Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Belt - Part II

I first wrote about my obi over a year ago. In May 2009, I decided to buy a new belt. My new obi has arrived but not after a long history. I never knew how hard it was to order a custom made belt. The belt has embroidery on both sides. The belt must be split open, embroidered and then closed back up. Even my engineer husband's detailed drawing indicating the placement of the name, style, patch and stripe was not enough to guarantee a correct belt.

The first belt arrived incorrect. The patch and stripe on the wrong side. The stripe was angled in the wrong direction and the manufacturer's logo was prominently displayed on the front of the belt below the name. It was simply unwearable.

At first I wondered if the new belt was not meant to be. I called the manufacturer and they immediately told me they would correct the belt. I sent back the belt marked up with corrections. After four months, three emails, two phone conversations and a photo sample, the belt was ready to ship.

I received my belt in the mail today. It is correct!

I only have one question. How long will it take to get used to?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The T Word

During the course of my karate training, the T word is not usually discussed. It was something that happened or something that you were told. I have mixed feelings about the T word. You see, I remember anxiously waiting for the word as a kyu rank. The dates were posted on the dojo calender so everyone was aware of the possibility but it was not a topic of conversation. As a young kyu rank, I may have hoped but I never expected.

I earned a black belt and the T word took on a different meaning. As a black belt student, the T word is my reminder of how much there is to learn in comparison to what little I actually know.

I became an instructor and the T word changed completely. The focus of class and training time shifts to preparing others. In our dojo, the head instructor makes the final decision. As a class instructor, my role is to recommend.

There have been brief times in our dojo that I held the responsibility for the T word. My husband's injuries and surgeries sometimes prevented him from being in the dojo. I have witnessed the range of student reactions from happy and proud to disappointed and angry.

I am sure you know the word I am referring to....TESTING.

Even now...I must admit...I am slightly uncomfortable writing about it.

It is meant to be between the instructor and the student.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Remember to Thank Your Training Partners

I had the good fortune to workout with a long time training partner this weekend. We "grew up" together in the martial arts. He is my earliest training partner and I do not get to see him often. We teach at different dojo and both have full personal schedules. It has been at least six months since we saw each other. In a matter of minutes, we are back in if no time has passed.

It was really good to see him. I am sure he has no idea but our brief conversation helped me feel better about something that was bothering me. The conversation made me pause, take a deep breath and press on.

Being a training partner can be a tough job. We are thrown, punched, kicked and twisted into joint locks. We offer support, encouragement and perspective. We are bunkai partners, sparring partners and offer kata critiques. We push each other to be our very best.

I have newer training partners also. There is a small group of black belts who workout together outside the class structure. We gather to train, explore and encourage. The group started meeting this summer. The setting is relaxed and each of us has something to contribute to the group. They are a good group and I appreciate their friendship.

I want to thank all my training partners...past, present and future. I think they know that I appreciate their help but I want to make sure I remember to tell them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5:00 AM is Too Early

I am stuck in a gym rut. I have not made the time to go the the gym. I usually attend the Tuesday night Tai Chi class but that's all. A few months ago, I was going to the gym three times a week. My evenings and weekends are busy with my daughter's school activities and homework.

I know....that is no excuse...make time to go the gym. My brother has been asking me to meet him at the gym 5:00 am.

The Plan

Set alarm for 4:45 am.
Get up and go to the gym for 5:00 am.
Work out until 6:00 am.
Home by 6:20 am.
Get ready for work.

The Reality

Alarm goes off at 4:45 am.
Turn alarm off at 4:46 am.
Reset alarm for 6:15 am.

I did not make it to the gym for 5:00. In order for my plan to work, I need to get to sleep much earlier.

I will have to figure something else out.

5:00 am is way too early. :(

Monday, October 12, 2009

Braver Than I Am

As a child, I may have been described as painfully shy. I was quiet and did not like to be the center of attention. I would no longer consider myself shy but I am a long way from being an extrovert.

....and then there is my daughter. She is a classic extrovert. She engages people in conversation and loves to be the center of attention.

Ocean City, 2009

We approached the ramp to the boardwalk and heard the music. My daughter looked at me and asked if we could find out what is going on. Ocean City celebrated the end of Summer weekend with a block party. About a hundred people circled a small stage where a DJ was leading karaoke. My daughter looked at me in earnest and asked if she could sign up. She has never sang karaoke before so I did not know what to expect. However, she knew exactly what song she wanted to sing.

