Showing posts from June, 2016


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 …