Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's Your Range??

A little personal information first: I am very new at teaching. I don't think the first lesson I taught went over as well as I wanted to. I feel like I rushed everything but I do think the sparring game I had made up for it. People said that they really liked it. (see

So for my second lesson, Shihan asked me if I would teach about 5 days before the class. I know, five days is a lot of time, but being new at this, 5 days seemed very short. I racked my brain for something that would be relevant to teach. Do I go over a basic technique and help them perfect it? Like front snap kicks, or the basic jab, cross? Do i go over something a little more fancy like a spinning jumping back kick? Do we work on something I need to work on so I can get better while helping others?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THE Class was Taught

Last night was a big deal for me. I taught my first Sabaki class. That is fight class. Gosh I had such anxiety about it. I have to thank my dojo mates for dealing with me.

I started with kihon, basic strikes, blocks and kick. I totally had a plan when I went in there. Just go through the basics, nothing fancy, but went I went so fast that I was under time, I started to make up kicks. Ever stand in zenkutsu dachi (front leaning stance) while throwing a round knee kick?? Neither have I, but lucky for me it worked.

After fitness and a water break, we went over my plan of attack. I had everyone line up at the back of the room so we could walk up and down the room throwing a jab, reverse, and a knee kick. Then we took turns strapping on the full body kicking shield and we practiced the combo against it. The next step in my master plan was to learn to defend against it.

Me And Ryan last belt test
Time flew by and I had 10 minutes or so of actual sparring time. There was only seven people in class so instead of regular sparring, I had them all circle up. I put one in the middle and sent people to spar him for 30 seconds. While this was happening, I walked around the circle and I would tag someone and keep walking. I would shout to stop fighting and the next person would spar the person in the middle.

I had a hard time explaining it, but while I was trying, Patrick said "Oh Boy!" cause he knew what I was doing. He got to go first. Pat sparred Manny, I walked around and tagged Ryan. When Manny's time was up I told him to stop. As soon as I did, Ryan pops into the circle. He just happened to be behind Patrick so that when Pat turned around, he got hit in the stomach. So round and round it went. We went about 10 minutes over time because it was SO MUCH FUN. I totally wanted to jump in.

There was one accident. J went to through a spinning back kick at Ryan and when he spun, he wasn't in total control and it turned into a spinning hook kick that got Ryan in the throat. I felt so bad, I still do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Teaching Karate~ The Path to Sempai

My road to black belt is taking a turn that I really haven't seen with most other people, teaching. I have been teaching a lot.
I have a kickboxing class on Thursdays that I am running. In Cardio Kickboxing, I run intervals focusing on drills that are karate related. There are tons of punching and kicking combinations, body weight exercises and balance  and flexibility challenges. Lasts about an hour, every drill is 2 minutes long with a 30 second rest. 

Sensei Liesha has asked me for help in one of the after-school programs on Wednesdays. There are 20 kids, ages from kindergarten to 5th grade. That age range is really hard. The attention span of a 11 year old is drastically longer than a 6 year old. Liesha usually has them in two groups but since this was the first time in this school, they made a mistake of putting them all together. So we start class together then split them up by age to work with them separate. Sometime this year, when there are two classes, it will be my class.

I am now also doing beginner classes. Sempai Scott had to start the night shift and so Michelle and I are running the class. That started on Halloween. I have helped in beginner a lot in the past and so Michelle and I are alternating the class between us. 

Now I get a text asking me to teach sabaki class. Sabaki is where we learn to fight. Shihan has a meeting and ask me to teach the class. That class seems like a lot of weight to me. There will be black belts there. I will be teaching basics to black belts. I have doubts about weather I can do this. I get tripping over my tongue even in the beginner class. I told Shihan that, but he said that I will be fine and can do it in English if I feel more comfortable. He says that teaching is one of the best things I can do to prepare for black belt. 

Shihan asked me to make up a class plan and show it to him before class. After kihon and fitness, I am thinking of teaching knee kicks. Basic jab, reverse, knee, and jab, reverse, switch knee Do that a few times up and down the mat. Then do the same with hotting the pads. Then I was thinking of having them partner up and work the defense of the combination. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brown Belt Blues

When I was an under belt, under green with stripe (3rd kyu), a new belt rank meant a new kata or two and  a slight increase in fitness. Yea, we did fight training every week. But belt tests focused on kihon and katas and as long as you sparred just once, you passed.

At 3rd kyu however, it seemed like there was a lot more on my shoulders on my journey to 2nd kyu, brown belt. The katas I had to learn, three of them, were all similar, were confusing me. As an upper belt the things I thought I was doing correctly, were now getting nit-picked. Okay nit-picked is a bad word, maybe tweaked is a better word, but it sure did feel like nit-picked. Seemed like all the pinan katas were running together and would often start a san kata and finish with a yon somewhere in the middle. Also trying to train for a fight so I could be eligible for the Japan fights next year. The worst thing was when testing for my brown belt, for the end of the kihon and katas, I was in front of everyone doing them by myself.

