"The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants." -- Gichin Funakoshi

Friday, January 02, 2009

On My Own

Well, things have changed since my last post. I am back in Tennessee, so that's a good thing. But I'm not really close enough to my old dojo to return for training. And I no longer have my own personal Sensei to train with whenever the mood strikes. So that's a not so good thing.

Another not so good thing is my current weight and fitness level. I've regained about 15 pounds since returning from Arizona. And I don't think I could do 10 pushups right now to save my life. And another not so good thing is the amount of time I've spent working out on my own in the last year - which would be none.

So here's where I am. Alone. There are dojos in the area, but I don't exactly have the disposable income necessary to make any of those a viable option at this point.

But I'm not throwing in the towel. On the contrary. I'm kicking my butt into gear and getting myself back in shape. I've been online refreshing my memory on all the kata I knew over a year ago, printing out diagrams to study at leisure. I'm hunting down old pilates dvds and dusting off my running shoes. It's a new year and it's time for me to get and stay healthy.

I'm not making any resolutions. I'm doomed to fail if I say these are resolutions. But I am determined to change my habits. And I'm going to be posting here again in an effort to keep myself motivated.

Friday, December 28, 2007

it was good to be home

Sensei-Hubby and I worked a visit to the dojo in to our holiday whirlwind tour last night. This morning I am becoming reaquainted with muscles I had forgotten existed. It's a good pain.

We didn't get to see everyone of course. There were several people out of town or for whatever various and sundry reasons not there last night. To you I say, we'll try again next year.

It was so good to train again. But I have to admit I'm very glad it was a self-defense focused class. I would have completely fallen all over myself trying to remember kata. Which brings me to another resolution to add to my list - find a space to practice kata and use it regularly. We really don't have the space in our apartment, even if we were to move all of the furniture out of a room. And there isn't any space in our fitness center that isn't taken up with some kind of exercise equipment. Maybe the parking lot? It's a bit more public a place than I would prefer, but anything is better than nothing. And I definitely need something.

But I digress. The whole point of this post is just to say thank you to those who trained with us last night and we miss you to those who weren't able to be there. And we love you to the entire Bass Karate Center family. May the next year be a happy and prosperous one for you all.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Long Time, No Post

So it's been over a month since I've posted here. I guess I just haven't had much relevant material.

Sensei-Hubby had a job offer that he just couldn't refuse. The potential was just too great to pass this up. So at the end of September, we packed it all up and moved over 1600 miles away from the life we knew. Saying goodbye to our dojo family was second only to our actual physical families in difficulty. The friends we had there were so good to us. The dojo was truly our home away from home. And Hanshi...we just couldn't have asked for a better friend and mentor.

Understandably, starting over in a totally new environment knowing absolutely no one has been difficult. And probably a big part of the reason that I haven't posted here is that I just couldn't deal with the feelings of homesickness that thinking about our dojo family was bound to bring. Even now I'm not sure I'm really ready to start thinking about everyone we left behind.

We haven't been able to track down any Shotokan schools in our area. The only dojo nearby that doesn't require contracts and so many months worth of dues up front is a Wado Ryu school. They have an amazing facility, but it just doesn't feel like a good fit. While there are several similarities in the styles, they are just different enough that I feel like I would have to start over at the beginning to really catch on. Shotokan is more power-focused, where Wado Ryu seems to be all about speed.

So that's were we are right now. Maybe in a couple of years we'll be in a position to start our own Shotokan school up - at least there isn't any competition in that style around here. Until then, it looks like we're on our own.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

where to go from here?

I've had a couple of comments asking about how my testing went, so I guess I could go ahead and update this blog. You may have noticed a change in the color scheme around here lately. That would be in honor of my new belt color. Yep - I passed my test for Shodan! I am a blackbelt! And I think I'm still suffering from Green-Belt Syndrome. But I may be beginning to recover. Evidently my sparring has made a marked improvement since testing, according to my sparring partners in class anyway. They say I seem much more confident now. I think it's just that I don't want a green belt whipping my tail up and down the mat. I mean, I do have a little pride.

