Showing posts from 2016

Shūdokan 110!

I'm always looking for something special on a milestone class, but as usual, I don't know the count of the class I'm in at the moment.

Reed Sensei said that the confirmation test would take place in April.  To me that feels like next week and we aren't exactly there yet.  There is a lot of content to go through and refine, but Reed says that we are going to be learning the other side of the long application series next week!  

I don't feel particularly smooth with my side yet and we are just starting to learn the advanced elbow techniques.  Although they aren't massively complicated they still need to be learned and become an addition to the already big catalog of material.  

Last night in afterclass we went through the application about three and half times.  I'm having some problems with foot work so we went through and made sure every stance was correct and that took some time.  After that we went over three of the advanced elbow techniques.  We have to lea…

Bent Wrists Are My Specialty

I'm finally starting to get my sleep schedule corrected, but it's slow going.  Most of the last few evenings I find myself on the sofa being roughly awakened by my head hitting my chest.  This is around 6 to 7 pm.  Tuesday night I was fairly good because I made it 8 pm.  So I was reasonable awake for class last night.  

Reed Sensei must have been feeling some burnout on all the test prep stuff so he launched into a series of techniques that lead up to wrist locks and traps. This is always a welcome relief to me because it was such a large part of my old school's curriculum.  

I was partnered with MaryAnn Sensei, but she was clearly unused to being on the receiving end of techniques and I ended up spending a lot of time massaging her forearms after dropping her to her knees.  That didn't make me feel too good.  I wasn't sure if I was out of practice or she was just extremely sensitive.  Either way we didn't get far, but I got to introduce a whole bunch of stuff no…

Sneeze 2

In a continuing celebration of my 50th year my wife and I traveled in Southeast Asia for a couple of weeks.  Thankfully the pace and location allowed me to practice my kata every other day or so.  I was very nervous that I'd forget something, but I was supposed to be focused on addressing some small details with my big kata. 

The folks we traveled with are dedicated practitioners of yoga and meditation so our mornings would be fairly quiet.  During their meditative practice I'd go into whatever space I could fine to work on my stuff.  This was met with some humor because I have a tendency to be embarrassed about my dedication.  For them meditation is something of a regular topic.  My focus on the karate is something fairly private to me, so I'm never really sure how to address it.  If I'm lucky my wife brings it up so I don't sound like a humble bragger.  It goes a long way if I need to go and practice without looking like a hermit.

The problem with this level of tr…


It's thanksgiving here in the states today and usually most things around the holiday are put aside to get ready for family and cooking.  However, we took a vote and decided we'd do both classes as way to squeeze in as much training as we could.  However the first class only had five of us and then after class was only three of us. 

Reed started the class very quickly and that means the bare minimum of warm so we could get to content.  He asked how much was on my plate.  This meant that he was learning something and needed someone else to work with.  He does his best learning by teaching someone else.  Since he's kind of being pushed to work on his next belt he needs to learn four new kata under the Ryuei-Ryu school.  We'd learned Anan which was the fourth I believe, but Pachu is the first.  At any rate the pronunciation of said kata sounds like a sneeze to me; thus the title of the post.
We got most of the way through it, but class ended.  Everybody said their farewell…

On Track!

Roughly five months to go before the confirmation exam and Reed Sensei says that Mark and I are on track!

This is a big deal because after voicing some small frustrations about progress he pointed out that we only need to learn the other side of the Kyoku application and some elbow techniques. 
Many of the moves we employ in the application follow the rules of traditional karate.  The most common of these is that you block over your leading leg.  For most of the first year of training this rule is pretty much universal, but somewhere along the way the teachers start saying there are exceptions to the rule.  I assume this is the case because reality has a way of messing up what we do in practice. 
So last night we were performing a complex arrangement of arm-bars and double blocks and it was pointed out that we'd get confused because one of the blocks was not over the lead leg.  So the rule was explained to us as; "always block over the lead leg, but there is always an excepti…

Just Some More Work

My wife is about to head out of town for several months, so I'd like to spend time with her as much as possible.  As usual Karate has to take a back seat to my real life demands, but since I need the exercise no matter what I managed to do the first hour of class. 

