Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three kids in the program!



My middle child is now fully in the program, she tested this past week for her yellow belt. I now have three kids in the program (one is actually in the adult program).
Four of us in one family, is that a record? Do I get a share in the place?




And this week marks one years since I earned my blackbelt. If I could find a convenient time, I'd have everybody over for brunch again. You free this Sunday?
Also, it's three months since my current series of back problems. I intend to celebrate by making some decisions on new desk/ chair ergonomics which I'm convinced is the key to my problems. I'm also going to try some light running to get back in shape enough to come back to class sooooon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My desk ergonomics - The details



I'm still working on my back problem which are caused, I believe, by the poor ergonomics from my new desk. (You need the read previous post on this topic to know what I'm going on about). In any case, at age 50, in balancing karate and everything, I'm now badly out-of-whack and need to rebalance. I'm now going on my third month of on-again-off-again back problems.

As Kyoshi would say, if you could measure it, you can manage it. So I've taken out my tape measure (Yes, I know that this is not exactly what he intended what he meant it. But the spirit is the same. Find tools to solve problems. In this case, I'm using a tape measure.) and here's what I've found:

The height of the desk means that my arms would have to be held really high to use my keyboard. This would be a disaster for my back and shoulders.
The usual solution to such problems is to raise the chair adding a footrest to make sure that my feet have some support. But, since my desk has a drawer where I should be sliding under the desk, this won't work. I can't get my legs under my desk. So instead, I stretch my arms in all sorts of funny ways or slide down in my chair. What's frustrating is that I do have a nice upscale chair with about five different adjustments.
Solutions:
1. Cut out the drawer and put a keyboard & mouse drawer there instead. This creates room for my legs by getting rid of the drawer and allows me to construct an arm rest at the right height.
2. Have a keyboard mouse drawer that attaches under the drawer or even to the chair which comes out at about the height of the current desk drawer.
In either case, a little shopping, carpentry, and cleverness are called for. I'm a little frustrated in that I have a very similiar problem at my regular (not home) office and that I can't seem to get any real help from the people who can sell me the gadgets that I need to install. Isn't there a consultant somewhere that will come in, tell me what has to be done, and do it for me?








Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who is cool?

I thought I'd mention a few from my school that have done very cool things lately. Agnes finished her first 100 mile bike race (Her husband Renee did a 55 mile race that day).

Dani finished the New York marathon two weekends ago. She went so fast and got so tired that she hasn't had time to update her blog since then.


But she made it to class that same week so we don't have to worry.

Have I told you about how cool Melissa Haley and Dan Walsh are for their Warrior's Collide performance.?




And while I still haven't found fight videos of Dan to link to, here are two more pictures of Melissa: one from halloween, one from Warriors Collide 6. (Melissa is the St Pauli girl).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Back Problems


After another two week layoff from working out(interrupted by a failed one-class comeback attempt), my son and I ran this morning: exactly one mile, just under ten minutes. I stretched and did setups and pushups afterwards.

I still don't feel right. My back is still full of spasms and knots.

I have a culprit for why the last three months have been a series of back problems for me. It's me, my work, and my erogonomics. That's where the problems start.

Here's how it unfolded: starting at the end of the summer, I decided it was time to really pour it on at work. I run a little company (note the little links down on the left column to see what it's about) that has grown nicely from nothing over the last five years. But starting this past spring, for a number of reasons including the economy, the growth stopped. I'm determined to get back on the growth path. So I've been putting in significantly more hours.

Coupled with the increased efforts at work, another problem stems from this great new desk that I got for my home office. But ergonomically, it's a disaster. The center drawer means that I can't get my legs properly under the desk and the desk is so high that my hands are held too high.


So, it's with some sadness that I now admit that the desk is injuring me and we need to get rid of it or hack it up.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Steve Lavallee Earning his 8th Degree

(Updated in 2014) I noticed that this page on my blog gets a good number of visits so I thought I would update it. For those of you who don't know, I have some sad news.

