Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Right Knees

My husband had right knee surgery in 2005 to repair his lateral meniscus.

I had right knee surgery in 2007 to repair a torn ACL.

My daughter injured her right knee last week at soccer practice. It was an accidental contact injury. Two people charging for the ball at the same time. Her foot planted and the impact was on the outside of her knee. She stood up and continued practicing. She even played a soccer game this weekend. As I watched the game, I noticed that she would rub her knee after she kicked the ball.

I scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician today. The doctor examined her knee and there may be soft tissue damage. The doctor mentioned the MCL and meniscus. The doctor said there was no tear but recommended that she see an orthopedic specialist.

I hope her knee is ok....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Should Karate Class Be Fun?

Every so often the topic of karate class and fun is discussed among the black belt in the dojo. It is a difficult balance especially when working with new and younger students. Last night I taught the second intro lesson to an 8 year old girl. It was the girl’s idea to take karate lessons. In my experience, there is a big difference in the student when it is their idea rather than their parent’s idea.

The intro lesson included straight punches, front snap kick, blocks and self-defense against a push. We used the punching bags and the foam blockers. It was a good session and the girl looked happy when she left the dojo. After the class was over, the other instructor in the dojo asked me if the girl seemed to like karate. His comment about the new student was that during next lesson we need to make sure we do something fun. My reaction was immediate, “Class was fun!” His response, “Fun for you…”

The black belt instructor made a good point. Karate class is fun for me. I like drills, kata, kobudo, self-defense bag work etc. A few weeks ago, we spent 45 minutes discussing the U-punch. That was a fun class too. My idea of a fun karate class is probably not the same as a young student’s idea of a fun karate class. In our dojo, when teaching young students, we disguise basics, movement drills, and balance/coordination exercises in a “game”. We devote the last few minutes of class to “fun” drills.

Flash back eight years ago. I worked as a karate instructor in a dance center for one year. The woman who owned the center wanted to get more boys involved. The owner had a prosperous dance center for young (3-6) children. She saw moms drop off their daughters and walk out of the center with their sons. The owner thought karate was the answer. The program only lasted a year because the facility was not equipped to handle dance and karate. The karate classes were only offered on off-nights due to space limitations.

The owner of the dance center was very good at what she knew. She offered princess tea birthday parties, princess dance camps and beginning ballet and tap. The facility was in the middle of a shopping mall and parents would drop off their children, shop for an hour and return for pickup. The owner did not know anything about traditional karate. At the end of my classes she would stand outside the door and ask each child (in a sugary sweet artificial voice) “Did you have fun?” I realized quickly that teaching a martial art in this environment was not going to work.

So back to my question…should a karate class be fun?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All Work...

Just a quick update. I can't believe it has been over a week since my last post!

I have been working a full time and two part-time jobs. The company I work for is a distributor of Halloween and Christmas merchandise. We supply tree lots, lawn and garden centers and wreath makers. We sell the pin Christmas tree stand for pre-drilled trees.

In the dojo we are working on flow drills, Eiku and bo-kama. We have a new group of beginner students that are doing well. My tai chi instructor is scheduling a date to bring the class to our dojo.

My life feels out of balance.

All work...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happiness Is.... (Karate Version)

Happiness is selecting new karate weapons.

Happiness is having an instant cold pack in your gear bag and not having to use it.

Happiness is an enthusiastic white belt student.

Happiness is a dedicated black belt student.

Happiness is watching students from the dojo test for shodan.

Happiness is great training partners...past and present.

Happiness is seeing people from my karate past.

Happiness is attending weddings and graduations of former "karate kids".

Happiness is making connections...the "ah ha" moments.

Happiness is karate road trips.

Happiness is a voice mail message from my tai chi instructor telling me the class wants to visit the dojo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When You Know Something You Shouldn't

Did you ever know something you should not know?

I know something I don't want to know. It is none of my business or concern. It is one of those things you wish you could un-know. If only I could cover my ears and hum loudly...

The problem is that I do not want to say something by accident. It is not a good situation.

It is a weight on my shoulders.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Karate Uniform

In our dojo, we offer a few weeks of introductory lessons for potential students. We want the student and/or parents to experience a typical karate class. We want parents to meet the instructors and learn about our teaching philosophy. During the introductory period, the potential student attends class in street clothes. They usually wear shorts or sweatpants depending on the season.

Once the decision is made to sign up for lessons, we determine what size uniform to order. We always fit the jacket because the pants are almost always too long. There are times when we have to order uniforms because we do not have a specific size in stock.

Last night, I handed out three new karate uniforms. There is something special about the first karate uniform. The look on the kids faces was priceless as they were handed their gi. They were so excited. They stepped on the dojo floor with their heads held high.

Do you remember the first time you wore a gi?

Update...What's Going On?

I am finally feeling better!

Last week was crazy because I had to buy a car. It was not something I planned and was definitely not in my budget. I have been dealing with a cursed car since 2008. I do not like dealing with car salesmen. I researched several cars and contacted dealerships. I reviewed the article Car Dealer Tricks, Strategies, Scams and Tactics. One dealership pulled all the tricks over the phone. I told the sales manager I would not set foot in his lot to be bombarded by the sales team and limited time deals.

I was able to practice karate last Thursday for the first time in two weeks. We ended up spending 45 minutes discussing a U-Punch. The discussion was prompted by the kata Passai. Good times! :)