I left the house a bit early and went to the building we have class in hopes that Mark would be there early.  My gamble was successful.  Mark has been coming to class a bit early himself to warm up and practice on his own.  So after a little visiting we got into the application, but the frustration of memory betrayal reared it's ugly head.  I could remember components of the application, but not how they tied together.  By the time we got through a couple of guesses Reed Sensei showed and started sorting us out.  But it was for not; class started and after warm up our practice outline was:
- 4 x Nifanshi Shodan Kata - 4 x Kyoku Roku Dan Kata - 2 x Nifanshi Shodan Oyo - 2 x Kyouku Bunkai
This took exactly the whole hour. …

Early Onset Rigor Mortis

Exercise, by it's very nature, is going to make the practitioner sore and stiff especially as the amount of effort is increased.  That being said, I'd hate to admit that I usually put in the amount of effort needed at the time and usually not much more. 

For me it has always been an issue of gain, fighting with the avoidance of pain and discomfort.  However with this confirmation year I'm actually motivated to do better and take the accompanying discomfort in stride.  That is; until it got embarrassing. 

As a personal milestone I'm incredibly pleased to have finished one half of the long application.  That doesn't mean I'm good at it, but I've made it to the end of one side.  The Application is a manufactured expression of all the bunkai from a single kata.  In this case it's for Kyoku Roku Dan, a kata with around 50 moves.  Instead of breaking the pieces into a one or two-step example the whole kata becomes a flowing process between two folks.  A compl…

Reap and Sweep

Earlier in the day I made a poor choice with my lunch.  I mean it was delicious, but the amount of hot peppers made my stomach feel like a furnace and eventually gave way to a wave of gas that felt borderline dangerous in the wrong situation.

So when class started I was nervously joking with Mark about the throws we take on one of the moves; telling him not to do it hard or I'll end up pooping my gi.  We made a few jokes and class got started, but just like always, any jokes seem to come to fruition as content.
After warmup we laid out as many mats as we had and grabbed our partners.  Although we didn't work on throws, my concerns about hard falls were somewhat justified because we worked on foot sweeps which still end up landing us on the floor hard.
The four sweeps: 1. Sliding the instep to outer side of the lead foot.  If caught when the person is putting their weight on the lead foot they go boom.  You need good timing.
2. Similar to the first but you bring your foot all the wa…

Progress at 6 months

I think I might have missed a few postings, but I guess there is nothing much to report that grabs the headlines.  Mark and I in a familiar pattern; Two kata, 10 bunkai, 1 Oyo, and 1 application. 

I was actually feeling very frustrated about progress.  I'm totally dependent on Mark for the partners practice and some of the pieces aren't necessarily logical and require some hands on correction to get correct. However Mark pointed out that we need less and less assistance to get going and can sort out more and more on our own.  Within 25 minutes we'd almost completed the above list. 
The Oyo is a combination of the bunkai and application.  Normally bunkai is reminiscent of my one or two step techniques from TSD; a formal attack with expression of technique in two or three moves.  However, the Nifanshi Shodan kata is relatively short so instead of just doing the two bunkai it was combined for brevity's sake. 
Unfortunately Mark and I struggled to remember this at first, b…


Last night was my first full two hour stint after coming back from vacation.  As you can imagine it was a challenge but that was mostly because I was sleep deprived.  I wanted to get back on my diet again in fear that I'll get a bout of gout if I'm not careful.  So that means no booze and cutting down on fatty stuff. 

I hate admitting it, but the drinks I do have really help me get to sleep.  With their removal I'm pretty much tossing and turning most of the night.  Not totally asleep and somewhat awake all at the same time.  The last time I did this it took three days to get my sleep cycle corrected.  I assumed that it would come quicker this time since it was only two months ago.  Wrong.
Anyway, it meant that I was dragging myself to class but, as usual, the attention to detail and activity level kept me going.  Class consisted of doing five of each of the last three katas.  15 kata doesn't sounds like a lot but after the first five I was dragging and puffing.  I can …

Shūdokan 100!

As usual, I lost count of my classes and didn't realize it was the 100th one until just now. I had assumed that I should do something special that would require endurance and such, but instead after some work I got put in charge of Charlotte.  She's seven and actually a good student, but has no response most of the time.  Just a vacant stare.  

