and synchronized. We also got a bit of a pep talk, some advise on the practical test- the phrase of the night will be YES SIR!! regardless of what your brain wants to say! Because if Renshi sees anyone rolling their eyes, complaining or doing anything that might mean you are displeased with the test he will be merciless! You must have a positive attitude and for gods sake NO CRYING! I really hope no one cries...there are 3 really little kids who are also testing and if they cry I have to supress my motherly instincts to comfort them. (or maybe they'll have to comfort me..)
I have to know a lot of material by then, (next friday). first- all my kata (about 17) 3 bunkai kata and application in a han (naihanchi shodan, pinan shodan, and pinan yondan oyo bunkai) and the first 10 kumite. (short pre-arranged sparring drills). I also have to have my musical demo pretty much choreographed (although it doesn't have to be perfect until October). And we have to have our 1st aid/CPR cards by then, too. We will also have to do a 3-4 mile run and then spar for a good 1-1 1/2 hrs. The exam is from 7pm until midnight and we WILL have to be at the track at 8am the next morning for our run. Why? because we are tough karate people dammit...I LOVE KARATE! (wimper)


Wednesday night sparring

We had sparring wednesday night. Since the weather is sooooo nice right now, Renshi is not putting on the AC in the dojo, only opening the windows and the back door for ventilation. So basically its like a sauna. Especially with sparring gear on. It was a huge class-we partnered up and first did slow motion sparring to warm up. Then we worked on some defense drills-one of them being for a roundhouse kick. The defense was to check the kick with the forearm and shuffle in and reverse punch to the body. We did this over and over. It hurts the shins after a while even with shin guards on. Then we started sparring-we would do 1 minute rounds then get a new partner and go again. i was sparring for a while with my friend Michelle who got me really good in my shin (which was already killing me) with her elbow- not intentionally of course..these things happen but it totally paralyzed me for a minute it hurt so much. (It also didn't help that everyone was so sweaty that are sparring gear kept sliding around. ) So after I "recovered" from that we kept sparring, then we'd find new partners, keep sparring etc for about 40 minutes. So finally Renshi says last match-I partner up with a 2nd degree bb, we bow, shake hands, get into guard stance and something catches my eye..I look down at my hand and there is blood dripping off my fingers! So I bow out of that match and we leave the dojo floor (which apparently I bled all over) and get the first aid kit. I had split my knuckles open on the index and middle finger of my right hand. Not too badly -i didn't need more than a couple bandages, but they bleed a lot! Then i look over and my last sparring partner was coming towards me and her toe was bleeding too. I have no idea how it happened-she says she remembers the contact between us and thought "hmm that felt funny" I didn't feel it, though. Then someone points to my pants..all bloodied up. Great. So after that I go into the womens changing room to wash the blood off my hand guard and there is another woman -a blue belt and new to sparring- who is sitting down, pale as a ghost, who came close to passing out and/or throwing up. I felt bad for her. That gear is really hard to get used to. Not breathable at all and you basically cook inside it. So by then it was time to bow out of class- Renshi asked the injured and sick if we were ok- I said "I'm fine-i didn't lose any digits..hahaha" and he smiled and said to us that it was a pretty good class- only 2 bleeders and a near pass-out-he's a funny, funny man.



That physical test kicked my ass. I had been fighting off some sort of virus all last week and it finally caught up with me. It was bad enough that every single muscle and bone in my body was sore from Saturday, but then i developed chills and a fever and swollen glands. i don't think my immune system could fight it off any longer. So I was in bed most of the day sunday, all day monday and half of tuesday. I'm finally free from the fever but now its all settled in my sinuses. blah. I couldn't even go to karate monday and it was my teaching day too. :(
I'm definitely going tonite.