Things are even harder for me as a brown belt. Sensei tells me that this is the level that they lose people at. This is where it really gets tough. I agree. I feel the frustration. I am being corrected, but instead of just saying what I am doing wrong, I am told that I should know better at my rank. I am told that I am now a leader as a brown belt. People are looking up to me to show them how to do things correctly. No pressure or anything.

Shihan is already asked me about the next belt test and weather or not Ill be ready for it. Brings my anxiety level up but if I am not working towards something, I am simply existing. I don't want to just exist so somehow I have to push through this. I have to pull it together and get the new katas learned, perfect my stances, use proper fighting techniques and be able to teach.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What It's Like Before a Fight

6 Months Out

Shihan, sensei or someone tells you about a fight coming up, sometime in the month of say, October. I am either asked if I want to fight or I am told that I am going to fight. Doesn't matter which because if I wasn't asked, I would ask if I could go.

Visions of training plans and completely filled out workout sheets dance through my head, much like pre-Christmas sugar plums. I'll do fine, I think. I can't wait. Confidence flows through my veins. Not that I think I will win, but the confidence that I will arrive, fight and they will remember me, win or lose.

2 Months Out

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Brown Belt Test

When I was at my first test, I 'knew' I couldn't do my requirements. The basic fitness everyone has to do. I had the hardest time with push ups and sit ups. I was so worried about not passing. Little did I know then that if you are invited to test, you have already shown that you have what is required to pass the test. The brown belt test is no different in the fact that if you are invited, you already passed. You still have to work hard for it, but Shihan knows that you have what it takes. He doesn't like setting people up for failure.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Punching Drill~ Simple but Effective

In a fight, it is the basics that win. All the fancy kicks and pretty things will knock a person out, but only IF you land them. Basics will wear them down in spirit. A tournament fight is all about who has the greatest will and the strongest spirit because each of you have trained very hard.

No matter which combat sport you participate in, you need to work combinations. The most simplest, most often used combo is the jab, reverse (or cross if you prefer). Want to make that combo more effective? Practice.

Friday, September 2, 2011

new job, new training

New Job

I started to work. I know it may be a shock, but I have a real job. One with a time clock. I have been a full time stay at home mom for 15 years. Sure I have worked, but some computer repair, webdesign, graphic design, and other things here and there. No time clock, no boss, no human resources needing 2 forms of ID so I can pay my taxes.

I am working for Sunday River in Bethel Maine. Sunday River is a four season resort, but it main draw is the skiing. The best skiing in New England. I have been hired to help work the Ziplines.

Training is going to have to be different. I have to be up and out of the house before 6:30 in the morning. No time to work out in the morning. On the up side, zipline guide is a very physical job. Then I go straight from ten hours of work, to two to three hours of training. Sleep and do it again.

I feel like I am skimping on the training because I am  missing my morning workouts. No time for weight lifting and I only have a month till I fight in Canada. Shihan says it will all come together, just like always. That I shouldn't worry about it, and funnily, I am not worried.

Worry is my first name when it is just a month out from a fight. Not this time and I am not sure why. This fight, if I win, will qualify me to head to Japan in May. I already bought the Rosetta Stone, Japanese version. I am just taking it as it comes. No I am not cocky, I plan on going to Japan. I hope to be a fighter but even if I am not, I will go, somehow.

New Trainer

Sensei has a student, Tim. On Thursdays, Tim visits a gym in Mexico, Maine. Last April, when we went to Connecticut to a tournament, Rich came with us. While there, Sensei invited him to coach Tim with her. He was awesome. Rich has a black belt in some other martial art style. He also teaches boxing and kickboxing.

Soon after the April tournament, Rich started kyokushin. I got to know him and some of his history and found out that he trains another fighter and trains people who want to learn fighting. So I asked him if he could do some personal training with me. He seemed to love the idea.

Our 1 hour personal training session is two hours long. It started out that way, so now it is scheduled for two. Rich is a great trainer. He and Sensei are talking about me behind my back. When I get there he has drills tailored just for what I need to work on. Seems like whatever Sensei says that I am doing wrong on Sunday, Tuesdays training is all about my shortcomings. I think this will help me a lot.

The best thing about training with Rich is that it isn't all about fighting. Rich is a martial artist. When he trains me, he is training me in martial arts, not just for the next tournament. It isn't all about the winning, it is about my body, my mind and especially my spirit. To me, my chi or my spirit is the most important thing that I can train. After all the hard work of training plyo and bag work and techniques, Rich works awful hard at helping me quiet my mind through breathing exercises and even incorporates kata.