As I've mentioned I can barely stand working with kids because I don't know how to interact with them.  One of the worst things is getting instruction from Sensei that says practice this or that.  We all know that means that you keep practicing it until he says otherwise, but most of the young kids do it once and want to be done. Repetitive practice just doesn't go into the equation.  

My next frustration is that you can't offer "what would you like to do" and expect an answer.  I have to be directive and keep forgetting that little fact.  Despite my griping, Charlotte was able to learn the second half of a kata …

Shooting Stars

A blast of golden sparks played across my vision and cleared as quickly as it appeared, but for those few moments I was completely vulnerable.  As usual I would have loved to see all that in slow motion.  Probably a really cruddy block on my part; letting a hooking punch slip through and bang my chin.

This is what it felt like anyway

I've been off for a month and my practice has only been kata.  There hasn't been any exercise except for the occasional long walks on windy Scottish vistas.  Upon my return from my vacation I tried running, but I was only able to eek out a weak 2.5 miles.  So when I finally make it to class it turns out to be fight night.  Reed Sensei is getting ready to go to tournament this weekend and needs to get his head right, so that means we all get to practice a bit.  Thankfully we all had our teeth protection on.  The first time I've put mine in for over five years!?

To prep for fight night we have to warm up fairly well and do a bunch of speed drills c…

App Happy!

It was a momentous night.  And definitely one where there was a karmic balance in place.  During the first hour post warm up I was given the four girls. 10, 8, 7 and 6.  Woe is me. The ten year old, is an excellent artist, but vexes me because she is bored of the routine work and easily gets frustrated with her younger cohort.  The others are a challenge because you can only get them to focus on the smallest changes at any given time.  

I got them to work on a practice celebration.  For them it's three sets of blocking (downward, cross; downward, cross, kick; downward, cross, kick, punch) and then drills that move up and down the floor.  Then it was on to three kata.  This was followed by the application.  The application uses the bunkai in a two person series.  The girls actually do this reasonably well considering their age and relative sophistication.  After that we reviewed the wrist locks; opposite side grab and same side grab.  Pretty substantial based on the fact that these …

No Warmup!

Although it happens on occasion it is fairly rare.  As soon as we bowed in Reed Sensei grabbed Mark and me and ran through the application portion of Nifanshi shodan.  So my warmup in reality was a lot of head twists and face smashes.  Not ideal, but the amount of time to get directly into practice was great.  We then got partnered with the young ladies (8 and 10) to continue the pattern and then switch sides.  This lasted for the entirety of the class. 

After class was just working through the bunkai for Roku Dan.  I keep thinking that it's going to go fast, but for the forty minutes that I'm there we dig further into the foot work and body placement.  However for the first time we were able to get through all 10 bunkai.  It is a lot to absorb, but we are doing very well.  If I could have stayed for the last half hour I think Dan Sensei would have started the first part of the application.  I hate that I can't stay longer.
I've got two pages of my Black Belt paper writ…

Shūdokan 95

I'm trying to compare the time I've been going to the amount of classes I've been to lately.  I don't think the overall number is worth really remarking on because it's going to keep climbing, but since I'm closing in on 50 numbers are taking on a larger significance.  I think I've been going for a little over a year with periodic gaps due to construction efforts.  I'm fairly pleased by recent progress and part of this is tracking my new katas.  Learning the Kyoku-Dan kata has been kind of grueling at times due to the level of finesse that's required. 

This level of finesse bumped up another level last night when I had to go over each hand position and foot position until I understood why they were going where they were going.  I also had to slow it down which gave me a flashback of my old teacher telling me to not rush to the end.  Whoops. 

Regular class was a lot of kicking.  However Reed Sensei decided to stop using each others hand for support w…

Big Toe

After class on Wednesday I went to bed, but ended up tossing and turning most of the night.  I woke around 3 am thinking that I had dislocated my toe during the night.  I've definitely jammed my big toe in the past and this level of pain by-passed that.  I kept reviewing what I might have done that would have hurt so bad; a kick that dislocated, a break that's finally showing itself or a cramp?  

