Thursday, May 26, 2011

From The Draft Folder: Practice, Patience and Time

Here is a post from my Draft Folder originally dated 06.29.08.

A key part of learning karate is patience.

I have heard audible groans when I told the class that we were going to review earlier material. There have been many students who leave behind material because they are so focused on what is ahead.

Not only does a student need to take along earlier material as they progress, they must improve the earlier material. A brown belt needs to demonstrate a white belt level kata with brown belt skill. In order for this to happen, a student must take the skills they learn at yellow, green and brown and apply it to all their material.

This takes practice, patience and time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roll Falls

Teaching karate students how to fall properly is part of our curriculum. We drag the mats out and practice our falls…front, side, back and roll. The kids in the karate school love to practice falling almost as much as they like to spar. As an instructor, I have seen people practice falls that make me cringe. One student could not get over the fear/feeling of falling. He was so rigid and he would fall like a plank of wood. In fact, this teenage student was attacked by a group of older kids at a community festival. He was pushed back and fell with his arm stretched out resulting in a compound fracture.

Have you ever needed to do a roll fall outside of the dojo?

Yesterday, I took a walk around the neighborhood. I live near a lake and there are many trail entrances close by. I wanted to see where one of the trails started so I walked down the path. The beginning of the trail was muddy due to a few days of rain. The trail opened up to stone road used by the Park Rangers.  I walked on the stone road and my foot caught the edge of a loose rock. My ankle twisted and I stumbled forward. I tried to regain my balance but the momentum pulled me forward.

My mind screamed “ROLL!”

I did.

I stood up and brushed myself off. Tom was walking with me and witnessed the fall. He commended me on my textbook roll fall. I think he gave it a 9 out of 10.  :)  The dirt tracks on my clothing went across my left shoulder to my right hip and leg. My head, knees and elbows did not make contact with the ground. The palm of my hand was cut where I scraped across the stone road. I woke up today a little sore across my ribs and the heels of my hands.

A few things:

Rocks and dirt are much harder than the dojo floor.

Even though my hands were scraped, I sustained only minor injuries from the fall.

I believe karate training took over and advised me to roll instead of bracing against the fall.

If I wouldn’t have rolled, I would have went Splat.  I most likely would have sustained injury to my knees, arms, wrist and head. The fall may have been severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER, a few stitches and time missed at work.

Do you have any stories to share? Do you practice falls in the dojo?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ACL Reconstruction - Four Years

May 15th is the anniversary date of my ACL surgery.  I almost forgot about writing my anniversary post! I remembered yesterday when I saw a person walking around the grocery store with an ACL brace.

Four years....

For the most knee is good.  I have resumed all pre-surgery activities and have full ROM.  This past year has been exceptionally busy with work and family.  I  put my gym membership on hold for a few months due to work responsibilities.  I have resumed my membership but my time at the gym is sporadic.  I joined the gym 4 years ago with the sole purpose of keeping my knee strong. 

I notice the difference.  After a long karate class, my knee feels tired and sore. I am hesitating with certain movements in kata such as the jump in Chinto and the pivoting in Tekkos.

My plan for the next year is to rededicate my efforts to keep my knee strong.  I will go to the gym regularly.  If I cannot get to the gym, I must remember to do leg strengthening exercises at home (similar to my original PT protocol). 

There is still one spot on my knee where the nerves don't seem aligned.  If I rub the inside of my knee, I feel prickling on the outside of my knee.  I don't think this will ever go away.
My previous anniversary updates can be found below.
3 Year Update
2 Year Update
1 Year Update

Thank you to all the readers of this blog. If anyone finds this blog and wants to share their ACL story as a guest post, please contact me. If you have a blog about ACL surgery and recovery and would like me to add it to my blogroll, feel free to post a comment or email.

If you find this post because you have an ACL of luck on your recovery!

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Between

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar taught by Kyoshi Bill Hayes.  Major Hayes is the author of “My Journey With The Grandmaster”.  I wrote about a previous seminar I attended in the post Get Uncomfortable

If you have the opportunity to attend a seminar by Kyoshi Hayes, I highly recommend attending. Make sure to bring paper and a pen…you will need them. If you have not read the book “My Journey With The Grandmaster” it. It will change the way you think about training.

I want to share with you one of the concepts presented at the seminar.  The dojo wall was lined with charts, definitions and concepts.  I have pages of notes but one line of text on a chart jumped off the page for me.
Written on the third line of the chart comparing "martial science" to "martial arts" was the following:

Martial science - end of motion bunkai. 
Martial between motion.

Focus on the "in between".

Enjoy your training!

Welcome and thank you to the new Followers of this blog:  Patty Pitman and Yamabushi.  I appreciate all the Readers and Followers!   Thank you to all who comment and share their insights!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blank Page

It is what I am staring at when I try to write a blog post. I have ideas for posts in my draft folder but there are only titles or a few sentences. In an attempt to get back on track, this post will list the random karate thoughts in my brain.

Confidence. How do you teach confidence? We are working on kata presentation. I am talking about presence not showmanship. The confidence needs to come from the inside with training as the source.

Stress. I need to use my karate training as a resource to handle stress. My only New Year’s Resolution was to NOT accept other peoples stress. My family uses me as a repository for stress. I will get panicked calls about missing cell phones, keys, ATM cards, heavy traffic on the way to the airport and forgotten homework. I was determined to not let their stress become mine. I am trying.  I need to take a lesson from one of our young white belt students. It was told by his parents that he practices kata during breaks at school. The teachers reported the boy seems calmer when he returns from his break.

Brotherhood. I have been thinking a lot about the use of the term brotherhood in martial arts. I often hear male practitioners use the word brotherhood or refer to each other as brothers. I never felt as if the male practitioners were using this term to exclude the female practitioners.  I asked several of the male black belts in our dojo what they mean when they say brotherhood. Some of the answers were…a group with a common goal, an alliance, or fellowship. I followed up with the question…Are female practitioners part of the brotherhood? The answer was a unanimous “Yes”.

Any thoughts on the above topics?