I can't wait for Tuesday morning so I can train with him again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dojo Field Trip: Funtown Splashtown, Saco Maine

We couldn't have asked for a better day for our annual dojo field trip to Funtown/Splashtown in Saco, ME. The sky was clear, and the sun was shining. It was just the daughter, her boyfriend, and I as we met up with the rest of everyone at the dojo. After an hour and a half of me telling them to separate in the backseat (too much hugging) we arrived.

Funtown/Splashtown is two parks in one. One side is the water park and the side had regular rides like roller coasters and log flume rides. We pay one price, a discount because it is a group of us, and then we have free range of both parks all day. We stayed till dark and it was a wonderful trip.

Friday, July 22, 2011

REVIEW ~ Zengu ~Wholesale Gear For Dojo Owners

There is a new site for dojo and gym owners called Zengu. It is the collaboration of three popular online stores  KarateDepot, BoxingDepot and MMAOpinion. I have to say, that as a web designer, I really like this site. It is easy to navigate, the color scheme is simple and easy on the eyes.

Sometimes when searching for a wholesale resource for our dojo, we must supply proof that you are a business BEFORE you can even look around and see prices. Not with Zengu. Zengu allows you to see everything up front. There are no surprises, and no having to jump through hoops just to see if you want to shop with them. Shop all you want, place items in your cart, fool around with shipping option and when you are satisfied, fax in your proof of business.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dojo Field Trip : Laser Tag w/ Pinatas!

Last night had to have been the most fun field trip I have ever been on with the dojo. We headed up to BIG Adventure in Bethel Maine for a 2 for 1 special in laser tag. As we were waiting for the people to give instructions, the kids started pointing out my dress. It was black and white and under the black lights, I glowed a bight blue/white.

The first game was blue team vs green team. The lights on the target vests lit up in the color that was on your receipt. It was a lot of fun dodging and ducking, running about, hiding in the barriers. I got in the top ten players. I was surprised because it seemed like I got tagged more than I tagged people.

The second game was more fun. ZOMBIE TAG, yes I said zombie tag. One player is randomly deemed the zombie by the computer. His vest turns red and every one else is green. When the zombie tags an alive (green) person, they get infected and the vest turns red. Since they are now zombies, they go around infecting others. When there is only one player who is still green, the game resets and that player is now the zombie.

After I headed over to Sensei Kris's dojo for some training. I was late and she didn't make me do push up, for which I was grateful. Sempai Steph, on her day off, made pinatas. They were balloon shaped and white, which was awesome. We all brought stuff to put in it. At the end of class, sensei had us  put out heads on the shinai (a stick) and spin around it 10 times. When good and dizzy, you had to walk over to wear they were holding up the pinata attached to a staff and punch it. You only had one chance. I think it took about 4 or 5 hits.More than once the string broke and we would have to retrieve the dented but unbroken pinata from across the room. We broke two of the pinatas. Leaving two more for beach training in a couple of weeks.

Summer at the dojo is a lot of fun.

Monday, July 18, 2011

When Karateka Go Hiking, Caribou Mountain NH

Last week, Semapi Steph and Rich (from Sensei's dojo) went hiking with me. Because it has been very hot we decided that the earlier the better. Rich choose the hike, Caribou Mountain, in the White Mountain National Forest. The Caribou Mountain Trail is in the Caribou-Speckled Mountin wilderness, located on the Maine-NH border.The hike up was very very steep.

As we were hiking, I was in front, I scared a morning dove hiding in the brush. It flew away and some type of predator bird flew after it. It was so close that I could have hit it with a stick, but so fast that I am not sure what kind of bird it was.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kokutsu Dachi (Back Stance)

Last night was Sensei's class in Bethel. We did things a bit different. We didn't do kihon, but went straight to a technique.

We practiced the applications of Kokutso Dachi. It is also called the back stance and even "the akward stance". Often,it is described as the oppisite of zenkutsu dachi, forward stance. Kokutsu dachi is a very good defenseive stance. Usually it is paired up with shuto uke (knife hand block).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

YMCA ~ Group Power

Yesterday my dojo-mate Judy took me to the YMCA in Auburn Me for a group power class. It was a very hot day, in the 90's. The group exercise room was air conditioned to a very tolerable temperature.

When we got there Judy directed me to the stand where they kept the barbells. On the stand were three different sets of weight plates. Small, medium, and large. None the the plates had the weight listed on them and they were thick, lighter than they looked. I took a set of each plate and a 'step' that was adjustable in height.

The instructor put on her microphone and took to the stage. She tossed in a CD and for about 3 minutes, which was as long as the song, we did various warm-ups with the lightest weight. Then we worked each body part, set to a three minute song and it was to the beat.

The first part we worked was the legs. A whole lot of squats with the barbell resting on the back of my neck. I didn't like that part very much. Then it was chest, back and quads, triceps, and you get the drift. Basically we worked the whole body, three minutes at a time.