I finally got out of bed at four and called the nurse advice line and she thought it was gout.  Since I'm living a very healthy life at the moment I totally disagreed, but the pain was getting worse and worse.  It didn't warrant a visit to the ER, but I was starting to lose my ability to think rationally.  I couldn't put a bag of ice on it due to sensitivity and my wife managed to get me to gag down a handful of Ibuprofen to take off the edge.  

At this point I noticed my foot had to start to swell and I couldn't put any pressure on it at all.  After finding out that I c…

Random Fight Night

On Monday Reed let us know that we'd be sparring on Wednesday.  I'd rather he surprise us on the day of the because I get anxious.  I'm not sure why I get so anxious, because I tend to enjoy the experience after the fact. 

We started the class working on the second Kyoku.  The Kyoku kata are specifically Shudokan in nature.  Due to my weird entry into the confirmation period I only know the first and now the eighth, so Reed asked Mark and Sarah to get me to work on the second.  Thankfully the work we've been doing on the ultra complicated ones makes the second kata feel relatively easy, but I'm sure I couldn't do it any justice one day later.
After that we set up for sparring.  This presented a challenge.  We had four adults and six children.  None of us (except for Reed) has any real experience judging.  My few runs at tournament didn't require me to participate in the judging side of things.  Although it shouldn't be tough, the basics, or the lack there…

Four Month Learning Curve

The big excitement from last night was that Ivanna taught me the last couple of moves of Roku Dan!  She was thankfully fresh from teaching Mark the same thing last Wednesday.  Right on the tail of that I was able to learn the tenth bunkai related to this kata.  

I'm trying to measure the success so far.  Four months to learn the entirety of the kata and the 10 bunkai.  That's not to say that I'm actually refined to the point of comfort, but it looks pretty good.  I'm sure the last two sequences will need to be refined, but I love that the bunkai absolutely matches the actions taken in the kata.  It makes it easier to remember.  For instance, the last bunkai blocks the kick, steps in with a reverse chop to the ribs.  Uke grabs your wrist and you do a twist and push.  Boom!

Anyway, I'm down to eight months to have all the bunkai locked into place so I can start on the application.  I can remain consistent Reed might be able to confirm us sooner, but to have the level o…


Following our five hour experience in Eugene and adding a hour and half drive afterwards I didn't end up practicing the new kata until the next morning.  Even then I was only able to get through a few stretches without it falling apart.

It should have been absolutely predictable that we were going to work on the kata at some point soon, but I was surprised when it became the content of the class and the after class.  All other content was moved to the side in order to cement the moves as quickly as possible. 

After reviewing Anan with Reed I was given the task of teaching it to Ivana.  I felt somewhat intimidated since she's several ranks above me, but she's got a rather pleasant attitude so whereas we didn't get far we were accurate.  After we ran through as much as we could I was given the task to play judge on two of the brown belts while they ran through five kata.  The rule is one compliment, one correction and then move on.  No second attempts because time was com…

5 hours

Sensei contacted me on Thursday to see if I could travel up to Eugene with him to work with Albert Sensei.  He and MaryAnn had several questions about specific pieces of the kata then needed to work on and then, if time permitted learn a new kata.  My job was to learn the new kata with Sensei and hopefully act as another repository for knowledge. 
I didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet Albert Sensei, one of Reed's teachers for over 14 years.  The drive is an hour and half out of the thorn city so my whole Sunday was going to be shot (and more than likely, get me in dutch with the wife), but as usual I felt honored to be invited along and wanted to get a look at this level of training.  A kind of "peering behind the curtain" kind of thing. 
Albert Sensei is an unassuming man with a peppy, upbeat attitude and a non-stop patter.  He clearly loves to teach and educate.  He wants to make sure you understand exactly what he means and this can mean he'll give a l…

Detached Retina

While warming up for the beginning of class Mark told me that after our previous class he started seeing flashing lights in his vision.  After he visited the doctor he found out that he had a detached retina!  He thought that it was from the throws I was giving him on a leg sweep move.  Wow.  I was kind of feeling guilty, but he pointed out that it's just his body being old and we just have to take it easy with throws in the future.  Needless to say when we practiced that move again I was hyper aware of where he was going and how fast.