2 down, 1 to go

I passed my physical test. I am SO glad that it is overwith. especially the run. My time was 27.52 for 3 miles-almost 1 minute off last weeks time. (and Renshi passed me even though i didn't make 24minutes) I did my 50 pushups without any struggling. When we do the pushups, its with a partner who counts for you and who also has to put their fist on the ground in front of you so that your chin touches it each count. Then we had to show our splits- full splits and front splits, then we lined up on the field and did a ton of crunches-more than 200 I'm pretty sure. After that it was sprinting-we did about 8 sprints of various distances, then we went back to the grass for more endurance testing. 1st- wheelbarrows- halfway across the short side of the field, then switch and come back- there is a trick to wheelbarrows -grab the knees, not the feet-its so much easier. Then we had to turn around and do army crawls one way and crab walks back, then turned around again to do flying sidekicks (huh?? never did one of those before yesterday- i'm sure it was pretty amusing to watch too) and stupid forward rolls back. I closed my eyes this time when i did my rolls-so much better on the equalibrium when you don't see the sky while you're rolling. After that was done, we lined up- Renshi told us that we all passed (he doesn't usually do that on the same day because usually someone fails it) Now I have the next test to get ready for. The practical test is next month. I have a lot of material to work on. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes and support!


2PM-Physical Test

Today is my physical test. I can't wait till this is over. I wish it was in the morning. I seriously doubt I will run 3 miles in 24 minutes. Even with the adrenalin rush that will supposedly make me fly around the track. We'll see. I will do my best regardless. I can say, though, that I have successfully done 50 push ups (in a row) 3 times this week. So I'm pretty confident I can do it today too. I"m not worried about the 200 crunches. I believe we have to show our full splits too. HA HA HA mine is more like a roof top, but whatever, we're not graded on those.

Well after today, I can focus more on working on my katas-particularly Chinto, Pinan Yondan Oyo Bunkai kata, my musical demo and whatever kata they will be teaching us to do for our group demo at the promotion in late Oct/early November.
We still have to run every week and endure different forms of torture at the track.

can someone take my test for me? please?


Why? because its FUN!

We had such a fun time at the track yesterday. (yes, i'm being sarcastic) We had our usual 4 mile run -good news is that for 3 miles, I'm down to 28.50 minutes. Bad news is that i have 1 week to shave 4 minutes and 50 seconds off my time. (??)
After our run, we had endurance training (aka torture) 1st, commando crawls across the freshly cut grass of the football field (not the length, the width which is FAR ENOUGH) then coming back we had to do squat front kicks. THEN..we had to turn around again and duck walk across and FORWARD ROLL half the way back. Adults have NO BUSINESS doing forward rolls. Especially the ones who get motion sick just watching the washing machine on a spin cycle. The first roll i felt like I was gonna hurl. they only got worse after that. Of course, the secret to doing these is to dive roll with a few steps in between rolls. I think I did 5 or 6 total, although I was told my last one looked more like an eggroll-hahaha but was acceptable. We were all covered in grass by the time we were done. Then we had to do our 50 pushups and 100 crunches and go back to the dojo for an hour of focus kicking drills.
I have grass burns on my elbows and knees.


monday class

Last nights class was fun- not the usual kind of sweaty hard core kick your ass kind of fun that it usually is, we did a lot of moving basics (with a partner) with different counter attacks at the end of each drill, and then we learned "empi waza" (empi=elbow) We don't do a lot of waza in our classes so it was a nice learning experience. Renshi then had us try and figure out ways to apply all these elbow smashes on our partner. Pretty cool. Then he had us all sing happy birthday to a couple of students (twins) who are turning 18 today. They have been taking classes since they were tiny and now they both teach. Awesome kids. then we had cake! yummmmmm.
After class a bunch of us worked on Pinan Yondan Oyo Bunkai. I really need to work on my take downs. Before I messed my foot up I didn't have a problem, but now I have trouble with squatting down low enough because of my weak knee and ankle, and keeping my back straight. My knee has buckled in a couple times too. aaarrrrrrhhhhgggg. By the end I did manage a successful takedown. I just need to stop rushing it and remember my basics.
Tomorrow we're having a special class on knife and gun self defense. This should be fun.. No kids allowed in this class, though-no matter what rank they are.


I'm not worthy!!!!!

