Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Blog in Review

Happy New Year! It is time for my annual blog review.

The most important thing I want to accomplish in this post is to convey my genuine thanks to all the Readers and Followers of this blog. I appreciate your comments, questions and emails.

Now for facts....

Top Pages
Fast Track to Black Belt - 863
Tuesday Tip: Quadricep / Hamstring Strength Ratio - 831
What Is That Sound? - 664
Managing a Break in Your Martial Arts Training - 533
Review: Please Stop Laughing At Me - 453

Posts With The Most Comments
Religious Objections In the Dojo - 22
Women and Martial Arts - 17
Blog Keeping/One Word - 14
Get Uncomfortable - 14
Shadow's Story - 14
First Self Defense Class - 14

Top Key Words
Knee Noise
Please Stop Laughing At Me
Julia Marasco
In the Kitchen with Bob
Functional Braces

It would not be a proper review without listing the variety of knee noise queries...knee noise, noise in knee, crunching sound, bending sound, crispy noise, click sound, popping sound, crackling noise, shredding sound, squeaky noise, funny noise, cracking, bubbling sound, rice crispy knee, squishy sound, squelching noise and crunching paper sound. This blog began as a knee blog and I am glad people are still finding my site looking to read my ACL recovery story.

This blog has seen an increase in traffic for 2010. Thank you to all the regular readers and new visitors. This blog has held steady at 49 Followers over the last month. I was hoping to hit 50 by the end of the year... :)

Site Visits - +2279
Page Views - +6205
Unique Viewers - +2119

My personal favorite post this year was the one I wrote about my Dad and the 82nd Airborne Division.

Thank You For Serving
82nd Airborne Photos
82nd Airborne Photos II

Thanks again for reading!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

What is Wrong With People? Holiday Edition

Over a year ago, I wrote the post What is Wrong With People? There are times when I am still shocked about how people interact with others.

I was in a grocery store. The aisles were crowded with holiday shoppers and their carts. There are two sizes of carts in the grocery store...small and extra large. I selected the big cart because I was stocking up on supplies for the holiday weekend. The people with the small carts were buzzing through the aisles winding around other shoppers and the free standing POP displays. It reminded me of the old Atari game Frogger.

I wanted to try a new recipe so I was taking my time through the store making sure I was buying all the items I needed. The extra large carts they provide in the grocery stores are marketing genius. The carts are longer and wider and never look you keep adding more items to the cart. I came to the end of the aisle and had to make a turn. I was cautious because the little carts and the people with the hand held baskets were moving quickly through the store. As I was making the turn...BAM...someone ran into the back of my foot with their cart. If this has ever happened to you, I am sure you hurts. I know for certain if I would have smashed someone with a shopping cart, I would have felt terrible and apologized.

That is not what happened.

Instead the woman yelled at me...."I wasn't expecting you to stop so suddenly!"

That's all she said as she continued shopping.

I was left speechless by her reaction. Thinking back on the incident, I wonder if I should have said something to her.

What is wrong with people?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Imagine stepping on the dojo training floor feeling excited and a little nervous. You may be wearing a gi for the first time and it feels awkward or unusual. How do you tie the belt? Is there a right way and a wrong way? There are other students in the class wearing belts of various colors. The black belts are standing together in a group. Class is about to start and the instructor asks the students to line up according to rank. You are in the back of the room and at the end of the line.

Do you remember your first impression? Were you overwhelmed by the vast amount of information presented in the class? I wondered if I would ever get the hang of things. My arms and legs did not cooperate with what my brain asked them to do. My legs ached from the nai hanchi stance. I was so grateful when an instructor pulled me aside to work individually on basics and the first kata. Class ended and we lined up again and bowed to the instructor.

As an instructor, I find it valuable to remember my first class when there are new white belt students in the dojo. During the first few weeks teaching a new white belt, I am careful not to overwhelm the students. There is a delicate balance between too much information and not enough. A new white belt student in class provides an excellent opportunity for the dojo community. The instructors must start teaching from the beginning. The kyu rank students help and encourage their new classmate. The black belt students assist in class and develop a deeper understanding of their own material.

Do you remember your first karate class?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Karate UnDo Button

I was practicing the kata Gojushiho Ni and noticed there was stuff in my kata. I don't know where, when or how I picked it up. I know it is not how I used to execute the kata.

Inside block or knife hand?
Scooping block or knife hand?
Timing on a block/strike.
Hands palm out, palm in or one hand palm out and one hand palm in?

I have identified the "stuff" now all I need to do is unlearn.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a Undo button? :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Reservation Warning

It took 2 hours, 6 phone calls, 3 companies, 1 manager and 6 customer service representatives.

I made hotel reservations for a 3 day business trip. I was provided the name and address of the hotel. I searched online to find the hotel phone number. A site came up with the hotel information, a phone number, and photos of the hotel exterior and a list of amenities. I called the number and was greeted with “Reservations”. I made arrangements for a three night stay.

The business trip was cut short and Tom informed the front desk he would be leaving a day early. The front desk informed him that he could check out but he would be charged for three nights. This is when I discovered I called a third-party reservation site and prepaid the stay. Their policy is no early checkout or cancellations.

I revisited the website where I found the phone number. At first glance, the site appears to be the official website of the hotel chain.

But it was not…

I was on the phone for over an hour trying to figure out the confusion. The third-party would only agree to credit my account if the hotel chain would agree. I spoke to several agents at the third-party reservation company, a hotel chain representative, a front desk clerk and the front desk clerk manager.

The most disturbing revelation from this ordeal…the agents from the third-party hotel reservation company are allowed to say they are from the actual hotel chain when asked directly because they are affiliates. This does not seem right to me….

I believe we are going to get a refund.

Lesson learned…