I am not really a fan of light weights, many reps, but that being said, sometimes being in a group makes you want to exercise. I liked the music, I liked the company, the class was okay and I will probably go back just because I get to hang out with Judy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are You a Warrior? ~ Warrior Dash Preview

The gear that is included.
I can't believe the day is almost here. I registered over 3 months ago and have been excited ever since. It will be my first race. I will be headed out this Saturday around 7AM. I am dragging Gaylen to race with me and Michelle to take pictures.

I know there are races almost every weekend no matter where you live, but this race is different. This race is more of an obstacle course and the fee includes a viking helmet and a beer! What race have you been to that gives you beer? It also comes with a t-shirt, and a medal.

12 obstacles from hell await you along this 3.02 mile course. Are you a Warrior?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Proper Push ups

The Proper Push Up:

The push-up, or press up if you are in England, is one of the most basic forms of exercise. It works the pectorals, triceps. It also has benifits to your core and deltoids. It is common to sports and the military for fitness and for punishment.

We all know what they are and we have all done them in one form or the other. This simple exercise is one of the best ways to develop upper body strength. It works out all the muscles in the upper body and build optimal strength in the forearms, wrists, upper arms, shoulders and chest. 

To get the most benefit from the push up, you must do them properly.

How To Do the Basic Push Up:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Natural Homemade Energry Bars: Make Your Own ~ Fighter Fuel

Have you ever had a Larabar? It is the most simple but delicious snack bar out there. Just look at the side of any Larabar.  Ingredients: Nuts and fruit. Which ever bar you choose, those are the ingredients to greatness. No sweeteners, fillers, supplements, flavorings or preservatives. How good is that? Just real food, nothing more. (at the bottom of this post I have a list of homemade Larabars)

The sugar in the dried fruits are concentrated and hit the system fast. An athlete needs sugar, well we need carbs. See the glucose in the blood are like pack mules. They carry the proteins, vitamins, electrolytes and whatever else your body needs to the places they need to go. When your muscles are properly fueled, you will have better stamina.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kata at Sensei's

Katas are common to almost every Japanese martial art discipline. It literary means form, but we westerner see kata as a choreograph series of movements imitating a fight.

If you stumble across any martial arts message board, you will find a topic about how dumb and boring katas are, especially to a fighter. I was one of those people who wrote seeking an answer about why we did them and couldn't find answers. Not that I hated kata, I didn't mind doing them but I couldn't find the value in the slow dances that we did.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Last weekend Sensei K, Sempai S, Jared and I took a 7 hour drive to Edmundston, New Brunswick for a Kyokushin Seminar. It was held by the Edmundston dojo and was attended by many people from all over Canada. Shihan Fujiwara, from Connecticut, 6th Dan, Uchi Deshi under Sosai Mas Oyama and also Ushi Deshi under Sushu Shigueru Oyama, ran all the classes.

The first class of the day on Saturday, was the children's  class. Shihan Fujiwara was inspiring. The man had so much energy and really enjoyed being with the kids. He began with the tradition warm-up,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Workout - Killer Ab Exercise ~ Swiss Ball Arm-Leg Switch

Last week I was teaching my kickboxing class with tabatas. I like to change things up. Different exercises to hit the same spots. I switched out some of the usual bag work for extra stations. In fact we had 10 stations and I added 4 new exercises. One new exercise had the boys groaning a lot more than I thought it would. It actually surprised me.

Last year when I got the personal training from the YMCA, Rachel showed me this ab exercise. I was kind of afraid that it would seem a bit girly. These guys come in to hit stuff and sweat. They really liked this one

Swiss Ball Arm-Leg Switch

  1. Lie down on your back with your legs straight on the floor, arms extended over your head, ball in your hands. 
  2. Bring your legs straight up to the ceiling, as you reach your arms up, bringing your shoulders and back off the floor (crunch).
  3. Place the ball between your feet, returning to the start position, arms and legs extended.
  4. Raise your legs to the ceiling once again, as you bring your arms up, reach, and take ball in your hands.
  5. Lower your arms and legs back to the start position

You can do this for a 20 or 30 count. Each time your arms have the ball, is one rep. Or you can do as many as possible in 2 minutes, which is what we did. You will be surprised how hard this is and how quickly you feel your abs burn.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Front Snap Kick

Taken by TJ Whittaker
Patty Pittman VS Ivanna Williams
Patty is the blonde in the green belt

I went, I fought ~ Japanese Karate, So much Fun

Sempai Harry and me
Those who read my blog on a regular basis, might have noticed that I wasn't posting as often as I usually do before a fight. I really couldn't post all my thoughts. You see, I was hurt and didn't want to give it away. I didn't know if my opponents were reading this or not. I know I would be reading the blog of someone training to fight me.