2 weeks until my physical test. My running has gotten progressively better, yesterday I was timed at 29.20 for 3 miles. And I think that a lot of that had to do with the air being really dry and cool. I have 5 minutes and 20 seconds to shave off in 2 weeks. I don't think its physically possible, but I'll keep plugging along. I'm starting to realize that I have SO MUCH TO LEARN to get this belt. I'm learning Chinto- I think i have that mostly down so I can at least practice it thru without going blank. I also have to know Pinan Yondan Oyo Bunkai kata as the kata and in the Han(the group application of the kata). Uh...HUH?? I know some of it, but i have a long way to go before I "know" it. I also need to know Naihanchi Shodan Oyo bunkai kata and Pinan Shodan Oyo bunkai kata- which i do. thankfully. And... I also have to know kumite 1-10. These are short controlled "sparring" matches. I'm good up to about 7, but the rest need a lot of work. I also have to create my demo to music and be first aid/cpr certified by the end of september for our practical test- a 5 hour test from hell where we run 3 miles, then spar for a while-we have to spar the upper ranked black belts-like Renshi, and some other Sensei's. People have come out of this with broken noses, ribs, black eyes...and then after that, we have to show all our required material (like i mentioned above) This test is from 7pm to midnight on a friday night. I believe we will have to run the next morning at the track as well.


something that really makes me happy....

Being right after all. After 4 people of higher rank and one of equal rank but younger age told me it was a closed hand , the highest ranking of our dojo/owner/Renshi/6th dan told me that I'M RIGHT!
HA! Now I'm not normally this way when it comes to being right about something. But I KNEW this kata. This open hand move was DRILLED into my head by my instructor (who unfortunately isn't teaching there anymore-but he was also a "renshi") He taught me this kata and was very particular on the details. So the thought of being wrong about that was not sitting well with me. It was knawing at me ALL WEEK!

AND....I passed my written test!


Something that really annoys me

I hate when i've been working a kata for a long time, and then another student tells me that one of the moves is wrong. And then-gets one of the sensei's (granted-a young, new nidan sensei) to agree with her. This move is in Matsumura Passai (or Passai Dai) and i SWEAR it is an open hand supported block (that comes after a crescent kick and before 2 closed handed strikes that look like swimming moves). This other student (who happens to be a very nice, talented girl with looooong legs who beat me in sparring at the tournement) says its a closed handed supported block. I still don't buy it. I'm going to the top with this one and I hope to god that I'm right.
I know this happens a lot and I've been warned in the past that you can be taught different subtleties by different Sensei...BUT I WAS TAUGHT THIS KATA BY A GODAN. I'm going to continue to do it the way i was taught until my Renshi (a 6th degree) tells me otherwise.
I know. I'm ranting. maybe it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things BUT IT DOES TO ME!
sorry. didn't mean to yell.


saturday training

So yesterday it was 8am at the track as usual. It wasn't as humid as its been but it was still very hot. We ran 4 miles, then we had to do an extra half mile (2 laps) but this time, sprinting the straight parts and lightly jogging the turns. I almost threw up. I almost had to go over to the fence and hurl. I came as close as clamping my hand over my mouth. But I didn't-thankfully. After that, we had to duck walk from one goal post to the other. A duck walk is when you squat down as far as you can go and then walk in that position. After that, we did our pushups and crunches, then went back to the dojo for our focus kick drills. Then I went home for about an our and a half to shower and eat, then back to the dojo for class at noon and weapons right after. But THEN...my kids and I went to Beth's house for the rest of the afternoon..actually, we went to Beth's pool/tiki bar and resort. It was sooooo nice. except when i was getting into the pool at one point and I whacked my ass on the concrete while going down the steps. I don't know how i did that but i have a painful bruise now and it hurts when I sit down. Besides that- it was just the therapy i needed.



