Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
There have been days at work that I needed to make an iced tea run. I am not a coffee drinker and I do not like orange juice. It is all about the tea...now it is all about the green tea.
Currently, tea in the form of green or black tea, next to water, is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. According to Chinese legends, tea was discovered by the Emperor Shen Nong in about 2700 BC, when a gust of wind blew tea leaves into a kettle of boiling water.
Teas contain polyphenols which act as antioxidants and exhibit numerous biochemical activities. Tea polyphenols consist mostly of catechins, the most powerful of which is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is found only in green tea. Since ancient times green tea has been considered a health-promoting beverage and currently researchers find more convincing proof of healing qualities of green tea.
Disclaimer: There are many articles/posts on the Internet regarding the health benefits of green tea. There are also articles that claim there is no health benefit. You may want to check with your doctor to see if green tea would be right for you.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Brenda Groen worked with a team of researchers from the Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, to study the effects of fall training in six healthy people. She said, "For obvious safety reasons, this could not be directly assessed using persons with osteoporosis. Therefore, we measured the hip impact forces during the martial arts fall exercises in a group of young adults. Based on our results, however, we believe that fall training would be safe for persons with osteoporosis if they wear hip protectors during the training, perform fall exercises on a thick mattress, and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position"
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The testing dates are fast approaching. Here are a few of my recommendations for the 1st kyu students.
1. Enjoy. This time in your karate journey should be special. Enjoy the training.
2. Have confidence in your training. Remember that you have been practicing for this test for several years. When questions are asked or kata are to be demonstrated, your training is your resource.
3. Continue to practice your basics. My husband will tell every testing group the same story. When he was training for shodan, he made sure to attend a beginner class each week to work on the basics.
4. You will make mistakes. It happens to everyone. You will be judged on how you manage them. Once a student who made a mistake during in-house black belt testing walked off the dojo floor and went home. Nothing was said...she simply went home. Work through your mistakes.
5. Avoid the "deal breakers" - poor basics, poor weapon handling, non-functional bunkai. Sorry about this...I had to state the obvious.
6. You cannot cram for a martial arts test.
7. You are what you train. You will reap the reward of your effort during testing.
8. Expect the unexpected. During my last test, I felt certain I would not have to perform an individual kama kata. Well...I did!
9. Try to stay calm. Easier to say than to do. Three hours before one test, I had an ocular migraine complete with flashes of light, spots and stars.
10. Be prepared for long hours.
Tuesday Tip: Preparing for Black Belt Testing.
Friday, April 16, 2010
During Tuesday’s Tai Chi class, the senior student brought his copy of “The Dao of Taijiquan”. He was looking for a passage where it states that the optimal time to complete the Yang Long Form was one hour. The book had paperclips identifying pages, highlighted passages and notes in the margins. This book was read and more than one time. The book had tattered corners and some wrinkles. This book was not sitting neatly on a bookshelf. This book was being used to its full potential…it was studied and used as a point of reference.
Now let me compare my copy of the exact same book. My copy of the book is only a year old. I have not read this book cover to cover but I have read selected chapters. The cover of my book looks like it did when I first bought it. There are no paperclips, notes or highlights. My copy looks like it has been sitting on the bookshelf. The binding does not even look broken in.
When I looked at the senior student’s copy of the book, it was readily apparent that I have a lot of work to do. "Judging this book by its cover" could be a metaphor for my Tai Chi training and a reminder of how much training/studying needs to be done.
A quick aside: Years ago, I worked part-time for a Non-Profit Society and had the opportunity to work with an excellent group of people. The Society published an annual volume series promoting the education of preservation of Pennsylvania German history. The Executive Director, who was a Ph.D. candidate in folklore, would talk about his love of books. He even had a procedure on how he would open a new book and break in the binding. A hard cover book would make a distinct cracking sound when opened for the first time. Does anyone else have a book opening procedure?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Is the bo strike an overhead or side strike? Overhead
Do we step with our right foot? Yes
Is it a punch to the face or solar plexus? Face
Can I add a roll fall in the sai kata for tournaments? No
Then there are general questions posed with always.
Is the right hand always on top in an X-block?
Is there always a punch at the end of kata sequence?
Do we always spin the nunchaku forward?
Do we always use a rear foot turn?
I am very careful answering these questions. It would be so simple if we “always do this” or “never do that”. It does not work this way because there are exceptions. In my experience as a karate instructor, I answer very few (if any?) questions with always and never.
There are also the simple sounding yet complex questions that are answered with “Yes and No”. Last night in tai chi class, I asked one of those questions.
“Are there any linear movements in Tai Chi?”
My instructor paused and said “yes and no”. He explained his answer and discussed the concepts. He described how there are segments that appear linear but eventually will turn circular. Once again, I am transported back to high school geometry and physics class. I should have paid better attention.
Perhaps the title of this post should be...Sometimes, Maybe, Yes and No.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I knew him.
Jeff was a karate student at our dojo during his teen years. Jeff's father walked in the dojo over fifteen years ago and asked my husband if he would accept his son as a student. Jeff was bullied in school and got into some trouble when he started fighting back. For three years Jeff was an active member of the dojo community. He rarely missed a class, participated in demonstrations and competed in tournaments.
Jeff progressed through the karate ranks and earned a brown belt before he stopped taking classes. At a community carnival, Jeff defended his sister and was attacked by several older boys. He fell and sustained a compound fracture to his arm. Jeff was in a cast for months and never returned to class.
It has been at least ten years since Jeff has been to the dojo. His name plaque still hangs on the wall. He will forever be part of our dojo community. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends.
May you rest in peace.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The top 10 Martial Arts Signs of Getting Older
1. I consider Ibuprofen training equipment.
2. When I hear the words "modify"...I listen closely. :)
3. When you have uniforms older than some students.
4. Conversations with "Remember when..."
5. I know what Glucosamine is.
6. I would rather use a bo made of ash than red oak.
7. My favorite kata are the ones without jumps.
8. Kneeling in seiza on a reconstructed ACL for more than 5 minutes can be painful.
9. Karate "kids" sending you wedding invitations.
10. When R.I.C.E. has nothing to do with food.
Join in...please add to the list.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
A recent email exchange with my sister:
K: I am tired and I do not want to go to the gym. I am going home to take a nap.
Me: Go to the gym.
K: I am going home.
Me: Go to the gym.
Me: Go to the gym.
A half an hour later…
K: My tiredness has passed. I am going to the gym. :)
Last week it was my sister’s turn to encourage me. I was in my car on the way to the gym but was delayed by an errand. I called my sister and told her it was too late and I was not going to the gym. She told me to…”Go to the gym.”
I did. No surprise...I left the gym feeling better than when I arrived!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
You can search their website for local events. I hope to attend an event scheduled at a local university. The event includes a group session, demonstrations and information. Should be interesting...
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQD) educates millions worldwide about Tai Chi & Qigong's benefits, how to find local classes, how to get the most from those classes, and we consult health care, corporate, government and educational institutions about integrating these health tools into society at all levels.
Tuesday Tip: April 24th is World Tai Chi Day