I was flawless on my written test right up to the last question. It was matching - match 5 terms to their translations. I mixed up Judo and Aikido. And had to guess on the other 3. And guessed wrong on every one of them.

The actual test (physical) was shorter than I expected, thank goodness. I believe that the instructors based their decisions on some things on performance during classes.

Achievement of Shodan rank is by no means indicative of my perfection. I was reminded of several things to focus on in future training (like the fact that my progressive roundhouse kicks are much better than my stationary roundhouse kicks). And I have an internal list much much longer of improvements to make.

The next kata in our syllabus for me to learn is Jion. Sensei-Hubby and I are planning to go up to the dojo this afternoon and start on it.

My personal goals as a blackbelt? I want to learn the Shotokan kata that aren't in our syllabus. The other kata in the Taikyoku series (we only do the first). The other Tekki kata (again, we only do the first). Bassai Sho. Kanku Sho. And of course, make those improvements to various techniques that are on my internal list (which I may blog in the future, but for now I'll keep that to myself).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I could get used to this

Remember that leisurely stroll around the neighborhood that Sensei-Hubby and I took a couple of weeks ago? We've decided to make a habit of it. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights after supper. That same loop around town. Approximately 3.5 miles round-trip. Throwing in some running at the end (planning to gradually increase the distance ran).

And I'm loving it.

I love spending that hour with Sensei-Hubby, talking about our days and whatever randomly pops into our heads as we walk around town. I love collapsing on the couch with our water bottles and finding something we've TiVo'd to watch together while we recouperate. I love having the energy to stay up and play video games or whatever, where before I would have fallen asleep on the couch until Hubby woke me up for bed. I love that I'm actually working toward a goal. And I love that Hubby is helping me to stay motivated.

I needed this. For so many reasons. And I love that I'm loving it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Time to Review

Hanshi told me after class last night that he wanted me to take my written test for shodan sometime next week. So it's time to make sure I can remember what I need to know.

What I Know:

Karate started in India.

Shotokan karate is from Japan.

Gichin Funakoshi is considered the father of Shotokan karate.

Funakoshi was from Okinawa.

"Shotokan" means "whispering pines", and was Funakoshi's pen name for his poetry.

Shotokan karate came to the United States after World War II via the Air Force.

A kata is a series of offensive and defensive maneuvers performed in opposing directions.

Japanese Terminology:

obi = belt
uke = block
zuki = punch
geri = kick
jodan = head-level
chudan = chest level
gedan = lower level
shuto = knife-hand block
bunkai = application of techniques from kata
zenkutsu dachi = front stance
kokutstu dachi = back stance
kiba dachi = horseback stance
kosa dachi = cross-legged stance


1 = ichi
2 = ni
3 = san
4 = shi
5 = go
6 = roku
7 = shichi
8 = hachi
9 = ku
10 = ju

Besides white, the four belt colors at the Yamagawa dojo are yellow, green, brown, and black.

Belt Ranks and Corresponding Kata (Yamagawa Dojo):

8th kyu = Taikyoku Shodan (First Cause)
7th kyu = Heian Shodan (Peaceful 1)
6th kyu = Heian Nidan (Peaceful 2)
5th kyu = Heian Sandan (Peaceful 3)
4th kyu = Heian Yondan (Peaceful 4)
3rd kyu = Heian Godan (Peaceful 5)
2nd kyu = Tekki Sho(dan) (Iron Knight)
1st kyu = Bassai Dai (Fortress)
1st dan = Kanku Dai (Looking to the Sky)

Dojo Precepts (Yamagawa Dojo):

1. Always strive to achieve my best.
2. Never lose self control or act in a violent manner.
3. Learn to respect myself and others.
4. Always train with an open mind.
5. Remember: the true purpose of karate is to conquer oneself, not others.