We had a group run on thursday at 5 and it was freakin' hot. For the first time during this cycle i had to walk the last half mile (out of 4) because there was NO MORE AIR. It was like breathing in steam. AND after I got home- which was around 5:45ish, i took a shower, but then continued to actively sweat until around 8pm. Can someone explain this to me? Where was it coming from?
I have to be at the track this morning at 8 am for another 4 miles, then candidate class, then a short break (enough time to go home, take a shower and do laundry) then all level class at noon, and weapons at 12:45.
Last Wednesday I started to learn Chinto. I love learning new kata and this one is really really cool. It is so different from the others. I also learned the 3rd bo kata that we do (taiso rensu gogeki---i think i spelled that right..) which is the opposing kata to taiso rensu uke (the first bo kata we do). I think i need to know the first 5 bo kata before I can move on to small weapons. Unfortunatly the 1st small weapon i will have to learn is nunchucks. Then I can start with Kama, then Sai. I wish I could start with those first, but I can't. I have to do it in order.
I also need to start working on my demo soon. We each have to perform a demo to music at our graduation ceremony(in Oct). We have to have this all set to show Renshi at the practical exam (which is a 5-6 hour test) in September. This is my least favorite part of this whole thing. Getting up in front of a whole gymnasium full of people and performing to music is just yucky. Granted, it only has to be about 45 seconds long, but if feels endless. I've had practice- we have to do a musical demo when we promote to solid green and again when we promote to solid brown as practice for the black belt demo. Its just mortifying.


1st exam

My written test went well. I think. We were given a packet of information, lineage, names, definitions etc to study from last month when we took our pretest and were told to know everything in that packet because it would all be on the test. They were not lying. I'm glad I had been studying since the winter when my son was testing for Nidan. The worst part of this test for me was the essay. I really am NOT a writer. I actually hate writing papers, so handing that in at the beginning of the test felt quite nice. (it was on Itosu) So now I need to focus on my running time, my pushups and crunches. Last saturday at the track I was again at 11 minute miles. How do I speed this running thing up? Maybe they could rig up something like they have at the dog tracks -like the bunny on a stick- for me to chase... like... maybe....a donut? A chocolate croissant?


Fun Week recap

Beach class did not disappoint. I'll post pictures when i get them. My sister came and took over 400 pictures on her new fancy digital camera so there'll be plenty to post. Thursday night was the Projectile weapons seminar. Oh my god i need to get me a blowgun. Our guest instructor was a very nice man, 7th dan, and a couple of his students were also there to assist. He gave us a bit of backround on Ninjutsu, an overview on the weapons we'd be handling and of course safety. Then we all (about 40 students ) went outside to the parking lot where they had stations with targets set up. There were 2 stations for small star throwing, 2 for blowguns, one for archery, and one for large stars and knife throwing. It was a lot of fun-this is the 2nd year he has come to do this seminar. Hopefully he'll come again next year.
Friday was our inner school tournement. We have about 4 of these per year and a big interschool tournement once a year around St Patrick's day. I competed in kata and sparring. I was happy with my kata-i did Naihanchi Sandan and i did it well, and I did ok in sparring. My opponent is another BB candidate, 17 years old and about a foot taller than me. (and i'm pretty tall). She is excellent at everything she does-her legs are about 10 feet long and she knows how to use them. Needless to say, I couldn't get around her leg and i was eliminated in my first round. I have a lot to work on in sparring. I tend to lose focus. I think i try and concentrate so much on so many things that I lose my grip on everything and I'm all over the place. Not good.
So this morning its back to the track for 4 miles in the rain, then back to class for focus kick drills and probably kumite. My dojo has started a new mentoring program for candidates. each of us has a shodan or nidan as a mentor to kind of guide us through the testing cycle. Its a great program. I feel as though i am at an advantage as my son has been thru this cycle twice already so I know what to expect, but there are lots of students who go into this blindly and are shocked at all the work that is involved.
Monday is my written test. I need to write my paper this weekend. yuck.