Regular class was laughably small.  Basically Mark and I with four very young kids.  I got three six year olds and was told to set up the sports floor.  These giant red and blue puzzle pieces are the mainstay of most dojos I've every been too and provide a nice barrier between my pointy bones and a hard floor. 
After we emptied the closet out and got the floor put together (we can't keep it down permanently because we are renting a space for …

Dangerous Dance Of Death

Sometime back my buddy, Bob Patterson, had an article about folks looking for support in order to fund a documentary on the Dance of Death.  The skinny is in this article.

The reason this caught my attention was that I read those comic books as a kid and saw those ads for the "Black Dragon Society" and how they fired my imagination.  This was augmented by endless viewings of kung fu movies on local cable access channels.  How it would be a wonder to fly through the air or be able to whirl my hands in complicated patterns to make striking like a snake seem so effortless. 
Three plus decades later I'm writhing around on the ground with a foot in the back of my shoulder while my arm is pinned in such a way that one sneeze would shatter my elbow joint and I think to myself, "man, he's got to improve his technique to make this hurt more". 
When I had a few minutes to think about the session I asked myself, "where did that sense of youthful wonder go?" I…

Flying Elbows Of Death

In the after class Reed Sensei sat us down gave us the low down on our requirements for Black Belt confirmation.  A fee, a thesis, and the components of the physical bits (kata, 2-man, bunkai, etc.).  An intriguing piece was "good attitude".  Apparently some folks would get big britches and be a bit condescending to lesser belts.  I don't know how that would even be possible since everyone there is so cooperative.  Different times with a bigger school allows all sorts to move through. 

The other area in which we are expected to perform is the advanced elbow technique.  There are roughly three levels of skill related to the elbow techniques; the first being basic - which would equate to moving out of the way and giving Uke a shot with a elbow.  The next level would be adding a should lock and strike.  The level Mark and I are going to be working on includes a brutal takedown coupled with an arm bar.  After ten of those I had to take a handful of vitamin I this morning - a…


For the second class in a row I haven't had my partner Mark to work with.  Although it's not a drastic thing at the moment, the fact that he was ahead of me was helpful because he could help me work through some stuff.  As of last night I'm slightly ahead in the kata and, I think, have refined enough that I'm looking at least as good has him on what we commonly know. 

I was partnered with Dan Sensei last night in after practice to work on refining the kata till I was blue in the face.  Paired with the fact that I'm not feeling rushed we slowed down the speed and worked on each piece till I started getting it right.  This morning I was able to do it fairly well I thought.  Only a few slow spots that agonize me while I try to remember what's next. 
Regular class was spent with a brief warm up and then kicking drills.  I love these because if we keep regular with them I feel healthy and balanced.  Infrequently practicing them makes me feel out of shape and shaky. …

Shūdokan 85

I was hoping to make a bit more progress in the big kata last night, but when I did finally get to work on it in the after class I just stuck with sorting out all the handwork in the one section I'm slightly frustrated with. 

During regular class we worked on adding a few more moves to Nifanshi Shodan, but these were introduced as self defense moves.  After we finished up the warm ups we were to partner up and I got Sensei.  I enjoy working with him but it means I'm going to take some hard hits now and then.  And here I complained about not getting impact now and then!
The after class session took a bit to get started, but I was able to go through my trouble areas several times and iron out the boo-boos as much as I could.  Ivanna went through all my bunkai, but while this was occurring Reed, MaryAnn and Dan were sorting out the application series. 
The application is a continuous display of bunkai using two people.  There is attacker and defender rolls and the purpose is to di…


Mark is 60 something and took his first Alzheimer test awhile back.  He got a borderline result on a basic office visit and means that he'll have to go in for advanced testing - probably a CT to see if there is any physical degradation. 

