Friday, July 22, 2011

A Rant to Parents

I don't like to rant on this blog. But every once in a while....

Parents...please watch your children.

Yesterday, I had jury duty in town.  I reported to the courthouse at 8:00 a.m.   We waited 2 hours before we were called to the courtroom.  The jury selection was for a civil case to award damages.  The case involved a dog.  I may have mentioned in previous post that I am afraid of dogs.  When I was young, I was chased by a large German Shepherd at a playground.  My sister was with me and we ran up a sliding board and stood on the top platform.  The owner of the dog saw the whole thing but did not call off his dog.  After a few minutes, the dog ran back to his owner.  I logically know this situation was about more about the dog owner than the dog.  This event caused me to be afraid of dogs.  I was not picked for the jury.

I was dismissed from jury duty at lunch and headed to work.  I was driving out of the city one traffic light at a time.  I approached the city limits.  There was a single lane of traffic in each direction.  There was parking permitted on each side of the street.  To the left was a large cemetery and on the right a row of houses.   There was a man parking his car on the left across from the houses.  A small toddler in a bright pink outfit was on the sidewalk to the right.  I am driving slow and watching. The toddler ran out in the middle of the street toward the man.  She had no concept of the danger.  I hit my brakes and stopped a cars length from the toddler.  The man came across the street and scooped up the child.  The man gave me a dirty look.

Who was watching this child?  She was standing alone on the sidewalk next to a busy street.

When my daughter was little, I made sure she held my hand.  I tried to be diligent about parking lots and streets.  There are no sidewalks in my neighborhood.  The kids play in the street.   There are at least two portable basketball nets sitting on the edge of the street between parked cars.  The kids like to wait until a car drives up the street.  They shoot baskets over the moving car from across the street.  The same unsupervised group of kids used to ride their Big Wheel on the street.

So parents...please watch your children in parking lots and near streets.  This advice comes from a person who was run over by a car at 2 years old.  We were standing in front of an ice cream shop.  I pulled away from my group and darted off the curb.  My Mom told me there were tire tracks on my clothing.  The doctor thought my arm was crushed.  It healed completely. 

I was very lucky.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Parking Garage Safety

I don't like parking garages.

There are too many places for people to hide - stairs, elevator or between cars.  The parking garages I have seen are often poorly lit and dingy.  Several years ago, a co-worker was attacked in a parking garage in broad daylight.  She was the HR Manager and had to go to the courthouse for an unemployment hearing.  A man approached her but she yelled and swung at him with her briefcase.  He was surprised by her reaction and ran away.

This morning I had to drop my daughter off at the community college for play practice.  I drove in the parking garage and there was a group of 4 men standing at the entrance.  My daughter looked at me and told me to keep driving and find another entrance.  I pulled in the nearest space because I was late for work and in a hurry.   We got out of our car and one man walked away from the group.  The remaining men stood at the entrance talking.  We walked through the exit  and went to the theater. 

Everything was fine but I believe I made a mistake. 

I should have went to another exit.  I made assumptions about the group due to the time of day (8:00 a.m.).  The men looked like college staff members because they were holding papers.  The men were casually dressed.  No one had an ID badge.  My assumptions could have been incorrect.

Here are a few tips for parking garage safety.

1. Awareness.  No headphones, cell phones or text messaging.
2. Know where you are going. 
3. Park near a light.
4. Have your keys ready.  Be ready to use your panic button alarm on your key chain.
5. Try not to be overburdened with packages or bags.
6. Lock your doors and keep your windows up.
7. Trust your instincts. 

Please add to the list.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

By Request

In my previous post, I mentioned somber posts written about my karate training during a rough year. 

Caterina commented "Naturally, it's up to you what you choose to publish on your blog. But sometimes it can be helpful to know that other people have "somber" moments too." 

The following post was in the draft folder since the Fall of 2010.  My outlook has come full circle and I am enthused about training and teaching.  I hope sharing this post will help someone else through a somber moment. 

It's gone...

I wore a gi for the first time in three weeks. I reached for my uniform on the shelf and it was coarse and heavy. I looked at it for a minute and sighed. I put on my uniform and it felt wrong...uncomfortable. I slowly tied my obi around my waist.

Where did it go? Is it lost or was it taken? Is this feeling temporary? Could it be permanent? Where do I look for it? Will it ever be found?

I have written many posts on an important aspect of karate and training. I firmly believe that a person should enjoy what they are doing. I does not matter if it is karate, soccer, music or art.

At this moment, in regards to karate training...I can't seem to find the joy.

What helped me through the somber time?
1.  Time
2.  Karate Friends
3.  Training Road Trips
4.  Patience
5.  Practice
6.  Students

Monday, July 11, 2011

Refueling My Karate Spirit

This past weekend I attended the 27th IKKF Annual Training. The instructors included Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, Kyoshi Ann-Marie Heilman, Hanshi Miguel Ibarra, Hanshi Jody Paul, Kyoshi Bill Hayes, Kyoshi Nancy Caliguri, Kyoshi Carla Molinaro and OKKKU Directors Hanshi Larry Isaac, Hanshi Victor Coffin, Hanshi Al Louis and Kyoshi George Epps.

The opportunity and wealth of information was endless. I was fortunate to attend sessions taught by seven of the guest instructors. The final hour of the event was a Question & Answer session. In each of the sessions, instructors shared their experiences and offered encouragement. I left the training knowing I witnessed/participated in a historic event.

Topics and teaching styles varied but there was a common theme which resonated through the sessions.

Karate is a Gift.

I would consider the past year a bumpy road along my martial arts journey. Regular readers may have noticed a reduction in the number of karate related blog posts. There are many posts in my draft folder with too somber a tone to publish. It was a year of questioning, doubt and searching.

It is time to put the bumpy year behind me.

Thank you to my instructors Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman and Kyoshi Ann-Marie Heilman for this training opportunity.

IKKF Website

OKKKU Website

HKA Website

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

I wanted to share a few pictures from the 82nd Airborne Museum on Fort Bragg.  I visited the Museum last month.   My Dad was in the 82nd Airborne from 1948-1954.  Check out the post Thanks For Serving, 82nd Airborne 1948-1954 - Photos I and Photos II.