My written test is next monday night. I also have to hand in an essay. i hate writing. Our choices for essays were to either write about what "earning a black belt means to me" or to detail the life of an important figure in karate history. I'm still not what i'm going to write about. I have been thinking I will do something on Anko Itosu. I don't know. I feel like i'm back in school again. YUK. When you pass the pretest, you are given a package to study from. There are a lot of karate terms and lineage of our style. I'm not too concerned about the terminology-they are used regularly in class. So as long as you've been paying attention the past 3 1/2 years, you're ok.
Tonite, though....its BEACH CLASS!! yippeeee! the forcast looks good- mid 80's, not so humid. Perfect!
Saturday we ran as a group again. 4 miles. I consistantly have been running 11 minute miles. In a month i will be having to run 8 minute miles for the physical test. How do you shave off that 3 minutes? (well i know- I have to run faster) but seriously. I feel like this test is coming up faster than i want it to. and 50 pushups?? AAAGGGHHH.

but tonite. its all fun. :)


4 miles

We had our 2nd group run yesterday. thankfully, it was after the freakin monsoon passed. This time we did 4 miles on the bike path. We have a section right across from the dojo that has been measured at 1/2 mile, so up and back is 1 mile and we do that 4 times. I don't know how, but i did it without any walking. Actually, i do know how- i set short term goals and it really works. That and good music on the mp3 player. Next week during Fun week i'm hoping to go to a ninjutsu seminar on thursday night. There will be star throwing and blow darts. COOL!


"Fun Week"

Next week is the annual Karate Fun Week. There are no regular classes during that week until saturday. Monday is picture day. They have class pictures, individual pictures, demo team pictures etc. You can buy different packages like trading cards, a plaque, mouse pad and other specialty choices. Purchasing these packages is not required, but they do encourage going at least for your class picture. It is STRONGLY encouraged. There are also a few seminars that will be held that week as well as a inner school tournament on friday night. The best part of fun week is the annual beach class. I live in RI and we are about 5 minutes away from many beaches. So wednesday at 6, we all go to one of the beaches here, everyone is required to wear their full white gi. First they set us all up for a school picture then we have class. this class is about 2 hours long and by the end, we will all be soaking wet and covered in sand. (you have to wear your swimsuit under your gi) It is so much fun. it looks great too- all of us in white doing kata on the beach. of course, we will probably also have to do commando crawls, rolls, throws, break falls and other things that will get us wet and sandy. OH yeah- and sand angels too. Now, the reason it is STRONGLY recommended that you attend picture day on monday at least for the class picture is because anyone who doesn't show up who doesn't have a good reason (and it better be good) will usually get called up to the front row at beach class. meaning- you will be first to get wet and sandy and to be subjected to any other forms of torture Renshi has in store. (and when i say torture, it is all in fun) Basics on the beach are done as moving basics, taking the classes directly into the ocean. When he has us start kicking drills, that is when the sand starts flying. The more sand you can kick at your fellow students the better. When class is over, its time to rinse. So usually the gi's come off and everyone goes in the water. I love this class. Last year it was cut short because it was high tide. This year it looks as though high tide is a few hours before class so we should be good. here is a snapshot of what we look like.



the radiator that bit me

ude tanren

Last night was my first night assistant teaching. It felt very strange to be in front of a class. I didn't do much this time except stand there and help with some kata and blocking drills. Next week they will have me do a little more. maybe take the class thru basics. I don't know. After that i went to my class. I love monday night class. It is so crowded-i think there were at least 36 students, half black belts, half underbelts. It was a long class too- usually classes are 45 minutes but this one can run long-depending on how much Renshi wants to cover. This class was about 1/2 hour longer. we did lots of arm conditioning, blocking drills plus kata, oyo bunkai kata (naihanchi shodan and pinan shodan) and then we formed hans and worked on the application. i suck at take downs by the way. I'm referring to the throw at the end of naihanchi shodan oyo bunkai. SUCK AT IT. Then after each han was done he had us work on "coffee grinders" HAHAHA! ITS BREAKDANCING!!! of course, it originated from Kung fu and really its a sweeping technique but its BREAKDANCING! Renshi said he likes to watch the adults do this because it makes him laugh. He said that sometimes if he needs cheering up all he has to do is picture us attempting this and it puts a smile on his face. He's so kind. :)
For the rest of the class we did self defense using arm bar holds. lots of them. The technique starts out with your partner grabbing your wrist, then you do this arm bar similar to a move in kusanku sho. He kept adding on to it and if you got the flow going it looked pretty cool and effortless. It ends with a take-down then another arm bar hold while you're basically lying down over your opponent's head with their arm locked between your legs and you raise up your hips until your opponent taps out. its really cool to watch, but very awkward to do. I have bruises on my ude.