We waited for her name to be called. We heard some Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson songs. Most of the people singing were adults or teenagers. They called her name and she stepped up to the microphone. The DJ kept calling her name and did not realize a ten year old girl was standing there ready to sing. The DJ finally saw her and told the audience she was singing a crowd favorite. She chose the 80's song "Don't Stop Believin" by Journey.

She sang her heart out. When the song ended she put the microphone back on the stand and started walking away. The crowd loved her and gave her a huge applause. The DJ called her name and told her that she "Rocked the House". She exited the stage and at least twenty people gave her a high-5.

She is braver than I am.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Mailbox Surprise

Work is stressful. We have finished Halloween and Christmas has just begun. It is our busiest time of the year.

Each day I to drive to the mailbox to pick up our daily mail. I work in a corporate center and their is a mail hub at one end of the complex. Our mailbox is not a very big slot. When packages are too large to fit in the slot, we will find a key to an auxiliary mailbox.

Yesterday, there was a key in the mailbox. I opened the auxiliary mailbox and looked inside. It was the strangest thing. It was not an envelope, a package or a priority mailbox. The item was brown and irregularly shaped. It looked like burlap. The item was address to me.

I peered inside the mailbox for a while.
I poked the item.
I pulled the item out of the mailbox.

One side was brown....and the other was.....

It was a the mailbox.

Check out their site

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mothers and Daughters – How Long? – Not Long

My daughter is ten. We had The Talk and she has read The Book.

Last night, the local hospital offered a community program for mothers and daughters. Even though we had The Talk, I thought it would be a good idea for her to hear it again from a doctor. The program was held in a hotel banquet room and the topic was “All Grown Up”. An OB/GYN spoke to the girls aged 9-12 about the changes they could expect over the next few years. The Doctor did a great job explaining, describing and answering questions.

There was a group of five girls from my daughter’s class. They sat in the front row and the speaker called them the giggling girls. The moms sat behind the girls in the second row. I know my daughter very well and knew that her hand would be the first one raised in the question and answer session. It was and she offered more of a commentary than a question. My daughter is growing up.

On the way home from the session it struck me…How long?

How long will it be before she walks ten feet in front of me at the mall?

How long before it is not “cool” to spend time with her family?

How long before her friends become the most important part of her world?

How long before she thinks her parents are “clueless”?

When will the dolls, stuffed animals and Littlest Pet Shop be replaced by cell phones, MySpace and fashion magazines?

I commiserated with my brother who has two adult children. He said that it is…Not Long…and wished me good luck. He told me not to worry because children eventually drift back. In his case, it occurred when his children were out of high school.

I am feeling a little sad….

Not Long

Friday, October 2, 2009

Anti-Bullying Seminar - A Review - Part II - One Minute Miracle

Continued from Part I

One of the concepts presented in the Anti-Bullying Seminar was the "One Minute Miracle". I could not find any references or links in order to learn more about the concept. So...if any teachers or health professions stumble upon this post...I would love to hear more about it.

The premise is that people have tendencies and are either more physical or more cognitive. Bullies tend to be more physical and respond better to physical interaction. Dr. Carter made it DOES NOT mean people should hit children as a response to bullying. One example of a physical response to a behavior is to remove the individual from the situation. He told stories about how he would handle his own kids fighting. He would have them run around the house a few times. This was not a punishment rather a method to release the physical energy. A cognitive response would be talking to a child about a negative behavior and explaining why something should not be done.

As I understood it from the seminar, the "One Minute Miracle" is taking one minute a day and connecting with someone through the use of words and touch. Once the bullies are identified, my daughter's school intends to use this technique. Teachers and staff have volunteered to mentor the bullies and will attempt to create a connection with the student using the "One Minute Miracle". The teachers may shake the students hand, pat them on the shoulder or just say hello. The belief is that once the connection is made the student will be less likely to bully. The teachers/staff become mentors and the student will model good behavior. Another potential benefit is the bully will realize a teacher is watching and have less opportunity to bully.

What do you think?

The post is my understanding after attending an Anti-Bullying seminar at my daughter's school. I am not dispensing advice nor am I a heath professional. I would welcome more information or recommendations on this subject.