Before the fight:

Nice lean, hoping the other coach didn't notice
So the thing I couldn't write about, I was hurt. Two weeks ago I got tagged on my lead leg, just above the knee on the outside. I limped around all weekend, doing the RICE thing and come Monday It was still tender but I could walk on it. Then during full contact training, I was sparring and wound up getting tagged in the same spot. I didn't show it but I couldn't kick anymore and I think I got hit 3 or 4 more times there. I couldn't lift my leg to kick, I couldn't get it out of the way to block. Someone was yelling for me to use my legs and the guy I was sparring just cracked me hard, really hard right there. I fell to the floor, tears were coming down my face and I couldn't breathe. Finally, seemed like an eternity, I got up and bowed out. They brought me ice but my leg is ruined.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fighting Tonight GAHH!

Today is the day, well I should say that tonight is the night. This the the worst part, waiting to fight, the sleepless night before the butterflies in my stomach. Wishing it for to be done.

Yesterday was such a long day. We didn't leave until way after the time we were supposed to and it took an hour longer than we planned. Didn't get in Connecticut until after 8:30. When I got to the room Sensei was off training Tim. I should have been with them, but I missed out. Took a quick swim, sat in the hot tub and then I hit the showers.

Sleeping before a fight is harder than the fight. You see in a fight you choose to get on the mat and go at it. With sleep, I chose to sleep, but didn't. It was so very much beyond my control. I tossed and turned. Stupid thoughts and ideas popping into my head. When I did sleep, the dreams woke me up. Dreams, equally stupid as the ideas.

Today I have a kata competition. Last night during one of my sleepless bouts,I imagined myself doing kata. I am supposed to do pinan ni. So I did ichi, ni, san, shi, then blanked out. Could not for the life of me remember what the next 3 steps were. I could remember all of those after that, but those three step drew a complete blank.

Fighting doesn't start until 5ish, it will be a long day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaching Karate ~ My First Class

Last Sunday, at Sensei's dojo in Bethel, the orange belts asked if there was going to be class on Easter. Sensei told them that she was visiting family. She asked how many people wanted to come in and just about all of them raised their hands. I did too. So she announced that there would be a class. Said that if she couldnt find a black belt, that I would teach. I don't think Sensei even asked anyone else.

Thusday she sent me a list of things she wanted me to work on with a huge gap of time for me to teach whatever I wanted. I went over to K4L and asked for games and drills. I watched countless videos on youtube. I browsed many martial arts sites. I made a list of drills and games. I so wanted to make sure that everyone had fun.

Sunday came, I arrived early and practiced my kata for the upcoming tournament. Ray was the first to arrive, 10 minutes early.  Ray was the only one to arrive. sigh.

Ray asked if Sensei found a black belt and I told him that she hadn't. I think he was disappointed. He told me that it would be okay if we didn't have a 2 hour class, that we could leave early.

We lined up, bowed in and did our stretching and kihon. We went through the strikes and block. We then did our kicks while moving. Then in zenkusu dachi, moving, we did a block and reverse punch, trying to get the block and counter to flow naturally.

Kata was up next. Ray wanted to learn Sigogi Ichi but I was told that I should teach juji kata becasue they all needed to learn it and we haven't gone over it yet. Looking at the clock, I was speeding through every thing. So I decided that we would do all of the required katas. We took our time going over sigogi Ichi. Then we did juji kata. I taught him juji kata and he did well. Then I was having him do it without a count. He was going through it without kiai so he could concentrate on which way to go. Sometimes he would forget or he would have to think for a few seconds. Then I had him do it again. This time I insisted that he kiai. So weird, because his mind was on trying to remember to kiai, he did the kata totally correct.

On to the bag work. During kihon I noticed that his side kicks and round house kicks were off. His whole body would not only go back when he kicked but his torso would tilt forward as well. So out went all the drills I had and in came a half hour of kicks.

We practiced in front of the mirror going very slow. I wanted him to get the technique. He was struggling to get his kick high. I made him do the kick to the knee. Told him that in time he will get height but technique is more important. So he asked "I thought we weren't supposed to kick to the knee in the dojo?"

"Well yeah", I said. "Take out my knee and I can train anymore but kyokushin is not about the tournaments, it is about the real world. Take out a drunk muscle head's knee and the bar fight is over before it started."

I got the kick shield and still had him work slow for a 20 count, then I made him speed up. Now that he was all warmed up and the technique was better, I had him kick to the stomach, but I made him do it fast. No time to think and his kicks were so much better. No longer was he falling over.

The two hours was up before I knew it. and hopefully I did well. I wont know until Sensei talks to Ray. I hope I am asked to do it again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feeling Like Me Again

During the last month, I have been trying really hard to get into training. I just feel like I am not good enough. So I have been trying extra hard. Weights in the morning, kickboxing in the after noon and 2 to 3 hours of fight training at night. I was feeling exhausted, burnout. Every time I would preform badly, I would work harder.