I'm surprised at myself. I ran for 3 miles yesterday at the track. We did a pre-physical test to see where we all were as far as the run, the pushups and crunches. Renshi gave me permission to stop/slow down during the run because of the foot and I was grateful, but i didn't take advantage of it. I didn't slow down or stop. I ran the whole 3 miles, everytime i felt like walking i would tell myself "after this lap". (I even passed some kids who had started walking... KIDS!) so my time was 3 miles in 31 minutes. The test requirement is 24 minutes. The test is in august. I think i can do that. We also had to do pushups. I did 33. (in august i'll have to do 50) When I started taking karate, I couldn't do 1 pushup! Then we all did crunches as a group- about 100. Then after the track, we went back to the dojo for candidate class-which is mostly all focus mitt kicking drills. After that, I went home and showered and ate and got ready for the noon class and weapons. By the time noon came around I was developing a nasty headache and my body was pleading with me to take a nap instead. So I took some advil and went anyway. It was a very aerobic class-more pushups, power kicks, punching drills, more focus kicks, then kata and bunkai. Weapons was good too, but by the end I was really worn out.
Today I hurt. my whole body is screaming at me. Its ok , its a good hurt. Stairs are a killer, though. and sitting down. and standing up. Tomorrow I get to start assistant teaching. I got the class I was hoping for, the adult beginner class. I love the sensei's who teach that class. They are so good at driving home the importance of good basics. and also making awkward adults (like me) feel more comfortable (and not embarrassed) trying to make their bodies do what feels completely unnatural.


This morning it is 8:00am- at the track for group run/pushups/crunches/torture, then 9:00am at the dojo for candidate class, mostly focus kicks i think, then home from 10-12 to shower and whatever else i can cram in, then noon class at the dojo, then 12:45 weapons.


So I survived sparring. It was quite enjoyable actually. Michelle was in class and that was fun. I was surprised at myself. I didn't really think that I would do as well as I did. I told our Sensei that I might have to just work on defense this time to baby my foot, but I didn't. It was impossible to not use my feet. And it was fine. I whacked a classmate in the eye with a ridge hand. I kind of felt bad, but she wasn't wearing headgear!? I don't know why she was allowed to spar at all. Anyway, she should have blocked.


Back to regular classes tonite. the dojo has been closed for the holiday weekend. Sparring is on the schedule. I'm not sure if i will participate or not. I'm still nervous about my foot. I'm feeling as though i need to get back to where i was with power kicks before I should attempt sparring another student. I don't know. Backround- in february I was in a home improvement accident where a 600 pound radiator fell on my feet. I was out of the game for 13 very long weeks. My left foot was only severly bruised, but my right foot was not so lucky. I broke 3 bones, had an awful wound on the top and crushed the tip of my middle toe. After a valient effort by my doctor and nurses at the Wound Care center, it was determined that the toe would not recover. So I had half my toe amputated. I'll post a picture sometime when i can figure out how to do that. So that is why I'm nervous about the foot. Granted, i will have sparring gear on, but you never know what will happen. I'll think about it.


Running was way better than i thought it would be. beth and i ran/walked about 3 miles and my foot held out ok. My shins didn't even hurt. If we can get together once or twice a week that would work out great. I have to be running 4 times/week, 4 miles each time. Twice we run as a group, saturday am and thursday pm.
This week i'll find out what class I will be assisting teaching. I'm hoping it will be the white/gold/orange belt class. I used to love that class. and if i get to teach the one on monday, then I can just go to my class afterwards. I love my monday night class. Its Renshi's class and its crowded as hell, but always a good workout and I always learn something new.

why the hell am i doing this?

because I just passed my black belt pretest, and i want to make a record of my testing cycle. I am a karate geek. I am not ashamed. Today is my first run since my foot injury. My testing cycle goal is 3 miles in some ridiculous amount of time ..maybe 24 minutes? I'll post the physical test requirements later. Today, I just hope I don't fall down or break anything. I'll be running with Beth at the seawall. The weather is good- balmy and windy. this should be interesting.