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.