 Steve Lavallee died at his own hand in June 2012.  His health was excellent and no public announcement about the reason for the suicide has ever been given. 

Steve Lavallee is survived by his widow,  a young son, and thousands of students who are confused by this turn of events and the man that they thought they knew. There has been lots of long discussions as people wrestle with the conflict between the persona and message that Kyoshi proclaimed and the actuality of who he turned out to be.  While I am far from being fully informed, and perhaps nobody really is, on why Kyoshi made the decision that he did, there was a police report that was going to be (and was) released about him the Monday after his demise. The police report, which was made public, was from an adult staff member who alleged that Kyoshi has made a sexual advance towards the staff member.  

 Kim Colvin LaVallee, Steve's widow, has partnered with Craig Halley to manage the two dojos that remain in their hands: NE Ft Lauderdale,  and Lighthouse point. The name of this new dojos is Elite Force.  

Dennis Osmond continues to run his dojo in Palm Beach independently. 
Vince Practico runs one in Plantation called Five Rings.

Steve Lavallee - Kyoshi - is the Chief Master Instructur of my dojo (along with the other ten locations in his system). Kyoshi is now celebrating his 35th year in the martial arts. Follow the link to a page on his official website where you can add your comment to the dozens of others.

At our dojo, they announced that on December 6, Kyoshi will be awarded his 8th degree black belt on December 6th. That's a lot of years of training.

I have the luck to train in the Lavallee National Training Center (HQ - NTSC) so Kyoshi is frequently on the floor or teaching class. He runs many of our Black Belt candidate classes himself. Which is great. Kyoshi is one of the more interesting and charismatic guys around. He's a 7th degree black belt, a successful business owner, has thousands of students through his system, and works with hundreds of industry leaders thru MAUI.

I intend to get the whole story on Kyoshi's professional resume directly from him one of these days (degrees, ring record, training) but as best I can tell from a quick web review:

Kyoshi is interested in blending the martial arts. While this is very trendy these days, it seems that he's been a pioneer in this area. While his base training is kenpo, he has studied and blended: Chinese Kenpo, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Kali/Escrima, Chinese Kung Fu, Israeli Combatives( Extreme Hisardut ), Full Contact Kickboxing, Boxing, XMA and weaponry.

On the wall in our dojo, there is a certificate awarding him a 7th degree in Blended Martial Arts from Degerberg Internationa. This certificate on the wall is signed byRobert Beal, Greg Tearney (10th Dan), John McSweeney, and Fred Degerberg.

John McSweeney was a student of Ed Parker, the father of American Kenpo.

There is another certificate signed only by Greg Tearney awarding Steve Lavallee a 7th degree in Karate-Do.

There is alot of Muy Thai in our system plus XMA . He trains sometimes with his friend Shihan Moti, a champion in five martial arts with base training in Israeli Krav Maga. In the last few years, Steve Lavallee has been training in BJJ at Gracie Academy. Kyoshi's base training is Kenpo. Our curriculum evolves with periodic additions and changes in the kata and defense techniques. For instance, when I was a white belt, we learned mostly kenpo self defense. Recently, we've learned new jitsu-type self-defense. Kyoshi gave a demo of standup BJJ self defense at a recent show which was put up on youtube.

Another of Kyoshi's interests is the Maui Program and working with other sensei to improve the overall management of martial skills and foster exchange among different martial arts.

On October 19th, 2007, Kyoshi Steve LaVallee was the Keynote Speaker at the EFC Summit Keynote in Miami.

Two notes: One, Master KC (Kim Lavallee) is married to Kyoshi Steve Lavallee. Second, Kyoshi's nephew (his brother's son..Joe Lavallee)  also trains in our system (4th or 5th degree black belt) - I've seen web posts where the two were confused.
There is more information about Kyoshi on the Lavallee Official Website. This post updates an earlier one about Kyoshi and my sensei - KC Lavallee.