A week ago last Monday, after fight class, Shihan had us all take a knee. He discussed the ups and downs and the plateaus of training. He asked if any of us were feeling tired. I reluctantly said that I was. We discussed my training schedule. I was told to cut back. Run only once a week, weights twice and to rest.

Shihan knows so much about fighting and the fighters body. If I am doing this for 50 years I won't know half as much as him. He has an instinct to create fighters. The first fight I was in, we went to Connecticut. There were 6 of us. Sensei K fought full contact and the rest of us were doing semi-contact, because it was our first fight. Every one of us brought home first or second.

Shihan was so great. Sensei was supposed to be my coach and I could hear her shouting commands. I was also hearing the commands of Shihan. "Finish Up!" he'd scream. His voice so deep but loud that it seemed like he was just a few feet away. He was sitting with the big wigs on the big table at the front. I never heard anyone but Shihan yell from that table.

I listened to him, I put away my fitness equipment and joined the gym. Now when I am done working out I go home. No more do I look at the weights and whatnot thinking I should do more.

It took a week but last Monday, when sparring, I didn't feel like I sucked as bad. Last night I sucked even less. I wasn't as out of breath, I defended myself instead of just getting hit. I hit the target instead of just swinging. I felt good.

After last night, I don't feel as anxious as I was. I think that after I posted my fight videos, people in class, especially the new one, have expectations of me. I feel like I cant live up to the hype. Maybe that's why I was training so hard. But I am just a girl and sometimes I will lose, but as long as I do my best, it will all work out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Workout ~ Top 5 Gym Equipment To Avoid

I am brand new to becoming a gym rat. I have always worked out at home. I would scour freecycle, and yard sales for equipment. Friends would give me their year old barley-used cardio equipment. I once even picked up a stair stepper from the metal pile at the dump.

Last summer we had to move from our house, with the HUGE basement and into a smaller duplex, with half a basement and a dirt floor. All of my stuff is dismantled and piled up in the shed. My dining room has a corner in it with red milk crates holding all my weight plates and my table is in with the equipment in the shed so I can have room for the treadmill. There is just no room.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Sensei, The Dojo Monster

Sensei is a monster. It's true. I wish I could be like her though. Here she stands, 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighs about 135 soaking wet and has all the respect and awe of grown men and teenage boys alike for her fighting abilities, stamina and strength. They look up to her and hang on every piece of well thought out advise, so do I.

Every month she spends the weekend with the US branch chief of our organization. Every month she some back with a new torture drill for us.

Last time she went, we did back kicks for at least a half hour. At first we stood with our hands against the wall. We were to bring our knee up to our chests and opening our hips bringing our leg out and behind us. We then brought them back the exact same route. Our knees were not allowed to go down past hip level. She went to each of us individually and for the first 2 count of every set, manipulated our legs into the correct position.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Workout - Quick and Hard

Explosive Power

Warm up with a few minutes of ballistic stretching.

  • Extend, flex, swing, and rotate every joint
    • fingers
    • wrist
    • elbows
    • shoulders
    • neck
    • hips
    • knees
    • ankles
Go for maximum reps, each exercise is for 30 seconds each. NO REST 3 sets
  • Plyo Push-up (clap hands if you can)
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit Ups
  • Burpees 
Finish up with a 15 minute run.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Battered Women In Martial Arts

Recently, I read a post over on about karate and domestic violence. Joesph McDaniel watched a movie where a woman learned a martial art to defend herself against an abusive husband. It bothered him how the movie romantically portrayed this woman as defeating her attacker.

In real life this wouldn't happen. Men are usually bigger and stronger, but more than that, an wife beater is also an emotional abuser. Which is why men can be physically abused too. The only difference between a woman and a man victim, is the amount of damage that is caused physically. The emotional abuse cuts a lot deeper than black eyes.

Anyone could be abused. You wouldn't know. People who are abused are teachers, police officers, housewives, even sometimes black belts. One in every four women either, is or has been, abused.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Workout ~ All About Legs

I have been training for a fight, which is next month. I, like always, can see a kinds of shortcomings in my techniques, especially with my kicking. Today I thought I would focus on legs. I am going to miss tonight's class and tomorrow I have a business dinner to go to, so I am going to KILL my legs.

This is in typical Cardio Kickboxing format. You will need a round timer, I suggest Speed Bag Forum Free Online Timer, if you don't have a Gym Boss. These are all two minute drills, so set your timer up for a 2 minute round, with a 30 second warning, 30 second rest. . I will be at the dojo so I will be working with heavy bag, speed bag and a couple of chairs. Grab some water and a towel to soak up the sweat.

