Thursday, May 26, 2016


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 certificate!  I'm sure I have some part of this wrong, but we jumped into work on the first of the two katas last night.

Kyoku Roku Dan - We got about 17 moves into the form then Reed stopped us for the first bunkai.  Leave it to Mark and I;  we converted a simple block and lock into a ten minute head scratcher. 

Normally, I forget the kata as soon as I get home, but I was able to do it this morning with a lot of stopping and thinking.  But if I understand correctly it's going to be very long and I've got 364 to learn it and it's partner before I have to demonstrate it in front of people.  Weeee.  Something to do and something to look forward to!  A great way to celebrate my 50th year. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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 "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step" mindset.  I'll add a little bit more on Thursday or just do the same.  I just have to use thinner socks or use my running sandals.  My toes weren't too happy with my choices apparently.

Push-ups were pretty horrible this morning - I could only manage 20 due to feeling just plain week.  Lost of muscle I guess?  I wouldn't have thought it possible with the amount of protein I'm putting down, but maybe the loss of the the extra me is losing my leverage. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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 grips on the staff - a problem area for me - I was shown where specifically to do the exchange.  I have to switch a lot earlier essentially.

When we lined up to bow out, Sensei mentioned in passing that he now had a plan for me.  My ears perked up, but I didn't think anything about it and he didn't go into detail after class. 

Later in the evening he gave me a call and said that he had a conversation with his Sensei in Yakima.  Basically he said, "I've got a blackbelt from another school that's been here for a year, what do I do with him?"  Since the brown belt just passed his test there is now an inducement for me to move up even though I don't have an official rank within Shudokan.  So Reed got the approval to move me into a testing track!! 

He gave me a bunch of details, but after we hung up I couldn't remember a damn thing.  I think I'm going to be working with Mark (the new blackbelt) for his second degree and I'll be doing the same thing.  I'll find out more on Wednesday when Reed said he'll give an expectation sheet. 

I'm so thrilled!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Missed Opportunity

I ended up missing Monday's class since I had to go back to the East Coast and do some family business for a long weekend.  The frustrating thing is that once I'm going regularly to class, breaking the pattern by just one class seems to throw me out of kilter. 

For instance on Monday I missed an introduction to European blocking.  This is a two person exercise in which there is a sequence of five moves ended with a throw.  Since I missed Monday I had to start out pretty slow and never made it past the forth exchange.  My partner, Sarah, was a pistol and loves to move fast and hard.  I find her precision and strength a welcome respite from the less aggressive/assertive folks in the class.  I can't wait for her to move up the chain in testing to where she obviously belongs. 

  • left jab, right reverse punch, right front kick
  • right back fist, left punch, left round house kick
  • left jab, right reverse punch
  • right coquette block low, punch, side kick (can't quite remember this one)
This was the last class before the big trip to the test in Yakima.  I gather this gather this occurs three times a year and folks travel in from all over the country.  It's a big deal because the amount of time before you are even eligible is measured in years.  So the best bet is to start young!  Ha!

I gather there is also protocol issues.  If your direct teacher is, say, a forth degree and you are eligible to test at the same level some folks will not test because they don't want to insult their teacher.  My best guess is that most of the teachers could care less, but what are going to do?  It ends up forcing the teacher to take their next level exam.  Yuck.  I guess the wife of the head guy has been stuck doing this off and on over the years.  I think she might be in her 50s and has a 6th degree.  Grueling at any age. 

I've got too much going on to go to the test.  This breaks my heart a bit, but we have guests coming in and I'm way behind on work at the house.  There is going to be a lot of hustle with little rest so I'm out of luck.  Maybe in years to come I can either go and watch or actually test in my adopted style.  Sensei hasn't mentioned it, but I don't think he talks about it much and I am, after all, the odd man out.

While I was out on family visit I had to go off the diet a bit, but I was relieved to be still at 195 this morning!  I feel wispy and thin, but my pants fit great.  Alternatively, I'm having nightly cramps in my calves.  Nothing severe, but just enough to wake me up and make move my feet in a way to relieve the pain and then fall back asleep.  The regularity makes me feel like I'm missing something in my diet or something.

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  At 6:05am I looked at my phone quizzically while trying to wake up.  My SaBomNim (master teacher), who is legally blind, sent me the messa...