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Burning All The Way

We lost every bit of Spring this year.  We went from the fifties to the eighties over night and it doesn't look we have any relief in site.  So this means Karate class is going to be insufferable due to the heat. 

Thankfully the club where we hold the class is air conditioned, but it appeared to be labored and just the barest activity brought the sweat out.  I probably wear the lightest of all our gis, but I was dribbling just trying to help a few of the tiny girls work on a kata.  There seems to be a regular ten children coming which is nice for the class, but it means that the old folks don't get to do much in terms of learning new stuff, but we are getting a lot in terms of teaching kids.

As I've grumped before that the kids can be challenging to me.  The two girls I got are cousins and love to laugh and giggle.  They are sweet and relatively nice, but they have a hard time digging into the details.  I'm afraid I'm not much of a teacher for that age group, but …

Laughing All The Way

I got in from the East Coast late on Monday.  For those of you that haven't read the past few posts, I had to travel out visit my parents.  Unfortunately my Mother has worsening symptoms around dementia.  It's absolutely the worse and my Father isn't in the best health to help manage around the house.  It's a soul-sucking situation. 

I'm normally very easy to laugh, but with the combo of jet lag and the situation I haven't found anything very light.  Every time I do laugh I feel guilty and so on.

I haven't sleep well for five days, but I know if I didn't get at least some exercise it would be even worse.  I opted going to the first hour knowing it was going to be sparring, but that suited me. 

The only problem is that the kids are so inexperienced that Reed Sensei is trying to get everyone to learn basic etiquette around the ring and how to handle themselves.  He's pretty clever so instead of working on tactics too much he opted to make it a game…

And So It Begins

Despite still being a bit wiped out from the weekend I was anxious to get to class to see what was next!  MaryAnn had planted a bug in my ear about the day after you get your sho dan (first degree).  You get to do something else! 

It hadn't dawned upon me that I was actually going to get to practice something else for once.  I've been working on Kyoku Roku Dan and Nifanshi Sho Dan for so a whole year so getting to look at something else was absolutely novel.
Regular class is taking on a new vigor.  A majority of the students are young folks from the ages of 6 to 13.  I think we have eight children most of the time now with new ones appearing all the time.  Last night we got a new kid and I was assigned to him after warmups to work on the basics.  Normally, I don't care for this kind of thing because kids have even less attention span than I do, but he did great.  Probably a half hour of straight work and he got better and better as time went on.  I was very impressed.
My gue…

Post Confirmation - Shūdokan 140

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I'm trying to reflect on the whole year and compress it into one post.  The simple fact is that I'm still processing what happened during the confirmation test and basking in the fact that that piece is done.  

Me and four others went to Yakima Washington to the main school there.  They have a rigid schedule of testing every four months.  We were unsure of the numbers of people testing, so it was some surprise that we found out it was Mark, me and a 12 year old boy doing the confirmation.  The confirmation is done one year after a blackbelt has been awarded, but the certificate has not been written up.  This is a measure to "weed out" folks that can't fully commit to what the belt means.  I gather about one third of the folks that passed the belt test are only the only ones that make it through confirmation.

The test only lasts about an hour, but like clock work we got through all the basics and then messed up during the big application series.  Somewhere on the se…

One Day To Go1

Tomorrow is the big day!  I'm having constantly rotating feelings of excitement and nerves (which I would assume are two sides of the same coin).  The calms I'm experiencing between the nerves allow me to reflect on the fact in scheme of things this isn't that massive a deal for anyone else but me.  All the senseis have pointed out this is confirmation so actual testing is off the table.  In fact clips boards are put down so the judges can sit and watch. 

I hear what they are saying, but my internal mechanisms push me to be the best that I can be.  My ability is a reflection of the training I've received in the last year and a reflection of the teachers that have spent time on me.  To do poorly shows a bad reflection on the teacher and school. 

To be honest I feel pretty good about the whole thing.  Just as long as we have plenty of time to warm up I think we'll be pretty good to go.  Mark and I look pretty good after three run-throughs. 

Case in point - we spen…

Protocol And Behavior

Class whistled by at high speed.  The new norm is all the kids need work on the basics and the ones that have been there are bored in the extreme about the learning process.  Of course that means that Mark and I get selected to help the young kids with the kata we are working on at the moment.  Nifanshi Sho Dan isn't necessarily a complex kata, but it has a lot of detail.  Trying to get 12 folks to pay attention and get most of it right is a bit of a challenge.  Not my best work.

Mark and I warmed up early and got some practice in.  He's exuding a lot of patience and calm, because his blackbelt test was so difficult.  However, he's vexing me because he still forgets two parts.  However, I'm not much better.  I still like to mess up a few spots, but I'm stressed because I don't want to do that.  But as Reed Sensei points out, get ready for when you make the error, because you will.

After class was all about the confirmation and what to do and how to act.  We lit…

The Run Down

Reed, Daniel, Mark and I met on Saturday and ended up working out for three hours.  I was glad to have the time to work on everything, but I was left amazed that we spent that much time on all sorts of things.  I'm not sure I'm going to remember everything (or much for that matter), but the take away continues to be - you're doing great and you are always going to have something to work on. 

Hand locations, deeper stances, what to do when you forget, etc.  They all littered our conversation the whole time.  And I couldn't believe they were spending all this time on us!  Reed has been working on his test materials for three to six hours a day!  His wife and kids, all of whom are in class, understand this, but I bet he is straining things a bit.  We only have a the remainder of this week to get ready and my blood pressure is up. 

I don't think it's only because of the test, but my family issues are changing on the hour and emotionally robbing me of my ability t…