When doing any exercise, don't be a hero. Do your best, but if you need a break, take one. I do, then I jump right back into it.

Ding Ding Ding ~ Begin

Friday, March 25, 2011

Belt Test ~ Green Looks Good On Me

Belt Test
The belt test has come and gone and it was fun. "Grades" came in and well I could have done better. I earned my belt, but there are some short falls. I need to work on push ups. I have to complete them without a break. I also, sadly, got my first 'fail', for my handstand. I have to do one for 60 seconds. Usually I am told to try harder next time but get scored on the effort. This time, I got a big fat, "fail" written on my paper.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Workout - Telephone Sprints

The weather in Maine has been bipolar in nature. This is the time of year when the maple saps flows. Cold nights, followed by warm days. How warm? Well one day last week, it was 65 sunny degrees. The very next day, it was under 30 and we had a snow storm that sent the kids home early from school. But for the most part, it is delightful. The chill in the air in the early mornings, is perfect for being outside. I love the crispy air early in the morning.

I am not a runner. As a matter of fact, I hate running. I have a strong dislike for steady-state cardio of all sorts. I think it is unnatural for a human to run marathons, or do step-aerobics, or sit on bikes to "spin" to nowhere for an hour at a time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday's Workout ~ ChaLEAN Extreame REVIEW

I am writing a review of a workout that I first did two years ago. Why so long? Because ChaLean helped me reach my fitness goals.

I was just reading in SandMan's Blog how Maggi went to karate (kyokushin) to lose weight, and soon found herself saying " Ya know? I wanted to do Karate to help me get in shape but now I want to get in shape to do Karate" and she did. Maggi went on to lose 131pounds.

I started playing tennis at 240 pounds. At 5'6", it was not pretty, but I didn't care, I loved it. Because of my bad shape, I developed tennis elbow. I wanted to play tennis more than anything though so I looked up how to fix tennis elbow and found that weight training helped. It seemed silly to just train my elbow so I did a whole body program. I went through several, not finding my fit until I got ChaLEAN Extreme.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes, you get knocked out

I am posting the fight that I lost at the Dageki World Champs last October. This was the fight for first and I sadly lost. I need to keep my hands up to start with, I know. I also need to work on blocking. I am not ashamed of what I did, in fact I am proud of the fight, even though it is VERY short. I got knocked out. In fact I can't recall when the ref tied my belt, even when watching it, I can't remember. It is like seeing someone in a Patty suit fighting from 20 or so seconds on. The next thing I remember is the doc standing over me, and me telling him that I needed to fight. He was telling that I was done.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dageki World Karate Championship

Last January the video came in from last October's world championship fight. It was saddly misplaced. Good news though! It was found the other day. So here is my semi-final fight from Montreal, Canada. I am the cute girl with the pig tails and the yellow belt.

Belt Test Tonight!

Last Sunday, I went to Sensei's dojo for class in Bethel. She has several white belt's in her class now and all five of them are testing this Friday (tonight). Their first test. I know how nervous they must be. I know how nervous I was when I took my test.

I 'knew' I was going to fail. I couldn't do the pushups and situps required. I was very knit-picky on my only kata I had to do. Were my strikes are sharp as they needed to be? Was my stance correct? Then I was worried that I wouldn't remember kihon and would forget to pivot when I kicked.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday's Workout ~ Tabatas

Winter in Maine is a funny thing. One day we will get a foot of snow, wild winds will knock down mighty pines, and jack frost himself, complains of the chill. The very next day, 50 degrees, sun shining, snow melting into small ponds that freeze into ice rinks over night. On those nice days, you just want to go out and play but can't because everything is so wet.

Exercise gets to be redundant. I love karate class, because it is always changing up to learn new things, however morning workouts, are just a chore. Which is why I LOVE Tabata intervals. 4 minutes of hell and you are all done, and with the cardio conditioning of an hour of 2 minute intervals.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Workout - Jump!

Todays workout is brought to by the letter 'J'. 'J' stands for jump rope, of course. It isn't just for little girls in the play yard or big boxers at the gym. It is for everyone and in every shape.

Nothing is better for bringing up the heart hate than a jump rope. Skipping rope for 15 minutes burns about the same calories as a 10-minute mile but a lot less impact on your knees. Besides being a great fat-burner, jumping rope tones your upper and lower body muscles at the same time. It increases your endurance, stamina, and the light impact will even increase your bone density.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fight Training, Gearing Up

The US Open has been scheduled for this spring in Connecticut. Shihan Fugiwara is going to be holding it this year. I was looking forward to it being here in Maine again. It would have been easier for me. With the husband being in the middle east, I want to try to have the least number of weekend away from the kids as I can.

Speaking of the husband, he is home right now. He is at the tail-end of this two week leave. In two more days he heads off for the rest of his deployment. Fight training would have started two weeks ago, but I got a pass because of his visit. I even got to drink! Shihan and his wife Sensei L met us at the Smiling Moose, where I enjoyed some margaritas with them. 