This bit of knowledge came up while we were in my backyard struggling to remember pieces of the kata (Kyoku 8).  I was genuinely concerned that I was slowing down his progress because I was really having a lot of difficulty with one section and didn't appear to be getting any better.  Amidst my apologies he started talking about memory and he gave me his story. 
His daughter is a psychologist and says that going to Karate is pretty great for him and the continuing health of his brain.  So I guess I have a leg up with trying to study Spanish at the same time, but his open admission about his own concerns made me depressed and hopeful at the same time.  I told him about my Mother and her decline and her current use of a dementia suppression medic…

All Natural Percussive Temporary Tattoos

At my old school bruising was regular and sometime spectacular, but it was also a badge of pride.  Now that I look back I sure we looked like a bunch of heroin addicts unable to find veins in our arms anymore.   A side effect of this was that over time I bruised less and less and impacts hurt less and less. 

In my current school the impacts are way less because we are so focused on form, but on occasion we'll have a blocking drill that will remind me of the good old days.  However, I notice that the sensitivity that I worked so hard to drive away appears to be eeking it's way back. 
Last night, I acted as Uke to Reed while he demonstrated a piece of the bunkai from Nifanshi Shodan (Now I realize it's also called Tekki Shodan).  I grabbed his wrist and he would drive my hand down to break the grasp and then while he brought it up he would slam a hammer fist down on top of the forearm to completely break the grip. 
Let's just say that the first time I was pretty sure he …


I have now moved into what I call SOP; Standard Operating Procedure.  My life has become a clockwork schedule of repetition that will hopefully keep me on the straight and narrow. 

I get up around 5, practice kata and exercise.  On Mondays and Wednesdays I go to Karate in the afternoon for two hours.  On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I run (one day for time, one day for pace and one day for sprints). 

I've done this off and on over the years with some regularity, but I have been doing this 6 weeks straight and, boy, do my arms looks skinny.  I used to love lifting weights, but I don't seem to have time to get that into my schedule.  So I'm looking thinner and this is enhanced because my pants look big on me and my shirts are looking draped rather than stretched.

Last night we were introduced to Nifanshi Shodan.  This was one of my blackbelt test katas back up North, but was called Nihanshi Shodan there.  Reed tells us there is no F sound in Japanese thus the multiple pr…

Two More

Knowing that Mark and I are on an accelerated pace to learn two kata with attendant bunkai is thrilling.  Yesterday the after class focus was to move us further into the Kata and then teach us more two more bunkai.  Know that we are up to number 7 is cool because we only have three to go. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Reed came into class carried a stack of boards!  I've never broken a board in class.  My last school was on an island and wood was expensive.  I think we could have gotten raw cut lumber, but I'm not sure where we would have dried it.  We always used the plastic break away boards, but those would give up their useful lives fairly quickly. 

I didn't get the option to break though.  We did paper, scissors, rock and the younger students all go to try.  I have to admit it's awesome to see a 10 year old blow through a piece of wood and just come off stoked. 
We focused almost solely on punching for the whole hour.  I feel refined for sure, but my body…

Shūdokan 80

Bone crunching, tendons grinding and snapping - that is definitely the way to celebrate the 80th class! 

I was experiencing the same feeling of dread, partial exhaustion and even a little a nausea from adrenaline, that I used to get going to classes at my old school.  This came, in part, due to the often regular contusions and joint pain I got from the regular impactful contact and joint manipulations that were part of the syllabus. 
The Shūdokan class has never invoked these feelings in me before because we rarely do locks or heavy impact, but I realized that there is an underlying excitement in having a goal and in the relatively short time of a year.  Also having class on Monday is a bit tough for me because I'm not usually well rested. 
With that being said, I got a surprise during class.  Mark and I paired up as usual to do our "fours".  We are to do the kata four times, and then practice the bunkai four times with each of us performing the attack four times.  We kn…

Three Bunkai

I'm pretty sure, at this point, Mark and I are going to be working on this kata, Kyoku Roku Dan, until we are blue in the face.  Reed has emphasized that we are to be absolutely focused on quality over quantity.  This means that due to the length of the kata we aren't supposed to be moving forward until each section is pristine.  The chunk we know is pretty good as Reed and Dan target spots for improvement over and over, but now the focus is on bunkai. 

Last night we started our warm-ups with kicks.  I love and hate the drill we perform.  Grab a partner and hold opposite hands and then endless roundhouse kicks.  It's a progressive drill that starts with kicks to the knee, then abdomen and finally head.  It's exhausting because at the peak of the drill you are doing 12 kicks on various targets while you remain balanced on one foot. 
So the day after I'm usually fairly sore from this kind of thing, but I'm suspiciously not crippled up.  So tomorrow I should be a …

Burning Hot

The Thorn City is currently in the grips of another early heat wave.  That means going to class is an absolute relief.  My house doesn't have air conditioning and usually our space is a little cool for my comfort, but after the short drive I was absolutely swimming in delight at the cool breeze blowing through the studio.

After bow-in the students who Celebrated(?) last week received their belts, badges and diplomas.  During the course of the class each student was taken to the side and they would discuss the results of the testing.   I'd love to hear what was said because Reed and MaryAnn have a very sensitive approach to how they talk to the kids. 
While that was going on I warmed up the class for some time.  This wasn't really required because most of us were already sweating quite a bit, but it was fun to try to remember the hansu stuff.  After that I lead basic kicks and punches up and down the floor.  I'm just not that imaginative. 
We moved to different katas dep…

Celebration Actual

The day has finally come where I got to participate in Celebration, the under blackbelt testing demonstration assembly that runs roughly three times a year.  During the last year and a half I've managed to miss every single one of these, but I did get to see the blackbelts test up in trail city.  The blackbelt test was so confusing because I got pulled in to the testing and had no idea what the hell I was doing. 

Well, last night was a fraction better.  I got handed a clipboard filled with boxes and was told to choose two students.  We were then broken up into groups and there were three basic movements and then a series of kicks.  Followed by three kata (thankfully my two picked the same katas).  The bunkai for the three kata which took a while since both sides needed to do it three times.  I realized this was a good idea because the first one was a bit rough, but then they smoothed out.
The testing rounded out with elbow techniques and knife defenses.  Both of which my two folks …


Before class got started I got into a conversation with Kyle about Celebration next week.  As usual I have the facts incorrect, so he was nice enough to clarify a few things for me.  The Celebration is just that.  It's not actually testing, but a display of basic skills and then specific stuff depending on belt level.  The student actually has to have a bunch of things checked off before the day and then they get a belt.  Kyle is scheduled to receive his Brown on Wednesday! 

On the other hand the brown to black transition is really a test and you better bring your A game.  That's the one I witnessed in Track town where all of our folks did not pass. 
Now that Mark passed his Black belt exam, he his has one year to learn two very long katas and a bunch of bunkai and applications that go with them.  This is where I fit in.  Because I have my blackbelt from another school and have been going for a year I'll be going along with Mark learning the after test work to earn my cert…

Exercise Note

As part of my getting healthier I've been required not only to revamp my diet, but regulate my exercise.  Just a few years ago I worked out regularly and ate poorly, but in the last two years I've been eating horribly and only getting occasional exercise.  This has caught up to me in a big way; not that I'm fat, but my blood tells a terrible story of bad eating, drinking too much beer and horrible genetics. 

I had a soft entry into my current diet when I started the whole 30 about a month ago.  Since I started that I've lost 12 pounds and this morning I'm 193.  The doctor wants me to on remain on a fairly rigid diet for another 60 days. 

In addition to attending Karate twice a week I need to be doing some exercise for 40+ minutes at the very least two more times week.  To that end I started jogging again yesterday.  I ended up doing one mile in 14 minutes.  A speed I think most people would do walking.  Hah! 

I decided I'd be philosophical and keep in the "…

Big News

At the very end of class Reed was going over the criteria for the upcoming celebration (testing of under black belts).  Mostly fixed routines and then techniques for the various levels. 

Mark's new Blackbelt places him in our formal line a little bit differently.  When we address the shomen (the front of the room, usually with a small alter, but not us since we are just renting the room as it were) we stand facing various directions.  The bulk of the students face the Sensei and front of the room in order of rank.  The Blackbelts stand to the right or left of the Sensei facing one another, completing the sides of the box. 
Mark now stands beside me and Ivana on the left side facing MaryAnn.  I guess when you get up to 3rd degree you move to the other side.  I'll have to ask sometime. 
For class we practiced a lot of basics and then worked on kata for the rest of the time.  The note for the evening was that when we are doing Chatan Yata (a staff routine) and have to change grip…