I know, I know. If I really wanted to concentrate on training, I would have found the time. The time for excuses are done. Today I do what I should have been doing before. Well for the last two weeks anyway. 

The problem now is which program should I follow. I like the ChaLean extreame, and did it in the past with great success. Chalean has great weight workouts, the cardio videos however is not my kind of stuff, so I would just do the weights.

I also have Insanity, another great program. Bodyweight only but a killer program. There is this one video called 'pure cadio' that is just intense cardio for 12 minutes. It is the kind of cardio video I can follow though. No sashaying around the room. Shaun T tells you what you are going to do, usually in sports terms, then you do it. Fast paced each exercise lasts less than a minute.

I have done P90X and have that as well, but I am not a big fan of that program. The weight training takes too long. Some of the cardio videos I like. Like Shaun, Tony tells you outright what you should be doing, and then you do it. simple. Takes too much time. I could also make my own program.

There is always the option of making up my own. Been weight training so long and reading up on fitness and nutrition for an even longer time, I could be a trainer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rashad Evans Top Secret Workout LOL

This is just too funny not to share. I never actually saw someone use a shakeweight before.

Who Needs A Dining Room Anyway?

Last week Shiahn P gave me a heavy bag that is weighted with water. He bought it a while ago, sometime before I started. The first time it fell from it's hook and hit the floor, the plastic insert holding the water broke. So it has been sitting there in the back room, barley used, actually looks new. He said I could have it. I jumped at it. The plan is to use epoxy to fix the leak and then fill it with sand as soon as I can make it to the hardware store.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Business and Kata

I am in my office. I love saying my office by the way. I even say it with bold emphasis.

Anyway, I am, as I type, sitting in my office. Things aren't quite like I expected though. I was supposed to have a big piece of wood from my landlord so I can make a sign. Well when it snowed, he plowed it under. What I have for signs right now are just black poster board colored in with chalk pastels in the lobby. Shihan is going to drop off some wood he has in the dojo, but that will do indoors. Not for the big sign I need. I will make do. I am thinking of getting some canvas and painting on it with ink, then making a wood frame from 1X2's so it will be light enough for me to hang. Just a thought, still stewing on it.

No one wants a website or to actually pay for computer repairs. I did however get a couple clients for ebay consignments though. I am selling someones inventory of Mary Kay and someone would like me to sell their hand-crafted coffee tables. Tuesday I am going to his house for some pictures. While I am there I am going to do the "American Picker" thing.

Have you seen that show, American Picker? It is on discovery channel. These two guys drive around the country knocking on doors of junked out houses and climb ion and over the years of hording trying to find a pearl. They sometimes do.

Tomorrow I am headed to in auction. I am headed there with Shihan. He wants to see how it all works. Should be fun. BTW I am selling as PanOpticPC on Ebay

This week was very slow when it comes to karate. Sunday I went to the Bethel dojo for Sensei Kris's class. It was mostly kata. I was the lowest belt. As a matter of fact I was the only one without a black belt so because of that, she asked me which kata I wanted to work on. I picked Pinan San.

It is above my belt. It is generally frowned upon to practice katas above your belt, but I have been doing it for months now. The only full contact class we have right now is right after advanced kata class, so I go through all the katas until we hit black belt before I am told to sit out. I don't get corrected when doing things above my belt. Only those who need those katas for their next belt get corrected.

Sensei went over each pinan with me and their applications so I learned a whole lot. I really like her classes.

Dojo Kun
I have been practicing the dojo kun all week. Whenever I have a minute, I read it to myself out load. My kids can probably recite it by now. Sunday, we ran late so we didn't have a chance to say it. The snow all week has left me house bound so I haven't been asked to say it. It is all good. I need more time.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weakness of Spirit, Mine

We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm unshaken spirit. 

That is the beginning of the dojo kun. The dojo kun, traditionally in Japan, is recited at the beginning and end of every class. In America, even in my home dojo, we only say it at the end of class, if time allows. One person will recite the dojo kun in parts and the rest of the class will mimic it. I have been listening to it for over a year and a half.

Last Sunday, I went to Sensei Kris's dojo. At the end of a very good class, she said that I was to say the dojo kun. 

Huh? Me, really?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Dojo in Town

This week, Sensei Kris has opened her own dojo. She will be having classes in Bethel Maine twice a week, two hour classes. Tuesday was the first night and I couldn't wait to be her student. Well, okay, I already am her student. She was my teacher in beginner lessons and almost everything else.

Shihan was in a really bad car accident about 5 months before I joined karate. So for the first six months, I only saw him occasionally and didn't really know him except for the occasional full contact class. Sensei taught just about every class I went to.

Saturday, January 1, 2011